Vikings are some of the most fascinating group of people that have walked on the face of the earth. There are so many fascinating things about this unique group, and you can virtually see their uniqueness in their clothes, weapons, and ships. However, there're lots of Viking facts and achievements that you as of now probably don't know. Before we give you the load down of untold facts about Vikings, let's do a little review of who the Vikings are.
Who are the Vikings and where do they come from?
Vikings or Norsemen are the old citizens of Scandinavia (now Denmark, Norway, and Sweden). History puts their existence between the 8th century and the 11th century, and they became infamous because of their fearsome raids across Europe, Asia and other prominent nations in the world. They are mostly perceived as one of the most dishonorable looters and heathens of the medieval era. Without a doubt, their infamy is justified as their invasions were terrifying and long-running. On the other hand, they are also adventurers, sailors, and traders. Their skillfulness in maneuvering their longships on seawater is almost unrivaled by any other tribe that existed in the 8th – 11th century.
According to historytoday.com, these Norsemen started off as heathens who targeted rich Christian monasteries to sack them of their properties. Later, a significant number of them adopted Christianity which led to the construction of spectacular wooden cathedrals in Scandinavia. You can still see some of these spectacular churches today.
Despite the fact that we can’t pinpoint how they came by the “Viking” appellation, it is believed that it was coined from the Norse word vík (meaning bay, inlet or creek). They have their own unique language as well. The English language have Vikings to thank for some of their words since their dialect (the old Norse language) had major implications on the English language. As a matter of fact, words like cake, happy, slaughter and many more were derived from the Vikings language.
Even though some facts about this unique group of people have been washed away by the sands of time, the following facts hold true for the true Vikings.
What you probably don’t know about the real-life Vikings
- Viking helmets don’t have horns
This is the perfect time to set the records straight with regards to the world's perception of Vikings. The mistaken belief that Vikings wear helmets that are adorned with horns on both side is certainly untrue. If your mental pictures of Vikings have them wearing horned helmets on their heads, then you probably got that from cartoons, motion pictures or other misguided depictions of Vikings. Real-life Vikings don’t go around with horned helmets on their heads. A lot of people believe that the horned-helmet depictions of Vikings are a plot by Christians and northern Europeans to paint the Vikings as heathens.
- Vikings give names to their weapons (especially their swords)
Based on the Viking facts written on the page of HistoryontheNet.com, most Vikings name their weapons. In spite of the fact that this may sound uncivilized (since weapons are inanimate objects), it is also very fascinating. The reason behind the naming of their weapons is based on the fact that these weapons are very much a part of their lifestyle. Generally, all Viking men are required to have weapons of their own. This is what they’ll use to safeguard their farms, communities and loved ones. They name their weapons based on their personality and feelings, which makes their weapon an extension of their identity. Some of the most common names used for weapons in the Viking culture include Gullin Hjalti (Golden-Hilt), and Brynjubítr (Mail-Biter).
- The first Europeans to ever set foot on North American shores were Vikings
This might come as a total surprise to you, but Columbus was not the first European to set foot on the soil of North American. Based on what is written on history.com, Columbus’ mum was yet to conceive him in her womb when Vikings arrived at the shore of North America for the first time. This revelation is probably justified since Vikings are skilled and fearless seafarers. As a matter of fact, there isn’t anyone better suited for testing unchartered waters than a Viking.
- Vikings love to use makeup
If you are thinking makeup is for women of our modern day society, then you need to hear this. Vikings use makeup to beautify their faces, and this goes for both men and women. If you have seen the drama series – Vikings – aired on the history channel from 2013, you would have noticed a few things about the Viking characters as they were portrayed in the drama series. Despite the fact that we can't categorically say that everything on the show is true about Vikings, one fact stands out from the rest: Vikings use makeup. If you still find it hard to believe that a group of barbarians from the medieval world would pay this kind of attention to their looks, check Bustle.com for more information.
- Only non-Vikings call Vikings, Vikings
In the event that you are able to lay your hands on a time machine, go back in time to the Viking age, you'll probably find that no one in the inner circle of the Viking group calls another member of the group a Viking. If the need arises for this group of ferocious warriors to call themselves by name, they probably would have called each other Norse, Norseman or Dane. Viking in the old Norse language is a verb, and it translates directly to "pirate raid" (for more info, check history101.com).
- Vikings use bleach for their hair
From our discussions above, you probably know now that Vikings care a lot about how they look. However, makeup is not the only way they crank up their style. They also bleach their hair with soap made with extreme amounts of lye. In this way, they are able to strip the color of their hair to the desired shade. It also helps in keeping lice away.