Viking Facts

Viking Facts
The Vikings were Scandinavian sea warriors that lived between 800 and 1066AD. They spoke the Old Norse language and traded (and raided) northern and central Europe and Russia, and into the Mediterranean, North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. In the Old Norse language 'Viking' meant a 'pirate raid.' The Vikings were known to travel long distances, and they landed in Canada in approximately 1000 AD. The main weapon of the Vikings was their swords. Although most people associate the word Viking with a violent pirating savage, this is not the truth. 'Viking' actually refers to an overseas expedition.
Interesting Viking Facts:
The Vikings were very clean. They were known to bathe at least once a week, and excavations have turned up their toiletries including razors, combs, tweezers, and even ear cleaners.
The Vikings were involved in trade, not only of goods, but also of people. They often captured young women and men and sold them as far away as the Middle East. The slaves were called thralls.
Contrary to popular belief, the Vikings did not wear horned helmets like we see in movies and television shows today. The only helmet found from the Vikings has no horns. Horned helmets were used sometimes by priests during important ceremonies.
Vikings did not bury their prominent dead. They sent them off in a boat, often surrounded by valuables and even slaves that had been sacrificed. Sometimes they lit the boats on fire. Other times they buried the boats in large mounds of dirt.
Viking women had many rights. Although they often married as young as 12, they would be left to mind their home while their husbands were away. They could inherit land, and request a divorce. If a divorce was granted they were able to reclaim their dowry.
Many Vikings were farmers. They used their crops and animals to support their families. The majority of the Viking men were not pirates. And not all Vikings that went to sea behaved like pirates.
Viking men preferred to have blond hair. In order to achieve this they would use a very strong lye-content soap to turn their dark hair light.
The Vikings did not refer to themselves as Vikings.
Vikings boats were called longboats. They were as long as 37 meters and with central spines that made it easy to steer and to land on beaches.
Vikings built their 'long houses' with sod roofs to keep in the heat.
Because childbirth was dangerous in the Viking days, most women died before they turned 35. Men lived longer in those days.
Fish was an important part of the Viking diet. They were smoked, dried, and eaten fresh. The preserved versions were for the colder months.
Most of the boots worn by the Vikings were made from goatskin.
A famous Viking named Erik the Red was so feared and so violent that he was exiled from Iceland and Norway.
Eventually the Vikings began to assimilate into the Christian way of life and they eventually joined other powers to fight in crusades.

Related Links:
world History Facts
Animals Facts
The Viking Age Timeline
Leif Ericson Timeline
Spread of People and Disease: c. 600 CE - c. 1450
Leif Erikson Day Facts
Anglo-Saxon History Timeline