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Medieval Monday | Researching the Vikings

Welcome to Medieval Monday!

Research is an integral part of my books. With each new story, I’m delving into the past for information. I’ve picked up a wealth of knowledge in my travels. Yet books, the internet, and talking to historians remains an excellent source.

In my current work-in-progress, Steinar, The Wolves of Clan Sutherland, book 3, the poet (skald) Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) plays a significant role in my story, and I’ve enjoyed researching this Icelander.

For now, let me take you into the world of the Vikings…


The word Viking (pirate raid) comes from the Old Norse language that was spoken in Scandinavia during the Viking era.

2. Horned helmets

The Vikings did not wear horns on their helmets. The horned helmet we see in movies and popular culture was a creation by the designer Carl Emil Doepler for the production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in 1876.

3. Eric the Red

As per the Icelandic sagas, Erik the Red (Leif's father) journeyed to Greenland after being banished from Iceland for murdering several men. Erik founded the first Viking settlement in Greenland.

4. Viking longboat

Though the Vikings traveled the waterways in various sized ships, there were three main types: the longships (warships which carried up to 60-100 men), knörr (cargo) ships, and smaller coastal river ships. The longship was adopted by many other cultures and their design influenced ship building for centuries. The ships were also important burial ceremonies for the wealthy and important Vikings.

5. Viking weapons

A Viking's weapon was their most prized possession. Spears and axes were the most common weapon. Usually the higher-ranking warriors carried a sword.

6. Good hygiene

Vikings were known for their good hygiene and bathed frequently in hot springs. There's evidence that Vikings were well-groomed and enjoyed bathing. Grooming tools also have been found by archaeologists.

7. Rights of Viking women

Viking women had more rights than other European women. They were allowed to be warriors (Shield Maidens), divorce their men, and inherit property.

8. Other names

The Anglo-Saxons called the Vikings: Danes.

9. Writing

The Vikings used the Rune script for writing.

10. Valhalla

In Valhalla, endless food and drinks awaited these warriors. They would fight all day long and get their wounds healed every evening and then celebrate all night.

The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson is the only remaining ancient source that states how one can enter Valhalla. According to him, those who died in battle were taken to Valhalla. And the ones who died of sickness or old age had to find themselves in Hel.

Valhalla was the hall of Odin, and only those he deemed worthy would be allowed to stay there with him.

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into the Vikings. The Tavern will be closed next week, and Medieval Monday will return on August 8th. My knight (aka the husband) is celebrating a milestone birthday and we're planning some fun getaways.

Don't forget to check out these wonderful posts from the other Ladies of Medieval Monday!


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