Questions tagged [vikings]

For questions about the Scandinavian seafaring raiders and traders of the 8th--11th centuries AD, as well as about their home culture.

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24
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3answers
6k views

Did viking longboats in fact have shields on the side of the ships?

We are currently working on an educational video game about the Viking Age. In this we want to make as historically accurate illustrations as possible. I myself am working as a historian on the ...
-4
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1answer
115 views

Does the (Ragnersson) mean (Son of Ragnar)?

What is the meaning of Ragnarsson, does it mean the son of Ragnar or it is a stand-alone name?
23
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3answers
4k views

Did the Vikings use horses in battle?

We are currently working on a project which purpose is to depict the Vikings through a digital card video game and we are in the process of researching which cards to put into the game. We have some ...
-1
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1answer
250 views

Was there a Norse custom of "one keeps what one defends"?

Watching a Viking TV series this cropped up where a farmer was challenged to fight for his farm. It appears that the Norse did not have title deeds but rather relied on the sword to settle ownership ...
4
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2answers
331 views

When were weapons banned at the Thing assemblies in Norway?

First the attendants of the assemblies used the clashing of their swords and shields as an expression of their agreement, but later on weapons at the Thing assemblies were banned and the meaning of &...
1
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1answer
152 views

What had caused Northumbrian to become similar to Old Danish before the Viking invasions? [closed]

As mentioned here, the difference between the version of Old English spoken in Northumbria around the year 800 and Old Norse as spoken by the Vikings (basically Old Danish) was much less than the ...
1
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0answers
93 views

Would Vikings have worn Fenrir or Jörmungandr as emblem or jewellery?

After a discussion I had today about Neopagans and Metalculture it came to modern jewelry often sold with wannabe ancient style carvings of Fenrir, Jörmungandr or other beasts of the Nordic pantheon. ...
4
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1answer
235 views

Did the Norse visiting the Americas cause any high-mortality epidemics?

Guns, Germs and Steel (Diamond 1997) argues that Old World invaders of the New World c. 1500 carried high-mortality infections to Native Americans, but the latter couldn't similarly infect the former, ...
2
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2answers
338 views

What is an Odalbönder and Heathguard?

I saw and heard these words in a video in my history class last year but my teacher didn't elaborate on what they meant. In the context of the video, it sounded as if they were social positions or ...
5
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1answer
975 views

What was the relationship between Angles, Saxons, and Jutes; and the Vikings? [closed]

I'm reading Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf and I cannot get my head around how Angles, Saxons, and Jutes relate to the Geats, Danes, and/or the Vikings and/or the Scandinavians generally. ...
2
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2answers
577 views

Is it true that Christian English monks adopted Norse hairstyles before the start of the Viking age?

I remember a documentary suggesting that Vikings traded a lot with English monks, before the Viking Age started, and that the monks ended up adopting their hairstyles. They mentioned a senior monk or ...
-1
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1answer
322 views

Did vikings really travel as far as the Middle-east? [closed]

I've heard some rumors that Vikings have travelled as far as the Middle-east, and that would be where they've gotten the secret of making their steel so efficient, so early in history. Is that a ...
6
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3answers
465 views

Was there actually debate amongst the Norse about the existence or location of Britain?

In the TV show "Vikings" much is made in the first couple of episodes about raiding to the west. They make it seem as though they didn't know about England. That seems highly unlikely to me. ...
35
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3answers
9k views

Where did the “vikings wear helmets with horn” stereotype come from and why?

Vikings wearing helmets with horns has been stereotyped by cartoon shows and animated depictions of vikings. Vikings are also portrayed as beasts and savages who looted and raided innocent shrines and ...
28
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4answers
3k views

Was there a Viking Exchange as well as a Columbian one?

In the Columbian Exchange, many tropical and temperate species crossed the Atlantic for the first time. Was there previously a Viking Exchange at higher latitudes? According to Jesse Byock's Viking ...
40
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8answers
17k views

Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

Why is there evidence of (pre-Columbus) Norse presence in North America, but no record of any attempt of permanent settlement?
-4
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4answers
389 views

Why didn't continental eurotpeans aid the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex and East Anglia) against the invading Danes and Norse? [closed]

At some point during the Viking invasions of England, the Holy Roman Empire or France or even the Emirate of Cordova could've easily held the Vikings back in British soil if they would've decided to ...
1
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2answers
385 views

Did the Danes sack Hamburg after the conquest of Hedeby in 983?

In 983, the Danes reconquered the southern Schleswig area from the Germans. Some sites claim that the Danes conquered Holstein as well during this invasion and even sacked Hamburg in cooperation with ...
1
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1answer
576 views

How did Irish defeat Norse at Battle of Tara in 980 CE.?

At the Battle of Tara in 980 C.E. the Norse were (apparently) heavily defeated by the Irish. There is not much material or sources on this battle. Does anyone have ideas on how the Irish were able to ...
5
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1answer
209 views

Giving a child to Thor

In Chapter 7 of Eyrbyggja saga we are told how Thorolf, the first gođi of Thorsness pledged his chield to Thor: Thorolf Most-beard married in his old age, and had to wife her who is called Unn; ...
8
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1answer
2k views

In Scandinavia, was there a cultural continuity from Goths to Vikings or were they two different groups of people?

The earliest origin of the Gothic people/culture is commonly placed on the Scandinavian peninsula, in the region of Götaland (in southern Sweden) and/or the island of Gotland (off the eastern coast of ...
2
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0answers
114 views

Primary sources on Medieval Christian depictions of non-Christians (in English)

I'm a history student and I'm looking for primary sources in English (not Latin) that could help me with my research. I'm trying to find primary sources preferably written by Christian monks about the ...
18
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1answer
4k views

Kissing in early Icelandic law

I'm reading the Grágás laws of early Iceland and have come across a passage I don't understand: K155, Ib p.47 "If a man kisses a woman in private, with no one else present and with her consent, then ...
36
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3answers
4k views

How did people put down a drinking horn?

It's easy to put down a glass. You just put it on the table. It won't spill unless somebody tips it over. How did people put a full drinking horn on the table? Did they have some sort of thingy to ...
5
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4answers
929 views

Were there natives In Iceland prior to the Irish monk's landings?

The Vikings discovered Iceland quite early on, in the late 800s, although 'Gaelic monks from Ireland had settled Iceland before that date'. Unfortunately the date was never recorded. The Viking ...
2
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0answers
86 views

Are there any references to the number of men the vikings could muster? [duplicate]

I am just interested in any respectable source that has an estimate of the size of armies that Scandinavian Kings and/or Jarls could muster based on their power and/or location. I have read answers ...
13
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3answers
3k views

Circa 1000, what name would locals in England use for invaders?

If I am living in England around 1000 and some Scandinavian raiders show up at my village to pillage our farms, which phrase would I be most likely to be saying: "Oh no, here come the Vikings!" "Oh ...
5
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4answers
6k views

Is there a genetic link between North America and Vikings?

Is there any evidence of Viking genetics in the North East American Indian population? There is a blue eye trait in some East Coast tribes, especially the Iroquoian tribe of the Cherokee.
3
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3answers
2k views

Why did Danish people not "connect" with neighbor nations until Viking Age?

I was watching the excellent documentary Historien om Danmark and they basically said Denmark (and Scandinavia as a whole) was pretty much isolated until Viking Age starting in late 8th century (...
2
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1answer
380 views

Do we know how much alcohol Vikings drank?

We know the drink of choice, at least for early Vikings, was mead. But do we know exactly how much alcohol the Vikings drank? Was there a significant supply of alcohol so that each man could drink as ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Why are Vikings singled out for raids in Britain and Ireland when records may indicate most raids were by local rulers?

The main (original) sources for the evidence cited here were written by monks and priests who have usually been cited by modern historians as being biased against Vikings. However, recent research ...
5
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3answers
3k views

What were medieval, Viking-Era, Scandinavian laws regarding rape?

Since the vikings have a reputation for their "rape and pillage" tactics, I thought it interesting to look in depth at their legal system and learn a bit more for myself. However, viking-era legal ...
1
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1answer
327 views

How were foreign names written in runes?

Are there any example of runic writing of a foreign name? Maybe journals or histories from famous warriors, travelers or foes? If so, how they do it with the runes? Basically I'm trying to find ...
8
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1answer
2k views

How does a runic alphabet work?

For instance, let's take the Younger Futhark alphabet. How do you build a word? By just getting the first letter or phoneme of the name of each rune? Or do they have a contextual meaning?
3
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2answers
747 views

What happened during a Viking Feast?

I am looking for information about Viking feasts. The only information I found, was about their food, what they ate and so on. But are there any sources of information about the typical schedule of a ...
6
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2answers
390 views

Vikings: The sagas of Ragnar Lothbrock and his sons

In the TV-show Vikings the sagas revolve around Ragnar and his sons. I was wondering whether there existed other Vikings who were more famous or conquered more than Ragnar or his sons did. This is ...
0
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2answers
589 views

Had there been a significant physiological difference between the Vikings and the Europeans (around the 11th century)? [closed]

Everyone who has seen the show The Vikings surely noticed that the Nordic men are far more muscular and much bigger. Is there a genetic difference that was making them better fighters or had they ...
2
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1answer
680 views

Which material did the Vikings drink Mead from?

I believe Vikings drank Mead as their common alcoholic drink. If that is not right it doesn't really matter. Just replace Mead with whatever is right (beer, wine ...). The question is what material ...
0
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1answer
408 views

What was the Romans or Roman Empires opinion on the Vikings? [closed]

How were they depicted by the Romans in Ancient History?
12
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2answers
1k views

How prevalent was smallpox among the Norse in Northern Scandinavia, Iceland, & Greenland?

The Norse are the only people that - we can verify today - had pre-columbian contact with the New World. While it's clear that their settlements didn't last, it does appear that they interacted with ...
7
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3answers
841 views

Did medieval Icelanders write with runes?

The land-taking of Iceland took place while Norse culture wrote short texts such as inscriptions using runes (during the transition from the Elder to the Younger Futhark). Runes are closely identified ...
6
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2answers
554 views

Did barbarians capture monks or priest of civilized kingdoms to teach them?

I'm watching the loosely accurate TV show Vikings. When Vikings pillage the Briton monastery of Lindisfarne, they also capture some monks as slaves. Later, one of the monks assimilates pretty well to ...
6
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1answer
400 views

What evidence is there that Alfred paid the Danes to leave Wessex in 876?

The Danes struck at Wareham in 876. Alfred made peace there with Guthrum, and there was an exchange of hostages. However, the Danes broke the peace and during the night they killed the hostages and ...
3
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1answer
697 views

How accurate is the respresentation of York/Jórvík in the manga Vinland Saga?

In the manga Vinland Saga, the heroes arrive at "York". Clearly, it should have been called Jórvík but let's forgive them that for now. Below is how the manga shows the city from the sky. Comparing ...
23
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2answers
6k views

What did Vikings wear in cold wet conditions at sea?

As you can see from this BBC documentary, the crew of this 2009 summertime journey from Denmark to Ireland in a Viking longship suffered from hypothermia (approx 00:20:00 into the video), even though ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Is there evidence that Harald Bluetooth died from an arrow to the rear?

There's a popular opinion, that a famous Danish king Harald Bluetooth died as a result of taking an arrow, well... straight to his rectum. Not only have I encountered said story over the Internet on ...
12
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5answers
97k views

Did the Romans ever encounter the Vikings?

Did the Romans ever scout Scandinavia for possible conquest? Or was trade ever done between them?
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2answers
1k views

Are there any written records of Norse mythology dated prior to Christianization?

As I understand it, most of what we know about Norse mythology is based on texts written in sagas by Christians in the late Middle Ages. Do we have any contemporary accounts of Norse mythology from ...
15
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1answer
6k views

What is known about how many Ulfberht swords exist?

For those who don't know, the Ulfberht sword was a Viking weapon of the finest quality, made with exquisite skill from the best materials available. They were produced between 800 and 1000 CE in ...
10
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3answers
3k views

Did Charlemagne's Christian conquest of Germany cause the Vikings to hit back at Britain?

A documentary on The Dark Ages says that Vikings invaded the British isles after Charlemagne of France conquered some of Germany and forced the Germans to convert or die in the years 783-804. The ...