80 votes
Accepted

Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

They actually did try, they just failed. The main problem was that all they really discovered was marginal territory for the purposes of Norse culture. Meanwhile they had to compete with other native ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
55 votes
Accepted

How did people put down a drinking horn?

In short, either when it was empty or it had a stand. Drinking horns were used by many different cultures on different continents (Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe e.t.c.) and in different time ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

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

It started with the vikings themselves... Helmets with horns? Depictions of an Iron Age date exist featuring people with horned helmets/heads, such as upon the Golden Horns. Similar images are also ...
KillingTime's user avatar
  • 4,801
36 votes
Accepted

When did Kievan Rus' rulers become culturally Slavic?

The mainstream historical view, delivered by historian Francis Donald Logan: "in 839, the Rus were Swedes; in 1043 the Rus were Slavs". That's perhaps an overly cautious view, but in between,...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
33 votes
Accepted

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

Yes, archaeological evidence strongly suggest that at least some warships did but, considering the vast numbers of ships that were built during the Viking age - and in many different locations - we ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
26 votes

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

The evidence for this is weak, but interesting and indicative of "on a much smaller scale", but not "as well" as in equally transformative: From East to West: They introduced the mouse to the ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
19 votes

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

Usually "Danes", or the "pagans"[note], or possibly the "Northmen" - though the last was more of a Continental usage. In Francia these Scandinavians were called 'Northmen' or 'Danes' (in ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
18 votes

How does a runic alphabet work?

A runic alphabet works like other alphabets: one rune corresponds to one or more specific sounds. Runes only really have one significant difference: they are designed to be carved in wood, which means ...
andejons's user avatar
  • 5,661
18 votes

Is there a genetic link between North America and Vikings?

I am going to say Yes, to the title question, and No to the question in the body. Is there a link... There is a genetic link, but not in the direction you were expecting. An article published on ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
18 votes
Accepted

Kissing in early Icelandic law

If the kiss was between unmarried, heterosexual youths the boy would be criminally liable to the girl's father, guardian, or another male family member. "... if a woman was an aggrieved party and ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.6k
15 votes

Did the Vikings use horses in battle?

Short Answer Generally, there is no evidence in medieval sources for the widespread use of cavalry or horsemen in battle by the Vikings. The Vikings in Western Europe (from the late 8th century to the ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
15 votes

When did Kievan Rus' rulers become culturally Slavic?

As TED points out, there is a lot of modern "scholarship" on the topic that attempts to backdate Slavic identity to Oleg or even Rurik. But the best sources we have for that time period ...
SPavel's user avatar
  • 10.4k
13 votes

Size of Viking armies and raiding parties in 9th-10th centuries?

The numbers involved in Viking raids on 9th and 10th century England are not easy to gauge, but it is possible to come up with some estimates. First though, it is useful to get a clearer overall ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What is known about how many Ulfberht swords exist?

TL;DR: We don't know, but at least ~170 swords bearing - in whole or in part - some variation of "VLFBERHT" are known to exist. Number of Extant VLFBERHT swords: I came across the closest available ...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
  • 4,269
13 votes
Accepted

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

The situation in early medieval Ireland was rather unique, as I explained in an answer to another question. The situation there was largely a legacy of the fact that the early monasteries had been ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
13 votes

Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

The crucial question here is: what for? Any colonization, to survive must be profitable. Look at the colonization of N America in the modern times. First British colony failed. Second survived but ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
13 votes

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

The short answer is we're not sure. When the Roman State was in decline and had to withdraw from England, (coincidentally?) Germanic tribal power was on the increase. That left a power vacuum in ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
12 votes

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

My thesis is the one sempaiscuba♦ suggested. Your question is far more complex than one might think on first glance. In the short, it varies from place to place and it depends on where the crime was ...
Sarah Stapleton's user avatar
11 votes

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

As far as I'm aware, the law codes of Norse communities in the Viking-Age weren't written down, but were rather memorised by "law-givers". These gradually became more-or-less standardised by the end ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
11 votes

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

No. The number of viking transfers back and forth were too small to make a significant difference. We only know from recent finds the Vikings did set up a small temporary settlement in Newfoundland. ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 22k
10 votes
Accepted

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

Infectious diseases require a certain critical mass of people to become endemic in a population. Smaller than that, and they burn themselves out by making every susceptible person either immune or ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
10 votes

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

No. That theory doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First, while the Vikings and the Germans practiced "pagan" religions, their status as "co-religionists" was tenuous at best. Nor did they have other ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 105k
10 votes

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

First of all, you have confused the Vikings (seaborne warriors) with the Rus, the Scandinavians who according to chroniclers founded Russia (hence the name); I'm not sure if this idea finds favour ...
andejons's user avatar
  • 5,661
10 votes

Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

It's important to remember that European style civilization requires tools and materials that in Europe were sourced from widespread trade and specialization. Iron plows, wooden ships, paper, and so ...
fallingfrog's user avatar
10 votes

Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

The main reason was that the power base of the Norse explorers was too small, and to a lesser degree that they didn’t find easily exploitable resources. The first Norse expeditions to the North ...
Samuel B's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes
Accepted

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

Note: I'm taking "Danish people" to mean people that lived in Denmark. they could have attacked what is now Germany, Poland, Belgium, Holland and even Lithuania and France, traveling near the coast,...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
9 votes

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

Who are they going to ask for help? How? What's in it for the possible helpers? The Vikings raided everywhere possible. From Iceland (which they colonized) to the Black Sea. The holy Roman empire didn'...
Jos's user avatar
  • 22k
9 votes

Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

Many people would say that the Norse successfully colonized North America for centuries. It is logical to say that the Norse never attempted to settle in North America. It is logical to say that ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
8 votes

What did Vikings wear in cold wet conditions at sea?

Jesse Byock in "Viking Age Iceland" reports "a type of rough woolen cloak (vararfeldr) that provided protection from the rain". A higher grade of the same wool was impregnated with animal fat and used ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.6k

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