The Untold Truth of Real Vikings in History

Ivar the Boneless Viking Untold Truth of Real Vikings

The Vikings have been gaining so much popularity thanks to the modern adaptation into movies and books. Truth is, this helps modern people learn about the Viking Age. But modern adaptation somehow creates the misunderstanding of the historical Vikings. Indeed, historical aspect is one of many aspects that movies and books focus. They want more audience, more rating, and especially more profit. So they have to create the image of savage warriors hands always holding axe. But the untold truth of real Vikings is not merely barbarians. The Vikings were masters of shipbuilding, excellent fort-builders, and regular worshipers of Norse Pantheon.

Masters of Shipbuilding

What granted the Vikings an edge over other tribes in their time was their majestic ships. Of course, their skills at shipbuilding didn’t merely appear in their time. It took the Vikings years or even centuries to observe, try, fail, and finally succeed in building a ship. Being the masters of shipbuilding was the untold truth of real Vikings

The Viking ships not only facilitated the process of trade and commerce but also wars and conquests.

The archaeological evidence told us how great the Viking ships once were. One of the most well-preserved and majestic Viking ships should be the Oseberg ship. With the giant size and the subtle patterns on the ship, Oseberg ship is among the most beautiful Viking ships on earth.

Viking ship Oseberg and the subtle decorative patterns
Viking ship Oseberg and the subtle decorative patterns

And a ship only could not help the Vikings to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the time when technology was just a stone to find direction. Years of voyage earned the Vikings a great number of skills at sea. Some of the experienced Viking seafarers could detect the land through winds and waves. The Vikings also had a set of methods to keep themselves alive during voyage. For example, the Vikings kept ravens with them. When the land was nowhere to be found, they would release their raven to find the land. If the birds didn’t come back, it meant land was near.

Oseberg ship on display in museum. Untold Truth of Real Vikings
Oseberg ship on display in museum

Excellent fort-builders

By far, the archaeologists have detected seven Viking forts on this planet. Viking fort is usually a ring-shaped fortification which we know as the trelleborg. The similar structure was rampart surrounding the forts. Two major roads quartered the territory inside.

The historians agreed that the Vikings didn’t invent this form of defensive wall. They claimed that the Vikings had learnt this form of defense from the neighboring territories. But the Vikings mastered at building the forts more than the creators. The Viking trelleborg was more geometrically precise than the similar constructions by people of different parts. Simply, the Viking trelleborg was nearly perfect in the shape.

Viking Trelleborg example. Untold truth of real vikings
Viking Trelleborg example

The complexes of Viking trelleborgs were believed to be the work under the reign of Danish King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson.

Regular worshipers of Norse Pantheon

I still want to list this among the truth of real Vikings although some adaptations manage to convey this Viking culture.

The Vikings were indeed the regular worshipers of Norse gods. Like many other empires, they explained things with the mythological stories of their gods. For example, when Loki grieved, he caused earthquake to the earth.

The most important gods in the Viking Age included Odin the Allfather, Thor God of Thunder and Storm, and Freyr God of Fertility and Summer.

Tjangvide Viking stone depicting Valkyries welcoming Odin back to Valhalla. Odin was on his eight-legged Sleipnir horse
Tjangvide Viking stone depicting Valkyries welcoming Odin back to Valhalla. Odin was on his eight-legged Sleipnir horse. This is among the cult of Odin in the Viking Age

The main point was that the Vikings were so deeply ingrained with their religious belief. This was the foremost key to the Viking spirit and attitude in wars. The Vikings feared not death. Because whatever the results were, as long as they fought as bravely as they could, they could join Valhalla with Odin. What was more fearful than those who were fearless of death?

For being the regular worshipers of Norse Pantheon, the Vikings were the men of their words. To the Vikings, they would rather break the neck of someone than break their solemn vow.


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