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The Vikings

Articles on the culture, history, and peoples of the Viking Age

Articles on the culture, history, and peoples of the Viking Age


Viking Myths and Misconceptions

Admit it: when someone says the word “Vikings,” the picture that pops into your head is of a group of huge men, with blond or red hair and mustaches, covered with armor, waving double-edged axes and swords and screaming at the tops of their lungs as they rush forward to…

Viking society

Viking Society: Men, Women and Children

Within the male-dominated Viking society, women had a certain amount of personal power, depending on their social status. When Viking men were away from home—raiding, fishing, exploring or on trading missions—women in Viking society took over all the men’s work as well as doing their own. Women were valuable members…

Viking Occupations

Viking Occupations: What Did Vikings Do For Work?

Viking Occupations: What Did Vikings Do When They Weren’t Raiding? Our modern-day conception of the Vikings is of groups of fearsome warriors out for plunder. Taking ship, they’d sail for the nearest unprotected town or monastery and there overcome any resisters, killing and looting. They’d take everything of value—including people.…

viking law

Viking Law and Government: The Thing And Its Application

For more information on Viking law, the Viking Althing, and other counter-intuitive facts of ancient and medieval history, see Anthony Esolen's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization.   During the Viking Age, the Norse had an oral culture and only rune writing existed. However, the Vikings had both law and government…

medieval freemen

Viking Society: Nobles, Medieval Freemen, Slaves

In the early Viking Age, no national kings existed. There were three broad social classes: the nobles or jarls, the middle class or karls and the slaves or thralls. And the medieval freemen were among the few who, over time, could move among classes, at least among the lower ones.…

viking games

Viking Games and Entertainment: Life Wasn’t all Work

Viking games and entertainment occupied the time of these people between conquest raids and trade journeys, and they were quite complicated. While Vikings worked hard, they also played hard. From grave goods and the sagas, we learn that Vikings played board games avidly, carved wooden dolls and toys for their…

viking farms

Viking Farms: What Was Life On The Farm Like?

Life on a Viking farm during the age of the Vikinger during the eighth to eleventh centuries required lots of hard, constant work. Most Viking farms raised enough crops and animals to sustain everyone who lived on the farm, human and animal. Most Vikings were farmers, a common fact of the medieval…


The Viking Longhouse: A Crowded, Cozy Home

Vikings lived in a long, narrow building called a viking longhouse. Most had timber frames, with walls of wattle and daub and thatched roofs. Where wood was scarce, as in Iceland, longhouses were made of turf and sod. Two rows of high posts supported the roof and ran down the…


Viking Clothing: Warm and Durable

Very little fabric survives 1,000 years, but surprisingly, some has. What we know of Viking clothing comes from archeological finds, although we also glean some clothing descriptions from the sagas. Vikings all wore the same basic clothing styles: for men, a thick shirt known as a tunic was worn over…


A Viking Feast

Vikings held feasts for a variety of reasons including seasonal feasts such as Winter Nights and Jul, harvest festivals such as Mabon, religious rituals and for more personal reasons such as a wedding or a celebration of a successful raiding voyage. Religion among the Norsemen wasn’t organized or hierarchal as…

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