The Vikings

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


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...
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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....
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Viking Law and Government: The Thing

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...
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...
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...
viking farms

Life on a Viking Farm

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,...
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The Viking Longhouse: A Crowded, Cozy Home

Vikings lived in a long, narrow building called a 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...
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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...
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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...
what did vikings eat

What Did Vikings Eat? The Diet of Conquerors

What did Vikings eat? The Vikings farmed crops, grew gardens and raised animals, as is typical of food produced from a feudal economy. They ate what they produced on their farms or what they could hunt, fish or gather. Viking farms were generally small, but large...
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