12 Myths About Vikings That Television Made Us Believe

We tend to think that Vikings used to be huge, shaggy barbarians who spent their whole lives aboard a warship, making robbery raids and ruthlessly plundering peaceful settlements. However, according to researchers, this is not quite true. Besides, Vikings were so attractive that they broke the hearts of many women in overseas countries.

1. All people who lived in ancient Scandinavia were Vikings.

The word Viking was used not to name a person living in a certain region, but a profession. And it came from a noun that meant “the act of going raiding overseas”.

Simple farmers, fishermen and even warriors who served on the territory of their own clan were not Vikings. But they could become Vikings at any moment if they decided to join warriors sailing to distant shores for glory and rich profit.

During the Viking Age, there was no single nation but many small groups of people led by their own chieftains. Some of these small kingdoms could unite for a big military campaign, but then these alliances would usually fall apart.

2. Women often accompanied men in military campaigns.

Scientists can’t still agree on whether Scandinavian women participated in military campaigns as frequently as men or not. According to some researchers, even if there were female warriors, they couldn’t be called Vikings because this word could only refer to men.

In any case, female warriors were not common because women had a lot of other important roles. They were responsible for the wealth in their household, took care of the village in the absence of men, and protected it if necessary. And this means that often women simply couldn’t leave their homes.

3. Scandinavian warriors were tall savages.

It is true that Vikings were quite muscular. After all, they had to not only participate in military campaigns, but also to work hard on the farm. And the cultivation of the land also required a lot of physical work.

However, according to scientists, Scandinavian men and women were not very tall at the time. Men were around 5.6 feet tall, and the average height of women was 5.1 feet.

Moreover, both women and men were quite similar in appearance. The men’s facial features were a little more feminine and the women’s facial features were a little more masculine. This is why it is quite difficult for archaeologists to determine the gender of skeletons found in burial places without additional tests.


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