Archaeology & History
What did the Vikings really look like ?
By T.K. Randall
August 12, 2012 · 18 comments
Image Credit: Jason Vanderhill
How true to the stereotypical Viking were the actual Nordic warriors of Scandinavian ancestry ?
Vikings in films and comics are often depicted as rough, unkempt warriors specializing in unparalleled physical strength and brutality. In truth however the accuracy of the stereotypical Viking leaves a lot to be desired. Far from being uncivilized and dirty the Vikings are thought to have been meticulous about cleanliness, sporting well groomed hair and beards.
Another common misconception is that the Vikings wore horned helmets, but in reality such helmets would have been unpractical during a fight. It wasn't until Vikings wearing horned helmets were featured in a 19th century Wagner opera that this stereotypical headgear became commonplace in depictions of our Scandinavian ancestors.
Researchers can make estimates about a Viking’s social standing based on the weapons he brought to his grave. Small axes and knives were tools for everyone, but only the elite could afford lances and swords.
Source: Science Nordic
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