“In 2018 we still have the impression that the Vikings were simply marauders and nothing else”
When you think of Viking’s, you would most likely think of filthy and unkempt men who wore horned helmets and spent all their time raiding and plundering. They were bloodthirsty savages and mass murderers who only thought of death and being in power. However, in real life, it is very different. In fact, none of the things I said before is true. This brings me to my topic, “In 2018 we still have the impression that the Vikings were simply marauders and nothing else.” We have been brought up with these Viking stereotypes from TV shows and movies. If you dig deeper, there is a completely new world to the Vikings.
Farming was actually a big part in Viking society. Most Vikings and their family’s lived on farms. On the exhibition, we went to in the Melbourne Museum, “They used many tools like hoes and sickles, which were usually made out of iron.” They grew many crops like barley, wheat and oats. They ground the grain so they could make ale, porridge and flour. Vikings also grew vegetables such as beans, cabbages and onions. Their farm included animals like chickens, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and geese. This just shows that Vikings had a balanced and healthy eating style. Vikings were usually well nourished and they did not have many issues getting food. They used the manure from the animals to keep the soil healthy. Vikings were not savages who just killed whatever they could find so they could eat. They made sure they had food for every season, especially winter when the snow would come in and kill most of the crops. They took care of the animals so they had food for the day and in the future. In the seasons where there was a scarce amount of food, they would plan very carefully which animals they would kill and not kill. This was to make sure they did not run out of food and starve. When they ate, they did not eat with their hands and made a mess. They had plates made out of clay and utensils like forks, spoons and knives made out of wood bone or iron.
Vikings did not just leave their home to raid and loot. They set out to find new trade routes so they can have a more secure foundation for the future. According to historyonthenet.com, “The men in Sweden went east into Russia while the Norwegians and the Danes went to the west to Ireland and Scotland, England and France. All along the way, they traded the goods of the north such as fur, amber, iron and walrus tusks for goods they needed from other places. They also traded in slaves.” They mostly raided and plundered when they wanted to take over the land so they can farm and start to colonize in other places. Vikings were quick to adapt to the weather conditions in each environment and country. Vikings had many different types of boats. They know that small boats would go faster in water so they only used them for raiding. They had many other boats used for things like trading. Trading boats were usually bigger than most because they had to carry a lot of cargo and people. They also made new inventions to help them in the harsh environments.
As I said, Vikings were not filthy and unkempt. They actually cared about their hygiene. Archaeologists have found grooming utensils showing that Vikings took care of themselves. They used a range of tools from combs and earwax scrapers to toothpicks and tweezers. Their combs were usually made out of either animal hair or bones. Evidence from Reinsman (25) and Haemal (61) shows that regular hygiene and grooming were a part of Norse life. Reinsman (25) says that, “Combed and washed every thoughtful man should and fed in the morning; for one cannot foresee where one will be by evening; it is bad to rush headlong before one’s fate.” There is other evidence that Vikings were also regular bathers. Hot spring baths still exist in modern Iceland. They also made a soap that helped them keep clean. The soap was made out of oils and seeds from their plants. A misconception about Vikings is that they had long grand beards. They were clean-shaven and their beards were not that big. This just shows that Viking cared about their hygiene and they were not filthy and unkempt.
In conclusion, Vikings did not just raid and plunder. So to answer the question, “In 2018 we still have the impression that the Vikings were simply marauders and nothing else.” We still do have the impression that they are Marauders but they are not. They were not marauders as if we all think they are. Those are just stereotypes. Viking are much more interesting than just raiding and looting. They lived on farms, made trade routes and were clean. Vikings were civilised people as we were today; they were just less advanced than we were.