I admit I like Vikings. Their behavior was often unacceptable by today’s standards, but still, they have a certain romantic appeal. Plus, Vikings are the local high school’s mascot, and my maternal grandparents were Danish.
I’ve been reading the Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell and picked up some Viking trivia.
Horned helmets: I already knew the horns were a myth. No warrior involved in hand-to-hand combat would wear a hat with handles that could be grabbed by the enemy.
Longboats: The fanciful beasts carved on the prows could be removed when the ship was used for trading. Many of these trade missions were reconnaissance designed to identify the richest villages to plunder later.
Vikings: Back in the day, these folks were known as Danes or Norsemen. The word viking was a verb. To go viking was to go plundering, pillaging and burning.
The Writer’s Almanac for December 18, 2014
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