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10 Fun Facts You Need To Know About Viking Warriors

Updated: Apr 8

Ten is a magical number. All the best things come in ten; ten little piggies (or toes, if you insist), the music chart top ten, and the scoring system for a dog show. And now, 10 Fun Facts You Need To Know About Viking Warriors.

So, no more waffle (which silly billy reads this gumph before a list anyway?… oh… you, sorry) let’s crack on with those numbers in sequential order!

Oh! One more thing, each entry has a few links to other articles on our blog. Click on them to learn even more stuff.

Ragnar Lothbrok from the TV show Vikings
Ragnar as seen in the TV series 'Vikings'
  • Ragnar Lothbrok was considered the greatest Viking warrior of them all. No-one is sure if he really existed or not, but if he did, he was famous for killing a giant snake whilst wearing an enormous baggy pair of shaggy trousers. This is where he got the name "Lothbrok" from, it translates as "hairy breeches".

  • One of the most terrifying Viking War Bands of them all was the Great Heathen Army. They turned up in England in 865 AD. This wasn't unusual - many Vikings had been raiding England before this time. But the Great Heathen Army was different - they weren't there to grab riches and return to Scandinavia; they intended to stay and settle in England. They managed it too! Conquering three out of four Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and getting all that lovely farm land to grow their crops on.

  • Swords were the most highly prized of any Viking weapon, just one sword would have the same value as 16 cows! So precious were these swords that their owners gave them awesome names. 'Flame of Battle', 'Viper', and 'Leg-Biter', are all real-life examples.

Warriors charge into battle. Images from Vikings TV series.
Swords were very expensive, which is why most Vikings wielded Spears.

  • Most Vikings would use a spear in battle, they were much easier to get hold of than a sword. Fun fact: whilst Archaeologists have found loads of ancient spear heads, no one has found any shafts as they have all rotted away. This means we have no idea how long Viking spears were! They could have been super long or teeny tiny.

A row of Viking helmets.
No horns!

Viking Berserkers from the film The Northman
Viking Berserkers as seen in the film 'The Northman'
  • Berserkers, or wolf skins as they were also called, would hang around at the front of a Viking army and then charge headlong into battle, armour less, without a care in the world. When they leapt into battle they did so howling like wolves, and nothing could hurt them; not iron, not fire, not even someone saying mean things to them.

  • Did Viking Berserkers really exist? Maybe! Way back in the first century AD, the Roman historian Tacitus described Berserker-like warriors amongst the German tribes in his New York Times Bestseller 'Germania’. 500 years later, the Roman historian Prokopios wrote of “the wild and lawless Heruli”, again very similar to Berserkers in the way they charged into battle in little more than a loincloth. There are also numerous mentions of Berserkers in Norse sagas, skaldic poems, and other Middle Age literature.

A Viking Armring from Imagining History's 'Viking Mythogology (Un)Traditional Storytelling' workshop
A Viking Arm Ring from our 'Viking Mythology (Un)Traditional Storytelling' workshop
  • Viking Warriors would be paid in metal arm rings. These were the next best thing to cash (when cash hadn't been invented). You could wear one around your mighty bicep, and, if you wanted to buy something, you could use your arm ring to pay for it. The arm ring, usually made from silver, could be broken up into little chunks called ‘hacksilver’. The more hacksilver you had, the more it weighed and so the wealthier you were.

  • Mjölnir is a mighty hammer used by Thor, the Norse (or Viking) god of thunder. The hammer is his primary weapon to protect humans and the other gods from terrifying creatures such as frost giants, sea serpents and trolls.

  • First uncovered in 1878, the Birka warrior was found in a grave alongside a multitude of deadly weapons. Archaeologists assumed that the warrior was male, but recent DNA tests have revealed that they were actually female. This means that Viking women could have been fought as warriors too!

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