The Vikings were known for their raids along the European coast where they robbed religious buildings of their treasure, butchered clergy in honor of their Gods and had no objection to kidnapping people to turn into slaves. There is much more to the Vikings than bloodthirsty raids with men going berserk, however. Vikings were also mothers and fathers, kings and fishermen, farmers and more. They lived a life that surprises most, but not because of it’s bloodthirsty nature; instead, it was surprisingly normal for the era.
What Was the Viking Lifestyle?
The Vikings participated in many of the activities that people would think of when they consider a person living off the land. They grew their own food on farms if the soil allowed, raised life stock and planted vegetables. The men and women had their own parts in the household, and they both did their jobs accordingly. This was the Viking lifestyle of many on Viking settlements.
Men that participated in Viking raids held a slightly different life. Often, they would be at sea for months as they moved up and down the coast, looting villages and returning home with plenty of treasure. These Viking men often had the same lifestyle as did other members of the village when they returned home, provided that they had one.
Did Vikings Have Tattoos?
To this day, no one has discovered a Viking body that is preserved well enough to determine whether Vikings did, in fact, have tattoos or not. Some people assume that the Vikings had tattoos because there are records of them associating with other groups that had tattoos, such as the Celtics.
There is one piece of writing that states that the Vikings did have tattoos. A man that was in their presence wrote of tattoos that covered their entire body. A more detailed account of this writing can be found here. Based on this writing and their association with other civilizations that were known for their tattoos, it is safe to assume that Vikings did, in fact, have tattoos.
What Was the Life Expectancy of a Viking?
The life expectancy of the Viking men and women was only approximately 45 years. Because of this, men and women were considered adults at a much younger age. Often, women would be married by the age of 16 and well on their way to having children and a family. Men would be expected to be contributing to society by this age as well. Since their life expectancy was so short, their adult life began much sooner. Children were expected to have this same Viking lifestyle.
What Religion Did the Vikings Practice?
The Vikings practiced a religion that would be considered pagan today. They worshipped the Nordic gods and goddesses, such as Odin and Thor. The Viking lifestyle consisted of rituals and festivals in the honor of their gods and goddesses according to seasons. Other rituals, including sacrifices, were performed to please the Gods.
While this was their native religion, many of the Vikings found themselves converting to Christianity. As they began to slowly become a part of other settlements, they adopted the ways of these civilizations, including the religion of the settlement. This was often Christianity. As more people found a home in other settlements, the Viking lifestyle and religion slowly faded to become another piece of history.
“image credit ormsheim.org.uk”
Vikings As Farmers
The Vikings were known for raids, but that was not all there was to the Viking lifestyle. Often, they were farmers if the soil allowed for it. In Viking settlements, there were usually several small farms, each with their own crops and livestock.
Livestock for the Vikings often consisted of pigs, cattle, sheep, and chickens. Animals were kept outside during the warmer months and housed indoors during colder months to ensure their survival.
Crops consisted of cabbage, turnips, barley and other popular crops for the area. Most farmers also grew their own hay for their animals. They had to grow enough hay to make sure that their animals could eat during the winter or they would die. Farmers often preserved enough of their crops to make sure that they could survive during long, cold winters.
During raids, Vikings would often steal whatever they could that was considered a treasure. Sometimes, while on new land, they would encounter new civilizations that they chose to befriend instead of slaying. These new civilizations, such as the Celtics, would become their trading partners.
The Vikings traded many things, from slaves that were born into slavery or kidnapped to crops or gold. Often, they traded for things that they needed, much as other civilizations did in that era.
The Vikings became known for being bloodthirsty and heartless. There were many aspects of their life that were normal, but there were several savage components to the Viking lifestyle as well.
Men Left to Die
If a wound was too deep for women to be confident that it would heal, the men were often left to die. Sometimes, they would return home to die in the village. Other times, they were left to die. This is because it was believed that the resources should be used on men that would live instead of wasted on a dying man.
Strong Infants Were Allowed to Live
If an infant was born with a deformity or did not thrive, the Vikings would leave it outside to die. Their life expectancy was shorter, so even children were expected to pull their weight. Sick or deformed children would more than likely not be able to do that and were considered useless.
Remains of human bones and writings from the Vikings have confirmed that they did believe in human sacrifices. Sometimes these sacrifices might have been children. It is said that they were for Odin, their God.
Challenges Were Solved with Fighting
If one Viking was offended by another, they could challenge them to a fight. These fights could last to death. Often, this was the way that hurt feelings were handled in the Viking community. If a person died in the fight, it was considered okay and life returned to normal.
The Vikings were interesting people. They were considered savages yet had their own rules and customs. They were bloodthirsty yet followed traditions religiously. Today, millions of people remain fascinated by their culture. Read more abour vikings click here.