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. But in real life, it is very different. In fact, all of the things I said before are not 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 whole 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 didn’t have many issues getting food. They used the manure from the animals to keep the soil healthy. Vikings weren’t 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 also in the future.
Vikings didn’t 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.
As I said, Vikings weren’t 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 ear wax scrapers to toothpicks and tweezers. Evidence from Reginsmál (25) and Hávamál (61) shows that regular hygiene and grooming were a part of Norse life. Reginsmál (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. This just shows that Viking cared about their hygiene and they weren’t filthy and unkempt.
In conclusion, Vikings didn’t 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 aren’t. They weren’t marauders like we all think they are. Those are just stereotypes. Viking are way more interesting than just raiding. They lived on farms, made trade routes and were really clean. And these are only a couple of the reasons why they are not Marauders.