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Vikings and Religion

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Many early Viking Christians seem to have just incorporated Christ into their cosmology rather than completely rejecting their old ways.  We find sayings in the sagas like, "On land I worship Christ, but at sea I worship Thor.

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FREE Chapter from our new book

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Ragnar Lothbrok (or Lodbrok) is one of the most interesting, celebrated, and controversial characters of the early Viking Age.  Many scholars over the years have considered Ragnar to be semi-fictional, perhaps the composite of many figures who together represented some Viking ideal.  This opinion is understandable, especially since one of the legends that occur in almost all the major sources is that of Ragnar slaying a giant serpent that guards a golden horde and a beautiful princess.  Spurious nature of some of these stories notwithstanding, Ragnar was – at least in some part – a real historical figure, whose life and death are implicated in some of the best-documented events of the 9th century.

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King Alfred the Great, Viking Fighter and Father of England

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It was late in the year 871 when the 23-year-old Alfred, newly-appointed king of the last free Saxon kingdom in Britain, sat down for peace talks with two sons of Ragnar Lothbrok and other leaders of the Great Heathen Army.  For young Alfred, it would be impossible not to feel intimidated by the situation.  Halfdan Ragnarson and his half-brother Ubba (or Hubba) were twice Alfred’s age and had ten times his experience.  Alfred had met these Viking champions three years before – but in 868 he had only been in the entourage of his older brother, King Aethelred, and they had been bargaining for the peace of neighboring Mercia and not Alfred’s own home of Wessex.  Now in 871, when...

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Thor, God of Thunder | History / Origin / Facts | Norse Mythology

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Odin was the chief of the gods, but Thor may have been the most popular.  A few experts have postulated that this was because Odin demanded occasional human sacrifices while Thor did not, but the real reason for Thor's popularity is fairly obvious. While Odin was the Allfather, it was no real secret who his favorite children were. The men to which he was patron were kings, jarls, poets, and outlaws – individuals (rather than equal members of a community) who could see themselves in Odin's often-egocentric activities.  Thor, by contrast, was the great protector of all that was good, as the Vikings defined it.  Where Odin was wise, Thor was strong.  Where Odin was cunning, Thor was straightforward and stalwart. ...

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How Vikings Connect the Movies Gladiator and Braveheart

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Even today, Scotland has some of the highest amount of Viking Age Norse DNA of anywhere outside of Scandinavia. 

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Life During the Viking Era

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    It has been nearly one thousand years since the last Vikings ventured abroad raiding and pillaging peasant towns and Christian monasteries. Yet the enduring imagery of monks being slaughtered and churches being looted is ever present in our minds. Every time someone utters the word ‘’Viking’’ we tend only to think of violent, barbaric warriors in bloodstained tunics who went off raiding, killing, and plundering. Although Vikings did indeed raid, kill, and plunder many people fail to realize that most Vikings were primarily farmers, fishermen, merchants, carpenters, and craftsmen. Just like every other society during the Middle Ages, Vikings needed to provide food for their families which usually meant working the land and maintaining the family farmstead.  ...

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What Did Vikings Drink?

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For the Norse, though, mead was associated with Odin.  One of the most well-known stories of Odin was how he stole the Mead of Poetry whereupon drinking it he gained the gift of understanding and creating the most-treasured Norse art form.  This is another reason why the interlocking horns of the Triskele are one of Odin’s symbols.  It was said that great poets were blessed by Odin and shared in his mead, while less-talented poets only got the spittle that Odin dropped behind.   

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The Viking Shield - A Historic Look

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Even the indomitable berserkers used shields (and are often mentioned biting shield edges in their frenzy), and wielders of the mighty, two-handed Dane Axe or the fell hewing spear still carried shields slung on their backs.  Displayed on the gunwales of their dragon ships, the shield became one of the most recognizable symbols of the Vikings.

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Scottish Vikings

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Over 700 Viking items to choose from!   Shop now!             Scotland played an important role in Viking raiding, trading, and colonization; and the Vikings played an important role in the history and national identity of Scotland. While several references in surviving sagas and other Norse lore strongly state that Scotland was best avoided – being a land of fierce savages and abominable weather – many Vikings obviously ignored the advice. In addition to the rich supply of archaeological evidence, Scotland boasts some of the highest Nordic DNA outside of Scandinavia, and shares many cultural similarities with Norway. Within a relatively short period of time in the early ninth century, Vikings had taken enough territory in Scotland...

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The Rus of Kiev and the Varangians

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All these aspects bear witness to how Swedes understood their participation in the building of the Russian state, and the link between the Russians and their Viking ancestors.

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