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Filthy Barbarians or Dapper Danes?

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It is a hell of a thing for Medieval English chroniclers to admit that one of the reasons they hated Vikings was because their own wives and daughters couldn't resist their cleanliness.

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Amazing Mjölnir Artifacts

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Mjölnir (most common English pronunciation being: "me-owl-neer") was the mighty hammer of Thor, most beloved champion of the Norse gods. Thor used Mjölnir as his primary weapon in protecting humanity and gods alike from sea serpents, giants, ogres, and the forces of chaos. Thor’s role as protector earned him the kennings (poetic refrains) of “Defender of Asgard and Midgard” and “Friend of Mankind.” Thor and Mjölnir were invoked at pivotal moments – not just battles, but common experiences like weddings, births, funerals, or any time people needed blessings and good fortune. Steadfast, compassionate, and almost invincible, Thor was a deity that Vikings turned to in times of trouble. Many of the legends of Thor focus on Mjölnir itself, such as...

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Viking Goddesses

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Frigg was the Queen of the Viking pantheon, the wife of Odin, and the mother of the beloved god, Baldr. However, Freyja – goddess of magic, war, erotic love, and treasure – was probably the more venerated and popular female deity in the Viking Age. Never far from the Viking’s mind was Rán, the goddess of the sea. Many stories of these goddesses come down to us through the Eddic poems, the sagas, and the works of medieval lore masters like Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241).Other goddesses have left us fewer stories but were still very important. There was Idunn, the blessed goddess of youth and spring. Lovers of Norse lore also know Sif, the beautiful wife of Thor, and how Loki...

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Viking Chess

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Note: When you are done reading this article, check out our Viking chess (Hnefatafl) sets and Isle of Lewis chess sets for sale here.   History of Hnefatafl (Tafl) ...and the Isle of Lewis Chess Set. Vikings loved to play games of strategy like dice games and various board games. Game boards and playing pieces carved from walrus tusks, bone, wood, stone, or imported glass have been found in many graves of high-status men and women throughout the Viking world. The famous “shield maiden’s grave” of the Birka Warrior was not only outfitted with an array of deadly weapons and war horses but also a gaming set of exceptional quality. At the Salme ship burial off Estonia's coast, the Viking leader interred with...

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Romantic Love in the Viking Age

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In fact, Viking lore is full of love stories. As hard as their world was and as ruthless as they could sometimes be, they understood and valued this greatest human emotion.

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Why They’re Called Vikings

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Víkingr and other forms of the word, such as víkingum or víkingar (plurals), appear as nouns describing Scandinavian seaborne raiders in the sagas, Eddic poetry, and runestones. Just a few examples of such Viking Age runestone inscriptions include ...

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Viking Gods remembered in the Days of the Week

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Many people know that our names for the days of the week carry the memories of ancient gods. And while the Romans had their own official names for each day of the week, the gods of Norse mythology have a very strong presence in the day names we use today. For example, Thursday comes from Thursdaeg or Thorsdagr (Old Norse: Þórsdagr), which both mean "Thor's day".

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Jörmungandr: The World-Coiling Midgard Serpent of Norse Mythology

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Jörmungandr is not the only world-coiling serpent across the thousands of years and hundreds of cultures that color the human imagination.  In fact, the image of a tail-swallowing dragon can be found worldwide and throughout history.  This symbol of the circular snake is called the ouroboros. The earliest known ouroboros depiction is from the grave of Pharaoh Tutankhamen (“King Tut”) from the 13th century B.C. 

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From Norsemen to Normans

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The land was closest to England and right along the main continental (Viking) raiding route south from Scandinavia.  As a direct result, this land became known as Normandy. Medieval Latin documents referred to them as Nortmanni, which means "men of the North".

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Viking Influences on Halloween

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Many people know that Halloween is rooted in the ancient Celtic holy day, Samhain. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Irish immigrants brought these traditions to America, where they developed into one of our most popular holidays. However, some of the best-known themes and elements in modern Halloween come from Viking lore, and not Celtic alone. This article will briefly look at some of these motifs and stories, exploring the Viking and/or Norse mythology influences on Halloween.

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