Viking Culture: Everything You Need to Know

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In the past decade or so, we’ve seen a huge resurgence of interest in Viking culture in film, fan culture, and identity-making.

We still find traces of Viking history in countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as the nations they raided, like Ireland and Greenland. The true Viking Age, however, lasted a short 300 years.

Vikings are known predominantly for their pillaging and conquering. However, much of today’s interest in Viking culture extends to their clothing, ships, artwork, and more.

Read on to learn more about Viking culture in this quick guide.

Why and How Did the Viking Age Occur?

Between 793 and 1066, Vikings were raiding, looting, and colonizing European and North American land. They were adept at navigating both the open sea and narrow rivers due to their advanced ship technology. These ships could hold dozens of fearsome men, who would swarm the land they docked on before anyone could take notice.

There are several theories as to why Vikings went out on these colonizing raids. Theories include a shortage of suitable land, frustration over the neglect of Pagans in increasingly global trade, power conflicts at home, and more. It is also worth noting that for the Vikings, the allure of adventure was strong, which is one of the reasons why many feel kindred with them today.

What Was the Viking Aesthetic?

Viking tools and art were often adorned with meaningful symbols including the Valknut, the Helm of Awe, and Thor’s famous hammer. This intricate artwork reflects the religious and cultural beliefs of Vikings. Though many do not understand the meaning behind Viking runestones and other cultural artifacts, it’s hard to deny their beauty and mysterious allure.

In terms of dress, Vikings wore handmade garments constructed from local, organic materials like wool. Viking dress influenced many of the nations they raided, as these garments were part of the Viking trade. You can get a Viking dress here.

What Were the Vikings’ Formative Beliefs?

If there’s one thing most people know about Vikings, it’s that they believed in pagan gods. In fact, Viking mythology tends to be what occupies the silver screen. 

Vikings often pretended to take to Christianity in order to trade with Christian cultures. Christian priests and monks did try to appeal to Vikings through missionary work and did convert some of the Viking population. By the tail end of the Viking age, this work was successful, and most Vikings left their pagan roots behind. 

Viking Culture Is Back in a Big Way

It’s hard not to notice that Viking culture is on the rise. The adventurous spirit, complex artwork, and pagan beliefs make it easy to understand the appeal. Now, you can enjoy Viking culture with a little more of the history in mind.

Looking for more history behind the latest trends? Take a look around as we cover everything from popular culture to education and share the facts behind the trends.