Debunking The Brutal Myths About Viking Culture

By Sophia Maddox | May 27, 2024

The Viking Horned Helmet, Myth or Reality?

Perceptions of the collective group we know as 'Vikings' has changed quite a bit over the course of history, evolving from romanticized figures of exploration and conquest in the 18th and 19th centuries to today's diverse depictions as either brutal raiders or intrepid voyagers. Yet, amidst these shifting portrayals, stereotypes and clichés have taken root, weaving themselves into the fabric of popular culture. In this blog, we embark on a journey to peel back the layers of myth and legend surrounding the Vikings, exploring the complexities of their culture, beliefs, and legacy. Join us as we delve into the enigmatic world of the Norsemen, challenging preconceptions and uncovering the truths behind the enduring tales of the Viking age.

test article image

We hate to break it to you but Vikings did not actually wear horned helmets into battle. This enduring myth likely stemmed from artistic interpretations and literary works rather than historical accuracy. In reality, Viking helmets were typically made of iron or leather, designed for practicality in combat rather than adorned with elaborate horns.

These helmets were crucial for protecting Viking warriors in battle, providing head protection without the impracticality of protruding horns, which would have posed a significant disadvantage in combat.

Challenging the Myth of Viking Lawlessness

test article image

Contrary to the portrayal of Vikings as lawless, wild blood-feuders, their society was governed by sophisticated legal systems. Throughout the medieval Nordic world, laws were intricate and multifaceted, with several law codes emphasizing the importance of law in building and maintaining society. This sentiment endures today as the motto of the Icelandic police force. Remarkably, Iceland's national parliament, the Althingi, is one of the world's oldest parliamentary institutions, established in AD 930 at Thingvellir (‘Assembly Plains’). At the annual Althingi gatherings, held at the Law Rock, the appointed Lawspeaker recited laws from memory, demonstrating the meticulous legal tradition of the Vikings. This rich legal framework underscores the complexity and sophistication of Viking society, challenging misconceptions about their alleged lawlessness.