On this page we list many interesting facts about the ancient Norse people called the Vikings. There is a general misconception that these ancient people were nothing but blood thirsty savages. The list of facts below will show that there was much more to these ancient people than just violence and blood shed. You will find facts about who these ancient people were, where they lived, and a section on fun Viking facts.
Interesting Viking Facts
The Vikings were ancient Scandinavian people who lived from the late 8th to the early 11th century AD. They
originated from what is now modern day Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They were warriors, merchants, explorers, raiders, and inventors. They explored and settled in many parts of Europe and Asia. They reached as far as Greenland, Iceland, and even settled in North America for a short time.
The Old Norse word Viking is most likely derived from the old Scandinavian word vik which meant "a bay". The ancient Norse used the word Viking to refer to warriors or seaman who participates in an expedition overseas. In later writings it is used to refer to warriors or seaman who participated in raiding and piracy.
The Viking Age began on June 8th 793 AD. On this date several Norse ships swooped in on the island of Lindisfarne just east of England. They looted and then burned a church and convent and killed many of the monks that lived there.
The Vikings were expert ship builders. Their "longships" were the best war ships of their day. They were long and narrow, could be sailed in very shallow water, and could be pulled right on to a beach. The Vikings used these ships in lighting quick attacks on coastal towns throughout Europe.
A womens honor was taken very seriously by the Vikings. Viking men would defend a womens honor and in many cases this meant a fight to the death.
Facts about Viking Exploration
The Vikings explored most of the North Atlantic. They explored as far south as North Africa and reached Russia and Constantinople to the East.
There is archaeological evidence that Viking exploration reached as far as Baghdad, the center of the Islamic Empire.
In 1000 AD, centuries before Christopher Columbus sailed to America; the famous Viking Leif Ericsson explored and for a short time settled in North America. He sailed from Greenland acting on information received from another Norse explorer Bjarni Herjolfsson who had spotted the North American coastline.
Viking Fun Facts
Despite their reputation as animalistic savages the Vikings actually cared a lot about personal appearance. Some of the more common items found in excavations of Viking sites are combs and other items used for grooming.
Have you ever seen someone flip out and go berserk? Next time you do think of the Vikings. The word berserk is derived from the Norse tribe called the Berserkers. They were known for their ferocity in battle and for acting like mad dogs.
Have a nickname you are not fond of? Perhaps these Viking nicknames will make you feel better:
Ivar the Boneless Ragnarsson
Harold Bluetooth Gormsson
Throkjell the Braggart
Eirik Bloodaxe Haraldsson
Hreim the Shouter
Leggjaldi Long Legs
Digradli the Gross
Einar Buttered Bread
Many of the English days of the week are derived from the Viking's language.
Tuesday - Is derived from the Norse god Tyr (Tyr's day)
Wednesday - Is derived from the main Viking god Odin (also spelled Wodin)
Thursday - Is named after the most popular Norse god, Thor
Friday - This day of the week is named after the goddess Freyja.