This Is How People Described the Viking Warriors

Posted by Ms Elly on

This Is How People Described the Viking Warriors

In some other previous blog posts, we have discovered how the Vikings spoke about their viewpoint on life, love, death, and other tribes. In this blog post, we are to learn how some people described the Vikings. 

"You (Vikings) emerge from the womb with only one thing on your mind…how to die."

This is not a historical quote. Instead, it was a saying from a modern series "Vikings". It was King Ecbert of Wessex one of the Saxon kingdoms at that time. 

The quote vividly described the mindset of every Vikings in their time. The Vikings firmly believed in their afterlife. There would be two places for their afterlife: Valhalla and Hel. While the former was ruled over by Odin and favored by everyone, the later was the land of Hel the Queen of Dead. 

The scholars believed that one of the reasons that made the Vikings powerful was their belief in Valhalla. The Norse warriors believed that once they fought bravely in battle and died in battle, they could go to Valhalla to feast with Odin the Allfather. If they could have a seat in Valhalla, they could meet Odin, feast with gods, and fight with their fallen brothers. That's a life that every Vikings wanted. 

Valhalla Viking

What made the Vikings powerful was their belief in their afterlife in Valhalla

The reason why people fear death is to part with their beloved and to go to somewhere they have no idea of. But the Vikings was not like that. They believed their fallen brothers and mighty gods were preparing them a feasting table, they were eager to come there. 

That's why we have a saying fear those who fear not death. 

"I have never seen more perfect physiques than theirs – they are like palm trees, are fair and reddish, and do not wear the tunic or the caftan."

The mentioned verse was by Ahmad ibn Fadlan who was an Arabian traveller living in the 10th century. He had a chance to meet and to communicate with the Vikings. His work helped us a lot to understand more and have a clear picture of the Vikings. 

Viking warrior Rollo

Vikings trained themselves every day through their work to get a better shape 

The reason why the Vikings had a perfect body was that most of them were farmers, hunters, and fishermen. They had to work every day to make sure that their crops and their food would supply them with enough food. By working, they trained their bodies. Some historical texts also said that from childhood, Viking boys had to train themselves how to use weapons which would help them to become a warrior to seek fortune in new land. 

"Here were dreadful forewarnings come over the land of Northumbria, and woefully terrified the people: these were amazing sheets of lightning and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. A great famine soon followed these signs, and shortly after in the same year, on the sixth day before the ides of January, the woeful inroads of heathen men destroyed god’s church in Lindisfarne island by fierce robbery and slaughter."

In 793, an event sent waves of fear and nightmare to not only Anglo-Saxon kingdoms but also Christians around Europe. The Vikings sacked Lindisfarne church which was regarded as the holy land for the Anglo-Saxon Christians. 

The verse above was found in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. The "fiery dragons" seen flying in the sky were the Viking ships that approached Lindisfarne island which was a part of Northumbria kingdom. 

Vikings attacked Lindisfarne in 793

Vikings attacked Lindisfarne in 793 sending waves of terror around Europe

Many believed that this event triggered off the Viking Age. However, the Viking Age did start before the attack on Lindisfarne. The attack on this holy land was a way to counter the deed of converting Vikings into Christians by the Christian kings, as many historians believe. 

The text helped us to have a picture of how a Viking attack really happened. It was a hit-and-run attack where the Vikings would approach the land by their ship. And after attacking and taking values from the land, they left. It was not until many decades later that the Vikings started their territorial conquests. 

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