Were the Vikings Really That Tough?
The Viking warriors on modern art like books or TV shows are illustrated to be the toughest and the cruellest men. Yet whether they were really that tough is another story of history.
In fact, the Viking warriors were as tough as other medieval warriors. Probably they had to be tough in the time of conflict and war. More importantly, they got no more option, to kill or to be killed. Of course, they picked the former which meant the Vikings had to be tough, both mentally and physically.
First off, the Vikings didn't work as full-time raiders and warriors. Instead, the majority of them were peasants, hunters, fishermen, etc. Their work was based on the sustenance for their family. These were physical work which was a little bit tough and that was the way that kept they fit and stronger physically.
The Vikings were tough both physically and mentally
The Vikings had their own weapons since their childhood. The most common weapon was axe which was not only cheap to make but also powerful to use. Basically, it wasn't their law. It was their tradition to wield axe to protect themselves and their beloved. In the society where the law was at its forming step, finding a way to defend your family was important.
They learn to fight their combat on a regular basis. It meant the Vikings always found a way to surround themselves fighting to improve their skills. This was a step prepared for their upcoming raids. Some experienced warriors after their long journey would come back and passed down on the younger Vikings about their combat tactics.
Fighting was also a form of entertainment in the Viking Age. They learnt combat as play. It was called glima where two parties would join and compete.
The mental power was also something that the Viking should be proud of. They listened to their sagas and prayed for their gods before they joined the battle. They played board game Hnrfatafl which somewhat resembled playing chess. Logical and tactical thinking was induced when they played this board game.
And when the summer was coming, the sea was calm and all they could do was to wait for their crop to grow up. That was about time to go viking.
And they grabbed their axe and shield to join the battle. If they were the rich and noble Vikings, they could afford for themselves a sword and a mail shirt for protection.
Overall, even though the Vikings were not likely to be as tough as those depicted on TV shows or book, that they were tough on their time was real. The Vikings were physically tough enough to endure the harsh weather and non-stop wars in their time. Also, they were mentally tough enough to get over the thought of never coming back home again.