Common Misconceptions In History: Vikings' Horned Helmets

Tuesday, August 16, 2011




Bad news guys, do you remember all those movies about vikings? Remember how they acted so barbarous, sacked every village, raped the women, ate a whole bunch of food and wore those awesome horned helmets? Well, I'm gonna have to disappoint you by telling you that vikings never wore horned helmets (sorry Minnesota Vikings fans).


Such stereotype was propagated by a Swedish society of poets and authors that wanted to mix the Viking culture with the Nordic mythology and some of the aspects of the Nordic Bronze Age, even though they are 2,000 years apart. This was done in order to associate the vikings with the classical world which was long idealized by Europe. Some helmets were found in an excavation site in Denmark but they were used for rituals  back in the 7th century, during the Germanic Iron Age, but it seems it was confused with the Viking Age. The purpose of the helmets was not proven on the time of their discovery so it became a popular belief that vikings wore these helmets due to their mean looks.

Their barbarity, savageness, their dirty and hairy looks, are other misconceptions. The responsible for this were the non-Scandinavian Christians (who were extremely clean) mostly due to misunderstanding regarding paganism. Viking tendencies were often misreported and they regarded vikings as savages and claimed they were unclean.

11 comments:

Joe said...

stupid Swedish poets...

Ghevrix said...

No kidding. Well, still, Vikings were hard core asskickers no matter what their helmets looked like.

pv said...

well u learn something new everyday

ReMs said...

noo, i always liked vikings wearing those helmets, so horned helmets are only from nordic mythology?

Shaw said...

So, what's the most accurate representation of vikings in media today then?

Vague Raconteur said...

Thank you for covering this one, very frustrating.

Also, the ginger hair misconception. Most Vikings would have blonde hair, being Scandinavian.

Neon said...

You just destroyed my view of the world a bit...

Anonymous said...

Dunno if i want to live in a world where vikings didn't use horned hats

Formhault said...

Even in History classes we were told that Vikings were no people to mess with at that time. If they were still alive... the world would have a different order, I guess.

Topo said...

Actually vikings were just a kind of pirates, the misconceptions is trying to relate the vikings with the whole nordic culture.

AyJim said...

well what am I going to do about my viking helmet business now??

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