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200 Facts about The Vikings https://vikingsfacts.com Key Stage 2 Vikings Facts Tue, 10 May 2022 13:19:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0 https://vikingsfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cropped-Untitled-design-1-32x32.png 200 Facts about The Vikings https://vikingsfacts.com 32 32 Where Did The Vikings Come From? Facts About The Origins Of The Vikings https://vikingsfacts.com/where-did-the-vikings-come-from-facts-about-the-origins-of-the-vikings/ Tue, 10 May 2022 13:19:07 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=282 The Vikings were a group of people who came from what we now call Scandinavia. In fact, we now split this area into three countries...

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The Vikings were a group of people who came from what we now call Scandinavia. In fact, we now split this area into three countries – Denmark, Sweden and Norway. When we refer to Vikings in England, we very often refer to the Vikings from Denmark, but raiders often came from what we now know as Sweden and Norway too.

In this article, we’ll look at some amazing facts about the vikings from each of the regions where raiders came from – and we’ll also explore the question of whether the Russians were Vikings too!

The Danish Vikings

The Danish Vikings were the most feared of all the Viking raiders. One of the reasons for this was their skill in shipbuilding. They built incredibly light and fast ships, which meant they could sail across the North Sea much more quickly than any other group of people.

The Danish Vikings were also very good at fighting on land. This is because they used a type of weapon called an ‘ax’. Axes were easy to use and very effective against both people and animals.

The Danish Vikings mostly came from cities such as Roskilde, Odense and Aarhus.

The Swedish Vikings

The Swedish Vikings were not as feared as the Danish Vikings, but they were still a force to be reckoned with. The Swedish Vikings came from an area called ‘Svealand’, which is in the middle of modern-day Sweden.

The Swedish Vikings were good farmers, and they had a lot of animals. They also had access to iron, which was used to make weapons and tools.

The Swedish Vikings attacked England in 851 AD, and they also raided the city of Paris.

The Norwegian Vikings

The Norwegian Vikings came from an area called ‘Viken’, which is in the south-west of modern-day Norway. The Norwegian Vikings were good sailors, and they used this to their advantage when raiding other countries.

One of the most famous Norwegian Vikings was ‘Egil Skallagrimsson’. Egil was a great warrior, and he was also a very skilled poet. He wrote a book called ‘Egil’s Saga’, which tells the story of his life.

The Norwegian Vikings were also good at hunting, and they had lots of dogs to help them. They used these skills to survive in the cold climate of Norway.

The Norwegian Vikings attacked England in 793 AD, and they also raided the city of Paris.

Were the Russians Vikings?

The Vikings came from Scandinavia, which is in the north of Europe. Russia is in the east of Europe, so it’s sometimes said that the Russians were Vikings.

However, this isn’t quite true. The people who lived in what is now Russia were known as the ‘Rus’. The Rus were a group of people who came from Scandinavia, but they settled in what is now Russia before the Vikings did.

So, while the Rus may have been related to the Vikings, they weren’t actually Vikings themselves.

The French Vikings

The French Vikings were a group of people who came from Scandinavia and settled in what is now France. The French Vikings were different from the other Viking groups because they didn’t just settle in one place.

Instead, they moved around a lot, and they established settlements in many different parts of France.

The French Vikings were also very good at fighting on horseback. This made them very dangerous opponents, and they were often able to defeat larger groups of enemy soldiers.

Why did the Vikings Leave Scandinavia?

There are many reasons why the Vikings may have left Scandinavia. One reason is that there was not enough food to go around. This may have been because of a change in the climate, or it may have been because of over-farming.

Another reason is that there was a lot of fighting going on in Scandinavia at this time. This may have been because different groups of people were competing for resources, or it may have been because of raids from other countries.

Whatever the reasons, we know that the Vikings left Scandinavia in large numbers. Some of them went to other parts of Europe, while others sailed all the way to North America.

How far did the Vikings Go?

The Vikings travelled much further than just Europe and North America. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the Vikings may have reached as far as Asia.

One piece of evidence for this is the ‘ Islamic coins’ which were found in a Viking settlement in Russia. These coins would have come from Muslim countries such as Persia or Arabia.

Another piece of evidence is the ‘Chinese pottery’ which was found in a Viking grave in Sweden. This suggests that the Vikings may have travelled to China, or that they traded with people who did.

Did the Vikings Discover America?

There is much debate about whether or not the Vikings discovered America. There is certainly some evidence to suggest that they may have done so.

One piece of evidence is the ‘Vinland Map’, which was created in the 14th century. This map shows part of North America, and it has the words ‘Vinland’ and ‘Leifsbudir’ written on it.

Another piece of evidence is the ‘ Kensington Runestone’. This is a stone which was found in Minnesota in the United States. The stone has writing on it which suggests that it was left by a group of Vikings.

However, there is also some evidence to suggest that the Vikings didn’t discover America. One reason for this is that there are no records of any Viking settlements in North America.

This means that either the Vikings didn’t go to North America, or they didn’t stay there for long.

Whatever the truth, we know that the Vikings were amazing explorers, and they travelled much further than anyone else had at this time.

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Did the Vikings Attack London? Fun Facts About The Viking Attacks On The Capital https://vikingsfacts.com/did-the-vikings-attack-london-fun-facts-about-the-viking-attacks-on-the-capital/ Tue, 10 May 2022 12:56:54 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=278 So the question is – did the vikings attack London? Well, yes. Yes, they did. A few times. Here’s some facts about the Vikings’ attacks...

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So the question is – did the vikings attack London? Well, yes. Yes, they did. A few times.

Here’s some facts about the Vikings’ attacks on the capital of England…

Fact 1 – London was only just recovering from ruin

When the Vikings started their attacks on London, the city had only just recovered from centuries of neglect! It was, of course, a Roman town, and had fallen into disrepair and was almost deserted until the 7th century.

However, by the 9th century, London was thriving again, which meant that the Danish Vikings were very interested in invading and occupying London.

London was made capital of England by Aetheldred the Unready. The Anglo-Saxons called it Lundenwic.

Fact 2 – The Vikings Attacked in 842 and 851

The attack on London of 842 was called “the great slaughter”, and many people were murdered by the rampaging Danish Vikings.

In 851, they returned with over 350 ships to plunder the city of its wealth.

Fact 3 – The Vikings Occupied London in 867

London became strategically very important for the Vikings, and so under the rule of Halfdere, the Vikings occupied London. It wasn’t until 886 that Alfred the Great took control of the London once more and renewed its fortifications which had been destroyed by the Vikings.

Fact 4 – Sweyn Forkbeard attacked twice!

Not content with attacking just the once, Sweyn Forkbeard attacked London in 996, and then waited a full 17 years before attacking again in 1013. He failed both times, repelled by the English army.

However, Sweyn Forkbeard’s Great Heathen Army took control of the rest of England, and Sweyn became the first Viking King of England. A chronicler said “all the nation regarded him as full king”.

Aethelred the Unready went into exile – he ran off to Normandy. His subjects had to pay a tribute (a large amount of money) to help their conqueror Sweyn Forkbeard.

Fact 5 – The Nursery Rhyme London Bridge Is Falling Down May originate from a Viking Attack on London

Aethelred the Unready returned from Normandy and sailed up the Thames with his soldiers and his ally, the Norwegian King, Olaf. The army started taking the roofs from houses and they held these roofs over their heads while they approached London Bridge, to defend themselves against a shower of spears from the Danish Vikings.

When they got to the bridge, they attached ropes to the piers and they started pulling London Bridge down.

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Norse Mythology – Our Favourite Norse Myths, Stories & Legends https://vikingsfacts.com/norse-mythology-our-favourite-norse-myths-stories-legends/ Wed, 01 Dec 2021 16:12:57 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=274 Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya are some of the most famous gods and goddesses in Norse mythology. These deities and other characters feature in a...

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Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya are some of the most famous gods and goddesses in Norse mythology. These deities and other characters feature in a number of popular myths and legends.

Odin wants to know the future.

In one story, Odin is desperate to know the future. He sacrifices one of his eyes in order to gain knowledge from Mimir, the god of wisdom. Mimir asks for a clear, cold mountain spring in return. Odin drinks from this spring and can now see into the future.

Odin and the Nine Blacksmiths

In another story, Odin is hunting with his faithful wolves and stumbles across nine blacksmiths who are hiding from him by turning themselves into a mare, a stallion and nine iron rods. Intrigued, he picks up the rods and takes them back to Asgard (home of the gods) where he gives them to Hoenir who can bring them to life as human babies. They become the founders of families that will help build Asgard.

Njord and Skadi don’t get on very well.

A beautiful giant called Skadi comes across the hall belonging to Njord one dayand, intrigued, she enters. However, she doesn’t like what she sees – the sea god is lounging about with his fishing net while the goddess Freyja is busy at the loom. Skadi decides to marry Njord but only if he moves to her icy home in the mountains. He agrees but quickly becomes homesick so Skadi allows him to move back to the sea. They both decide that it’s not a good idea for them to live together and they go their separate ways.

Thor vs. Hrungnir

In one of the most famous stories from Norse mythology, Thor faces off against Hrungnir, a giant made of clay who has been sent by Loki to defeat Thor. The fight isfierce but, in the end, Thor manages to kill Hrungnir.

Baldur’s Death

One of the saddest stories from Norse mythology is that of Baldur, the god of light and beauty. Loki, the god of mischief and chaos, hatches a plan to kill him and it succeeds – even though Baldur is warned of the danger by his mother. When Baldur dies, all of nature mourns his loss.

Freya’s Tears

When Freya learns of her husband’s death, she weeps so hard that her tears turn into gold. Freyja is so distraught that she never fully recovers from her loss.

The Valkyries

The Valkyries are female warrior goddesses who choose which warriors will die in battle and take them to Valhalla (heaven) to prepare for Ragnarok (the end of the world). They are often depicted as riding through the sky on horses, armed with spears and shields.

Ragnarok

The end of the world is a major event in Norse mythology and it’s prophecised that it will be brought about by Loki, the god of mischief. On the day of Ragnarok, the sky will be black with storm clouds and the earth will shake. The gods and goddesses will fight against Loki and his army of giants but they will ultimately be defeated. The world will then come to an end, accompanied by a great flood.

The nine worlds

In Norse mythology, there are nine worlds – Asgard, where the gods live; Alfheim, home of Freya; Jotunheim, land of the giants; Niflheim, land of ice and frost; Muspellsheimr, fire realm of Surtur; Svartalfheimr, home of the dark elves; Vanaheimr, the world of the Vanir deities who preside over nature features such as fertility and rainfall; Midgard or Earth which is home to humans and Naglfar where evil souls gather.

Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil is the cosmic tree that unites all these worlds. The three roots of Yggdrasil reach down to each world while its branches, laden with leaves protect the universe. The tree is evergreen and will never wither or die because it’s constantly tended to by the Norns, goddesses who control fate.

The dvergar are dwarves skilled in metalwork who live deep inside mountains. The elves are the bright, shining beings who live in Alfheim.

Thor Throwing His Hammer

In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder whose weapon of choice is a hammer called Mjolnir. He also uses a belt that doubles his strength and iron gloves so he can hurl his mighty hammer with ease. Loki, the trickster god, once borrows Thor’s belt without asking but finds out that you have to be worthy to use it – if you’re not, you won’t even budge it no matter how hard you try! It was said that

Thor is one of the most well-known gods from Norse mythology because he features in many stories and has a very cool hammer called Mjolnir that he uses to fight his opponents. His main enemy is Loki, the god of mischief and chaos. Without Thor’s help, Asgard (home of the gods) would be overrun by giants. The Aesir gods Odin, Thor, Freya and Baldur are immortal although humans remember them as legends passed down through the generations. Giants come from Jotunheim; dwarves live deep inside mountains; elves inhabit Alfheim; trolls and dark elves live underground; dwarfs make tools out of metal and keep them hiddenfrom trolls.

His hammer Mjolnir will return to him after being thrown and, as long as he holds on to it, he is invulnerable. Thor can spin his hammer so fast that it looks like a wheel of lightning. He does this to kill giants and also when he’s fighting Loki. The thunder god has a chariot pulled by goats which helps him travel around the world at great speed.

Thor was said to be tall with red hair and a really impressive beard! His wife was Sif who had beautiful golden locks but Loki cut her hair off once as a trick – Thor got mad about this because Sif’s hair was her most beautiful feature.

Loki’s Schemes

One day, Loki irritates Thor and, wanting to get back at him, decides to cut off all of Sif’s hair. Thor discovers the little rose and gives chase; he catches Loki but can’t take him home because they’re still far from Asgard. The trickster god tells Thor that he should stop chasing

Loki is always causing problems for Thor and other deities and people in Norse mythology. He tricks Odin into giving up his magic eye which allows the giants to defeat the gods at Ragnarök (the end of the world). He also causes Baldur’s death by getting Hod, a blind god, to shoot him with an arrow. Loki was forced by the gods to stay on top of a rock as punishment for killing Baldur – every nighthis wife, Sigyn, caught the poison from a snake in a bowl but by morning it had filled up again and she had to let the poison fall on Loki who shook violently until he shapeshifted into a new form.

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Facts about Sigrid The Haughty, A Famous Viking Queen & Princess https://vikingsfacts.com/facts-about-sigrid-the-haughty-a-famous-viking-queen-princess/ Thu, 30 Sep 2021 12:11:43 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=271 Sigrid the Haughty was one of three daughters who became queens of Viking kingdoms through arranged marriages. She became queen consort of Sweden during the...

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Sigrid the Haughty was one of three daughters who became queens of Viking kingdoms through arranged marriages. She became queen consort of Sweden during the 10th century after she married King Erik I Bluetooth who ruled from 958 to 994 AD.

Sigrid’s marriage to Eric made her a queen of two kingdoms – Denmark and Sweden!

Sigrid the Haughty was a powerful queen who ruled with an iron fist. She is described in Norse sagas as beautiful and having great charm, yet she was cruel and you couldn’t really trust her!

Fact 1 – She was Danish, Originally

According to Norse sagas, Sigrid the Haughty was born circa 920 AD in Denmark. As a child she spent time with her granduncle Harald Fairhair at his court in Norway. She probably became an influential figure there. Some scholars even believe that she married King Harald Fairhair when she was 14 years old, but this claim is disputed by others who argue that her marriage took place before or after Fairhair’s reign.

Fact 2 – She was called Haughty because she burned someone to death!

Yikes! So when Sigrid grew tired of all of these Kings proposing to her, she had one of them burned to death.

Harald Greske was a minor prince who didn’t have the status that Sigrid wanted. So when he came to visit, she locked him in a building along with another Russian prince who was too poor for Sigrid’s lifestyle. She set the building alight and stabbed anyone who tried to escape.

She hoped this would discourage other Kings from proposing. It did!

Face 3 – Her Husband Already Had A Wife

When Sigrid married King Erik II Bluetooth (958-984) of Denmark, he already had a wife named Tove who was daughter of Mieszko I – ruler of Poland and grandson of Boleslaaw I Chrobry – the first crowned Polish king. Instead of showing her unhappiness about this, Sigrid prayed for victory over the Saxons in a great battle. She wanted to be present when the enemies were defeated.

Fact 4 – She Made Her Stepsons Try To Kill Her Husband

Sigrid told her stepsons Sven and Erik to rebel against their father King Eric I Bluetooth, but he escaped and ran for his life. After escaping from his treacherous wife, Eric fled over the Baltic Sea to Slavic lands where he became ruler of several tribes that lived between the Oder and Elbe-Havel Rivers.

Fact 5 – She went into exile in Kiev

Sigrid went into exile at the court of Vladimir I – Grand Prince of Kiev (958-1015) who was also known as Volodymyr. She was a constant presence at his court until her death. He married her maybe as early as 977 AD , but the date of their marriage is disputed by different historians who argue that it took place in 980, 990 or even 1002 AD. When Vladimir I died he was succeeded by Prince Sviatopolk I (c980-1019), his eldest son by Sigrid.

Fact 6 – She came to Sweden when she was older

According to Norse sagas, in her later years Sigrid moved from Kiev to Sweden where she died probably around 1022 AD . She was buried in a mound raised over her grave on the Eastern side of Lake Mälaren at Uppsala. Her husband King Erik II Bluetooth had already been laid to rest there when he died in 994 AD .

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Fun Facts About Leif Ericson, The Most Famous Viking Ever https://vikingsfacts.com/fun-facts-about-leif-ericson-the-most-famous-viking-ever/ Thu, 30 Sep 2021 12:00:05 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=268 Eric the Red, Leif Ericson. These are the names of two famed Vikings known for their intrepid exploration of new lands during the Viking Age....

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Eric the Red, Leif Ericson. These are the names of two famed Vikings known for their intrepid exploration of new lands during the Viking Age. But what do you know about these two men?

Here are some quick facts about Lief and his father Erik!

Fact 1: Leif Ericson was born on Leif Ericsson Island?

Leif Ericson was born sometime between 960-970 A.D. in Iceland, but it is widely believed that he was born on an island off the coast which is also named after him: LEIF ERICSON ISLAND.

Fact 2: Leif Was Christian

Leif was first introduced to Christianity by his father Erik but had experienced a change of heart later on after reading a book of stories about Jesus. He was baptized as a child and later became an ordained deacon

Fact 3: Leif Was Imprisoned by King Olaf

Leif had also set sail with his father on another voyage to Norway in the year 999 A.D., where they were quickly captured and thrown into prison by King Olaf I Tryggvason for 3 years. They were released under oath that neither of them would ever return or tell others about Christianity.

When they got home, both father and son told everyone of their experience with Christianity which caused many of the Vikings living back at home to convert as well, causing a rise in tension between those who remained pagan and those who converted to Christianity.

Fact 4: Leif was then baptised by the same King Olaf!

Leif had taken his Christian mentor’s advice and made a second voyage to Norway in the year 1000 A.D., this time to be baptized by King Olaf I Tryggvason himself. While there, he’d been given the title of “Lord” from the king after promising to convert all Greenlanders into Christianity–something that would become a struggle later on due to many settlers already practicing Norse paganism.

Fact 5: Leif Ericson was Erik’s son (Ericson)

The name Leif Erickson may have come from Icelandic poet and politician Eiríkr Magnússon who wrote a poem about Erik the Red entitled “Eirik’s Son.” It is believed that this was how Leif got his first name because he was named after the poet.

Fact 6 – His Father Went To Canada

Erik the Red had traveled to an unnamed place during his expeditions that he called “Helluland” which meant “land of flat stones.” This land is believed to be modern-day Baffin Island, Canada.

Fact 7 – And Then Leif went to Canada too

On his third voyage to Vinland (what is now Newfoundland), Leif encountered a marooned man who claimed that 3 men had already been killed by the natives and because of this, they’d ran away back to Greenland leaving him behind; however, Leif’s crew went on without fear and he renamed Helluland as Markland (“forest land”) because there were so many trees growing there–this name would later become known as one of the early names for Canada.

Fact 8 – Leif was one of the first Vikings to meet Native Americans

While exploring Markland, Leif’s crew had an altercation with some natives there who ended up stealing their cargo which included grapes and other things that were unfamiliar to the Vikings – this is believed to be the first encounter between Europeans and Native Americans in history.

Fact 9 – Leif’s Father founded a Viking city in Greenland

The Viking city of “Drafn” (what is now modern-day Nuuk, Greenland) was founded by Erik the Red after he’d settled his family there during the winter 985 A.D., but it wasn’t until 986 when Erik officially declared it a colony for all Icelanders to live at next summer known as “Erik’s Fjord.” This would later become modern-day Nuuk, Greenland.

Fact 10 – Leif Discovered Grapes for the Vikings!

Sometime around the year 986 A.D., Leif had landed on “Straumfjord” (modern-day Qaqortoq, Greenland) where he’d found wild grapevines which is believed to be the first-ever encounter between Vikings and grapes in history.

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Fun Facts about the Viking God Heimdall, Protector of Asgard https://vikingsfacts.com/fun-facts-about-the-viking-god-heimdall-protector-of-asgard/ Wed, 08 Sep 2021 16:05:53 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=265 Heimdall is the protector of Asgard, also known as the Norse gods’ realm. He has a horn that he blows to announce the coming of...

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Heimdall is the protector of Asgard, also known as the Norse gods’ realm. He has a horn that he blows to announce the coming of Ragnarok, where all the gods die and history begins again.

Here are some fun facts about Heimdall!

His name means “World Marsh.”

He is the son of nine mothers.

The Nine Worlds are spread by Yggdrasil, the tree at the center of the universe. Each world was protected by a different god in Norse mythology.

Heimdall is a watchman – he warns when danger is approaching

Heimdall has one horn that he constantly blows in order to warn Asgard when danger approaches. He lives on Himinbjörg, which is a mountain that touches the heavens.

Thor and Loki have to dress up as maidens once in order to sneak into a giant’s castle undetected. Eventually they are discovered but use magic to escape safely. In the morning, Thor dresses Heimdall in drag and takes his place at the bridge until Loki can get back with the real Heimdall.

Heimdall is a watchman, which is someone who guards a place and watches for danger. In Norse mythology, he is the guardian of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that connects Midgard to Asgard.

In Old English, his name means “Bright Home.”

He is also known as the White God because of his skin color.

He is known for ridding evil in Asgard.

Loki Tricked Heimdall

One time Loki tricked him into allowing some giants to row across Bifrost by turning into a mare and seducing him. The Giants were able to come back later on their own terms, which sparked the beginning of Ragnarök.

Since Heimdall is related to Loki by blood, Loki once nearly burned down Asgard with his fire magic. Loki used this magic many times against people in Asgard and other realms until Thor killed him at Ragnarök . Therefore, Heimdall always considers Loki to be a dangerous enemy.

Heimdall never sleeps

Heimdall always wakes up first because he never slept.

He also had nine mothers because he was born from the Nine Mothers of Muspellheim, who are fire demons.

Thor has to put up with his constant noise-making because Heimdall is necessary for Ragnarok, or the battle at the end of time where everything dies.

It is a job well done when Heimdall puts away his horn for the last time.

Every night he takes over Odin’s job of guarding Bifrost Bridge, which leads to Asgard. If someone evil comes, he will kill them with his sword before they enter Asgard.

What did Heimdall look like?

Heimdall has yellow teeth, but Loki’s are white and sharp, like a wolf’s. Loki also wears white furs to disguise himself as the goddess Freya when he tricks gods into fighting each other. He loves war and hates peace because he likes doing things that cause destruction and anger in Asgard .

Even though Heimdall looks scary, he is actually gentle and kind. When Freyja was walking around in Jotunheim, looking for her missing necklace, she saw three beautiful giants playing in a stream and asked if she could join them. They agreed and were very nice to her until they realized she got them wet by accident with her foot when she stepped in the stream. Furious at her mistake, they transformed into hideous wolves and chased her. She ran to Heimdall for protection, and he killed the three giants with his sword. Freyja was so thankful that she offered him her most precious possession, the necklace called Brisingamen.

Heimdall’s horn belonged to Freya

Heimdall loves his horn dearly because it also belonged to Freyja, but he does not play it much. One time a goddess played a magic song on this golden horn that made all the elves in Asgard laugh joyfully without stopping. This angered Heimdall greatly because elves are ugly creatures who make everyone sad when they laugh, but no one could stop laughing until Odin ordered all of them to be silent right away.

In Norse mythology, gold is considered a sign of wealth and beauty. People in the old days thought gold was one of the most important materials they needed to have a happy life. It made them feel powerful, special, admired, comfortable, respected, wealthy, or just extremely lucky. Neither people in Asgard nor their enemies had enough gold, so they fought each other to get more of it.

Heimdall uses his sword named Hofund to protect Asgard from invaders because no one can enter without his permission. He also has two loyal dogs by his side at all times named Gere and Freke, who are great hunters that always help him keep watch for danger by searching for any intruders nearby.

Here’s a quick video that will help you get to know Heimdall

Did you know…?

1. Heimdall’s name means ” World Marsh .”

2. He does not sleep every night, and he must protect Bifrost Bridge from evil people trying to pass it into Asgard.

3. Loki once used his magic to nearly burn down Asgard with a fire spell because of Heimdall’s family relation to him.

4. When three ugly elves laughed for joy on Freyja’s golden horn (that later belonged to Heimdall), everyone in Asgard was unable to stop laughing until Odin silenced them all right away.

5. Gold is considered one of the most important materials for a happy life by Norse mythology people, and they valued it as much as we do today with material items like money and credit cards.

6. Heimdall has two dogs named Gere and Freke that are wild hunters who always help him protect Asgard by looking out for danger in the area.

7. Gold is also considered a sign of beauty and wealth because it was one of the most important materials people needed to be happy in Norse mythology.

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Fun facts about Ragnar Lodbrok for KS2 Kids: the Viking Hero, King & Legend https://vikingsfacts.com/fun-facts-about-ragnar-lodbrok-for-ks2-kids-the-viking-hero-king-legend/ Sat, 19 Jun 2021 09:18:43 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=258 Fact 1 – Ragnar Lodbrok may or may not have existed Wow, that’s a strange fact. Ragnar Lodbrok is a legend who may have been...

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Fact 1 – Ragnar Lodbrok may or may not have existed

Wow, that’s a strange fact. Ragnar Lodbrok is a legend who may have been real – but he also may be several people. We know that someone called ‘Ragnall’ came to England around 840AD, and that he was a much-feared warrior. There are accounts of a similar name invading France a year later.

However, many of the tales about Ragnar come from chronicles that were written many centuries later, and some are not quite believable:

  • He strangled a bear
  • He fought a giant snake
  • … which was also a dragon

So, we can guess that Ragnar did exist, but many of the stories are exaggerated!

Fact 2: Ragnar’s Sons Are Definitely Real

The legends of Ragnar Lodbrok talk about his sons – and there is lots of historical evidence that they did exist.

Firstly, there is Ivar The Boneless who must have had bones, otherwise he would have been very floppy. He was the leader of ‘The Great Heathen Army’ that invaded England in 865AD. This army was huge – over 4,000 men!

Then, there is Bjorn Ironside who was a skilled boatsman. There are stories from France about Bjorn, and they refer to him being the ‘son of Lodbrok’. It is also said that Ivar was a feared warrior who killed Edmund of Anglia!

There are lots of other men who claimed to be the son of Ragnar, including Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye who wins the competition for the best name, and men called Hvitserk, Friedlief and Halfdan.

However, they may have been lying! They may have told people they were the son of Ragnar just to impress them.

After all, Ragnar said that he was the son of the Norse God Odin!

Fact 3 – ‘Lodbrok’ means ‘Shaggy Breeches’ or ‘Shaggy Trousers!’

According to the Icelandic Chronicles of Ragnar, Ragnar killed a giant snake. That snake was guarding the entrance to a Germanic king’s house. When Ragnar killed it, he was offered the king’s daughter in marriage, Thora Borgarjhort.

But perhaps more famously, he earned his name Lodbrok (or Lothbrok) because of the trousers he was wearing when he killed the snake. They were said to be shaggy in appearances, or ‘lod’.

Fact 4 – Ragnar is said to have besieged Paris

We know that the Vikings went to France, and there are stories of someone called Reginheri who raided the north coast of France. He went inland to fight the French king, Charles the Bald.

According to Danish stories about Ragnar, he defeated one French army, and the French paid him money to go away.

According to French stories, Ragnar was defeated and went away with his tail between his legs!

Fact 5 – Ragnar is said to have died by being throw into a pit of snakes

If you don’t like snakes, imagine being thrown into a pit of them! It is said that Ragnar Lodbrok died after losing a battle to King Aella, who threw him into the pit.

Importantly, though, the stories say that Ragnar said the famous words:

“How the little piglets would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers.”

The old boar is Ragnar, and the little piglets are his sons – many interpret this as Ragnar telling his sons to go and conquer the world.

However, it is unlikely any of this is true! Ragnar – if he did exist – probably died on one of his many voyages along the coasts of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Fact 6 – Ragnar Lodbrok is mostly a myth

We do know that someone called Ragnar – or something similar – existed. And we know that he was a warrior who travelled a lot.

We know this because people at the time wrote about him.

But in the years the followed Ragnar’s death, it seems people started exaggerating his stories. Sometimes they just made them up! That’s why it’s really hard to know the truth about Ragnar Lodbrok.

And that’s also why lots of people said they were his son. It made them seem important!

So most of what you hear about Ragnar Lodbrok is untrue or exaggerated, but we can guess that he definitely did exist, and he was a fearsome warrior.

The post Fun facts about Ragnar Lodbrok for KS2 Kids: the Viking Hero, King & Legend appeared first on 200 Facts about The Vikings.

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Facts about Viking Runes For Kids: What Was The Viking Alphabet? https://vikingsfacts.com/facts-about-viking-runes-for-kids-what-was-the-viking-alphabet/ Fri, 18 Jun 2021 14:38:31 +0000 https://vikingsfacts.com/?p=254 Fact 1: Runes are symbols that form the Viking Alphabet The Vikings used something called ‘runes’ – which is their equivalent of our letters. Often,...

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Fact 1: Runes are symbols that form the Viking Alphabet

The Vikings used something called ‘runes’ – which is their equivalent of our letters. Often, they would carve them into wood or stone, which is why they are often quite simple-looking, with straight lines.

You may hear the words ‘Elder Futhark’ runes – this is the full set of original runes that the Vikings used. It can be split into three groups of eight:

  • The first eight is known as aett, and is ruled over by the Goddess Freya
  • The second eight is ruled over by Heimdall and Mordgud
  • And the final eight is ruled over by Tiwaz and Zisa

Fact 2 – Every Rune Has A Meaning!

You can see in the picture above that every rune has a meaning. It is interesting that many of these words are really important in Viking life – words such as ‘year’ also means ‘harvest’ – but you also see ‘god’, ‘joy’, and ‘inherited land’!

The word ‘rune’ itself also has a meaning – it comes from an old word that means ‘mystery’. So for many Vikings, even the runes were a mystery!

Fact 3 – Vikings Believed That Odin Created The Runes

The Vikings used to believe that runes were created by the God Odin. In this story, Odin hanged from a ‘Cosmic World Tree’ for 9 days, and the runes were revealed to him!

The runes were a gift from Odin to the Viking peoples, and had mystical powers that only certain people could use.

Fact 4 – The Runes Actually Came from the Germanic People

Of course, Odin didn’t hang from a tree for 9 days and give his people an alphabet! In truth, runes originated from people who lived in what we now know as Germany. The Germanic people brought runes to Denmark around the year 100AD.

Fact 5 – There Were People Called Rune Masters!

Runes had magical properties, and only Rune Masters could use that magic properly.

There are many stories of Viking people who misused runes. One woman was carving runes on a whale bone, but she made a mistake and the runes fell on her head, hurting her. A Rune Master corrected the runes, and the woman recovered!

Rune Masters could tell fortunes, too. They would put the runes – carved into stones – in a bag. They would then shake them, and see what falls out. For example, if you get runes that say: harvest, joy, wealth – then you can imagine how happy that Viking would be!

Fact 6 – Runes Had Very Practical Uses

Yes, runes had magical properties – according to Viking folklore. But they also had some very practical uses, especially:

  • Claiming ownership of something (like writing your name on your pencil case today!)
  • Keeping track of sales and trading (by merchants for instance)
  • Celebrations
  • Tombstones

Fact 7 – There is an Elder Futhark, and a Younger Futhark

Yes, there are TWO alphabets! The Elder Futhark is the older version, and has the 24 runes you saw earlier.

The Younger Futhark removes E, D, G, O and P.

We first see people using the new set of runes around the year 800AD, at the start of what is known as the ‘Viking Age’, when Vikings set out to dominate Europe. This is also when more Vikings started to use the runes, and the Viking language developed too.

These are the runes of the Younger Futhark:

  • ᚠ fé (“wealth”)
  • ᚢ úr (“iron”/”rain”)
  • ᚦ Thurs (“thurs”, as in Thor)
  • ᚬ As/Oss (“a god”)
  • ᚱ reið (“ride”)
  • ᚴ kaun (“ulcer”)
  • ᚼ hagall (“hail”)
  • ᚾ/ᚿ nauðr (“need”)
  • ᛁ ísa/íss (“ice”)
  • ᛅ/ᛆ ár (“plenty”)
  • ᛋ/ᛌ sól (“Sun”)
  • ᛏ/ᛐ Týr (“Týr, a God”)
  • ᛒ björk/bjarkan/bjarken (“birch”)
  • ᛘ maðr (“man, human”)
  • ᛚ lögr (“sea”)
  • ᛦ yr (“yew”)

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Interesting Facts about King Cnut (or King Canute), England’s Viking King https://vikingsfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-king-cnut-or-king-canute-englands-viking-king/ Sat, 14 Nov 2020 16:53:08 +0000 http://vikingsfacts.com/?p=248 Fact 1 – King Canute United England and Denmark King Canute (also known as Cnut) was a Danish Prince who became King of England in...

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Fact 1 – King Canute United England and Denmark

King Canute (also known as Cnut) was a Danish Prince who became King of England in 1016. Two years later, he also became King of Denmark, uniting the two kingdoms! Indeed, ten years after that, King Canute became King of Norway as well.

When King Canute became King, he made sure to kill English noblemen, to protect his throne. Despite this brutality, King Canute was remembered as a wise and successful King. He reinstated the Danelaw, and allowed Scandinavians greater freedom in England.

Fact 2 – King Canute did not stop the tide

In England, we generally think of King Canute as the King who tried to stop the tide. But this is not true!

The story was recorded by Henry of Huntingdon in the 12th century. In the story, Canute’s courtiers believed he had supernatural powers. To demonstrate that he did not, Canute sat on his throne on the beach and told his courtiers that he could not stop the tide.

As the tide washed around his feet, he jumped backwards and said:

Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws.

He then hung up his crown on a cruficix, and never wore it again.

So King Canute did not try to stop the tide – he wanted to show people that he was just a normal human being!

Let’s watch a video about King Canute and the Waves:

Fact 3 – King Canute’s Father was King of England for just five weeks!

Almost everybody knows about King Canute, but very few people realise that his father, Sweyn Forkbeard, was King of England too – but just for five weeks.

Sweyn was crowned King of England on Christmas Day in 1013, and died on the 3rd February 1014. The throne returned to the previous king Aethelred the Unraedy.

Sweyn Forkbeard was a brutal warrior who led many invasions. His invasion of England was horrible, and he attacked the north of England. He left a path of destruction behind him that was so bad that King Aethelred offered him money to go back to Denmark. That was known as the Danegeld.

It didn’t work, and Sweyn eventually became King, but not for long!

Fact 4 – King Canute Travelled…. A lot

Not only did King Canute of England become the King of Denmark, he was also King of Norway, and he was also King in a small part of Sweden too.

To become King in so many places, Canute fought many battles. But he also travelled to Rome in order to get better conditions for English traders in the Holy Roman Empire.

Fact 5 – King Canute was trained in warfare by Thorkell the Tall

King Canute was trained by the legendary warrior, Thorkell The Tall. This means that he received the best tutorship he could possible have received!

Thorkell The Tall was chief commander of the Jomvikings, and led an invasion to England that landed in Sandwich in 1009. His army overran the south of England, and within two years, he was leading the Siege of Canterbury. He was so feared that the people of Kent gave him 3,000 pounds of silver to stay away, so he turned his attentions to London instead.

Canute was taken on a number of expeditions by Thorkell the Tall, and learned first-hand how to brutally invade a country.

Fact 6 – King Canute had two wives

It wasn’t just Henry VIII who had more than one wife! King Canute married a woman called Aelfgifu of Northampton, and had two children by her: Svein and Harald.

However, the Church didn’t recognise his first marriage, and he allowed to remarry. He then married Emma of Normandy and they had two children together – Harthacnut and Gunhilda. His sons eventually became Kings of England too.

Finally, let’s watch this video about King Cnut:

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Interesting Facts About Viking Women https://vikingsfacts.com/facts-about-viking-women/ https://vikingsfacts.com/facts-about-viking-women/#respond Wed, 13 May 2020 11:13:32 +0000 http://vikingsfacts.com/?p=97 Fact 1: Viking women had traditional jobs in Viking society In Viking culture, men did the fighting, hunting, trading and farming. Whereas women did the...

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Fact 1: Viking women had traditional jobs in Viking society

In Viking culture, men did the fighting, hunting, trading and farming. Whereas women did the cooking, raised the children and looked after the household.

We know this as Viking men were buried with their weapons, shields, swords and tools, while the women were buried with jewellery, needlework and household items.

This showed that women played a more traditional role in Viking society. Yet, there is also evidence to show that Viking women had more freedom than many other women in the world at the time!

Fact 2: Viking women had some unusual freedoms

Although Viking women played a more traditional role in society, they did have some freedoms that were unusual for women at the time.        

Historians have found that Viking women had slightly more rights than other women in their day, especially when it came to property and marriage. They were able to own property and ask their husband for a divorce. When a marriage ended, women were also allowed to take back their property and money.

Sometimes, a Viking man would leave his wife and family and settle in another country. The woman would be allowed to demand a divorce and remarry so that she didn’t get lonely.

Another freedom that Viking women had is that they had a say in who they married. Just like in many other cultures at the time, Viking marriages were usually arranged. This means that a husband was pre-selected for a bride, usually by the bride’s family.

Viking women were between 12 and 15 when they got married, and their family would usually negotiate the marriage for them. However, Viking women were able to decide which man they wanted to marry.

For every Viking marriage, a contract would be created that agreed to divide up the couple’s possessions and property equally if they wanted a divorce. Although women had some freedoms, they were not allowed to be involved with politics, and they were not allowed to receive inheritance.

Fact 3: Viking women were a powerful part of the household

In Viking culture, the man was usually the ruler of the house. However, the woman also had full authority of the household when the man was not there.

If the man of a household was to die, it would be his wife’s job to take on his role as ruler of the house and she would run the family farm or trading business completely on her own! Historians have found many Viking women that were buried with a ring of keys. This is believed to symbolise their power as household managers.

Fact 4: Lots of Viking women made and sold clothes

Historians have found that a lot of Viking women would spend their time making clothes!

They would make clothes in traditional Viking styles, such as cloaks and dresses. They would also give clothes eye-catching patterns and designs, sometimes decorating them with art, runes and weapons.

Some Viking women were so good at making clothes that they became special textile workers in their community, making clothes for people to wear, sell and trade.

Women were allowed to sell the clothes they made at the market, showing that they were quite entrepreneurial!

Fact 5: Some Viking women were warriors!

Viking men were traditionally the ones to go into battle, however, there is some evidence to show that women sometimes went to battle too!

Historians have found records that describe women fighting alongside the Varangian Vikings during a battle against the Bulgarians in 971 AD.

These women learnt war skills such as sword play, and they even dressed up just like men! They fought alongside the male Vikings during the Battle of Bravellir, and 300 of them are said to have held the field. These women were known as “shieldmaidens”.

Warrior women also played an important part in Viking mythology. The Vikings believed in legendary warrior women called Valkyries that would select brave soldiers from the battlefield and carry them to the afterlife in Valhalla.

The word ‘Valkyries’ means Choosers of the Slain!

Let’s watch a video from History.com about some Viking female warriors…

Fact 6: Viking women traveled all over Europe

Historians used to believe that it was just Viking men who travelled throughout Europe on the Vikings’ famous voyages. However, more recent evidence shows that women would join the men on their travels!

Viking women would especially join the expeditions when they were planning to settle in a new country such as England, Iceland, the Shetland Islands or the Orkney Islands. Women were an important part of moving to a new country as they helped the Vikings populate and thrive on their new settlements!

Extra Resources

History.com has some great information about women in Viking times

Life In Norway has some good resources too

And Ancient History has some information about legendary Viking female warriors

It’s Quiz Time!


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