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A Little About Viking Helmets and Warriors

Aug 22, 2008
Viking helmets are some of the most recognizable medieval times helmets. The most popular design is the one with the horns jetting out from the side of the helmet. Many costumes and movies have popularized this design with different styles of horned helmets. Even a pro football team, the Minnesota Vikings, have the Viking as their team mascot and name. You'll see many fans wearing the helmet. But are these real? Or is it a myth? What about other types of Viking helmets?

The Vikings were a Scandinavian people who came out of present day Norway, Sweden, and that whole area in Northern Europe. They stared raiding and expanding their territory in the late 8th century ad and into the 11th century. They were famed for the long boats which cut through water and were very fast. They were also were said to have heads of dragons carved in the bow of the ship to intimidate the enemy as they landed near shore. The viking warriors were the terror of the early medieval ages. Raiding Great Britain and many villages in northern Europe spread their reputation as killings, stealers, and pillagers. Even modern day Canada felt their terror.

The raided and landed as far east as Russia and as far west as Iceland and Greenland and Newfoundland in Canada. They were known as the terrors of the north, and rightfully so, as they boasted large and strong men with hit and run battle tactics. They were very proficient in seafaring and had advanced ships to do it. They also learned to be great constructors of towns and effective tradesman. Yes, they did not always take by force what they wanted.

All archaeological evidence suggests that Viking warriors did not wear horns on their helmets. Of course, there are practical reasons for this as well. Any battle smart warrior would know that having horns jetting out from your helmet would give the enemy a place to grasp and throw you around. In battle, Vikings wore standard Sutton Hoo type helmets that did not have horns. Before the horn myth was made popular, Viking helmets were shown to have wings on them. This is also not historically accurate.

But what of their helmets? Did Viking helmets really have horns jetting out from the sides? The quick answer to that is probably not, at least not when they went into battle. Horns would have been a great detriment to the warrior, as the enemy could grab and through them around more easily. However, horns may have been worn ceremoniously in religious festivals or for special events. However, these myths came out probably because the Viking warriors were so effective and intimidating, that adding horns to their helmets would make them look even more terrible.
About the Author
John Hilde is a historical armor and weapons enthusiast who enjoys collecting these items. He owns an online store called Armor Venue that sells armor and weapons replicas. To learn more about viking helmets, go to http://www.armorvenue.com.
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