The history of the Vikings is replete with myths, misinformation, romantic notions, and pop culture laziness. The facts about the Vikings are just as interesting as they myths, and have the added advantage of being true. Far from the violent, unwashed, horned-helmeted brutes of cultural depictions, the Vikings were explorers, farmers, traders, and colonists. They had a diverse religion, stratified society, and rich culture.
Of course, Viking history is also full of violence. From their brutal raids on England to their slave trading and drug-fueled combat, the Norse people of the Viking Age (between 790 and 1066 CE) cut a swath through history. They also left a mark in the form of prosperous cities, archaeological ruins, and breathtaking sagas.
Here are some things you might not have known about the Vikings – or maybe you did, and just didn’t know they were true.