Vikings transported their ships overland to get past difficult stretches of water. Smaller ships would be carried by hand using poles, while larger ships would be pulled across tree branches. To trade with Turks, they would carry their boats 10km overland to get to the Black Sea.
Viking girls got hitched as young as 12 and had to mind the household while their husbands sailed off on adventures. Still, they had more freedom than other women of their era. Viking women could inherit property, request a divorce and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended.
Viking military tactics succeeded mainly because they disregarded the conventional battlefield tactics, methods, and customs of the time. They ignored unspoken rules, like not attacking holy sites. To the contrary Vikings intentionally targeted religious sites for their vulnerability and wealth.
Greenland got its name because the Viking who discovered it was banished from Iceland and felt lonely in his new homeland, so he named and advertised it as the lush ‘Greenland’ to attract settlers, despite the fact that it was actually a completely barren and largely uninhabitable land.
Wounded Viking warriors were given strong onion soup. After a few minutes someone would smell the wounds and if onions could be detected it meant that there were serious abdominal injuries and that death was inevitable.
When the Norse vikings sailed for America in the 11th century, they fully expected (and hoped) to find a race of monsters to fight. Instead, they found the indigenous peoples. Disappointed at finding no real monsters, the Norse (known for being tall) called them Skræling, or pygmies.
“Berserkers” were Norse warriors who fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury. It has been suggested that the warriors consumed hallucinogens before battles. Some were said to wear the pelt of a wolf (or bear) when they entered battle.
Vikings used ravens to navigate. They brought ravens aboard their ships, then released them and sailed in the same direction to find land. The raven was so important to them that it became the symbol on their flag.
The vikings used a stone to be able to tell what direction the sun was in, even when the sun wasn’t visible, and we may have found one.