A Viking We Shall Go
July 30, 2012 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Debunking Five Myths of the Viking Appearance.

Researcher Irene Berg Sørensen tackles five myths of the Viking appearance:
  • Vikings were dirty and unkempt
  • Vikings wore horned helmets
  • Vikings looked like we do today
  • Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world
  • Vikings’ appearance was marked by battle wounds
Via io9.com
posted by Atreides (137 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
“Several archaeological finds have revealed tweezers, combs, nail cleaners, ear cleaners and toothpicks from the Viking Age,"

I bet an archaeologist could have found combs and nail cleaners in my first college apartment, too. In fact, probably only an archaeologist could have found them.
posted by DU at 11:24 AM on July 30, 2012 [68 favorites]


Oh, boy, sleep! That's where I'm a tradesman, warrior and, not least, farmer!
posted by zombieflanders at 11:24 AM on July 30, 2012 [37 favorites]


Great. Next you'll be telling me Vikings didn't actually fight epic sea battles using the power of glam rock and giant rock and roll mecha warriors.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on July 30, 2012 [18 favorites]


This is the ideal place to give a shoutout to the Viking Answer Lady.
posted by mdonley at 11:29 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a common myth, but modern archaeologists believe that Vikings were to a man bluegrass fans.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:30 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, as long as they still came from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow, I guess everything's cool.
posted by mosk at 11:31 AM on July 30, 2012 [33 favorites]


MYTH 4: Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world

This is like that myth that all the women love me. Which I only mention here so you can tell all your friends about how wrong it is that all the women love me. Remember everyone: All the women love me. Is something that is a myth.
posted by DU at 11:33 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings were dirty and unkempt
Vikings wore horned helmets
Vikings looked like we do today
Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world
Vikings’ appearance was marked by battle wounds


Vikings still don't have a decent stadium to play in.
posted by Edison Carter at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2012 [14 favorites]


Previous MeFi Viking Myths:

Vikings were dirty and unkempt
Vikings wore horned helmets
posted by zamboni at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2012


That was interesting, especially about the work habits changing their physical appearance. I heard that some Vikings dig like a dog, flinging earth carelessly like an animal. Not to mention, their words are feeble and twisted as an old woman.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Vikings are where I'm a viking.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:36 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just don't try to tell us that they didn't absolutely love their spam. Because that won't wash. Just like the Vikings.
posted by Decani at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, as long as they still came from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow...

Blow? It's not flow? That doesn't make any sense.
posted by NoMich at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2012


Like geysers, I think.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:39 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I heard that some Vikings dig like a dog, flinging earth carelessly like an animal. Not to mention, their words are feeble and twisted as an old woman.

My norwegian heritage bids me to respond. This old woman will send you to the next world old man!
posted by VTX at 11:40 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Like geysers, I think.

Ohhhhh, riiiight, geysers. Thanks.
posted by NoMich at 11:41 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The internet is where I'm a Viking.
posted by rtha at 11:41 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, boy, sleep! That's where I'm a tradesman, warrior and, not least, farmer!

LITERAL TRADESMAN. Let's not go through this again, no one has ever used 'tradesman' as a euphamism in the manner some poltroons have been suggesting.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:43 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is the ideal place to give a shoutout to the Viking Answer Lady.

This appears to be a site where you get answers to viking-related questions.

I really wanted it to be an AskMeFi-type place where you can get answers any kind of question, only, you know, from a viking perspective.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


Guess where we get the word geyser from.
posted by zamboni at 11:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings were actually much tinier and gentler than you would expect. The fact that they were born centuries before the invention of the laser pointer should make us all very sad.

Also: real Vikings don't sound like Newfoundlanders. Pity.
posted by maudlin at 11:44 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


This old woman will send you to the next world old man!

By any chance, is it a world where you see your father, your mother, your sisters, and your brothers? Do you see the line of your people, back to the beginning, calling to you, bidding you take your place among them in the halls of Valhalla where the brave may live forever?

Because it's honey, man! It's made from honey!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:47 AM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


"In this way, they sieged the married women’s virtue and persuaded the daughters of even noble men to become their mistresses,” wrote Wallingford.

Which explains why an autosomal DNA test said that I am 53% Scandinavian, despite having no documented ancestors from Scandinavia. My noble ancestresses were pushovers for guys with clean fingernails.
posted by Knappster at 11:50 AM on July 30, 2012 [12 favorites]


Which explains why an autosomal DNA test said that I am 53% Scandinavian, despite having no documented ancestors from Scandinavia. My noble ancestresses were pushovers for guys with clean fingernail

But really, who isn't?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:55 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


By any chance, is it a world where you see your father, your mother, your sisters, and your brothers? Do you see the line of your people, back to the beginning, calling to you, bidding you take your place among them in the halls of Valhalla where the brave may live forever?

Yes but I'm not making my wife jump on the funeral pyre, that's messed up.

Great, now there is yet another movie that I haven't seen in a while that I need to watch again soon.
posted by VTX at 11:58 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh great, next you'll be telling me that the purpose of ninjas is NOT to flip out and kill people.
posted by FJT at 11:59 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


> “It’s actually more difficult to determine the gender of a skeleton from the Viking era,” says Harvig. “The men’s skulls were a little more feminine and the women’s skulls a little more masculine than what we’re seeing today.

I don't understand why they're using skulls to sex the skeletons to begin with, did they not have innominates? The article mentions later that they had hip bones with evidence of wounds. So was this just part of getting secondary data to confirm?

A random detail, but it stuck out to me and will probably drive me bonkers as those questions will undoubtedly go unanswered unless I actually email a researcher at U Copenhagen.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:05 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dear Viking Answer Lady,

A business competitor has invited me to a dinner party. On one hand, I want to go, because "keep your enemies closer" and all, but on the other hand, I'm not sure how to act.

Yours,

Entrepreneur Gleaning Important Lessons


Dear EGIL,

Drink a lot and vomit in your host's face. It's the Viking thing to do!
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:09 PM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


The dubhgaill vs finngaill issue - I think this is unknowable unless any new evidence turns up, given the number of symnonyms most Irish words have - here are some typical entries derived from my namesake's Irish-English dictionary:

snámhaidhe, m., a swimmer, a crawler; a slow person; a thin, lanky, gritless fellow, a sneak.

stocaire, m., a trumpeter, a boaster, an interloper or sponger, one purposely left without a partner in a Donegal country-dance.a

Similarly, fionn typically means blonde, but can mean fair, white, beautiful, happy, famous, slight, or clear. Also, colours are used for differentiation e.g. I knew two people with the same name who went by Seán Dubh and Seán Rua, as one was darker and one was redder.
posted by kersplunk at 12:15 PM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Great, now there is yet another movie that I haven't seen in a while that I need to watch again soon.

I don't see anything. You're all mad.
posted by Edison Carter at 12:16 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world

That may be a myth, but is it actually a common myth? Never in my life have I heard someone talk about Vikings having a world-renowned fashion sense.
posted by asnider at 12:17 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


That may be a myth, but is it actually a common myth? Never in my life have I heard someone talk about Vikings having a world-renowned fashion sense.

"I'm so tired of EVERYONE talking about how GREAT the Vikings' fashion was! I mean, like, SHUT UP about the awesome Viking fashion already!"
posted by Edison Carter at 12:20 PM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


So Vikings weren't kittehs in longboats?

I has a sad.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:21 PM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


These "myths" came from a survey of Danish people, so.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:22 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am seriously thinking of blowing off work to make up a list of new Viking myths.

Vikings had literally no ability to jump and were frequently trounced in basketball by the Visigoths.

Vikings were sticklers for grammar would not hesitate to draw swords over a misplaced apostrophe.

The Vikings invented the taco.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:23 PM on July 30, 2012 [22 favorites]


Vikings were waterproof, bulletproof, and fireproof. But none were monkey-proof.
posted by Edison Carter at 12:30 PM on July 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


Vikings were dirty and unkempt

I don't see how evidence that that settlements had grooming tools disproves this. It seems reasonable to me that raiders who have just sailed across the North Sea would be dirty and unkempt due to the conditions of being on the ship and not needing to look pretty for their raiding.
posted by nolnacs at 12:30 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vikings could not dance.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:34 PM on July 30, 2012


This is like feathers on dinosaurs.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings are afraid of garlic and crosses.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:35 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Viking attacks can be repelled by silver.
posted by elizardbits at 12:36 PM on July 30, 2012


(you give them all your silver and they agree to go away)
posted by elizardbits at 12:37 PM on July 30, 2012 [17 favorites]


The research was interesting enough, but were these myths really things that needed to be debunked? Particularly the fashion sense and the horned helmets.
posted by immlass at 12:37 PM on July 30, 2012


To recap:
1) Myth
2) Myth that almost no one still actually believes
3) Fairly true
4) A belief seemingly only held by some Danish people on Facebook
5) Mostly true

I admit that 2.5 Myths About Viking Appearance is a worse topic for an article, though.
posted by Copronymus at 12:37 PM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Vikings invented the internet.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:39 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings' hair is so big because it's full of secrets.
posted by elizardbits at 12:40 PM on July 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


Vikings had a lot of money because their dad invented toaster strudels.
posted by elizardbits at 12:41 PM on July 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


Vikings wor horned helmets.

Instead, they wore beanies with propellers on their heads which would strike terror into the hearts of their enemies.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:41 PM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Vikings mainly dressed in Blue and Green, with some Gray and small pieces of other colors.
posted by BeeDo at 12:44 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vikings fear no man, but are terrified of marmosets.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:45 PM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Vikings managed to avoid the Plague, but couldn't run from the startling effects of the Ennui.
posted by Edison Carter at 12:47 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The vikings that settle Iceland, Greenland, and Eastern Canada where kicked out of Scandinavia for their poor grooming habits.
posted by VTX at 12:48 PM on July 30, 2012


The Vikings: those gently, quaint, fun-loving old charmers
posted by chrisulonic at 12:49 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings put the bomp in the bomp-ba-bomp-ba-bomp, but did not put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:50 PM on July 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Instead, they wore beanies with propellers on their heads

That's what everyone said: Hornet helmets. Sheesh.
posted by Namlit at 12:50 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings never actually existed. They were entirely matte paintings, and later on, bluescreened CGI effects.
posted by rifflesby at 12:51 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Vikings
Nothing more than vikings,
Trying to forget my vikings of love

Big boats,
Rolling down on the seas
Trying to forget my vikings of love

Vikings,
For all my life I'll feel it
I’ll wish I've never met you, girl
You'll never come again

Vikings,
Wo-o-o vikings
Wo-o-o vikings
Again in my heart
posted by Edison Carter at 12:52 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Vikings not only wrote about music, but frequently danced about architecture.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings' favorite ice cream flavor is Creme Brulee.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2012


The Anglo-Saxons were amazed that the Vikings washed once a week.

The Muslims were appalled that the Vikings (only) washed once a week.
posted by tommasz at 12:54 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have seen remains of Viking (Norse) settlements in the Orkneys that have central structures which are said to have been saunas, so the cleanliness myth may be correct.

I'm pretty sure the "short back with a fringe" hairstyle was limited to certain times and places. For instance, it was popular among the Normans who invaded England (with bonus mustache action), and is pictured in the Bayeux Tapestry. However, in other examples, we hear of Norse people wearing their hair long. I think it's in the Orkneyinga that we read of Earl Rognvald traveling to the Holy Land, where he is described as combing out his hair after swimming in the river Jordan.


Dear Viking Answer Lady,

I will be spending the holidays with my family this year, but I really don't get along with some of them, particularly several of my cousins. Should I avoid them, or try to be polite for the sake of family harmony?

Yours,

Holidays Really Overtax Love for Family



Dear HROLF,

The solution is simple- instead of walking on eggshells around your cousins, wait until they are all drunk on Christmas Eve. Then set their longhouse on fire. When each one runs out of the burning building, hit him with an axe.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:55 PM on July 30, 2012 [21 favorites]


Vikings had no thumbs.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:56 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings ran the first cruises. Failure to participate in activities resulted in wearing of the silly horned helmet of shame.
posted by arcticseal at 12:57 PM on July 30, 2012


'm pretty sure the "short back with a fringe" hairstyle was limited to certain times and places.

Vikings were emo.
posted by Edison Carter at 12:57 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings were holometabolic, and would often pupate in the shelter of overturned longboats that were no longer seaworthy.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:59 PM on July 30, 2012 [10 favorites]


Vikings loved their Volvos. They especially loved them in a stew.
posted by Mojojojo at 1:05 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings are just zese guys, you know?
posted by Edison Carter at 1:05 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


A "Blood Eagle" is actually just an advanced wedgie.
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


The article said something about Vikings only living to 30 or 40 years old, although some like King Harald lived to be about 60.

I can see people dying at 60 or even in their mid-50's to be understandable, but a 30 or 40 year lifespan seems really weird, and I suspect that infant mortality must be bringing the numbers down, combined with a short lifespan at the top end of the curve.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:07 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings were actually a nondescript member of the Caudata order and were able to regenerate severed limbs at will; this is what made them such fearsome warriors.

also the tiny tails
posted by elizardbits at 1:08 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Viking sagas were set to music that sounded very similar to "Hey Jude," but the "naaaa-naaa-naaa-nanana" parts were left out due to a chronic ink shortage, along with other punctuation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:08 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Vikings were quadrupeds which lived in big rivers like the Amazon. They had two ears, a heart, a forehead, and a beak for eating honey.
posted by Decani at 1:11 PM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Vikings were known to be quite docile unless provoked, exposed to water or fed after midnight.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:12 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most "Vikings" weren't vikings. Cnut Sweinsson wasn't a viking. Harald Haardraade wasn't a viking. Leif Ericsson wasn't a viking. And so on and so forth. Except they were, because they went on an expedition, which isn't really a great way to categorize them. For example, the early 800s raids on England were way different in intensity and intent that those in the later 800s, which again were different from those in the 1000s. It's like saying William Penn and Hernan Cortes were "settlers", conveniently ignoring the vast gulf between them.

oh god why am i so serious all the time
posted by Jehan at 1:14 PM on July 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


fed whom to?
posted by Namlit at 1:15 PM on July 30, 2012


The article said something about Vikings only living to 30 or 40 years old, although some like King Harald lived to be about 60.

I can see people dying at 60 or even in their mid-50's to be understandable, but a 30 or 40 year lifespan seems really weird, and I suspect that infant mortality must be bringing the numbers down, combined with a short lifespan at the top end of the curve.


In a world with neither antibiotics nor sanitation (and with lots of war), not to mention your standard risk of death by childbirth for half the population, this doesn't seem too off to me.
posted by emjaybee at 1:15 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is like feathers on dinosaurs.

That sounds like the setup to a Fat Albert joke (like school in summer...).
posted by asnider at 1:16 PM on July 30, 2012


oh god why am i so serious all the time
posted by Jehan at 9:14 PM on July 30

posted by Decani at 1:16 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings meticulously groomed the feathers of their dinosaurs with combs crafted from the spines of their enemies.


Forgot to include that one at the top. Apologies. It's addressed somewhere in the article, I think.
posted by Atreides at 1:20 PM on July 30, 2012


Viking hovercraft were remarkably free of eels.
posted by BeeDo at 1:20 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"... but generally it’s quite difficult to determine the gender of a Viking Age skeleton."

FTFY.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:23 PM on July 30, 2012


I can see people dying at 60 or even in their mid-50's to be understandable, but a 30 or 40 year lifespan seems really weird, and I suspect that infant mortality must be bringing the numbers down, combined with a short lifespan at the top end of the curve.

Even so, life expectancy may well have been longer for them than it was during the industrial revolution in Europe. Wikipedia gives an average of about 35 years, and there's the often repeated claim that laborers in Manchester averaged 17 years.
posted by Forktine at 1:23 PM on July 30, 2012


MeFi's own, get your ass down here.
posted by resurrexit at 1:30 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings look like this.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:32 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


//VikingORRR has axed LiNdIsFaRnEdOOd.//
VikingORRR: ALL UR MONASTERY R BELONG TO US.
posted by resurrexit at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Even so, life expectancy may well have been longer for them than it was during the industrial revolution in Europe. Wikipedia gives an average of about 35 years, and there's the often repeated claim that laborers in Manchester averaged 17 years.
In Ancoats, one of the worst bits of Manchester at the time, infant mortality peaked at over 500 per 1,000 in the early 1800s. That is, a child was more likely to die than see its 5th birthday. A child would be safer growing up under the Khmer Rouge.

posted by Jehan at 1:36 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


one purposely left without a partner in a Donegal country-dance

That seems ridiculously specific.
posted by drezdn at 1:39 PM on July 30, 2012


one purposely left without a partner in a Donegal country-dance

That seems ridiculously specific.

...unless of course it's happened to you. No, I'm not bitter.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:43 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Omigawd, Kate Beaton did the best Viking comic ever.
posted by tykky at 1:44 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings were the true sons of Skyrim.
posted by Edison Carter at 1:48 PM on July 30, 2012


I can see people dying at 60 or even in their mid-50's to be understandable, but a 30 or 40 year lifespan seems really weird, and I suspect that infant mortality must be bringing the numbers down, combined with a short lifespan at the top end of the curve.

A high infant mortality rate combined with a fairly good chance of dying in combat tends to make for a low average life expectancy.
posted by asnider at 1:56 PM on July 30, 2012


If you keep this up the man on the horse will be coming to talk to you.
posted by adamvasco at 2:23 PM on July 30, 2012


Actually there are some horned helmets in the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen, however, they date from the bronze age (first millennium BCE) not the Viking era.

I do wonder, however, if some careless researcher saw Denmark & Vikso and and assumed that Vikso == Viking, and started the whole misunderstanding.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:32 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Vikings were known to be quite docile unless provoked, exposed to water or fed after midnight."

As we see demonstrated here.
posted by MikeMc at 2:53 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings invented lolcats.
posted by elizardbits at 2:56 PM on July 30, 2012


Lolcats invented Vikings.
posted by The Whelk at 3:02 PM on July 30, 2012


Lolcats are Vikings. They invented themselves.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:05 PM on July 30, 2012


I CAN HAS ALL YOUR MONESTARIES TREASURE?
posted by The Whelk at 3:16 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Viking lolcat
posted by gingerbeer at 3:23 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why the Vikings invaded Belgium.
posted by iviken at 3:24 PM on July 30, 2012


What are all the awesome Viking movies you dorks are talking about. Are they all the Kurt Douglas one or what.
posted by samofidelis at 3:34 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are there any others?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2012


THAT'S WHAT I NEED TO KNOW! I'm Audi5, I'm going to go climb a wall using two daggers.
posted by samofidelis at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


VIKING MOVIES
posted by The Whelk at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


>I don't understand why they're using skulls to sex the skeletons to begin with, did they not have innominates?

From the sidebar:
When archaeologists determine the gender of a skeleton, they compare the width of the pelvis with features in the skull, so they can be as certain as possible.

But the researchers’ experience is that this is particularly difficult to ascertain when it comes to our notorious Viking ancestors.

>The article said something about Vikings only living to 30 or 40 years old, although some like King Harald lived to be about 60

What the article said:
The Vikings typically lived to be around 40-50 years old. But there are also examples of upper class Vikings who lived longer – for instance Harald Fairhair, who was King of Norway for more than 60 years.

Which contradicts the wikipedia which has King Harald living to be 83, but only being King of Norway for 58 years.
posted by zinon at 4:10 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Viking lolcat

Valhalla, I am coming!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:28 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's untrue that Vikings were dirty and unkempt, but to maintain anonymity when abroad they all went by the surname 'Grimes', a surname they picked up when they dominated the kingdom of Northumbria. I imagine this is where the confusion comes arose.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:31 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


infant mortality peaked at over 500 per 1,000 in the early 1800s. That is, a child was more likely to die than see its 5th birthday
I do not recall that part of the Olympics opening ceremony, but it seems grim.
posted by purpleclover at 4:35 PM on July 30, 2012


> From the sidebar

I completely missed that, thanks. Although putting it something like a dozen paragraphs down from the spot where it would be useful seems like cheating.

Also, "compare the width of the pelvis?" Pshaw, I say! That kind of gross oversimplication of the suite of features used to determine sex from the os coxae would get you laughed out of the Forensic Anthropologist Club!*

*Not as bad as it seems, since half the members of said club are actually skeletons, and therefore are constantly grinning anyway. Actually, hold on, that's terrifying. Forget I said anything.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:39 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


One in 5 Vikings was named Erik, Eric, or Erick.
posted by plinth at 5:15 PM on July 30, 2012


Oh great, next you'll be telling me that the purpose of ninjas is NOT to flip out and kill people.

There is a theory that ninjas never existed outside of Japanese popular fiction, with the silent, black-clad warriors being modelled on the (silent, black-clad) scenery shifters and puppeteers who worked in Japanese theatres.
posted by acb at 5:30 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing I've seen claimed about the Vikings is that they had a fondness for orange cats. Apparently, population surveys of feline genetics find that the orange-hair gene occurs most commonly in the middle east, followed by up the Viking trade route through the Mediterranean and the North Sea and tapering off outward from there, suggesting that orange cats were found first in the middle east, and picked up and taken to Scandinavia by Viking traders who found their colouring appealing.
posted by acb at 5:35 PM on July 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not sure if this new image of Vikings as well-groomed cat fanciers is more or less entertaining that the traditional depiction of them.
posted by elizardbits at 5:48 PM on July 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was always told vikings could be driven away by the sound of the accordion, which is why they stayed out of Poland.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:18 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


That may explain why Polish beer is so strong.
posted by arcticseal at 6:27 PM on July 30, 2012


acb, that's what the ninjas want you to think.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:31 PM on July 30, 2012


If you want to know about viking appearance just get a look at me right before I get my yearly hair cut - the kind of hair that stalkeds the nightmares of seaside villages.
posted by The Whelk at 6:40 PM on July 30, 2012


It's a myth that vikings enter a state of hibernation during the winter. This was widely believed in Elizabethan England, and the line from Hamlet, "To sleep, perchance to dream," was originally, "To sleep, that's where I'm a viking."
posted by RobotHero at 6:55 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Vikings did not sing In The Navy as they pillaged and burned seaside hamlets (not even in French.)

This reminds me of the Norwegian exchange student who was just completely mystified by the Swedish Chef. "But that doesn't even sound like Swedish."
posted by XMLicious at 6:57 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the Norwegian exchange student who was just completely mystified by the Swedish Chef. "But that doesn't even sound like Swedish."

Of course not. He's actually Mock Japanese.
posted by zamboni at 7:05 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


gingerbeer: Vikings invented the internet.

Vikings invented Al Gore.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:09 PM on July 30, 2012


Slarty Bartfast: Vikings were sticklers for grammar [and] would not hesitate to draw swords over a misplaced apostrophe.

If that were so, there'd probably be a lot fewer Grocers' Tradesmen's Apostrophes around these days.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2012


This thread needs more Viking Metal (in the form of Amon Amarth)...

Runes to My Memory
The Pursuit of Vikings
Twilight of the Thunder God (Feat. Roope Latvala of Children of Bodom and a shitload of viking re-enactors w00t!)

And just because it's Monday: Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force "Now Your Ships Are Burned"
posted by MikeMc at 8:48 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Despite their ferocious reputations the Vikings were often defeated by the simple meat packers who lived to the east. The older meat packers could sometimes be tempted with gold to defect over the side of the Vikings but even then they never once were able to claim the ring of champions (a trinket they desired).
posted by Bonzai at 8:50 PM on July 30, 2012


Vikings (well, Icelandic people) held horse fights.

Nothing to me can ever compare with the deranged badassery of people holding horse fights.
posted by winna at 8:59 PM on July 30, 2012


And just because it's Monday: Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force "Now Your Ships Are Burned"

Uh...
posted by adamdschneider at 9:08 PM on July 30, 2012


Yngwie has neither the right haircut nor does he look particularly well groomed. Poser.

His well publicized fondness for orange cats notwithstanding
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:17 PM on July 30, 2012


Viking haircuts were short in the back with long fringes, you say?
posted by gingerest at 9:53 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vikings are unable to vomit so if they swallow a plastic bag their only option is to poo it out.
posted by h00py at 1:24 AM on July 31, 2012


Vikings are unable to vomit

...which distinguishes them from their cats (lol, orange, and others).

(who dares to mention orange cats, and not provide pics?)
posted by Namlit at 3:55 AM on July 31, 2012


(namlit, have you seen The Bloggess' new kitten, Hunter S. Thomcat? He's a ginja, a ferret snuggler, a shoulder percher, an Apple fanboi and a poser. He also sleeps butt uply.)

(I'm in love.)
posted by likeso at 5:19 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


gingerbeer: Vikings invented the internet.

Vikings invented Al Gore.


Actually, Al Gore is descended from Vikings. The surname "Gore" comes from how violent his ancestors were in battle. They would cause a lot of gore on the battlefield. I've also heard rumours that, despite claims to the contrary, his family did wear horned helmets, with which they would quite literally gore their enemies.
posted by asnider at 8:16 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is: chin straps.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:18 AM on July 31, 2012


The Vikings were descended from Chuck Norris, who was in turn sired by Vikings.
Together the form the Ouroboros of Destruction that surrounds the world.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:02 AM on July 31, 2012


...the answer is: chin straps

Here you go.
posted by Namlit at 11:52 AM on July 31, 2012


The Viking Song
posted by homunculus at 4:16 PM on July 31, 2012


Viking attacks can be repelled by silver.

I think that only works on Vampire Vikings.
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on July 31, 2012


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