Fun Fact 2: Scandinavia was over populated and was a relativity poor country, some of the Norse people became pirate explorers and the name giving to Norse pirates was Vikings
Fun Fact 3: The name 'Viking' originates from an Old Norse language and the word 'vikingr', which means 'pirate raid'. Norse people who had decided to set sail for exploring and looting were said to be 'going Viking'
Fun Fact 4: Between 850-1000 AD the Vikings explored many different countries including; The British Isles, France, Spain, Italy and North Africa. They the travelled west towards the North Atlantic where they discovered Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland
Fun Fact 5: The success of the Vikings was due to their expertise in ship building. The most famous and iconic of Viking boats is the longship. Longships were the Vikings largest and fastest ships, they were used for exploration, pirating and combat. A Viking longship measured approximately 25-30 metres in length and could carry up to 60 men. Other types of boat used by Vikings were called Knarrs and Karves
Fun Fact 6: Gods were important part of Viking culture; the two main families of Viking Gods were the Aesir Family (sky gods) and the Vanir Family (earth Gods), the families were at war but eventually they made peace
Fun Fact 7: In Viking culture there were three main classes of people; the noblemen - called Jarls, average, free Vikings - called Karls, and the slaves - called Thralls
Fun Fact 8: Viking Homes (longhouse) were just one big room that had a central fireplace and a smoke hole in the ceiling, there may have been one or two windows but they had no glass in them and they were tiny. It was common for families and animals, including cows, goats and sheep to live in the Viking home together
Fun Fact 9: Vikings wrote with symbols that are called Runes. The word Rune means secret, and the runic alphabet is traditionally referred to as Futhark
Fun Fact 10: The economics of Viking life were based on a trade of precious metals. Metal 'Coins' did not have a monetary value as they do in our culture; they were valued by their metal and weight and were often melted to make ingots, jewellery or bullion
Fun Fact 11: In our Culture we often see Viking helmets depicted with wings, these did not exist in the Viking period. Helmets with horns did exist; only for religious ceremonies and not for warfare as sometimes portrayed. Warrior helmets were made of leather or metal, some Viking helmets were round, some slightly pointed and some helmets had eye guards and nose pieces
Fun Fact 12: Viking pastimes included; telling stories, riddles, singing songs and playing games. Hnefatafl was a strategic board game played by the Vikings. Chess became popular in the later part of the Viking age, it is believed that it may have been taught by Vikings who had returned from the Far East. Chess pieces were made from wood, clay, bone, ivory or whale teeth
Fun Fact 13: Christmas holidays actually have strong Viking roots; Vikings exchanged presents during their winter solstice, and they believed that gods flew through the air at night carrying gifts in a chariot - does this remind you of anyone?
Fun Fact 14: Life Expectancy; the life expectancy of a man was around 40 years of age, a woman lived to be around 35 years of age; it was common for Viking woman to die at a younger age because of problems during childbirth. It is estimated that 20% of children died before they were 5 years old and another 15% did not reach the age of 20
Fun Fact 15: When a Viking died they were either buried with some of their belongings (it was believed they would need them in the afterlife) or they were burned. Warrior heroes were set sail to the afterlife in their burning ships as part of a fire funeral ritual