Okay, the headline on this post is an exaggeration, (a) because I have no idea what you know about Vikings, and (b) because everyone probably knows one thing about the Vikings that’s true (even if the only thing you know is that the Vikings are an NFL team in Minnesota). I just wanted to get your attention.
But based on this article that BadWolf sent me, even though not everything we know about Vikings is wrong, we seem to be off-base on a lot of things. For example, it appears that Vikings were metrosexuals. Instead of being filthy, bestial barbarians, several archaeological finds have revealed evidence that cleanliness meant a lot to the Vikings, with the discovery of tweezers, combs, nail cleaners, ear cleaners, and toothpicks from the Viking Age. And then there’s this statement about the Vikings in a chronicle by a Brit named John of Wallingford in the year 1220:
”They had also conquered, or planned to conquer, all the country’s best cities and caused many hardships for the country’s original citizens, for they were – according to their country’s customs – in the habit of combing their hair every day, to bathe every Saturday, to change their clothes frequently and to draw attention to themselves by means of many such frivolous whims. In this way, they sieged the married women’s virtue and persuaded the daughters of even noble men to become their mistresses.”
According to Louise Kæmpe Henriksen, a curator at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, picture sources show that the Vikings had well-groomed beards and hair. “The men had long fringes and short hair on the back of the head,” she says, adding that “the beard could be short or long, but it was always well-groomed. Further down on the neck, the skin was shaved.”
Fuck, Viking mullets?!?
All this is really disappointing to me, and undoubtedly to many other metalheads for whom Vikings are an iconic representation of Scandinavian metal, as well as barbaric metal generally. I may not be able to think of Amon Amarth the same way again.
But it gets worse . . .