In 2013, the History Channel released the epic series “Vikings”. And though the History Channel was behind this production, some viewers didn’t know if they could take everything in the series at face value. One thing that struck viewers as odd was that the Viking characters wore eyeliner. The interesting thing is that this was not a stretch of the imagination. The Vikings indeed donned eyeliner.
As they lived almost 1000 years ago, naturally, their eyeliner wasn’t the same as contemporary eyeliner. Theirs was made from lead and oxidized copper. While the characters really looked striking with their smoky eyes, they didn’t wear it for aesthetic purposes. Rather, they used it to protect their eyes from the sun. But it was made of lead, meaning long-term, it was harmful.
Kittens to Brides
It might seem strange to present a bride with a kitten as a wedding gift, but then again, you’re not a Viking. If you were a Viking, giving a new bride a kitten would be absolutely normal. A kitten was considered necessary in helping a bride set up her new home. We know, for one thing, a home would be a lot more comfortable if there weren’t loads of rodents and pests running around, so we definitely see the Vikings' need for cats.
Vikings also associated kittens with Freyja, who was the goddess of marriage and love. Though Vikings may seem like hardened warriors to us in the modern world, we have to admit the importance of cats in their society showed they were softies in their own way.
Before the recent pandemic, the Louvre received roughly 7.5 million visitors a year. You might ask, what does this famous museum have to do with Viking history? While this museum is one of the most famous, it is also one of the oldest. In fact, its history starts with the Vikings. In 1190, during the reign of Philip Augustus the Louvre castle was built.
The reason behind the castle’s construction was to protect Paris against a Viking invasion. Of course, the French had plenty of reason to be worried, as Vikings were a constant menace. Interestingly, the castle was built right at the end of the Viking Age. Later in the 16th century, the castle was demolished and turned into the world-famous museum it is now.
You’ve probably heard the legend about Viking berserkers. The good news about these ferocious warriors is that it’s 100% true. If you haven’t heard about the Viking berserkers, you’re unlikely to forget them. Though the Vikings made incredible warriors, the berserkers were in a class of their own. According to Viking legends, these warriors went into battle in a state of blind fury where they just demolished whatever crossed their paths. Good luck to their enemies.
They even went into battle without armor. Maybe it’s because these warriors consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms or a large quantity of alcohol before going into battle. Bewildered state or not, these warriors went “berserk” in battle. Their legacy today lives on as it was from this class of warriors that the word “berserk” was coined.
A Fan of Cats
For cat lovers, it might surprise you to hear that the Vikings were cat lovers, too. Actually, it might not surprise you at all because you know cats are awesome. Apparently, the Vikings thought so too. Dog lovers don’t need to get defensive because this warring nation was keen on dogs, too, as they even took dogs with them to battle. But cats were still their favorite pets. As Vikings were typically farmers, cats took care of rodents and pests.
They needed them to make sure their crops survived. No wonder these formidable warriors thought cats were good luck. Cats were also treasured in Viking society because they believed their feline friends could see ghosts. We’re not exactly sure if that’s lucky – but the Vikings apparently thought so.