Thursday, April 7, 2016

What Did The Viking Horn Represent - If There Was Such A Thing?

Horned Vikings are seen in movies, television films and popular culture as great warriors and powerful combatants fighting for fame, glory and honor. Some of the most popular Viking personalities in modern times includes Thor from the Marvel comic books, the Minnesota Vikings football team from the NFL and Erik the Red. While image of the horned Viking is exciting, appealing and hardcore; it is historically inaccurate. The ancient Viking people didn’t wear horned helmets. However, there are reasons as to why they’re portrayed in this manner. 

The Scourge of Northern Europe

The Vikings were a settled people that were mostly farmers and craftsmen. Some of the Vikings did venture out from their tribes and villages to go “Viking” or raiding. The term “Viking” is simply an ancient Norse word for raiding. The fact is that only a small group of Norsemen are Vikings because the vast majority of the people did not go plunder and raiding lands. 

A few Vikings created the fierce reputation of the Norse people. Most outside groups who were not familiar with the Vikings only knew them to be raiders and plunderers. They did not stop and think that the Vikings they encountered during raids were only a small percentage of the Viking tribes. So, when the Vikings were out raiding people began to conjure up images of them. One way that many people saw the Vikings were as horned warriors from the sea. 

The original Vikings did not wear horns on their heads; instead some of them wore feathered wings. These wings resembled horns if a person did not observe them closely. When some of the foreign people saw the Viking wings they believed that the Norsemen were fearsome horned warriors ready for battle. 

Christianity and Vikings

Keep in mind that this image of the Vikings was also being perpetuated by other groups as well. Christianity was spreading rapidly throughout Europe during the time of the Vikings. Most of the Vikings were not fond of Christianity. They made it a point to raid and plunder churches and monasteries. They also eliminated many monks, priests, nuns and other clergy. Church people from that time revealed the Vikings to be nothing but savages. They sometimes reported these plunderers as horned demons or devils. This too helped to form the Viking’s association with horned helmets. 

The Truth about Horned Viking Helmets

Throughout the years many Scandinavian artists like Sweden’s Gustav Malstrom added horns to the helmets of romanticized Viking warriors that he created in his works. Greek and Roman texts which predate the Vikings have also told tales of horned barbarian warriors that roamed throughout the northern unexplored regions of Europe. These depictions of barbarians also influence how Vikings are perceived today. 

Historical evidence proves that Viking helmets were smooth and round without any horns. Very few if any Vikings work feathers in their helmets. The Vikings of today are portrayed to look more appealing and terrifying with the horned helmet. However, the Vikings of the past probably would not associate this look with their style or culture. 


  1. This is a nice read on Norse God and I thought Odin of Asgard is the main culprit why there is this horned helmet. You do not need a wide range of essay services to buy just to know this Viking stuff, all you have to do is to use your laptop and surf the net. There are a lot of resources regarding this matter, effective research will hand you the best essay yet.

  2. This is actually a nice piece of information. We are used to seeing Viking characters wearing helmets with horn. At least now we know the truth behind it, something worth sharing via smart essay writing help history section.