Here are five fun facts I learned about Vikings:
1. The only Vikings who wear horns on their helmets are the ones in cartoons or operas. The rest of them wore streamlined, horn-free helmets. Note: the lack of horns didn’t make them look any less ferocious.
2. We’re not sure why, but some of them carved deep grooves in their front teeth (ouch!) If you’re considering replicating this Viking dental technique–don’t do it! The carved teeth on the Viking skull at the museum show this fad to be less attractive than it sounds. Plus, flossing all those horizontal grooves would require a huge time committment.
3. Vikings were governed by an assembly of free people called…wait for it!…The Thing. I love the idea of calling it The Thing. You’d never forget the name! (“What’s the name of that thing?” “The Thing.”) The Thing took place at The Place. Just kidding! The Thing met at The Thingstead, which is actually a pretty cool name, too.
4. The first European born in North America was a baby Viking named Snorri Thorfinnsson, son of Gudred the Traveller. Little Snorri was born around 1005 in Vinland (thought to be present day Newfoundland). The next European baby to born in North America wouldn’t arrive for about five hundred years.
5. Vikings are wildly popular with modern-day Canadians. Both the movie and the exhibit were packed with non-Viking types soaking up the information.