Vikings Historian's View

Discover more about the history and legends that inspired VIKINGS.

Bet You Didn't Know: Vikings There's a lot more to these seafaring warriors than their famous longships.

Vikings History

From around A.D. 800 to the 11th century, a vast number of Scandinavians left their homelands to seek their fortunes elsewhere. These seafaring warriors–known collectively as Vikings or Norsemen (“Northmen”)–began by raiding coastal sites, especially undefended monasteries, in the British Isles. Over the next three centuries, they would leave their mark as pirates, raiders, traders and settlers on much of Britain and the European continent, as well as parts of modern-day Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Read More

Globetrotting Vikings

Globetrotting Vikings

Crusading to Jerusalem

Ushered in with raids on Christian monasteries, the Viking Age came to an unlikely close centuries later. Read More
Globetrotting Vikings

The Raiding of Ireland

Ireland has always been an enigmatic land, and it was no different for the Vikings who attempted to conquer it. Read More
Globetrotting Vikings

To the Gates of Paris

There was nothing romantic about the Vikings’ visits to Paris in the 9th century, but their journeys transformed an island market town into the capital of France. Read More
Globetrotting Vikings

The Quest for Constantinople

The Vikings coveted Constantinople but could never breach its walls. Only by becoming the personal bodyguards of the Byzantine emperor did the Nordic warriors grab a piece of its wealth. Read More

Viking Discoveries

Viking Burial

Viking Boat Burial Reveals its Secrets

Archaeologists have provided a glimpse into some of the mysteries a rare Viking burial reveals. Read More
Viking Longship

Navigational Tool Found

A discovery from the wreckage of a 16th-century ship may finally prove that legendary “sunstones” really existed. Read More
Viking arm ring

Viking-Era Ring Unearthed

A court announced its ruling that the discovery of a metal bracelet was in fact a rare artifact--a Viking arm ring from the 10th century. Read More
Viking sword

Hiker Discovers 1,200-Year-Old Viking Sword

Viking sword blade dating back more than 1,200 years was found in Norway. Read More
Viking burial

Chief Buried in Boat Found

The first intact Viking boat burial site to be found on the British mainland was discovered recently in Scotland. Read More

The name Viking came from the Scandinavians themselves, from the Old Norse word "vik" (bay or creek) which formed the root of "vikingr" (pirate).

Viking Myths, Legends and Truths

Viking helmet

Horned Helmets

Yes, the Vikings probably sported headgear when they marched into battle, but there’s no reason to believe it was festooned with horns. Read More
Minnesota Capitol

Minnesota Vikings

Scandinavian roots run deep in Minnesota, and so does the belief that the first Vikings in the state were not from the NFL. Read More
Viking crystal navigation tool

Did Vikings Use Crystals to Navigate?

New research suggests that these mythic “sunstones” may be more than the stuff of legend. Read More
Viking teeth

Did Warriors Bare Groovy Teeth?

Viking warriors raiding their way through Britain may have filed patterns into their teeth to intimidate their enemies. Read More

How did religion factor into the lives and routines of the real Vikings? Historians and scholars assess the Vikings' gods and their impact.

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Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen Mystery

Like magical creatures from Norse mythology, the Lewis Chessmen seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Read More
Erik the Red

6 Viking Leaders You Should Know

The Viking Age, from the late-eigth century to the 11th century, produced pioneering explorers such as Erik the Red, Cnut and Rollo. Read More
Viking sagas

6 Things We Owe to the Vikings

Explore just a few of the things we owe to these ancient Norsemen, from the words we speak to the combs we use in our hair. Read More
Vikings infographic


Explore the world of Odin, Thor and Loki. Find out about the gods and mythology of Viking culture. Read More

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Leif Eriksson

The Viking Explorer Who Beat Columbus to America

Nearly 500 years before the birth of Christopher Columbus, a band of European sailors left their homeland behind in search of a new world. Read More

10 Things You May Not Know About the Vikings

Vikings used a unique liquid to start fires and were known for their excellent hygiene. Read More
Vikings, Iceland, Norse Mythology

First Viking Temple in 1,000 Years Coming to Iceland

Plans are under way to build the country’s first shrine to the ancient Norse gods since Iceland converted to Christianity more than a millennium ago. Read More