The Vikings were vain womanizers

The Vikings were vain womanizers

The Scandinavians were the cleanest in Europe

The Vikings always wanted to look good. Even their months-long raids didn’t stand in the way of that.

In 907, the Swedish Vikings made a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire after decades of skirmishes.

This granted the Scandinavians, among other things, unlimited access to the baths when their tall ships docked in the ports of the empire.

14 years later, the Arab envoy Ibn Fadlan encountered a group of Viking merchants on the Volga River.

The Arab noticed that a slave girl brought a bowl of water every morning.

She gave it to her master, who washed and combed his hair in the bowl. Then he blew his nose and spit in it.

When the man finished, the servant girl passed by with the bowl of water and the other men did the same.

Ibn Fadlan thought them dirty and called the Scandinavians “the dirtiest of God’s creatures”.

As a Muslim, he used to wash himself with clean water five times a day before praying.

But the daily bathing of the Vikings was unique in Europe: most people bathed once or twice a year.

Women love Viking men

When the Danish Vikings invaded and settled the British Isles in the late 9th century, the Anglo-Saxons quickly noticed that their warriors were too vain.

For example, the Monk John of Wallingford states in his chronicle about the year 1200 that the Danes “have a habit, according to the customs of their country, of combing their hair every day, bathing every Saturday, changing their clothes often, and taking care to establish themselves by such absurdities.”

The vanity of the Danes was not well received and, according to the chronicler, led to “many quarrels and wars in the land”.

Angry Anglo-Saxons even complained to their king about fair Vikings – especially since Anglo-Saxon women found well-groomed Norse fiercely attractive.

Wallingford said they “violated the virtue of married women and even persuaded the daughters of eminent men to become their mistresses”.

The Danish Vikings in England weren’t the only ones who paid attention to their appearance.

Finds show that beauty was also important to the Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic Vikings.

For example, countless nail cleaners, toothpicks, and tweezers have been recovered from Viking graves throughout Scandinavia. Probably every Viking possessed these kinds of traits.

As long as your hair is beautiful

Combs made of bone or wood are often excavated from the Viking Age. The Vikings kept them in chests to protect the teeth, so they were probably very valuable.

The Scandinavians were very interested in their hair. Some even bleached them with strong soaps.

And for a while, fashion described a sort of “upside down rug,” with long bangs and short hair at the back of the head. This hairstyle is mentioned in an Old English letter in which a man urges his brother to follow Anglo-Saxon customs and not indulge in “Danish fashion”.

A self-respecting Viking had to take care of his beard. The wood carvings depict everything from full beards to mustaches and goats. In any case, all this facial hair has been carefully brushed and combed.

The neat haircut and freshly washed body also included clean, naturally beautiful clothes.

He was a 10th-century Persian explorer who was amazed at the high quality of Norse clothing.

The Arab writer Ibn Rustah reported around 1000 that the Vikings wore clean clothes and walked nicely.

Just like now, fashion was changeable and local. In a certain period, for example, red or blue baggy pants were hip.

Vikings also liked to show off the luxuries that adorned clothing, such as silk trimmings and threads of silver and gold.

Bracelets, necklaces and amulets also add to the beautiful Viking look, especially if they are made of gold or amber.

Mutilating someone was a criminal offense

The Vikings’ vanity was such an obsession in the eyes of their contemporaries that the Norse even passed laws to protect personal hygiene.

According to the code of medieval Icelandic law Gray ash Is it a criminal offense to throw dirt at another person to show off?

The same was true if a Viking man was driven to “water, urine, food, or mud” for whatever reason.

However, a few hundred years after the Viking Age, hygiene again fell out of fashion in Scandinavia. And around the year 1500, European physicians began spreading the idea that water could cause plague.

This theory has persisted for nearly 300 years. But the clean and well-dressed Scandinavian did not completely die out: in the upper classes, beautiful hairstyles, cosmetics and fashionable clothes remained in vogue.

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