Vikings: History Channel Goes Beyond The Beards

I’m sure many of you have heard about the History Channel’s new show “The Bible”, but do any of you stick around for the extra hour to watch the other new show “Vikings”?  I have found this site to be pretty interesting.  This time period is really a mystery to me; however, I have always been curious about the viking people.  This show has certainly helped me see some of the aspects of Viking society, feudalism, and women in combat.

Certainly, I imagined the Vikings as a brutal society, which I think the show demonstrates pretty clearly with their battle techniques.  The show also demonstrates a system of justice, that people may not generally associate with barbarians.  However, I guess it just goes to show you that history is complex.

The ceremony of becoming a man, and traveling to the city I found very interesting.  As the young boys pledged loyalty to the king by kissing salt and earth, they must then kiss the wife of the earl.  I am curious about 1) Is this the actual ceremony?  2) What is the significance behind kissing the wife?  I wonder if kissing the earl’s wife was to inspire lust, or was it simply to further the bind these young vikings to their feudal master?

I was skeptical about one thing, and that was the combat role of Lathgertha.  I noticed that on one of the previews for a new episode that Lathgertha was actually in the fighting with her husband.  I did some research and found out that she was a shieldmaiden.  This meant that she held the qualities of courage and bravery to the extreme point that it allowed her to fight alongside the men.1  So I think my question has been answered.  The sites I was reading over also suggests that the marriage between Ragnar and Lathgertha was not has happy as the show says.  Apparently Ragnar was annoyed that his wife — before marriage — set two animals to fight him.   How romantic?

That being said, I am sure the show has taken more liberties to make this show 1) More appropriate 2) Better flowing.

All this being said, if you have freetime at 10pm on Sunday nights, turn on the history channel and check out this show.  It certainly seems thoroughly put together, and provides a fun narrative on a mystifying group of people.

– Phil


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Christian, Lover of History, Aspiring Teacher

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Posted in Some Simple Rants On History, Stories Of Events, Thoughts from Other Historians, Uncategorized

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