When I was a child I was told that the Vikings were warriors. They were brutal warriors, rapists, and plunders. And yes, the Viking age was a warrior culture, written sources from the Christian world outside tell us so. The artifacts also give us a lot of knowledge. But only about 10 % of the “Vikings” were warriors. Most people of the Viking age were farmers, fishermen and crafters. Many were traders of all the fish and crafts from all over Scandinavia. And in the discussion of our proud culture it is often forgotten that many of the Vikings were women!
Maybe some of the women also participated in warfare.
We know about the Valkyrie. This warrior woman is depicted in figurines and on the Oseberg tapestry. She is often shown with long dress and shield.
Back then it was only one of the sons that took over the farm. Daughters were married into another family and lived with them. So the sons without a farm had to get silver enough to build their own farm. Plundering was only one of the ways to get the silver. Another could be from the dowries from their new wife´s families. And yet another way was to be a fisher, a crafter or a trader.
In this book I will show some outfits for men especially. I have one dress for women too.
The textile remains of warriors’ equipment are rare in Scandinavia. No gambeson has ever been found. It is described in the sagas as a thick, maybe 1 cm, outfit with up to 30 layer of textile, linen on the surface, wool inside. We don’t know if they looked like the Roman ones. I have taken the freedom to “play” a little with the padding pattern but do not claim that my input is how it was. I think we can have quite free hands on that subject.
I have also included leather tunics and trousers. Leather is rarely found from the Viking age, but I’m convinced that they all had it. Leather is much less time consuming to produce than fabric, and it is of cause perfect on the sea, and for some protection against cuts in battle.
A short instruction for tanning skin for clothing is in the first chapter.
I will thank Kim Hjardar for the good foreword.
Thank you to Espen Winther for inspiration and fantastic photos. You are the best.
And thank you to my model Loui Bybjerg-Christiansen. You are just beautiful.
Árs ok Friðar