Vikings 101

Vikings Homeland and Life at Home


More than just vicious warriors that spend there time terriorizing the people of Europe, Vikings had a simple life at home. Life in the Viking homeland was a huge challenge. The region and it's climate was very harsh and unforgiving which made the Vikings need to adapt to survive.

Where did the Vikings live?

The Viking's homeland was located in Scandinavia. Scandinavia is an area that consists of three countries, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Their climate was bitterly cold with long winters and short planting seasons. Their cattle often died from starvation or cold weather. The terrain for the Vikings weren’t that great either with lots of high mountains, many inlets and bogs.

What were the Vikings social roles?

There were many different social roles for the Vikings. The social classes where the Jarls who where the wealthy ones and often powerful nobles. Also there where Karls who were farmers or craftsmen many of which included silversmiths, boat builders and merchants. They were free people but paid tax to the Jarls. There was the Thralls as well but they where slaves or prisoners who did a lot of the hard word. They had no rights under the law, but they where generally treated well. The jobs include farmer, which was most of the popularity. Merchants, who traded goods by sailing to Europe. Also warriors, who raided the other countries but still harvested crops. There was the boat builders as well who spent most of their life building longboats and the wives and children who stayed at home the most of the time doing housework.

What was the Viking homeland and home life like?

Vikings were Norse people who lived in Scandinavia, a barren land that had short summers and even shorter days. Bitterly cold and hard to grow crops or raise livestock, life as a Viking was a struggle to survive. Vikings houses where called longhouses. They were mainly dark, dirty places with a dirt floor and no windows.

What was the Vikings diet consist of?

The Viking's diet was very simple. It heavily consisted of meat and fish. Meats included common livestock such as cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats and hens. Occasionally game and wild birds would also be eaten. The meats would be cooked by boiling, in the large clay bowls that they hung over the fire and tender meat was grilled on spears. The meat was preserved by smoking, drying and salting to allow enough food to last them through the long winter.

The Vikings also ate thin, pancake bread. The bread was made from barley, wheat and most commonly, rye.

They made cheese from the cows and goats and grew there own vegetables. Fruit though, had to be gathered or imported. They drank beer brewed from barley, mead (a drink made from fermented honey and water) and a popular Viking Age drink, Bjorr (strong tasting liquid made from fermented juice).


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