Did the Vikings shave?
Hey there! First of all, we would like to thank you all again. It has been a busy week and our club just keeps growing, great!
In this blog, we want to concentrate on a very commonly asked question regarding our club’s name, which is “Did the Vikings shave?”. In short, the answer to this is quite dull: Some of them did and some did not. There are a lot of myths and stereotypic images of Vikings that have been built by Hollywood and the popular culture. “Vikings” TV-series has produced lots and lots of dollars to the film industry with that image. Do we think it is wrong? Nope. The Vikings are cool the way most of us think (with beard), and we think so too. But it is still interesting to dig a little bit deeper into the myth about Vikings.
According to Marion Dowd (2010), the Vikings had various styles of beards. They liked them trimmed, plaited, long or forked. This is actually a very common argument and you can find similar facts from other sources as well. In fact, we also found an awesome website called viking-mythology.com/ which breaks myths around Vikings. One myth that this website breaks, is that Vikings were dirty and “wild looking”-people. This page argues that the Vikings were in fact “quite vain” about their looks. Razors, combs and tweezers among other similar items were some of the most frequent artifacts found from Viking-age excavations.
Another fun fact we found is that back when the Vikings were habited in England (also in Ireland and the rest of the Europe), the Vikings were especially known for their cleanliness. This is because they had a tradition to bath and clean themselves once a week, which was on Saturday. In the Scandinavian countries the word “Saturday” is called lördag, lørdag, laurdag or laugardagur. The first part of it derives from the old Viking-age word laugr/laug so Saturday basically means "bathday" in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. After finding this, we would not be surprised if they also used some kind of early aftershave fragrances.
Another website that supports this fact is sciencenordic.com. Findings from Norway’s burials (Oseberg ship burial mound in Norway) supports the fact that Vikings were actually very well groomed. Shaving your head in the way Ragnar Lothbrok (actor: Travis Fimmel) or Halfdan the Black (actor: Jasper Pääkkönen) do in the Vikings-series was also pretty common. This would make sense because too much hair was also on your way in battle and helmets fit better if your head was correctly shaven, especially from the back of your head.
“Did the Vikings shave” is quite a broad topic and one short blog post is not enough to cover it completely. We could use millions of dollars or euros (like people spend on branded razors at retail stores) to research this topic furthermore, but instead we will concentrate in constantly making our club and the razors better. Do not worry though, we will continue discussing this later in our next blog post. We will also let you know more about our future plans, so stay tuned!
-Sami M. & Jiri H.
Founders of Viking Shave Club