Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vikings Valued Personal Cleanliness

Historians have studied the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry for details.

Vikings are often thought to be filthy, roughhewn warriors, but the contrary seems to be closer to the truth ~ some were borderline fastidious. 
“Several archaeological finds have revealed tweezers, combs, nail cleaners, ear cleaners and toothpicks from the Viking Age," says Louise K√¶mpe Henriksen, a curator at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.
According to ScienceNordic.com:
The finds suggest that cleanliness meant a lot to the Vikings. Written sources from medieval England also back up this view. In his chronicle from 1220 – a couple of centuries after the Vikings had ravaged England – John of Wallingford described the Vikings as well-groomed heartbreakers: 
”They had also conquered, or planned to conquer, all the country’s best cities and caused many hardships for the country’s original citizens, for they were – according to their country’s customs – in the habit of combing their hair every day, to bathe every Saturday, to change their clothes frequently and to draw attention to themselves by means of many such frivolous whims. In this way, they sieged the married women’s virtue and persuaded the daughters of even noble men to become their mistresses,” wrote Wallingford.
Cleanliness was one of five discussions ScienceNordic.com has presented to refute the top five popular myths regarding Vikings. Others include that Vikings wore horned helmets, looked like we do today, wore clothing admired throughout the world, and were scarred by battle wounds.

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