All posts by MVargic


Did the Vikings Really Wear Horned Helmets?

We always imagine the Vikings as fierce nordic warriors, equipped with heavy iron axes and wearing the unmistakable  horned helmets. However, no historical evidence suggests that the Vikings actually used such helmets in combat.

File:Leif Ericson on the shore of Vinland.gif

Leif Eriksson on the shore of newly discovered Vinland(Newfoundland)

The practice of burying the dead war heroes with their weapons and armor has left modern archaeologists with plenty of evidence about the Viking culture and lifestyle. However, only few horned helmets have been ever found in Viking burial mounds.

Historical sources suggest, that priests among the Celtic and Norse peoples did wear helmets equipped with horns (sometimes also with wings), during the most of religious ceremonies, however, they were never used in combat. The modern image of Viking in a horned helmet dates back to the century, when people like Gustav Malmström and Richard Wagner included the horned headgear in their works for the first time.

Painting of a Viking ship

No sane Viking warrior would ever wear a horned helmet in battle – they weren’t that stupid. Helmets with horns would be very impractical in combat, likely ending entangled in a tree branches or embedded in a shield. In addition, enemies could use the horns as a great handhold while slitting the Viking warrior’s throat.



Was The Forbidden Fruit Really An Apple?

Despite the large number of artistic depictions, cartoons and the widely accepted tradition, the Bible does not say anything about the forbidden fruit being an apple. Quoting the Genesis: The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.””’. However, no one exactly knows why was an apple later chosen to represent the forbidden fruit. Author of this passage in the Bible surely did not mean an apple tree; there were no apple trees in the Middle East at the time the Genesis was written.

Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer (1507)

According to orthodox biblical studies, it was much more likely to be a fig tree. It was widespread in the Middle East at the biblical times, and in addition, Adam and Eve even used fig leaves to cover their private parts right after the ingestion of the forbidden fruit.

Apparently, apples got to this story via celtic and ancient Greek myths and legends. Apple, being an ancient symbol of sex and fertility, could have easily earned the reputation of ”forbidden fruit” in the eyes of early Christians.