10 Curiosities about the Viking Horn | What was it used for?

The Viking horn is one of the most known and iconic tools of the Vikings. It is common to see, in movies, how these fierce warriors used horns to drink after their intense sea voyages, as an instrument (either to announce battles or victories) or as an ornament on their helmets, in order to instill terror in the enemy.

But, although the Viking Horn is one of the most recognizable aspects of these northern inhabitants, not everything that has come down to us from history is true. Also, there are other curiosities about this instrument and its uses that are not as well known. In fact, there are even legendary and legendary horns ...

10 Curiosities about the Viking Horn | What was it used for?

1. Those demonized Vikings ...

Horn Viking helmet

When we think of a Viking horn, surely the first thing that comes to mind is helmets of these fierce warriors, decorated with a horn on each side. Well, nothing is further from the truth. It is not documented that the Vikings used the horns for that purpose (in fact, it would be terribly uncomfortable), with what is surely a matter of their victims, who associated the northerners with the demons and added two horns of pure panic.

2. Vintage aerophones

One of the most widespread uses of the horns (not only by the Vikings) is that of aerophone. These instruments were built with animal horns (like bulls), although in the times of the Vikings they used other types of materials, such as wood, since it was not easy to find animals with that type of antlers. They were used both to give orders in battles and to mark the beginning of a banquet (this is a tradition in Kentucky, in the United States).

3. Gjallarhorn, the mythical horn

Viking Horn blowing

Gjallarhorn is a horn that is mentioned twice in Viking mythology. At the first mention, the god Heimdallr uses it to drink water from a source and become a sage. Later, Heimdallr is again mentioned as the master of a mythical horn, Gjallarhorn, who will blow hard to indicate the beginning of Ragnarök . Thus, the two main uses of the Viking horn are evident, for blowing and for drinking.

4. Gjallarhorn and the modern Vikings

Continuing with this legendary horn, the Minnesota Vikings football team not only has its name in reference to the inhabitants of the North , but also his anthem ("Skol, Vikings", something like "Health, Vikings"), the logo and even your pet. The Vikings, moreover, have the curious habit of sounding their own Gjallarhorn before games, in practice, or by scoring a touchdown.

5. The Viking horn as a vessel

Viking Horn drinking

The other great use of the Viking horn is as an instrument to drink, whether at banquets, at home or even at funerals. According to the archaeological remains, this type of glasses were used very much in the times of the Vikings and were built with goat horns or other materials, which were part of one of the foundations of the Viking culture: drinking.

6. That time Thor can not finish the drink

Legend has it that, once, Thor and Loki traveled together and ended up in the house of the king of the giants, Utgard-Loki. The king laughs at them because of his small stature, and Thor agrees to prove that size does not matter in a drink contest. The giants bring him a giant horn full of drink that Thor can not finish. Even so, the king of the giants is impressed, since the horn was tricked and contained all the sea water that Thor almost ended in three drinks.

7. Bragarfull, the horn of promise

The bragarfull, or horn of promise, is a special vessel (sometimes it could also be a glass or a cup) with which oaths were made on special occasions. Normally, the head of the meeting took an oath, drank of horn and the rest of the assistants continued drinking from the same horn. Thus, a pact of loyalty was forged. The name, although it is not clear, could refer to Bragi, the Viking god of poetry.

8. The golden horns of Gallehus

These two impressive gold horns are among the most important archaeological treasures in Denmark. A seamstress found them by chance, and their story is fascinating: made of gold and decorated with runic inscriptions and drawings, it is believed that they were used as a vase in antiquity. Currently only one copy of the horns is kept, since the originals were stolen and fused.

9. The amazing stone of Snoldelev

This stone, which can be found in Copenhagen , is a sample that the Viking horn can not only be used for drinking or touching, but also for writing. One of the runes of this stone dating from the Viking era consists of three intertwined horns, which have been compared with, among other theories, a valknut or knot of death, an ancient Nordic symbol consisting of three intertwined triangles.

10. Good, beautiful and cheap unicorn horns

For 500 years, nobody but the Vikings had what it takes to get closer to Greenland . In that frozen paradise, the warriors found something that would give them a good deal: narwhal tooth, the unicorn of the sea. Knowing that it would be very difficult for someone to discover the thymus, the Vikings sold this part of the poor narwhals at a price of gold to numerous European merchants and princes, who believed that it was the mythical creatures

The Viking Horn is not just an instrument to blow or drink, but it has a very interesting cultural heritage , and that allows us, today, to know the goings-on of yesterday. Tell us, did you like this list? Do you know anything else about the horn that we have forgotten? Remember you can leave us a comment!

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