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Viking Beliefs and Stories

The Vikings were great story-tellers. Families often spent the long, winter evenings sitting around the fire telling old stories and making up new ones. Not many Vikings knew how to write anything down, however. This meant that they had to learn their stories by heart and then pass them on from one generation to the next. Many of the stories were legends based on the adventures of Viking gods.

The Vikings worshipped many different gods, but there were three that were especially important:
  • Odin was the ruler of the gods, and the god of knowledge and war;
  • Freyja was goddess of love and fertility, and wept golden tears when she was unhappy;
  • Thor ruled the: skies, storms and thunder and he had: iron gloves, a magic belt and a hammer.
They believed that a warrior killed in battle would go to Valhalla - a great hall where dead heroes feasted at long tables. Some chiefs were given ship-burials, with: treasure, weapons and favourite dogs buried with them to help them on their journey to Valhalla.

The Viking alphabet was called the futhark after its first seven letters. All runes (letters) are made up of straight lines because they were designed to be cut into: wood metal or stone. It takes a long time to carve runes, so they were only used for short messages, such as on memorials.