Home Svenska
Home Boundless meetings Family and hierarchy 08: A hard life with room for caring 09: Ambátt and þræll 10: Inequality before the law 11: Exchange of ideas, goods and services 12: Women’s graves reflect complex roles 13: Warriors were highly valued 14: Only half lived past the age of ten 15: The young were buried dressed as adults 16: The key – a symbol of responsibility 17: Most men were farmers 18: Power and wealth were put on display Midgard Belief and traditions The living and the dead Divine craftwork Trading and raiding Waterways Town-like centres Christian monuments Svenska

Most men were farmers

In the Old Norse sagas the idealised image of a man involved war, hunting and riding. But most free men were not warriors, they were farmers.

In everyday life the only weapon they needed was a knife or an axe, which were also important as tools. It is unlikely that many men owned their own horse. Weapons and horse equipment are fairly unusual grave finds.

It was the free men who had the right to bear arms. And – like certain free women – they had the right to make their voice and that of their family heard at the thing, a gathering for making laws, administering justice and carrying out administration. But no one was allowed to come armed to the thing.

The male ideal also included paying attention to one’s appearance. The men’s beards would be well-groomed and round the waist they might wear a belt, finely ornamented with bronze details.

A man who owned a farm represented his family and was expected to defend their honour and reputation.

Show more

Belt

  Belt

Ring brooch

  Ring brooch

Ring brooch

  Ring brooch

Axe

  Axe

Knife

  Knife

Knife

  Knife

Knife

  Knife

Comb with comb case

  Comb with comb case

Pendant

  Pendant