QuickCheck: Did Vikings wear horned helmets?

THERE is a common trope in entertainment media, from comics and computer games to movies, that Vikings wore horned helmets.

Did they really wear such headgear?



While Vikings are depicted in popular culture wearing horned helmets, there is no evidence that they did.

In Viking age depictions — dating between the eighth and 11th centuries — the Scandinavian warriors appear either bareheaded or clad in simple helmets likely made of either iron or leather.

A modern reconstruction of one can be seen in the picture above.

Vikings were first depicted wearing such headgear by the Germans in 1870s who were trying to get adopy Viking mythology into their own ancestral myths.

German painter, illustrator and costume designer Carl Emil Doepler designed horned helmets for the first production of Wagner’s opera Der Ring des Nibelungen in 1876.

Though the opera is set in Germany, and not Scandinavia, it is credited as inspiring the myth.

Since then, there have been various depictions of the Norse warriors with their anachronistic headgear in both film and print with even a an American football team, the Minnesota Vikings adopting it as part of their logo.