I grabbed a historical novel in an attempt to keep from reading my own books the other day. One, I should not read historical based novels, two, I should NEVER read a historical fiction novel where I cannot directly talk to the writer.
Technically, my education is not in writing, it’s in history this makes me a historian not a writer by definition. This doesn’t mean I’m not a writer, it just means I identify myself more as a historian than I do writer when I talk about my education. I wanted to get a degree in early civilizations and archaeology originally but I hate to be dirty and one high school year of anthropology/archaeology made me realize I was never going to be an archaeologist. We did a mock dig. It was awful. First we had to dig pits to bury our artifacts in and then we had to dig up the pit of the other team in class and analyze it. I do not enjoy digging in dirt. I don’t enjoy sitting on the ground. I hate mud. I hate insects. I don’t like wind. I don’t like rain. I don’t like sand. So any thoughts of becoming an archaeologist went away with that one project. Which is probably for the better.
I still love early civilization stuff and history so I got a history degree instead of archaeology, anthropology, or early civilization degrees (this still requires one to know a great deal about archaeological method and anthropology and I was definitely out of love with both of them). Graduating from college didn’t stop me from studying history, it just made it easier to study the parts of history I wanted to study and ignore the stuff I didn’t.
This was about a book. So chapter two of this book has them breaking out horned Viking helmets. I was fairly sure the wildly inaccurate soap opera Vikings that airs on History Channel had dealt with this by removing Viking helmets from existence. I’ve only seen 3 episodes but there wasn’t a horned helmet in the lot… Actually, there wasn’t any helmets in the episodes I watched, which is also wrong for the culture.
The Vikings did wear helmets, clunky iron Helmets that were the precursors to medieval armor helmets. They were heavy, uncomfortable, and awful from what I could tell. However, they didn’t have horns on them. Probably for practical reasons, imagine twenty Vikings running around a long boat with horns on their heads. However, I’m not even sure that having horns on their helmet would have made Vikings scarier. Because let’s face it, Vikings were brutal and blood thirsty and most of them would qualify as serial killers in soldier’s garb… Horns weren’t necessary. They were probably invented by the church later on to associate Vikings with demons because that’s about the only thing it would have been good for at any time.