Viking Farm Life: Toil, Tear, Sweat for the Future

One of the Viking facts that the media is yet to tell us is that the majority of the Vikings were the farmers. They were only the part-time raiders who went on the voyage and joined war occasionally. The Vikings, in fact, spent most of their time on the farm with agriculture and cattle. But the Viking farm life was not lovely and easy. To run a Viking farm, the Vikings had to sacrifice their blood, tear, and sweat to gain the good days of the future.

What Viking Farm Life Was Like?

As I mention above, the Viking farm life was full of hardships and toil. The Vikings had to work nearly every day to make sure nothing bad would happen to their crop. Their life and family’s survival often depended on the fruit of the crop.

Viking farm life. The life on the Viking farm was full of hardships and toils
Viking farm life was full of hardships and toils. The Vikings had to pray a lot for the protection of the gods. Because a sudden storm could sweep away their hope of survival. 

The Viking farms were commonly small and isolated. But there were groups of people grouping together to build their farm and worked together. They might be the kinsmen or sworn brothers and sisters. The farms of the wealthy were far bigger and contained more slaves to work for them.

The slaves would usually do the hardest task, the most backbreaking deed on the farm.

The Vikings raised many types of cattle, for example cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, duck, chickens. Their crops were full of vegetables and herbs as the Vikings loved to eat greens. They grew cabbages, onions, garlic, leeks, turnips, etc.

The reconstruction of the Viking house on the Viking farm
The reconstruction of the Viking house on the Viking farm. 

Winter on the farm

The winter in Scandinavian nations were famous for its coldness and dreadfulness. The harsh weather restricted the Vikings working on their farms. Most of time, they would stay at home. So how could they get the food? Preservation was the answer.

During the year of working, they would have to preserve for the winter. And the process of preservation was not only for their family but also the the cattle. They had to store the food beforehand on their special parts of their houses to prevent it from rotting.

Gender roles

The Viking men played the main part on the farm. While the Viking women would work within the threshold like cleaning the house and cooking the meals, the men would go out and cultivate on the farm.

But when the men were absent, going on a raid for example, the Viking women would take the responsibility and run the whole farm by themselves.

Viking life on the farm was very hectic. They did their work every day and the majority of the Vikings were the farmers.
The Viking men would do most of the field work like plowing and cultivating. Meanwhile, the Viking women would do the household work.

The Viking children nearly had no childhood compared with the modern children. Because once they turned 12, they would have to follow their mothers and fathers to learn the survival skills. The Viking girls would have to master the household skills while the Vikings boys had to follow their fathers to learn cultivation, hunting, and fishing. They didn’t go to school and only the children from the noble and wealthy family could afford to learn.

The Vikings carried on moving and living as the nomads. They moved from lands to lands to exploit the soil when new generations were born. It was not until the domination of Christianity that the Vikings stopped moving and stayed around the built churches.

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