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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Vikings - Longships - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! I'm veering off the Old West trail for the next few weeks to focus on another favorite - Vikings!

This week I'm investigating the infamous long boats, the very device which allowed them to not only sail far from their home but also allowed them to make quick raids along their journey thanks to ingenious designs.

Vikings actually had several different types of ships and their building technology evolved over time. All their ships used a square sail and, when there was no wind, oars.


Smaller ships, mostly used for fishing, were called faering and were propelled by up to four oars.


A knarr was a merchant ship and was built for longer journeys with wider and deeper hulls. They travelled as far south as the Black Sea and west to Vinland or North America.

  
Longships were the larger ships and most well-recognized. They could accommodate up to 32 oars. They were long, flat boats with a tall prow at the front (usually carved into mythical creatures) and a keel which allowed them to slice quickly through the water but shallow enough to allow them close access to land. The ships were usually painted bright colors and their sides might be decorated with shields.

Interestingly, high-ranking Vikings were buried with a ship. One famous burial ship discovered in a giant burial mound was the Oseberg ship, named after the farm it was found at. It was over 70 feet long and almost 17 feet wide.

Picture References:
Longship - https://www.britannica.com/technology/longship
Longships - https://www.foxnews.com/science/amazing-viking-longship-discovery-radar-reveals-mysterious-ship-grave
Faering - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2494412 Knarr - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1618125

References:
Viking Ship Museum - https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/
"Everyday Life in Viking Times" by Michael Gibson, ISBN#0-7500-1472-5

"The Vikings" by Robert Nicholson and Claire Watts, ISBN#0-590-46120-6
Viking Combat Training and other research - http://www.hurstwic.org

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