Spoiler: Vikings never wore horned helmets

This might be the biggest news since it was revealed Lassie was a boy.

Are you sitting down?

The Vikings did not wear horned helmets, Vox is reporting today.

Minnesota, you’re living a lie.

Vox says the notion that the Vikings wore horned helmets actually comes from a costume designer for the 1876 performance of Wagner’s classic Norse saga, Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Doepler’s horned helmets were the result of some fascinating historical transposition. Germans were fascinated by Vikings, at least in part because they represented a classical origin story free from Greek and Roman baggage. That had a lot of appeal in an age of nascent German nationalism. As a result, Doepler and other scholars intertwined German and Norse history in a surprising way: They put stereotypical ancient and medieval German headdresses — like horned helmets — on Viking heads. Norse and German legends were intertwined in the popular imagination, and we still haven’t untangled them.

In other news, the Minnesota Wagners announced today newly drafted wide receiver Laquon Treadwell will wear number 11.

  • John

    I suppose next you’re going to try to tell me the Kensington Runestone is a fake too.

    Careful Bob, we’ll take away your honorary MN citizenship :).

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I’m always curious about who else wore a particular number when these kind of announcements are made. Fortunately the Inter-webs have this kind of information readily available.

    The three biggest names on the list are all QBs: Joe Kapp, Wade Wilson, and Daunte Culpepper.

  • Ryan Johnson

    To the surprise of no one who has read the Eddas…

    • Khatti

      I’m actually reading the Prose Edda right now.

      • Rob

        You are truly a first-order devotee of obscure literary interests.

        • Khatti

          Grist for the mill Babe, grist for the mill.

  • Khatti

    This is not news to me, but then I own a replica Viking sword. Actually my introduction to Norse mythology came from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. I managed to overcome the disillusionment when I found out that Norse Mythology wasn’t exactly as Stan and Jack did it either. What appalls me is that a Minnesotan hasn’t figured out something to do with Norse Mythology.

  • lindblomeagles

    Ah! Great History Lesson Bob! I’ll add to this. 50 million Americans have part to full German ancestry, second only to Hispanics, that largest ancestry claiming 55 million Americans. German Americans introduced kindergarten, the Christmas Tree (sorry Christians), the hamburger, and the hot dog to the United States. And just by coincidence, 38.4% of Minnesota’s population is of German Ancestry, 5th nationally, and 10th in actual population numbers.

    • Khatti

      And both the Germans and the Norse are of Germanic Origin. Pagan Germans at one point most likely did worship gods who were very close to the Aesir.

      • lindblomeagles

        Glad you brought up religious history Khatti. A German named Martin Luther, ex-communicated by Pope Leo X, created the Lutheran Christian Faith, along with a vernacular version of the Bible, which led to the standardization of the German language. Because he married, Protestant Faiths allowed future clergy to marry. Luther was also a major Christian Hymn writer, incorporating church hymns, some pf Germanic culture in origin, as a frequent part of worship. Score one for the Christians!

        • Khatti

          I was raised as a Lutheran, so all of this is sort of celery flavored for me. I’m fascinated by the Asetru, and wear Thor’s Hammers as a matter of heritage. Since High School I’ve been fascinated by Germanic Prehistory, and the Prehistory of the Baltic area. For years I’ve been trying to turn those historic elements into an alternate-history, ethnic Star Wars.

          • lindblomeagles

            Have to agree Khatti. Here in the States, we learn a lot about the Romans, Greeks, Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, and even the Spanish/Latin origins (prehistories), basically all of Western Europe (save the Dutch who originally started New York City). But, we seldom study Germanic History. While little is mentioned about Germanic Pre-History, the German People did have a “Star Wars” with the English and the French in World War I, and another “Star Wars” with Russia in World War II. In light of so many German ancestors immigrating to the United States, and their recent rise in the European Union, it would be great to learn more about German origins and mythology.

          • Khatti

            Don’t forget that the French and the English were also Germanic peoples.

  • Mike Worcester

    Forever ago (okay, the mid-1980s) I had a wonderful instructor of history at Moorhead State University, Dr. Ken Smemo, who specialized in Norse history and mythology. One of his first comments to us was “contrary to any Bugs Bunny cartoon you’ve ever seen, the Vikings did not wear those silly helmets with horns”. They were also quite short of stature compared to modern people.

    Does not mean we cannot root for our home team sporting a Helga Helmet though, right?

  • Rob

    Totally fascinating factoids, but they beg the real question: Did the Vikings have the US Bank logo emblazoned on their helmets?

    • Khatti

      And the longships. Longships are expensive to build. The smart viking would have looked into advertising to subsidize at least some of the expense.

  • Ben Chorn

    “In other news, the Minnesota Wagners announced today newly drafted wide receiver Laquon Treadwell will wear number 11.”

    And have since drafted the first player to have never played in North America! A German WR!