Can we talk about how brilliant the Vikings were?

It would be fair to speculate that when a lot of us think about Vikings, and the Viking era, scenes of brutality, violence, pillaging and raiding come to mind. And, to be fair, this is factual speculation in the sense that the Vikings can be described with the terms mentioned in the former sentence.

As I have mentioned many times here on my blog, I am fascinated with Vikings and the period of time in which they dominated. My interest in these folks peaked when I started watching the television series Vikings, and after doing a fair bit of research myself, I came to the realization that Vikings were incredibly intelligent individuals, and I don’t necessarily think they get the credit they deserve in terms of brain power.

There is a scene in the series Vikings: Valhalla that truly captures the ingenuity of these men and women. Is the show entirely realistic and historically accurate? Not entirely, but its premise is based on actual events and people in history from the Viking era, so there.

In an attempt to capture England, King Canute and his Viking army divide into three groups. It is noted by Leif, a Viking, that the English have unintentionally weakened the main bridge leading into the city by installing a drawbridge. One group hides in a fishing boat and climbs the wooden supports of the bridge. The second group is waiting on three ships for the tide to turn. The third group walks along the bridge, and approaches the English King, Edmund, and intentionally provoke him by chanting he is a coward and banging their weapons against the shields. Once the banging commences, half of the warriors under the bridge begin hacking away at the wood holding the bridge up as the noise they make is hidden. The other half of them are shooting arrows with rope attached to the bridge to the three ships in the water. Once the arrows hit shields, the men in the boats wait for the tide to turn, then proceed, collapsing the bridge as they pass beneath it.

Fucking genius, people. Truly incredible.

If this isn’t an example of how intelligent the Vikings were, I’m not sure what is. Were they brutal and violent? Yes. Did they raid and pillage? Yes. Were they extremely smart? Yes.

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