Maya Weapons: The Atlatl and Obsidian Dart

The Maya utilized a Stone Age weapon called the Atlatl that matched Spaniard armor. Even though the Maya had and utilized missile technology, such as bows and arrows, the atlatl, blowguns and spear, most combat occurred at close range with hand to hand weapons. Missile weapons were not heavily relied upon because the goal was not to kill your enemy, but capture him if you could (to be later sacrificed to the gods). Weapons that were used by the Maya were crafted mostly from materials such as obsidian and chert, instead…

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Draugr, The Viking Walking Dead

The will of the Norse appears to be very strong. Strong enough for them to draw their hugr back to their own body. Reanimating it so they can walk amongst the living again. These are the Walking Dead in Norse folklore. Draug are undead figures from Norse and Icelandic mythology/folklore that appear to retain some semblance of intelligence. They exist either to guard their treasure, wreak havoc on living beings, or torment those who had wronged them in life.  Thorolf Halt-Foot was known to have reincarnated as a draugr and become…

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The Shield used by the Vikings

There is Skaldic poetry that is specifically dedicated to the Norse shield. They are known as the “shield poems.” The shield was as much a part of Norse culture as was the ax. It was well developed and one of the best shields made. The Viking shield was very different from that of the shields used around the World. The shields were made from wood with a metal center and were colorfully painted. Upon first glance, there doesn’t seem to anything special about these shields but you’d be very wrong…

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Criminal Profiling, the Vikings did it first

The Vikings earned a reputation as highly aggressive raiders who ravished Europe in the Early Middle Ages. But how were these highly aggressive men controlled when they returned to their homelands? A researcher from the University of Aberdeen suggests this was a problem that Viking societies themselves were deeply concerned about. So much so that they took on the role of early criminal profilers that drafted descriptions of the most likely trouble-makers. Dr Tarrin Wills from the Center for Scandinavian Studies has examined early Icelandic literature and discovered that its authors pinpointed…

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The Vikings never had Horns on their Helms

One of the most common stereotypes associated with “Vikings” is that they wore horned helms. The other most common misconception is calling them “Vikings,” but that is another argument. Viking was something they did, not who they were.  They were the Norse and went viking. Norse helms never had horns on them. Contrary to the popular belief that Vikings wore horned helmets, there is no evidence that this ever happened. The horned and winged helmets were an invention of 19th century art and theater. If you think about it, as cool as a…

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Viking Duels

The Vikings settled disputes by Holmgang, a Viking Duel. The Norse upheld a legal system much like courts, but not everything could be settled by talks and negotiation. This is when justice demanded the blood of another. A Holmgang was a duel and a commonly recognized way to settle disputes by the Norse. The word “holmgang” translates to “Island Walk” which refers to a hide or cloak which was about three meters long on each side that was staked to the ground of which was the boundaries that the participants…

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