The Vikings invented a great many things during their heyday, but not many have survived the test of time. A few inventions, however, have continued well into the modern era, and indeed have contributed significantly to our way of life. While the Vikings may not have been the first to invent some of the following, the modern versions of these inventions made it into our daily lives because of them.
The Bristled Comb
Archeological digs have turned up bristled combs with varying tooth width. While similar inventions exist in other cultures across the globe, the Viking model is the inspiration for the Western incarnation of the comb. These would have been used to quickly groom facial hair, and brushes were used to groom head hair in both men and women.
Again, various forms of skis have surfaced elsewhere in the world, but the modern Western tradition of skiing comes to us directly from the Vikings. The word “ski” is a derivative of the Old Norse word of the same meaning, “skíð”.
Contrary to their Frankish and Saxon neighbors, the Vikings imposed fines on those who broke the law. This was because they wanted to prevent blood feuds, a cultural vestige of their Germanic neighbors in which blood was answered in blood. Instead, Scandinavians set up trials at communal assemblies called Things, and decided on appropriate compensation to be paid to the victims. This tradition was imported to England and France by the Normans (Danes) who imposed fines on those who broke the law rather than outright execute them. Of course there were exceptions, and capital punishment was always an option. While the Middle Ages certainly saw a reprieve in the policy of imposing fines, it became commonplace once again in the later period. Fines had existed elsewhere in the world prior to the Viking Age, but its modern use comes to us from the Vikings.
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