Viking hygiene?

PADDYBOY

Historum Emeritas
Jan 2007
6,545
Scotland
Vikings have often been described as "Filthy Barbarians" but this description of them seems to be the responsibility of their victims who have a bias. Yet Viking graves are often accompanied with grooming equipment such as combs and brushes, there are accounts of Vikings combing their hair regularly and washing themselves daily.
It would seem that Vikings were more hygenic than their Christian counterparts?

One thing I don't understand though, what is snorting snot into a washing basin before cleaning their faces and hair with the contaminated water and then passing the basin on to the next Viking in the line who then blows his snot into the basin and so on and so on....
Did Vikings think that snot was healthy or perhaps it protected them from something or goodness knows what???

Any ideas?
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
In this case, is Viking just a byword for for peoples inhabiting Scandinavia/Northern Europe? If so, I imagine hygiene had less to do with whether one was a pagan or Christian and more to do with local custom.
 
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Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
"The wooden structure had an extra outside wall of peat which was 1.5 meters (3.3 feet) wide at the bottom. The house has been functioning both as living quarters, byre and Great Hall. It was divided into five rooms where the Great Hall and the byre with room for 50 cows were the largest."

The dwelling was shared with livestock. I don't know how hygienic that was.......

 

PADDYBOY

Historum Emeritas
Jan 2007
6,545
Scotland
In this case, is Viking just a byword for for peoples inhabiting Scandinavia/Northern Europe?
As I understand the meaning (and may be wrong) Viking is a verb rather than a noun.
Having said that, the description of washing in nasal snot was directed at the Rus who I believe where from Sweden originally
It is a practice accredited to them by the Arab writer Ibn Fadlan.
 
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Nov 2018
376
Denmark
"The wooden structure had an extra outside wall of peat which was 1.5 meters (3.3 feet) wide at the bottom. The house has been functioning both as living quarters, byre and Great Hall. It was divided into five rooms where the Great Hall and the byre with room for 50 cows were the largest."

The dwelling was shared with livestock. I don't know how hygienic that was.......

It was warm and cosy in the winter, maybe it was here the concept of hygge started.:love:
 
Nov 2018
376
Denmark
Quote from Aarhus University's website on Danish history;

“There are no written sources from the pre-medieval period that tell about saunas in Denmark. But archaeological excavations have revealed pit houses, i.e. a smaller building partially buried in the ground, from the Viking Age (c. 800-1050), which was probably a kind of simple sauna. For example, an excavation of a pit house on Lindholm High near the Limfjord revealed that the house had an oven at one end, which had a kind of chimney. In Aarhus, a similar Viking Age pit was excavated, which in addition to an oven also had traces of benches along the walls. Such pit houses appear to have been used for steam or sweat baths.”

Private and public saunas disappeared in Denmark around the year 1500. But is still part of the culture in the other Nordic countries.

The English also accused the Vikings of stealing their women. Because the Vikings were very much into being well-dressed and combed hair and beard and went to bathe every Saturday. Saturday was called "laugardagur" which means wash day, so they actually had a day devoted to personal hygiene.

Quote from Ibn Fahlad's meeting with a people who were called "Rus" they are most likely Nordic Vikings.

“They have to wash their faces and heads every day in water, which is as dirty and unclean as possible. Here's how it goes: The girl arrives early each morning and has a large bowl of water. This she reaches for her master and then he washes his hands, face and hair in it, he both washes it and combs it in the tub. Then he sticks his nose and spits in it. There is no sh*t left that he does not get in the water. When he has finished what is needed, the girl carries the tub to his sidekick, and he does the same thing as the companion did. She does not stop wearing it from one to the other until she has let it go to everyone in the house, each blow their nose, spitting and washing their face and hair therein.”

Maybe his disgust is because Muslims traditionally wash themselves in running water and here it is a dish. I must say I just hope that Ibn Fahlad has over seen the girl switched the water in between.

I have never heard of any folklore stories that say snot is healthy, so whether or not the Vikings really did and believed there were any benefits to it or not, I have no idea.
 
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PADDYBOY

Historum Emeritas
Jan 2007
6,545
Scotland
The story is probably a load of snot.
I can't imagine a people so dedicated to personal hygiene covering themselves with snot tbh.

Interesting footnote. Most European Christians were lucky if they bathed twice a year back in the day whereas those pesky Viking sorts were bathing every Saturday.