1. Vikings did not wear horned helmets
Vikings traditionally went bareheaded or wore simple leather and metal-frame helmets with the occasional face guard. The idea behind horned helmets came about from the Viking revival during Victoria’s reign.
2. They were not filthy and unkempt
Archaeologists find evidence on a regular basis of combs, spoons and other grooming utensils that indicate the Viking people were very keen on maintaining personal hygiene.
3. They did not spent all their time raiding
While raiding proved an excellent source of income, many of the Vikings held farms back in their homeland that their wives maintained during Viking season. When the men returned home from a raid, they resumed their normal routine of farming.
4. Vikings were not a unified army
Due to the difficult geographic location, the Scandinavian people were very spread out to conserve limited farmland. In addition, the penetration of Christianity caused many great divisions among the people still worshipping the traditional Nordic pantheon, further emphasizing the divided nature of the people.
5. They were not all large and heavily muscled
Due to the short summer seasons, growing crops was difficult and resources were always scarce. As a result, many of the Scandinavian people were much smaller than commonly depicted due to limited food sources.
While the living conditions in Scandinavian regions were certainly harsh and made a hard people, many Vikings suffered from the scarcity of resources and the people set up their homes over great distances with no real unified leadership. During the Viking Age, the Scandinavian people were able to make a stronger push to the outside worlds and create a reputation for themselves beyond simple barbarism. While some Vikings were driven with the lust for riches, many sought more peaceful economic relationships with the surrounding nations.