The Viking Ship

The Viking Ship

I will tell two stories. One is about Skidbladnir, the ship of the gods. The other is about the ships owned by the Vikings.

The real story about the ship of the gods you can hear in the story cave. It is called "The wager of the gods".

Skidbladnir was made by some dwarves called the Ivaldi-sons. It was made in a real forge, because the dwarves were skilled. They were also very good at magic and other witchcraft.

The ship was big and impressive and when its sail was hoisted the wind always blew from behind.

If one had to carry the ship across land it could be folded like a cloth and carried in the pocket or in a bag.

The god Frey owned the ship.

One could not, however, fold the ships owned by the Vikings. They were big and small—ships for various purposes. But they were all united in being elegant, seaworthy, impressively well-sailing and made with great skill.

There were many kinds of ships. Some transported goods—merchant ships. Some were fishing boats. And the biggest and grandest were the battle ships. They were faster than other ships, they could sail at more than twenty knots. And they were more seaworthy than many modern sailboats.

The battle ship "Havhingsten" ("The Sea Stallion") which can be seen in the Viking Museum in Roskilde, is a reconstruction of the biggest Viking ship—30 meters long—that has been found.

Wrecks from many Viking ships have been found in Roskilde Fjord. Many of these wrecks have been reconstructed full size and sail today. They can be seen at Roskilde Viking ships museum.

The Vikings came mainly from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The development of the Viking ship meant that they could sail far and fast and thereby travel around in all of Europe.

The ships were more often than not made of oak. They were able to carry sails, they were able to sail against the wind and they were able to sail really fast. The crew could also row them if there was no wind or if the wind was directly against them.

They were very flat-bottomed so no harbour was needed, and in most places the ship could sail straight up on the beach. This way the Vikings could reach everywhere they wanted to, whether on a peaceful mission or to rob and plunder.

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