Viking Drinking Horns

The Viking Age generated considerable interest, mainly focused on their exposure in the media. Many were left questioning what else was true and what wasn't. There are also different misrepresentations about the Vikings, but none of them were Vikings using horns for drinking a beverage.

Fortunately, plenty of archaeological documents indicated that the Vikings used horns back in the day. The horns that were used in the Viking period were typically utensils for drinking. 

Everyone knows these famous horns used for drinking, just like how you see everywhere the popular Viking necklaces and bracelets. The horn is an archetype, as when the Valkyries welcome Odin into Valhalla. He gets his mead from a bighorn, representing that all is well in the old Norse way.

In this blog post, we will discuss the Viking drinking horn in-depth and other things you need to know before buying one.

What Is a Viking Drinking Horn Called?

The name of a Viking drinking horn was called Gjallarhorn, based on Norse mythology. That translates to "sounding horn" or "yelling horn" in English. It comes from the story where Heimdallr, the god who owned the Gjallarhorn, used the horn to make a sound for the coming of Ragnarök.

A couple of the horns discovered in the Viking Era were found in women's graves. The drinking horns were used to get drinking water, milk, or the mead they made. They were discovered in the gravesites of women because they were the ones assigned to make and serve mead to their men and visitors. On several farms and even during hunting trips, the horns were readily visible.

The NTNU University Museum has a collection of around 20 drinking horns in Trondheim, either whole or in parts. They were discovered in the earliest discoveries dating back to 500 BC and 1050 AD, i.e., the late Iron Period in which the Viking age fell below. There was also proof that these horns were passed down over centuries.

How Are Drinking Horns Made?

Few examples have existed for decades, but the horns discovered were made from domesticated cows and goats. It was often assumed that the Vikings used drinking vessels made from either hunted moose, elk, deer, or the like, or stone antlers. For purposes of practicality, many of the horns had a stand.

When it comes to horn scent, it would obviously be disgusting to drink off a horn cup straight from an animal. Fortunately, artisans placed a resilient coating that provided a complete seal to the horn. And so, horns are not water-resistant in their raw nature.

About Drinking Horns

From different places that specialize in Viking merchandise, you can buy horn cups. For any event, particularly theme parties, they are fantastic to use. One such instance is holding a Halloween or birthday party where you watch Viking themed movies and shows. These kind of celebrations are indeed a wonderful time to snatch the horn of your cup and make it enjoyable.

You will find that they have different colors as you plan to buy a pair of Viking drinking horns. This is typical, considering that animals have horns with distinctive appearance. You should, therefore, not think about having horns that look strange in your kit. You will also note that it is not just the color that will change, but also the form and texture as well. Horns vary from bright, dark, and a hybrid of the two. The scale also varies, so you can get a horn that contains a minimum of 100 ml or one liter.

A lot of people are curious as to whether cruelty is involved in collecting horns. The positive thing is that a byproduct of the beef industry is the horns. This ensures that the stores that get the horns are not interested in the animal's killing or removal of the horn. It is possible to accept these kinds of sources as renewable. It's basically recycling so that half of the animals can carry on for as long as possible.

Whatever kind of horn you opt for, make sure you disinfect and clean it beforehand. Don’t forget to let the horn air dry and keep it free from sharp objects; only use soft fabric. Avoid high temperatures as well when handling the horn to avoid further damage.

Final Words

Although it is worth remembering that horns were used as a drinking utensil by a number of other cultures, it is also very remarkable that the Vikings did the same. As long as you know to handle the horn with respect, you, too, will appreciate this piece of culture in your daily life. 



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