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Tunn11

Justified & Ancient
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Couldn't find this on a search and I don't know whether it has been brought up before but what were the Viking longship "figureheads" designed to look like? ignoring mast/sails there is a long neck, small head and a lower tail. Rather than dragons could they have been based on a typical "long neck sea monster"?
 
Couldn't find this on a search and I don't know whether it has been brought up before but what were the Viking longship "figureheads" designed to look like? ignoring mast/sails there is a long neck, small head and a lower tail. Rather than dragons could they have been based on a typical "long neck sea monster"?

"These heads – those of dragons and snakes were popular – were designed to provoke fear in the spirits of whichever land the Vikings were raiding."

https://www.historyhit.com/facts-about-viking-longships/

There are numerous modern parallels:

iu


US M4 tank, Korea

iu


Russian Mil-24 helicopter gunship.

maximus otter
 
"These heads – those of dragons and snakes were popular – were designed to provoke fear in the spirits of whichever land the Vikings were raiding."

https://www.historyhit.com/facts-about-viking-longships/

There are numerous modern parallels:



US M4 tank, Korea



Russian Mil-24 helicopter gunship.

maximus otter
Yes, or half naked women to keep the crew happy! But just wondered whether they may have been based on actual animals that they saw on their voyages rather than snakes or dragons. Rather in the way that the sirrush on the Ishtar gate may represent a real animal.
 
Giant snakes were part of their mythology. Lindorm they were called.
 
Lovely idea, but I think it is unlikely.

The Vikings "believed in" (that is, their mythology included) an 8 legged horse called Sleipnir; a pair of ravens that could fly across the world and back every day; a serpent so large it could reach all the way round the world and grasp its own tail; a giant wolf; and various elves, dwarves, frost giants, dragons, and many other extraordinary things. Some of these were described in detail in poems and some appeared on coins and jewellery or were represented in pictures or figurines. This does not mean that any of them literally existed.

If one were to argue that the representation of dragons on the ships was evidence to support the idea that dragons/seas serpents existed, then it would be inconsistent not to argue that images of Sleipnir on coins are evidence that 8-legged horses existed, or that representations of Yggdrasil were evidence of giant trees far bigger than redwoods.
 
Lovely idea, but I think it is unlikely.

The Vikings "believed in" (that is, their mythology included) an 8 legged horse called Sleipnir; a pair of ravens that could fly across the world and back every day; a serpent so large it could reach all the way round the world and grasp its own tail; a giant wolf; and various elves, dwarves, frost giants, dragons, and many other extraordinary things. Some of these were described in detail in poems and some appeared on coins and jewellery or were represented in pictures or figurines. This does not mean that any of them literally existed.

If one were to argue that the representation of dragons on the ships was evidence to support the idea that dragons/seas serpents existed, then it would be inconsistent not to argue that images of Sleipnir on coins are evidence that 8-legged horses existed, or that representations of Yggdrasil were evidence of giant trees far bigger than redwoods.
But aren’t many of the animal representations “supersized” versions of real animals? Huginn and Muninn are ravens with superpowers. The Midgard serpent, if it isn’t a dragon is a big snake the Fenris wolf is a sodding great wolf and Sleipnir is a horse with more legs so he can run faster without, remarkably falling over his own hooves. Yggdrasil is a big tree (recently revived sort of by the flat earthers)

Norse mythology of the sea doesn’t seem to get the same press a s Odin and Co. Ran and Aegir and their daughters and Kraken and Hafgufa – the monster mistaken for an island were all I could turn up. Maybe the absence of references to long necks in Norse works is evidence that they don’t exist.

Conversely maybe the Longboats were the origin of the stories of long necks although that seems rather dubious given that the raids only go back a few hundred years.

In the end though I think Mikefule and Maximus Otter are right. I can see it now the shipbuilder saying “I’ve carved some eyes on the prow like you asked how about a few horns and fangs to terrify the locals? No extra charge.” :bthumbup:

As an aside spell check made the Midgard serpent the Mudguard serpent. This is an entirely different cryptid sometimes spotted on the A 1 near Rutland Water. :)
 
Norse mythology of the sea doesn’t seem to get the same press a s Odin and Co. Ran and Aegir and their daughters and Kraken and Hafgufa – the monster mistaken for an island were all I could turn up. Maybe the absence of references to long necks in Norse works is evidence that they don’t exist.

The Hafgufa appears to have been definitively identified as a large whale, which uses a method of hunting called trap or tread-water feeding to swallow many fish in one big gulp.

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-mysterious-phenomena/hafgufa-sea-monster-0018003
 
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