Seven Viking Proverbs about Life

August 15, 2019
These seven Viking proverbs about life prove that this society wasn't just driven by a love for conquest. Read on!

One of the best ways to understand your present world better is to study the past. If you analyze your roots, you’ll open the door to many answers. Viking proverbs are the perfect example. They provide interesting perspectives on life, death, and societal and human evolution.

Many people believe that Vikings were just a group of savage pirates that only thought about war, pillaging, and death. Nevertheless, they also created great sources of knowledge. Viking proverbs are an excellent example of this.

In fact, beyond Viking proverbs, their societies created impressive iconography and legends. These were used by talented artists such as writer J.R.R. Tolkien. He used their stories as a basis for his creation of Middle Earth. Another example is Stan Lee and his comic book characters which are known throughout the world thanks to their movies.

There’s something to the Vikings beyond the unfair simplification that makes them out to be nothing more than violent looters. Historians tell us that they were successful merchants and artisans. Also, they crafted beautiful jewelry as smoothly as they thought up fables and stories that have made it all the way to the modern era. Their religion and iconography were very rich and complex. You can tell a lot about these qualities by reading Viking proverbs.

Viking Proverbs Tell us to be Wary of Power

“If you eat cherries with the powerful you risk having the bones rain against your nose.”

A very popular saying these days is “A man is known by the company he keeps”. Vikings were aware of this. Dangerous friendships, especially those with powerful people, could have disastrous consequences for the humble or weak. That’s because such people have a lot to lose when it comes down to it.

Viking proverbs show the wisdom of this seafaring society.

You Have to be Cautious

“Before entering a place, analyze where you can get out.”

Aside from being great warriors, the Vikings were wise. And this made them prudent. That’s why when you go into a new place, a conversation, a new job, or start a new business, you should always have an escape plan. Think about how you could escape any place, space, job, or business venture. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a blocked-off alley with no way out.


“If you can find a loyal friend and you want them to be useful, open your heart, send them gifts, and travel often to see them.”

Viking society valued friendship, camaraderie, and companionship. In Viking proverbs, you can see the importance that they placed in taking care of your support circle.

Prudence is a Value Shown in Viking Proverbs

“There’s no better baggage to carry than sanity and a clear mind. In distant lands, it’s more useful than gold and brings the poor out of trouble.”

This Viking proverb reminds you of the importance of being sensible and level-headed. Not even all the money in the world can save you if you don’t have intelligence and wisdom. These can get you out of any problem or mess, even at the boundaries of the world. Don’t forget that this society had some of the bravest sailors. In fact, they reached America even before Christopher Columbus.

Viking Proverbs Advise People to Live Their Lives

“Live with hope while you’re alive, the agile always comes forward. I saw the flames of a mansion, but at the door lay a dead man.”

You also have to remember that Vikings loved good food and pleasure. For them, life was a path that always led forward. Death was a natural transition and Valhalla awaited the warriors.

Don’t Mock Others Too Much

“The house of he who mocks ends up burning down.”

You can interpret this Viking proverb in many ways. On the one hand, it’s trying to tell you something about caution. On the other, it talks about paying attention to what’s around you. It’s best to be cautious and level-headed in life.

The Vikings were competent sailors.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth…

“Better a free bird than a captive king.”

We finish our article with a wise proverb that many people have used in different ways. It reminds you that in order to protect a right or fulfill a wish, you’ll often have to give others up. Thus, you may feel attracted by the prospect of giving up your freedom, sacrificing it in the heat of the moment. This Viking proverb invites you to think carefully before you do that.