Picture: Getty/iStock
Picture: Getty/iStock

Think about what you know about Vikings.

You may know about Harald Hardrada, among the last of the Vikings, who was involved in the events around the Norman conquest of England in 1066.

You might know about their mythology, about the gods Odin, Loki, Thor, and about the warrior-heaven afterlife of Valhalla.

You might know about their conquest via longboat, stretching from the British Isles to Northern Europe to what is now the Ukraine and Russia.

The one thing you probably think you know is that they wore horned helmets.

Nope, that’s wrong.

It turns out, the image of horned helmets was instilled in use by Wagner’s 1876 performance of his Norse saga, Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Specifically, the costume designer Carl Emil Doepler decided to adorn Viking helmets with horns, the design which has since become iconic – mostly due to the success of Wagner.

The myth was then perpetuated throughout Europe, pervading to this very day, as Vox explain in the video, below:

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