66 Viking Quotes that Reveal the Grand Wisdom of the Norse People

The Viking Age, a period that stretched roughly from the late 8th century to the early 11th century, was marked by the seafaring prowess and indomitable spirit of the Norse people. Their legacy is a tapestry of exploration, conquest, and surprisingly rich culture that has left an indelible mark on history. The Vikings, often depicted as fierce warriors and intrepid adventurers, hailed from what is now Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and their influence extended across Europe and beyond, reaching as far as the shores of North America.

Their sagas, etched in runes and passed down through generations, tell tales of epic voyages, fierce battles, and a deep reverence for the gods and the land. The words of the Vikings themselves, though sparse, offer us a glimpse into their world—a world where honor, strength, and wisdom were the currency of life. Their succinct yet profound quotes, some preserved in sagas or attributed to historical figures, reflect a mentality shaped by the harsh northern environment and the unyielding sea.

In this article, we will delve into the mindset of the Viking people through their own words. We will explore the profound simplicity of their expressions, which encapsulate their values, beliefs, and way of life. From the battlefield to the banquet hall, these Viking quotes offer a window into the soul of the Norse and a reflection of the enduring human spirit. Join us as we sail back in time to uncover the voices of the Vikings, whose echoes still resonate today.

Viking Quotes

1. People who drink too much will expose themselves for all to see. The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson

This quotes simply states that people generally show what’s really inside of their heart once they become drunk.

2. Fear not death for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it. Volunga Saga

Do not fear dying because one day it will happen no matter what you do. .

3. People who hold their tongues are not fools. Grettir’s Saga

Everyone should know when to speak and when to close their mouths.

4. Never cheat your master. Njal’s Saga

This old saying simply means don’t cheat your boss while you’re on the job. .

5. Better to fight and fall than to live without hope. Volsunga

People might not overcome an enemy, but they must fight them anyway instead of bowing to them.

6. Better to die with honor than live with shame. The Saga of the Jomsvikings

This quote is similar to “Death before Dishonor” and it ecourages people not live like a coward.

7. Everything always has a season in life. Grettir’s Saga

All things have their time and place in the world and in life.

8. It is always best for people to always seek peace. Heitharvega

Men should always speak peace instead of fighting.

9. Every tree has at least one rotten branch. The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson

Everybody has something wrong about themselves and something is bad about their character.

10. Eagles should show their claws, even though they are dying. The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson

Once you know that you are going to be defeated you must go down fighting.

11. Where wolf’s ears are, wolf’s teeth are near. Volsunga Saga

Always be mindful of your surroundings. Once you see something dangerous or enocunter dangerous people; trouble isn’t far behind.

12. Fight your foes in the field, and don’t allow yourself to remain in a burning house. Volsunga Saga

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Confront the things that are trying to harm you instead of hiding from them.

13. Nothing good can happen to people who break their solemn vows. The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi

No one should quickly break their vows or forsake their promises.

14. Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from. Bandamanna Saga

You should look to wisdom from wherever you can find it.

15. Trust not him whose father, brother or other kin you have slain no matter how young he be, for often grows the wolf in the child. Volsunga

You should always remain careful of the people you harm and the people you do wrong.

16. Gold is little comfort for the kinsman dead. Örvar Odd’s Saga

Gold or money can never take the place of a dead loved ones life.

17. The brave man well shall fight and win even if his sword is dull. Fafnismal 28

Even if you are lacking skills, knowledge, or strength; you should continue to fight in life.

18. Often it is that what happens to most others will happen to you. Eyrbyggja Saga

There is nothing that will happen to you that hasn’t happen to anyone else.

19. Thing that start off bad usually end bad. Hen-Thorir’s Saga

If things start off in the wrong way, they usually don’t end well.

20. A man with a short small sword must always take action. Vapnfirðinga Saga

You might not have the skills you need to accomplish something, but you should do it anyway.

17. Gossip often leads to trouble. Gisli Sursson’s

Telling other people’s business often leads to problems.

23. The one you trust most can disappoint you most. Fljotsdale Saga

This is an obvious saying. It simply means that people you love can do you the most harm.

24. Old friends are the last to break away. The Saga of Grettir

Old friends are important to have because they generally will not leave you life.

25. You must be cautious of another person’s woe. Njal’s Saga

Learn from other people’s mistakes in life.

26. Embrace the bad things in life for they too matter.Volsunga Saga

Sometimes bad things in life are able to teach you better than the good things.

27. Who can’t defend the wealth they have must die, or share with the rover bold. The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson

People that can’t defend what belongs to them will lose what they have through murder or theivery.

28. Great deeds and bad actions often fall within each other’s shadow. Gisli Sursson’s Saga

Be careful about doing things you consider good because other people might view them as evil.

When you get ready for journey be prepared before you go on your travels, whether you journey by sea or land. Volsunga Saga

Be careful of how you travel and where you go because dangers are always present.

30. Who can say what sorrow seemingly carefree folk bear to their life’s end. Volsunga Saga

Just because you think that happy people are not suffering, think again. Everyone is struggling with something.

31. Wounded cowards lies low. The Saga of Thorstein Staff-struck

People who are not brave often hide from their enemies and they don’t confront others or bad situations.

32. People quickly discover that they are not the bravest of all. Fafnismal

Some people overestimate their strength and/or their abilitird once they encouter enemies or other people.

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33. Never swear false oaths; great and grim is the reward for the breaking of troth. Volsunga

Don’t falsely pledge yourself to something or someone otherwise you will suffer the consequences.

34. A wise man should have his plans worked out before he enters into great undertakings or incites others to them. The Saga of Ref the Sly

If you don’t know how you’re going to do something then you should not persuade others to follow after or support you.

35. One should warn an unwise person not to sit naked by fire. Heitharvega Saga

You should inform an unwise individual once you realize they are messing up.

36. The fool is busy in everyone’s business but his own. Kormak’s Saga

Mind your business and stay out of everyone’s else’s troubles and problems.

37. You can hardly expect any peace for troublemakers. Thesaurus Proverbiorum Medii Aevi, Samuel Singer Kuratorium

If anyone continues to cause strife, they will always have problems in their life.

38. Many breakers of battle-axes are more brag than brains. Grettir’s Saga

People sometimes believe they are mightier than what they truly are.

39. Alone is it seemly to hold truly to troth given. Volsunga Saga

Stand up for what you believe even if no one else undertand and you’re alone.

40. What people wish they soon believe. King Olaf Trygvisson’s Saga

Don’t allow your worldly desires to influence your beliefs and how you view life.

41. The fire seems hottest men that have been burned in the past. ~Grettir’s Saga,

If you have been done wrong in life, you will probably be more sensitive to evil and injustice.

42. Beggars always should never be choosers. Örvar Odd’s Saga

If you’re begging in life, try not to fuss or be picky about what you get.

43. Many woes happen at eve. ~Grettir’s Saga

Bad things usually happen at nighttime.

44. Sorrow is lightened by being brought out openly. The Saga of Sigurd the Crusader and His Brothers Eystein and Olaf

Deal with your negative emotions and feelings instead of hiding them.

45. Least said, soonest mended. Laxdaela Saga

Negative words and problems typically go away with the passing of time, instead of using words.

46. All people need in order to rise up against tyranny is for someone to stand against tyranny. The Saga of Harald Hardrade

People need at least one brave or committed soul to fight against injustice.

47. You are truly a bad person if you do what is wrong and leave the right undone. Króka-refs Saga

Make sure you’re doing the right thing at all cost.

48. One should not ask more than what they need. Króka-refs Saga

Take only what you need in life.

49. Do not expect to make headway with a bad sailcloth. Eyrbyggja Saga

Have the right tools and knowledge for the things you are trying to accomplish in life.

50. Better to rule with honor than to rule in shame. Laxdaela

You should always conduct yourself in an honorable way instead of living foolishly.

51. There is greater consolation than money. Grettir’s Saga

Money and wealth are important in life, but some things are much better.

52. People who want to be wise should know themselves. The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi

You should always know your strengths, weaknesses and the tyep of individual that you really are.

53. Evil grows from evil. Hen-Thorir’s Saga

Evil can’t overcome evil, but it produces more evil. Only good can truly overcome evil.

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54. Word carries even when your mouth is not speaking. Vapnfirðinga Saga

Be careful about the words you speak in life otherwise you might regret what you say later on.

55. More people prefer the worse side stories that always has has two versions. Grettir’s Saga

Everybody loves to hear the bad side of things and rarely do they want to hear about the good part of the situation.

56. Fair people tend to hide foul minds. Eyrbyggja Saga

Just because somebody is beautiful, popular, rich, or even wise; doesn’t always mean they are about the right thing.

57. It often happens that things go by turns. The Saga of Thrond of Gate c.31

Things that happen in life often goes in cycles. Good time, bad times, up times, and the down times.

58. It is better for you to ride the whole wagon home. Egil’s Saga

Finish what you start because it is important to complete your tasks.

59. Beware of those who speak fairly but think falsely. The Saga of Bjarn of the Hitdoela Champions

Sooner or later people’s actions must match their words. Otherwise they are false people.

60. Many travels, many fortunes. Egil’s Saga

It is beneficial to experience new things in life.

61. There’s no excusing the man who rejects the truth once it’s proven. Fóstbrœðra saga

Don’t overlook the truth once you find out what is really happening.

62. To all things there is a time. Grettir’s Saga Enjoy the present.

Be patient thing will happe in the time they are supposed to.

63. You should tell all to a trusted friend. Egil’s Saga

Open up to people you know, trust, and respect.

64. Gossip often leads to trouble. ~Gisli Sursson’s Saga

Don’t tell other people’s business. Keep things to yourself.

65. Small bird makes for a little catch. Fljotsdale Saga

Don’t expect too much in life because it is the best way to avoid disappointment.

66. Bad counsel comes to an end. The Saga of Magnus Barefoot

Be careful about who advises you because their wisdom will could cause your downfall.

Vikings Video – A Crash Course about the Vikings

This is an excellent video if you want to learn more about the Vikings – its short and educational. It’s a quick crash course about the Vikings and dispels many false things people believe


There are many more Viking quotes that are avialable to learn. What you should remember is that the wisdom of the Vikings is important in life. It has taught and guided people throughout the ages. People from different cultures and generations have learned from it.

The ways of the Vikings have long since passed with the onset of the modern era. Still, contemporary society remains fascinated with the wisdom, knowledge and time-honored intelligence of the ancient Norse people.

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