Striking Viking Quotes on Honor, Battle, and More
March 19, 2023 5:00 AM EST
The Viking quotes below show lessons learned through their worldwide conquests and wars.
The adventurous Vikings symbolize strength, honor, and wisdom.
According to the Icelandic Sagas, Viking society was highly structured, with a complex system of social classes and a strict code of honor.
Warriors were expected to demonstrate bravery and courage in battle, and failure to do so could result in loss of honor and social status.
What do you know about Vikings?
The Vikings lived in Scandinavia from the 8th century until the 11th century.
Often thought of as being brutal and commandeering, Vikings were also intellectually and culturally advanced.
These quotes not only speak on topics such as battle but also go into love and honor.
Our list of quotes is from ancient sagas featuring the adventures of Viking ancestors.
These stories were passed on orally for generations until they were first written down around the 13th century.
Interested in learning more about Viking lore?
Check out the insightful quotes below!
Don’t forget to also check out these warrior quotes on having an unbeatable mind.
If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement.
Read more related content on our inspirational quotes category page.
Powerful Viking quotes
A study published in the journal Nature Communications analyzed DNA from Viking skeletons and found that Vikings were more genetically diverse than previously thought.
The study suggests that Vikings traveled further and intermixed with a wider range of people than previously believed.
1. “The error is the result of letting fear rule your actions.” – The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.46.
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2. “A person should not agree today to what he will regret tomorrow.” – Saga Bandamanna, c.10.
3. “Defend your own judgment and not what others say.” – Gudmundur Jonsson
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4. “Let another’s wounds be your warning.” – Njal’s Saga, c.37
5. “The guess of the wise is truth.” – Grettir Saga, c.31
6. “Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from.” – Bandamanna Saga, c.10
7. “No one is a total fool if he knows when to hold his tongue.” – Grettir’s Saga, c.88
8. “A tale is but half told when only one person tells it .” – The Saga of Grettir
9. “He knows all who knows when to stop.” – Gudmundur Jonsson
10. “We often regret saying too much and seldom regret saying too little.” – The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.7.
11. “Those who take large resolutions, and then set them aside, only end in disgrace.” – The saga of King Olaf Trygvisson, c.9
12. “Stand by your own trial and not by what others say.” – Gudmundur Jonsson
13. “When truth and fairness are different from what is law, better it is to follow truth and fairness.” – Bandamanna Saga, c.6
14. “One should not ask more than would be thought fitting.” – Króka-refs Saga, c.10
15. “The fool is busy in everyone’s business but his own.” – Kormak’s Saga, c.14
16. “Where fault can be found, the good is ignored.” – Njal’s Saga
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Viking quotes about love
The Viking Age lasted from the late 8th century to the mid-11th century, during which time Vikings traveled as far east as Russia and as far west as North America.
Historians estimate that Vikings founded more than 30 towns in England alone.
17. “Too much beer, and a man’s heart will be open for all to see.” – The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.151
18. “Ill it is to take love from another man’s wife.” – Saga of the Volsungs, c.21
19. “The more folk stand in the way of two hearts that yearn for each other, the hotter the flame of love waxes.” – The Story of Viglund the Fair, c.11
20. “The common always love what is new.” – The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.33
21. “Eyes cannot hide a woman’s love for a man.” – The Saga of Gunnlaugur the Worm-tongue, c.13
22. “Good to love good things when all goes according to thy heart’s desire.” – Volsunga, c.28
23. “Never a whit should one blame another for a folly which many befalls; the might of love makes sons of men into fools who once were wise.” – The Havamal
24. “Go you must. No guest shall stay in one place for ever. Love will be lost if you sit too long at a friend’s fire.” – The Havamal
Viking quotes about honor and trust
25. “The one you trust the most may disappoint you the most.” – Saga Fljotsdale, c.23.
26. “Better to die with honor than live with shame.” – The Saga of the Jomsvikings, c.23
27. “Kinsmen to kinsmen should be true.” – The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.186
28. “With many who come to power and honor, pride keeps pace with promotion.” – The Saga of Magnus the Good, c.8
29. “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 Saga, c.21
30. “A man’s own hand is most to be trusted.” – Viga Glum’s Saga, c.4
31. “Trust no man so well that you trust not yourself better. Many are unfit to be trusted.” – Grettir Saga, c.67
32. “There is more honor in accumulating little by little than in reaching for the sky and ending up flat on your face.” – Vatnsdæla Saga, c.7
33. “It is their lot who stand with the great that they enjoy high honors, and are more respected than others, but stand often in danger of their lives.” – The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.67
34. “Stubbornness brings either greater humiliation or greater honor.” – The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.10
35. “It’s better to be betrayed than to trust no one.” – Fljotsdale Saga, c.13
36. “Better a brief spell of honour than a long rule of shame.” – Laxdaela Saga, c.29
Viking quotes about death and battle
37. “It is better to fight and fall than to live without hope.” – The Saga of the Volsungs, c.12.
38. “When men encounter enemies in the fight, a robust heart is better than a sharp sword.” – Volsunga, c.19.
39. “Numbers cannot skill withstand.” – The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.65
40. “Many breakers of battle-axes are more brag than brains.” – Grettir’s Saga, c.4
41. “It often happens that he who gets a death wound yet avenges himself.” – The Story of Hreidar the Fool
42. “The thrall alone takes instant vengeance; the coward never.” – Grettir Saga, c.15
43. Fear not death for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it.” – Saga of the Volsungs, c.5
44. “Bravery is half the victory.” – The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.103
45. “A hungry wolf is bound to wage a hard battle.” – Laxdaela Saga, c.19
46. “Often times it is not numbers that wins the victory, but those who fare forward with the most vigor.” – The Saga of Thrond of Gate, c.19
47. “Where the wolf’s ears are, the wolf’s teeth are close.” – Volsunga Saga, c.19.
48. “Fight your enemies in the field, don’t burn in your home.” – Saga Volsunga, c.21.
49. “All a people need in order to rise up against tyranny is a leader bold enough to take up the banner.” – The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.45
50. “Many have been brought to death by overconfidence.” – Grettir Saga c,54
More Viking quotes
51. “Only death is certain, and even then draugrs walk.” – Linnea Hartsuyker
52. “A strong arm kills but a cunning mind keeps you alive.” – Giles Kristian
53. “The Norsemen may have begun as raiders, but they developed into skilled conquerors and competent administrators.” – Robert Wernick, The Vikings
54. “Honor and daring, valor, strength and agility, all these were qualities the Vikings prized and upheld. There was another, somewhat less admirable side to their nature as warriors that the Vikings were only too pleased to highlight. This was their brutality toward their foes.” – Robert Wernick, The Vikings
55. “A sword age, a wind age, a wolf age. No longer is there mercy among men.” – Snorri Sturluson
56. “Where wolf’s ears are, wolf’s teeth are near.” – Volsunga Saga
57. “Do not expect to make headway with a frail sailcloth.” – Eyrbyggja Saga
58. “Fight your foes in the field, nor be burnt in your house.” – Volsunga Saga
59. “There is greater consolation than money.” – Grettir’s Saga
60. “Great deeds and ill deeds often fall within each other’s shadow.” – Gisli Sursson
61. “Many are wise after the event.” – Fljotsdale Saga
62. “The brave man well shall fight and win, though dull his blade may be.” – Fafnismal
63. “One should warn even a dim-witted troll if he sits naked by a fire.” – Heitharvega
64. “That which has a bad beginning, is likely to have a bad ending.” – Hen-Thorir’s Saga
65. “Often it is that anger is blind to the truth.” – The Foster-brother’s Saga
Life advice from viking quotes
66. “No one is a fool if he knows when to shut up.” -‘Grettir’s Saga’
67. “The worse it seems to me that the advice of foolish men will suffice us, when more come together.” -Laxdaela Saga
68. “There’s always a better choice than cowardice, if you have business to take care of.” -‘The Poetic Edda’
69. “One day long ago my life was already shaped, and my fate was fixed.” -‘The Poetic Edda’
70. “Nothing good can happen to people who break their solemn vows.” -‘The Saga Of Hrafnkel Freysgothi’
71. “Too much ale and a man’s heart is laid open for all to see.” -‘The Saga Of Olaf Haraldsson’
72. “Never cheat your duty.” -‘Njal’s Saga’
73. “Varied will be his fortunes who fares far.” -‘The Saga Of Fridthjof The Bold’
74. “Bad counsel comes to a bad end.” -‘The Saga of Magnus Barefoot’
75. “Work not done, needs no reward.” -‘Grettir’s Saga’
Viking Quotes That You Will Learn From
76. “You Vikings are incorrigible. You emerge from the womb with only one thing on your mind—how to die.” — King Ecbert
77. “A man should have his plans worked out before he enters into great undertakings or incites others to them.” — The Saga of Ref the Sly
78. “It is a wise leader who considers the needs of others.” — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
79. “Who can’t defend the wealth they have must die, or share with the rover boldly.” — The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson
80. “Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst. And corrupts the best.” — Ragnar
81. “Man without a sword is still a warrior, but one with no shield is just a target.” — Robert Low
82. “In the ancient poetry of the Norse, to feed the raven meant to kill the enemy, providing a meal for beasts that feed on carrion.” — Anders Winroth
83. “Seldom will a voyage go well if the men are at odds.” — The Foster-brother’s Saga
84. “Always remember to finish off your opponent, if you can. No man ever ran away with his entrails hanging to his knees, or his head cut off.” — Rollo
85. “Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up.” — Ragnar
What’s more important: physical strength or emotional strength?
Vikings often won during battle because they prioritized both their physical and mental strength.
They understood that to win you needed both.
That’s even relevant today.
Without a strategy, you’re not going to get anywhere with your strength.
Even if you do win on strength alone, you need that strategy to sustain your wins long-term.
Through the quotes above, the adventures of the Vikings were able to live long after them.
Their life lessons were passed down from generation to generation, and now they’re given to you.
Which of these Viking quotes and sayings is your favorite?
Tell us your thoughts below!