The cloak is a garment with a long, rich history. While the style and function of cloaks have changed over time, they have always been a sign of power and status. In ancient cultures, cloaks were often reserved for royalty and other members of the elite class.
In medieval Europe, cloaks were worn by both men and women of all social classes as a practical way to keep warm in the cold weather. And in more recent times, cloaks have been worn by everyone from fashionable ladies in the Victorian era to popular characters in movies and TV shows.
Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of cloaks in pop culture are the ones worn by the Vikings. These cloaks were made from wool, fur, or leather and were often decorated with intricate designs. While Viking cloaks may look cool, they served an important purpose for those who wore them. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history of Viking cloaks and their significance.
A Brief History of Viking Cloaks and Their Significance
The first thing to know about Viking cloaks is that they were not just for show; they were also very practical garments. Wool and fur are excellent materials for keeping warm, and leather is both durable and waterproof. This made Viking cloaks ideal for the cold, wet climates of Scandinavia.
Viking cloaks were also very large; they often reached down to the ground and were wide enough to wrap around the body several times. This served two purposes; first, it kept the body even warmer, and second, it provided a bit of protection from enemy weapons.
But Vikings didn’t just wear their cloaks for practical reasons; these garments also served as a way to show off one’s wealth and status. The more elaborate a cloak was, the higher one’s social standing was. Cloaks could be embroidered with intricate patterns or adorned with precious metals and jewels.
For Viking women, cloaks also served as a form of modesty. In pagan Norse culture, it was not uncommon for women to go about bare-breasted. However, once Christianity began to spread through Scandinavia, women started to cover up more. The large size of Viking cloaks made them ideal for this purpose.
Viking cloak were also usually large enough to double as blankets or sleeping bags when necessary. This was extremely useful for Vikings who often had to sleep outdoors while on raids or journeys. The size and construction of Viking cloak also made them ideal for hiding weapons such as knives or axes.
While function was certainly important, Norsemen also placed a great deal of importance on appearance. Cloak were often decorated with intricate designs that reflected the wearer’s status or achievements in life. For example, a Valkyrie cloak would be adorned with images of flying birds or battlefield scenes. While a cloak belonging to a wealthy merchant might be decorated with lavish embroidery work.
The Medieval Period
Viking cloaks were more than just fashionable accessories; they served an important purpose for those who wore them. Thanks to their materials and construction, Viking cloaks provided much-needed warmth and protection from the elements and you can buy all of it from Relentless Rebels.
They could also be used as blankets or sleeping bags in a pinch. And their large size made them perfect for hiding weapons. Beyond their functional uses. Viking cloaks were also heavily adorned with symbolic designs that conveyed information about the wearer’s status or accomplishments in life.