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#giving you a historically accurate reverse mullet asmr
thorraborinn · 2 years
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Is there any historical basis for the "Viking mohawk" hairstyle? There are some Slavic hairstyles that look similar by gestalt so I was thinking that maybe that had some influence on a modern person's perspective.
So I might actually not be the best person for this, because my skill set mostly involves working from Norse literature and while that can confirm that men having long hair was definitely something that happened during the Viking age, it doesn’t say anything about undercuts. I’m also not aware of any depictions in art from the time that would lead to this conclusion, though to be fair Viking-age art is often so stylized that it doesn’t permit much precision when trying to reconstruct it on a living person (not to mention that a lot of men depicted in Norse art are wearing helmets).
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This depiction of King Sverrir (No. Sverre) from about 1200 is about the closest we have to a realistically-styled artistic depiction of a Viking (but from more like Snorri’s time than Viking times).
It might be a better question for (for example) a reenactor, but to the best of my understanding the situation is something like this: No, there isn’t any evidence for that hairstyle, though it manages to fall somewhere in a range of possibilities for something that theoretically could have existed. Like, the evidence definitely doesn’t necessitate assuming it existed, but it does sort of permit it, I guess?
I mean, you might remember it used to be around way before vikings had their big ongoing moment in pop culture:
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(This is from Home Improvement, so mid-late 90′s for those of you who are, unlike me, not old)
so I think the situation should be regarded more like the stylists for Vikings were not prohibited by the evidence, rather than that it was motivated by evidence.
We do know that a hairstyle something like this...
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...existed during the Viking Age (because it is depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry, though again I think we should keep in mind the information loss that’s inevitable in recreating realistic depictions of stylized art), although it’s not directly associated with Norse people, but rather with Normans and others in more southern parts of Europe. Normans have their origin story in Scandinavia, but our evidence of them wearing their hair like this comes only after they had been living in France for several generations. Still, there’s nothing unlikely about it being found in Scandinavia as well. See also this, about something very similar in 16th century Ireland: http://irisharchaeology.ie/2013/08/16th-century-irish-hipsters/
In Googling I found this: https://www.vikingrune.com/2014/03/viking-hairstyles-is-ragnars-haircut-historical/, which seems to me to check out, though I’m not proficient in either of the languages it translates from. But also check out the comments, which have some interesting discussion.
There actually is some mention in there of a Slavic hairstyle that might be what you’re talking about:
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This is basically the History Channel cut in reverse. It does seem feasible to me that this could be what’s described of Rurik’s haircut in the article although again it doesn’t seem to be necessitated by it either. If I know little about the history of Norse hairstyles, I know even less about Slavic ones, but if this one were already around during the times of the Kievan Rus, it would then be likely that Norse people would be exposed to it.
So anyway it does seem to be quite a stretch to say that the Loðhawk is historically-motivated though it is true that both “shaving part of the head” and having long hair in general were both things at the same time and possibly in overlapping places. It isn’t impossible that it could have existed but I wouldn’t recommend that someone who wants to get “a Viking haircut” go get one of these. And just in case this isn’t clear, that isn’t to say it’s bad. As someone with hair halfway down my back but which is (mostly, sometimes) covering a Will Arnet-esque, sorta Bruce Willis in 1988 hairline, it’s crossed my mind more than once that the Ragnar special might be an option to keep my locks a little longer.
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