What’s the deal with those horns?

If you scroll through this slideshow displaying statues of Leif Erikson you will notice Duluth’s statue has something most of the other statues don’t have. Go ahead, I’ll wait …

So, did you notice? If you read the headline you already know what it is: horns. What’s more, if you read this article by UMD journalist Madiha Mirza, you will learn that Duluthian Stefan Guttormsson, president-elect of the Icelandic American Association of Minnesota, believes our statue should not have horns.

Of course, if that’s true, does it also mean the Minnesota Vikings’ logo is, um, wrong?



about 12 years ago

I am sure the football team has it wrong, but in that case it is just aesthetics. Really, horns on a helmet you wear into battle just seems wrong on so many levels. Too easy to catch on stuff, too easy for someone to grab and twist your head, or hold steady while they do other nasty stuff to you. The helmets would be hard to store during travel and generally would be a right PITA just to have something that looked cool. I kind of suspect the vikings where more practical than preening.


about 12 years ago

And we all know that the Icelanders are experts on Norwegian history.

Leif is more often depicted wearing wings than Horns on his helmet, and it is fairly obvious that it was a ceremonial or decorative headdress to indicate his power or rank, rather than a helmet worn to battle.

Barrett Chase

about 12 years ago

I was just going to say that the helmet he's wearing in Duluth's statue has wings, not horns. It's a 19th century Romantic throwback to Greek and Roman depictions of gods and heroes, and isn't meant to be an actual representation of history.


about 12 years ago

Mrs. Goose and I were looking for a fun family activity and discovered this website ranks the Leif Ericson Viking ship as Duluth's #2 Family Fun destination.  Because nothing says "family" like a shrink-wrapped boat surrounded by rocks in a gully.  

I love the Viking horns, a nod to my wild Scandinavian heritage.  We Swedes got all the wild out of our system a thousand years ago.


about 12 years ago

Does it really matter? The horns look cool. Besides, Iceland is not Norway.


about 12 years ago

Clearly you aren't from here. the sacrilege to suggest that the Minnesota Vikings got it wrong. 

(Neither am I and on some level I find it amazing how crazy MN and WI folks are about football and then I remember being in college and meeting Browns/Steelers fans for the first time. (Going to college an hour from Cleveland and 2 hrs from Pittsburg will do that for you). )

But I also can't believe that claim that people visit the Viking ship like crazy. Are you kidding me?  You can see about as much as you can in your average sailing club shipyard in December.


about 12 years ago

I don't remember where I read it (I think the Duluth Public Library), that the precursors to the vikings actually wore helmets with horns and/or wings not just for ceremony, but also into battle as an intimidation tactic.


about 12 years ago

Shane wrote, "Does it really matter? The horns look cool. Besides, Iceland is not Norway."

In fact, Madiha is working on a followup story for LakeVoice discussing the fact that Ericsson is not Norwegian. He's believe to be from Iceland (the BBC can't be wrong, right?
It's kind of like asking where Bob Dylan is "from" I suppose.


about 12 years ago

Eric the Red was born in Norway moved to Iceland and then founded a settlement in Greenland. Leif was born on Iceland probably. There weren't really countries back then so it's fine to think of him or others on Iceland as either Icelandic or Norwegian based on culture.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Hornish Wings photo by John Hatcher

Nearly three years later, the horns/wings issue is revisited.

LakeVoice: Those aren't horns, they are wings; addressing a story that wasn't

Darlene Monen

about 4 years ago

Leif Erickson's my distant grandfather. He did wear buffalo horns as an honor to the natives for how they wore full buffalo skins and mingled into a herd undetected to hunt. Leif saw it as bravery and crazy and admired them for it. The native Americans gave him a full hide as a gift. He wore the skin on his shoulders and the horns on his helmet. He tried to give them back a gift of cows milk but they were lactose intolerant and they thought he was trying to poison them. They drank it in front of them to prove it was safe. They gave them a cow and a bull to start a herd but the bull broke loose and charged them. Again they thought he was trying to kill them. He grabbed the rope to the ring in his nose and when he pulled away from leif he dropped to the ground. Then they excepted the gift. Leifs son married the chief's daughter. So we also have native American in our line. I have my family trees to prove my heritage. Hope it helped.

Darlene Monen

about 4 years ago

Oh and my mothers maiden name is buckneberg. Monen comes from the one of the 2 ravens that were know as Odin's messengers. My family didnt have a history of pillaging like people claimed. Eric left Norway to prevent a conflict with neighboring landowners who were trying to take some of his land. I fight broke out and Erik was left standing. Norway was worried there would be retaliation from the dead mans family so he left and went to Iceland. They followed him there and it happened again. Eric was left standing so he moved again. Leif set out to find another place and found a huge sheet of barren ice. He, as a joke, settled and called it Greenland. Because Iceland was green and Greenland was ice. And others moved there with him. It helps to know the true story about someone rather than assumptions. Hope this helps.

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