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Viking Longships: Serpent of Medieval Ocean

Viking Longships: Serpent of Medieval Ocean

The Vikings lived between 793 to 1066 AD. They were famous for their raids and pillages through Europe. But those are few traits they left, they broughts when a  on more than just raids and pillages. Everywhere the Vikings went, they traded and learned things from native people. Viking longships played an important role in Viking success and fortune in their time.

Thing helped their dreams come true was Viking ship which we call the Midgard serpent in reality. Maybe the desire to go further and become wealthy motivated them to update their shipbuilding skills.

Arguably, the Norsemen’s biggest breakthrough in seafaring was the design of the longship. The Vikings made most of their ships from timber. The Viking elongated their ship designs so that they could handle the roughest water and carry people cross their vast distances. One of the Viking ships remains on Planet Earth included the Oseberg Viking ship. It now becomes as the most beautiful Viking ship ever found.


Karvi is listed as the smallest Viking ship design with about 6 to 16 benches. This kind of ship had many uses, for trade, fishing, transportation, and military purpose.

The unique structure of karvi helped it to handle shallow waters. This was ideal for transporting both people and cargo across the waters.

By far, the most famous Viking ship ever discovered was the Gokstad ship. It was excavated around the 1880s and dated sometime around the 9th century. It was about 23 meters (75 feet) in length.

Viking Gokstad ship

Viking Gokstad ship in museum


A bigger design of the Viking ship was the Snekkja. “Snekkja” meant “snakes” in English. It was a sleek and dynamic vessel.

The snekkja had a minium of 20 rowing benches. This kind of ship could carry on cox and about 40 oarsmen.

Snekkja excelled in deeper waters. This made them ideal when travelling in fjords and across Atlantic expeditions.

Snekkja ship in Viking Age


The skeid longship, translated as slider, is one of the larger Viking vessel designs. The Vikings used it as a warship. Skeid often had about  or more rowing benches.

One of the largest discoveries of a skeid ship came to the public light in the mid when a 37 meter long vessel was unearthed in Roskilde harbour in Denmark.


Another famous type of Viking longship was the drakker which means “dragon”. This kind of ship often contained many carvings from dragons to snakes.

The excellent qualities on the ship not only helped the Viking to show off their carving and designing skills but also helped to intimidate the victims while raiding and pillaging.

Here are some real photos of Viking ships ever excavated:

Oseberg Viking ship

Viking longships

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