Viking Age sayings and proverbs often deliver a powerful message filled with wisdom in a short, straigth forward manner. They inspire reflection, fairness, courage and honor. Most of them can be applied to our modern day world in order to become a better person. Here are 48 favorites:
Too much beer, and a man's heart will be open for all to see - The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.151
The error is the result of letting fear rule your actions - The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.46.
A person should not agree today to what he will regret tomorrow – Saga Bandamanna, c.10.
Defend your own judgment and not what others say - Gudmundur Jonsson.
No one is a fool if he knows when to shut up - Grettir's saga, c.88.
Not all the clouds that darken the day bring rain - Saga Heitharvega, c.7.
It is better to fight and fall than to live without hope - The Saga of the Volsungs, c.12.
Where the wolf's ears are, the wolf's teeth are close. - Volsunga Saga, c.19.
Fight your enemies in the field, don't burn in your home - Saga Volsunga, c.21.
When men encounter enemies in the fight, a robust heart is better than a sharp sword - Volsunga, c.19.
Only a coward expects to be taken as a redfish or a fox from a trap - Saga Laxdaela, c.40.
We often regret saying too much and seldom regret saying too little - The saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.7.
Those who take large resolutions, and then set them aside, only end in disgrace (The saga of King Olaf Trygvisson, c.9)
Gold is little comfort to the dead relative - Saga of Ervar Odd, c.11.
The one you trust the most may disappoint you the most – Saga Fljotsdale, c.23.
Ill is the result of letting fear rule thine actions - The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.46
Ill it is to take love from another man’s wife - Saga of the Volsungs, c.21
Kinsmen to kinsmen should be true. - The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.186
Fear not death for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it - Saga of the Volsungs, c.5
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
With many who come to power and honor, pride keeps pace with promotion - The Saga of Magnus the Good, c.8
Ill it is to abandon honor and integrity in exchange for injustice and greed - Bandamanna Saga, c.10
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
A person’s actions are often worse than their intentions - The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.10
Stubbornness brings either greater humiliation or greater honor - The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.10
When truth and fairness are different from what is law, better it is to follow truth and fairness - Bandamanna Saga, c.6
Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from - Bandamanna Saga, c.10
Great deeds and ill deeds often fall within each other’s shadow - Gisli Sursson’s Saga, c.17
Better to die with honor than live with shame - The Saga of the Jomsvikings, c.23,
Oft one finds, when the foe he meets, that he is not the bravest of all - Fafnismal 17
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
That which has a bad beginning, is likely to have a bad ending - Hen-Thorir’s Saga, c.4
One should not ask more than would be thought fitting - Króka-refs Saga, c.10
Often it is that what happens to most others will happen to you - Eyrbyggja Saga, c.32
Better a brief spell of honour than a long rule of shame - Laxdaela Saga, c.29
There is greater consolation than money - Grettir’s Saga, c.47
He’s a wise man who knows himself - The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.7
Let another’s wounds be your warning - Njal’s Saga, c.37
Bravery is half the victory - The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.103
A hungry wolf is bound to wage a hard battle - Laxdaela Saga, c.19
The fool is busy in everyone’s business but his own - Kormak’s Saga, c.14
Often it is that anger is blind to the truth - The Foster-brother’s Saga, c.22
Better it is to have a lower position in life and be free than to have a position of power only to be subject to the will of another - The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.79
Ill is the result of being more given to big talk than using one’s wits - The Saga of Bjarn of the Hitdoela Champions, c.19
With law shall our land be built up and settled, and with lawlessness wasted and spoiled - Njal’s Saga, c.69
It can be expected that a man who has a lot on his mind will not always be careful enough - The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.9
Where fault can be found, the good is ignored - Njal’s Saga
A tale is but half told when only one person tells it - The Saga of Grettir