Dan Carlin of Hardcore History on What Makes the Vikings Alluring

A chat with the host of Hardcore History podcast, which recently featured a five-hour episode on the Vikings

This episode could have been titled “Three Oregonians Do History.”

Terri and C.J. finally had their long-anticipated sit down with fellow Oregonian Dan Carlin, well-known host of the podcast Hardcore History, to discuss the topic of the Vikings, which Dan covered in his recent episode Twighlight of the Æsir.

We wanted to understand why the most popular history podcast in the U.S. decided to devote FIVE hours to the Vikings — with a sequel coming later this year — and answer the question: What made the Vikings so special?

Was it the ships? Nordic culture? Prowess in war? Or some other secret sauce?.... we cover it all.

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Those of you familiar with Dan’s work know he does a ton of research when prepping for his shows, so we asked him what he’s learned in that process about who he thinks the Vikings were and how they stack up against other similar cultures in the ancient and medieval worlds, including Caesar’s Roman army and the Celts.

We also tapped into Dan’s interest in military and warfare history to ponder why people are so fascinated by warriors and shieldmaidens and what it says about us in the modern era. That led us into some interesting pondering about why cross-culturally throughout history men — particularly young men — need to seek out adventure and fame.

Then we took a bit of a philosophical turn and discussed whether it is right to judge people of the past by today’s moral and ethical standards, and how our historian brains are hardwired for the long view – another subject Dan did a podcast about earlier this year on his Hardcore History Addendum.

If you want to know whether Alexander the Great would have been a Viking, why Terri thinks Dan would have made a good Viking Age Skaldic poet, or why Albion Swords are the best reproductions around, watch the episode!

Thanks Dan! It was well worth the wait. We owe you one.

Find Hardcore History and Hardcore History Addendum on all major podcast streaming services and on dancarlin.com.

Dan also has a Substack now too, so check him out there.

An audio-only version of this interview is available here on our Substack and also on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Vikingology Podcast
Vikingology Podcast
Vikingology Podcast