Viking quotes, sayings, and phrases are powerful to know... because they contain the wisdom of a legendary, knowledgeable people, that for most of us, conjure visions of war, adventure, and conquest.

And while they were relentless warriors, and certainly a force to be reckoned with, the Viking people's wisdom and wit often go overlooked. Experience breeds knowledge, and these brave souls had no shortage of exploits from which to draw important life lessons.

So below are the best 227 ancient Viking quotes, complete with explanations and insight to help you work Viking guidance into your own life. Dwell on these ancient Viking quotes, proverbs, sayings, and poems, and use the enduring lessons to better yourself and earn your throne in Valhalla!


190 Best Viking Quotes

The Vikings were a Germanic people who lived in Scandinavia from the 8th to the 11th century.  They have been idolized, glorified, and immortalized, throughout history, but in recent years, by TV shows like Vikings and movies like How to Train Your Dragon.

...And these Viking quotes live up the to the images that the Vikings conjure. They're profound, deep, and insightful. They cover a wide range of topics/interest, but all inspire you to be a better man (in one form or another).

1. Too much ale and a man's heart is laid open for all to see.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.151

Don’t be the drunken buffoon at the party. You may say something you regret.

2. Better to fight and fall than to live without hope.

~Volsunga, c.12

Failure is better than not trying at all. At least you learn from your errors.

3. Ill is the result of letting fear rule thine actions.

~The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.46

Nothing good comes from letting your worries stand in your way. Be bold, and push back.

4. Where wolf's ears are, wolf's teeth are near.

~Volsunga Saga, c.19

Stay aware of your surroundings. Smoke often means fire.

5. Ill it is to take love from another man's wife.

~Volsunga, c.21

Don’t let lust overpower your morals.

6. Kinsmen to kinsmen should be true.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.186

Stay loyal to the people you hold dear.

7. To take up great resolutions, and then to lay them aside, only ends in dishonor.

~King Olaf Trygvisson's Saga, c.9

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Giving up can be more shameful than never starting at all. Be realistic in your endeavors.

8. Stand by your own trial and not by what others say.

~Gudmundur Jonsson

Don’t let other people’s perceptions of you affect who you are.

9. Fight your foes in the field, nor be burnt in your house.

~Volsunga Saga, c.21

Face your challenges head-on, rather than waiting for them to find you.

10. Fear not death for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it.

~Volunga Saga, c.5

Dwelling on your mortality won’t change the inevitable. Live for each day, and appreciate the time you’re given.

11. When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.

~Volsunga, c.19

Your tools can only get you so far. It’s your attitude that makes the real difference.

12. 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

Don’t be intimidated when the odds are stacked against you. One voracious warrior can overpower ten apathetic men.

13. With many who come to power and honor, pride keeps pace with promotion.

~The Saga of Magnus the Good, c.8

Believe in yourself, and you will succeed. Confidence goes a long way in this world.

14. Even in the sheath the sword must be sharp – so too must the mind and the spirit be within the body.

Wherever you are in life, don’t forget to take care of your mental and spiritual wellbeing.

15. The thrall alone takes instant vengeance; the coward never.

~Grettir Saga, c.15

Actions are often ruled by emotions. Handle your business in a timely manner, but know when to exercise restraint.

16. Only a coward waits to be taken like a lamb from the fold or a fox from a trap.

~Laxdaela Saga, c.40

Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. If you’re in a tough situation, take steps to fix it.

17. No one is a total fool if he knows when to hold his tongue.

~Grettir's Saga, c.88

Too many words can lead to shame. Know when to keep your mouth shut.

18. Not every cloud which darkens the day brings rain.

~Heitharvega Saga, c.7

Tough times are going to happen, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

19. Nothing good can happen to people who break their solemn vows.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.6

Keep your promises – no matter what.

20. Ill it is to abandon honor and integrity in exchange for injustice and greed.

~Bandamanna Saga, c.10

Stay strong in your convictions, and don’t let temptation change your good nature.

21. Let not thy mind be overmuch crossed by unwise men at thronged meetings of folk; for oft these speak worse than they wot of; lest thou be called a dastard, and art minded to think that thou art even as is said; slay such an one on another day, and so reward his ugly talk.

~Volsunga Saga, c.21

Don’t let negative people get the best of you. Ignore them so you don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you pushed over the edge.

22. 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

Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t overshoot your goals. Be realistic, and keep looking towards the future.

23. It is an old custom for the wisest to give way.

~The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.27

Choose your battles. Sometimes letting things slide is the best course of action.

24. Often is there regret for saying too much, and seldom regret for saying too little.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.7

Know when to remain silent. It’s better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

25. A person's actions are often worse than their intentions.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.10

Try to judge people based on what they meant to do. Everyone makes mistakes, and they’re not usually malicious.

26. Stubbornness brings either greater humiliation or greater honor.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.10

Sticking to your guns can have positive or negative results. Choose your fights widely.

27. When truth and fairness are different from what is law, better it is to follow truth and fairness.

~Bandamanna Saga, c.6

Follow your own moral compass, even if it goes against the grain.

28. A person should not agree today to what they'll regret tomorrow.

~Bandamanna Saga, c.10

Don’t be hasty. Take care of your future self, and don’t agree to do something if you don’t really want to do it.

29. Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from.

~Bandamanna Saga, c.10

Stay teachable. Keep an open mind, and try to learn from all types of situations.

30. Gold is little comfort for the kinsman dead.

~Örvar Odd's Saga, c.11

No amount of wealth is more valuable than a human life.

31. Never cheat your master.

~Njal's Saga, c.86

Always be good to those who take care of you.

32. Who can't defend the wealth they have must die, or share with the rover bold.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.6

If you can’t protect what’s yours, don’t be surprised if it gets taken away.

33. Great deeds and ill deeds often fall within each other's shadow.

~Gisli Sursson's Saga, c.17

There’s a fine line between good and evil. Tread it carefully.

34. When faring on journeys, ward yourself well. Take not harbor near the highway for thereby dwell many ill wights for men's bewilderment.

~Volsunga Saga, c.21

Be cautious when you travel, and take care of yourself. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.

35. Who can say what sorrow seemingly carefree folk bear to their life's end.

~Volsunga Saga, c.24

You never know what’s really going on with someone. Sometimes those who seem happiest on the outside are carrying the biggest burdens.

36. Trust not him whose father, brother or other kin you have slain no matter how young he be, for often grows the wolf in the child.

~Volsunga Saga, c.21

If you’ve wronged someone, it may come back to bite you. Be cautious around those who associate with the person you hurt.

37. Better to die with honor than live with shame.

~The Saga of the Jomsvikings, c.23,

In the end, how you lived your life is the most important thing.

38. A wounded coward lies low.

~The Saga of Thorstein Staff-struck

Stand up in the face of adversity. When you’re struggling, fight harder.

39. Oft one finds, when the foe he meets, that he is not the bravest of all.

~Fafnismal 17

Try to be self-aware. Don’t let pride cloud your judgment.

40. Anybody who offends a more powerful man can hardly expect to wear out many more new shirts.

~The Saga of Thorstein Staff-struck

Treat those in positions of authority with respect. You don’t want to anger the wrong person.

41. He falls not whom true friends help forward on his way.

~Egil's Saga, c.67

It’s much harder to fail when you have loyal friends who have your back.

42. Give kind heed to the dead, sick-dead, Sea-dead, or word-dead; treat their bodies with respect and see that they are laid to rest with respect.

~Volsunga Saga, c.21

Be good to those less fortunate than you. Treat the dead with respect.

43. If you hear the fool's word of a drunken man, strive not with him who is drunk with drink and witless, for often only ill and doom come out of such things.

~Volsunga, c.21

Know when to put down the bottle, and choose your company wisely.

44. The brave man well shall fight and win, though dull his blade may be.

~Fafnismal 28

You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it – even if you’re not as well-equipped as others.

45. 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

Just one brave person can make a huge impact. One spark can start a roaring fire.

46. That which has a bad beginning, is likely to have a bad ending.

~Hen-Thorir's Saga, c.4

Always get started on the right foot. The first stages of any project set a precedent for the rest.

47. Ill is it to do the wrong and leave the right undone.

~Króka-refs Saga, c.3

Choose your actions carefully.

48. One should not ask more than would be thought fitting.

~Króka-refs Saga, c.10

Don’t ask for more than you need.

49. Often it is that what happens to most others will happen to you.

~Eyrbyggja Saga, c.32

Learn from other people’s experiences. You’re just as susceptible to their curses and blessings.

50. Do not expect to make headway with a frail sailcloth.

~Eyrbyggja Saga, c.20

If you don’t have the proper tools, it’s difficult to do the job right.

51. Better a brief spell of honour than a long rule of shame.

~Laxdaela Saga, c.29

Quality over quantity. Glory comes from doing things for the right reasons.

52. There is greater consolation than money.

~Grettir's Saga, c.47

There are things more important and more rewarding than wealth.

53. He’s a wise man who knows himself.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.7

Recognize your positive and negative traits. Knowing yourself is the key to self-improvement.

54. Evil grows from evil.

~Hen-Thorir's Saga, c.13

Evil is self-perpetuating. Stop it at its source.

55. Word carries, though mouth stands still.

~Vapnfirðinga Saga, c.3

Words can come back to haunt you long after you’ve said them.

56. Slow and sure.

~Njal's Saga, c.44

Don’t rush into things. Take your time, and do it right.

57. Let another's wounds be your warning.

~Njal's Saga, c.37

Learn from the mistakes of others.

58. Every man must plough his own furrow.

~Vapnfirðinga Saga, c.5

Don’t expect other people to do your work for you.

59. Bravery is half the victory.

~The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.103

Overcoming your initial fear is often the most difficult step. Conquer your worries, and the rest will seem easy.

60. Bad counsel comes to a bad end.

~The Saga of Magnus Barefoot, c.6

Be cautious of who you ask for advice. Seek guidance only from those who you respect.

61. The bold succeed where so ever they go.

~The Saga of Magnus Barefoot, c.8

Fear tends to be the biggest obstacle. Those who overcome apprehension are the ones who succeed.

62. If words leave the lips, they travel.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.11

Choose your words wisely. People do gossip.

63. Wrong begets wrong.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.16

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Take the high road.

64. Many are wise after the event.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.19

Hindsight is 2020. Learn from the past, and don’t repeat mistakes.

65. The counsel of fools is the more misguided the more of them there are.

~Laxdaela Saga, c.21

An echo chamber of foolish people is only going to increase foolishness tenfold.

66. Numbers cannot skill withstand.

~The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.65

Sometimes quantity does beat quality. Even the most skilled swordsman will lose a battle against an army.

67. A hungry wolf is bound to wage a hard battle.

~Laxdaela Saga, c.19

A desperate person in need will fight harder than one who has it all.

68. A person should exhibit frith whatever may come. Though many wish for good, ill is oft the more mighty.

~Atlamol en Gronlenzku 34

Try to maintain a positive attitude even in times of trouble. Hope for the best while anticipating the worst.

69. It may often be that those live long who are slain with words alone.

~Njal's Saga, c.45

Words may hurt your feelings, but they can’t kill you. Try not to be affected by words.

70. Never swear false oaths; great and grim is the reward for the breaking of troth.

~Volsunga, c.21

Don’t make promises unless you know you can keep them.

71. A man should have his plans worked out before he enters into great undertakings or incites others to them.

~The Saga of Ref the Sly, c.8

Don’t set a plan into motion until it’s fully thought out. Be deliberate and direct in your actions.

72. One should warn even a dim-witted troll if he sits naked by a fire.

~Heitharvega Saga, c.14

Everyone deserves human decency. Be kind even to those who don’t seem like they deserve it.

73. The fool is busy in everyone’s business but his own.

~Kormak's Saga, c.14

Stay focused on your own affairs, and don’t interfere where you’re not welcome or needed.

74. You can hardly expect any peace for troublemakers.

~Thesaurus Proverbiorum Medii Aevi 14 vols., Samuel Singer Kuratorium

Those who cause problems tend to experience them as well.

75. Many breakers of battle-axes are more brag than brains.

~Grettir's Saga, c.4

Don’t push hard to impress others. Do it because it makes sense and benefits you.

76. Often it is that anger is blind to the truth.

~The Foster-brother's Saga, c.22

Anger makes it difficult to be impartial. Don’t let negative emotions cloud your better judgment.

77. It is their lot who stand with the great that they enjoy high honors, and are more respected than others, but stand often in danger of their lives.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.67

Power and prestige come with risks. Strive for greatness, but be wary of the dangers that come with success.

78. Everyone has some friend, even among his enemies.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.73

You’re never truly alone, and you might have more in common with your enemies than you think.

79. 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

Money isn’t everything. Do what makes you happy, even if it requires sacrifice.

80. Many a man keeps his word of foster-brothership but middlingly well.

~The Saga of Thorstein Viking's Son, c.16

It’s easy to claim friendship, but harder to prove it. Keep your true friends as close as family.

81. There are few things for which a match cannot be found.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.86

Most possessions are replaceable. Don’t obsess over material items.

82. Be kind to friend and kin, and reward not their trespasses against you; bear and forbear, and win for yourself thereby long enduring praise of men.

~Volsunga, c.21

Treat people well, but don’t let them take advantage of your kindness.

83. Short is the hour for acting, and long the hour for feasting.

~The Saga of Hakon the Good, c.28

Jump on opportunities when they happen. They’re rare, and the rewards are often long-lasting.

84. The longer the vengeance is drawn out, the more satisfying it will be.

~Ljósvetninga Saga, c.13

168. Sometimes revenge is a dish best served cold.

85. 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

Don’t brag if you can’t back it up.

86. The hand turns to its wonted skill, and that which was learned in youth is always most familiar.

~Grettir's Saga, c.78

Develop skills now so you have them when you’re older.

87. It often happens that he who gets a death wound yet avenges himself.

~The Story of Hreidar the Fool

Even if you’re struggling, you may still be able to overcome impossible odds.

88. It may go well at first, for those who try to lord it over others, but they may find things more difficult as time goes by.

~Guðmundur Jónsson

Pride comes before the fall. While conceited people may experience temporary success, it eventually comes crashing down.

89. The king's palace is an easy place to enter but hard to leave.

~Egil's Saga, c.69

Try not to covet other people’s possessions. Appreciate wealth when you have it, and keep a positive attitude when you don’t.

90. Seldom will a voyage go well if the men are at odds.

~The Foster-brother's Saga,, c.20

Fighting hurts everyone, including you. Be a team player for the greater good of everyone.

91. For whoso comes amongst many shall one day find that no one man is by so far the mightiest of all.

~Volsunga, c.18

Even the strongest person can’t stand up to an entire army on his own.

92. The more folk stand in the way of two hearts that yearn for each other, the hotter the flame of love waxes.

~The Story of Viglund the Fair, c.11

We often want what we can’t have. Don’t try to stop love because it will only get stronger.

93. For with law shall our land be built up and settled, and with lawlessness wasted and spoiled.

~Njal's Saga, c.69

Sometimes there are rules for a reason. Be part of the greater good by following them.

94. 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

Try not to be distracted by your thoughts. Stay focused on the present.

95. More people prefer the worse side of a story which has two versions.

~Grettir's Saga, c.46

Take rumors with a grain of salt. Many people like juicy gossip, and will gladly embrace a story over the truth.

146 Best Viking Sayings and Proverbs

These Viking sayings and proverbs are just like the Viking quotes above... but are more short and sweet.

96. Many a fair skin hides a foul mind.

~Eyrbyggja Saga, c.16

Beauty can be misleading. Judge people based on their actions, not appearances.

97. It often happens that things go by turns.

~The Saga of Thrond of Gate, c.31

You’re going to have ups and downs in this life. Enjoy the good, and remember that the bad won’t last forever.

98. It is better to ride a whole wagon home.

~Egil's Saga, c.38

Don’t sell yourself short. Finish what you start so you can enjoy the entirety of the payoff.

99. Beware of those who speak fairly but think falsely.

~The Saga of Bjarn of the Hitdoela Champions, c.7

Actions speak louder than words.

100. Many travels, many fortunes.

~Egil's Saga, c.38

Expand your horizons. New experiences often lead to positive outcomes.

101. There’s no excusing the man who rejects the truth once it’s proven.

~Fóstbrœðra saga, c.23

Be willing to change your mind when presented with facts.

102. There is a time for everything.

~Grettir's Saga, c.73

Enjoy the present. Try not to dwell on what the future may hold. Everything in its time.

103. All should be told to a friend.

~Egil's Saga, c.56

Confide in the people close to you.

104. Gossip often leads to trouble.

~Gisli Sursson's Saga, c.9

Loose lips sink ships. Don’t talk behind other people’s backs.

105. A small bird makes a small catch.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.29

Keep your expectations reasonable. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.

106. He with a short knife must try, try again.

~Vapnfirðinga Saga, c.7

Don’t let your shortcomings hold you back. Perseverance leads to success, regardless of what tools you have at your disposal. Rivers carve stone through persistence.

107. All things happen in threes.

~Grettir's Saga, c.88

When tragedy strikes, keep your eyes peeled for more on the horizon.

108. reaps a bad reward.

~Grettir's Saga, c.62

Treating people poorly is usually going to cause problems in your life.

109. What is done shall be told all the same.

~Grettir's Saga, c.40

Expect people to speak of you and your actions accurately. Be a good person, and you won’t have to worry about what they say.

110. Never reach around a door for the handle.

~Grettir's Saga, c.28

If you do something the wrong way, you might hurt yourself.

111. It takes time to know people.

~Grettir's Saga, c.20

The best relationships take years to blossom. Friendships age like a fine wine.

112. It is best not to believe what no one else believes.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.25

Trust in your fellow man. If the vast majority think something, they’re probably right.

113. When ill seed has been sown, so an ill crop will spring from it.

~Njal's Saga, c.114

If you put negativity into the world, you’re going to receive it in return.

114. Boldly do men talk from a distance.

~Heitharvega Saga

It’s easy to speak when you know there are no ramifications. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

115. Best it is, for man's words to seek peace when it is possible.

~Heitharvega, c.35

Avoid conflict unless it’s absolutely necessary.

116. Likely is ill the result when words of slander fly.

~Heitharvega, c.35

Words have consequences. Don’t say things if you’re not ready to deal with the repercussions.

117. Wise men hold it that distance is the cure of rage.

~Heitharvega, c.35

Know when to take a few deep breaths and remove yourself from a difficult situation. Avoid people who bring out the worst in you.

118. It is better to keep one's oath.

~The Saga of Thorstein Viking's Son, c.19

Always stand by your promises, no matter what.

119. Varied will be his fortunes who fares far.

~The Saga of Fridthjof the Bold, c.6

Straying from your original path in life can have good or bad results.

120. Alone is it seemly to hold truly to troth given.

~Volsunga Saga, c.4

Doing the right thing may make you feel lonely at times. Stand by your convictions.

121. What people wish they soon believe.

~King Olaf Trygvisson's Saga, c.122

Try not to let your desires influence and reinforce your beliefs.

122. The common always love what is new.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.33

Don’t buy into the hype. Just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s revolutionary

123. The fire seems hottest to a burned man.

~Grettir's Saga, c.59

Wrongdoings hurt more to those who have already been wronged in the past.

124. Beggars always want to be choosers.

~Örvar Odd's Saga, c.24

Take what you can get. Don’t be picky if you’re asking a favor.

125. Many a trifle happens at eve.

~Grettir's Saga, c.18

Often bad occurrences happen when it’s dark out.

126. A rotten branch will be found in every tree.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.148

Nothing is perfect. Even the best situations may have drawbacks.

127. Sorrow is lightened by being brought out openly.

~The Saga of Sigurd the Crusader and His Brothers Eystein and Olaf, c.18

Don’t bury your negative emotions. Face them head-on.

128. Low the mocker's fame lies.

~Guðmundur Jónsson

People who make fun of others don’t have solid reputations.

129. He knows all who knows when to stop.

~Guðmundur Jónsson

Timing is everything. Know when to call it.

130. Least said, soonest mended.

~Laxdaela Saga

Negative words and thoughts do damage. Trying times pass quicker when you stop dwelling on them.

131. Eagles should show their claws, though dying.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.186

Even when you’re going through a rough patch in life, be true to who you are. Don’t let life beat you into submission.

132. Only idlers wait till evening.

~Laxdaela Saga, c.35

Don’t wait to do something that you can do now. Procrastination just means more work later.

133. Ill rede bring ill luck.

~Njal's Saga, c.45

Bad advice manifests negatively. Be cautious when giving or receiving counsel.

134. Forethought is better than afterthought.

~Vatnsdæla Saga, c.40

Planning ahead helps you to avoid costly mistakes. You don’t need to fix errors if you never make them.

135. A miser can never give a gift without a snag.

~Gautrek's Saga, c.1

Don’t do favors with an expectation of payback. Do good deeds with a pure heart.

136. The one you trust most can disappoint you most.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.23

Be careful who you trust. Being hurt by a loved one is far more painful than being hurt by a stranger or an enemy.

137. It's better to be betrayed than to trust no one.

~Fljotsdale Saga, c.13

While you may get let down, sometimes you need to believe in people. Excessive skepticism can cause more problems than broken trust.

138. It is good to have two mouths for the two kinds of speech.

~The Saga of Thorstein Viking's Son, c.16

Be able to speak both kindly and harshly, depending on the situation at hand.

139. There are few more certain tokens of ill than not to know how to accept the good.

~Grettir Saga, c.78

140. Better to take warning early than late.

~Viga Glum's Saga, c.40

Don’t brush off early warning signs. Prepare for approaching problems now.

141. Be warned by another's woe.

~Njal's Saga,c.13

Learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t make them yourself.

142. Where fault can be found, the good is ignored.

~The Saga of Njal, chapter 139

Don’t play the blame game. Focus on solutions.

143. When one wolf hunts for another he may eat the prey.

~Laxdaela Saga, c.23

If someone does your work for you, don’t be surprised or upset when they take the glory and rewards.

144. Old friends are the last to break away.

~The Saga of Grettir, chapter 82

Keep your dearest friends close, for they will be the ones to stand with you the longest.

145. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

~Njal's Saga, c.5 ~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.10, BH

Your dreams aren’t going to fulfill themselves. Achievements require action.

146. Pride and wrong often end badly.

~Viga Glum's Saga, c.7

292. A humble and well-intentioned person is more likely to find success in life.

147. The cattle are like their master.

~Viga Glum's Saga, c.13

Influential people breed followers – for better or for worse. Try to be a leader who creates positive change in the world.

148. You can’t provide for everything.

~Grettir's Saga, c.52

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t carry a burden too heavy for your back.

149. What brothers own jointly is best seen together.

~Gisli Sursson's Saga, c.10

Don’t take more of a shared possession than you deserve.

150. Work not done, needs no reward.

~Grettir Saga, c.17

You aren’t owed anything unless you work for it. Don’t expect a payment you didn’t earn.

151. Everyone is master of his own words.

~Grettir Saga, c.19

You control how you’re perceived by what you say and how you act.

152. The guess of the wise is truth.

~Grettir Saga, c.31

Know your sources. Trust in the words of people who you respect.

153. One man's tale is but half a tale.

~Grettir Saga, c,46

There are two sides to every story. Try not to cast judgment until hearing both.

154. The unjust man prospers ill.

~Grettir Saga, c.62

You reap what you sow. If you’re an unfair person, you’re not likely to be successful.

155. Hard words break no bones.

~Hen-Thorir's Saga, c.13

Try not to let negative words bring you down. Sticks and stones.

156. Sweet to the eye is that which is seen.

~Volsunga Saga, c.5

Always pursue the truth.

157. The king has many ears.

~King Olaf Trygvisson's Saga, c.89

Speaking poorly of powerful people comes with great risk. Many will try to curry favor by offering your words as a gift.

158. Birds of a feather flock most together.

~Njal's Saga, c.51

Surround yourself with like minded people who bring out the best in you.

159. Few are bold in old age that are cowardly in childhood.

~Volsunga Saga, c.18

As time goes by, it can be difficult to change your habits. Try to be the best version of yourself now, and the future you will follow.

160. The run of the game is decided by the first move.

~The Foster-brother's Saga, c.15

The first step determines which way you’ll go. Start smart, and you’ll end up where you want to be.

161. What is tested is known.

~Grettir's Saga, c.40

322. Don’t trust hearsay. Experience is the best teacher.

162. No man is his own creator.

~Grettir's Saga, c.41

We all need to rely on others from time to time. You can’t do everything yourself.

163. The overpraised are the worst deceivers.

~Grettir Saga, c.45

Be wary of people who surround themselves with yes-men. They may not even realize that their words lack truth.

164. One evil is mended by a worse one.

~Grettir Saga, c,47

Actions have consequences. Sometimes justice takes the form of evil.

165. No might against many.

~Volsunga, c.11

Choose your battles wisely. Don’t try to swim upstream if you know the current is too strong.

166. Who dares, wins.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.9

You have to take risks if you want rewards.

167. Ward thy words well, for they may seem more hasty later than they do now.

~Gudmundur Jonsson

Be careful what you say in the heat of the moment. You may regret your words later when emotions subside.

168. A wise man does all things in moderation.

~Gisli Sursson's Saga, ch.18

Too much of anything can have consequences. Don’t overdo it.

70 Best Norse Sayings and Proverbs

Norse and Vikings are two words, for a very similar people, that are used almost interchangeably.

There are a lot of similarities between the two. Both the Vikings and the Norse lived in Scandinavia from the 8th to the 11th century. Both were a Germanic people. And both were farmers and traders. The difference is that the Vikings were part-time warriors under the rule of Jarl.

And because of this difference, you'll see a difference in the Viking quotes and the Norse sayings and quotes. The Viking quotes talked about a wide range of topics, including ware, whereas these Norse words will have nothing to do with war or violence.

169. No one is a total fool if he can be silent.

~The Saga of Grettir, chapter 88

Wisdom isn’t measured by the quantity of words you speak. Sometimes it’s best to simply say nothing.

170. Never break the peace which good and true men make between you and others.

~Njal's Saga, c.55

If a respected person introduces you to someone, appreciate that honor. Don’t soil his good name with poor behavior.

171. Fate and fortune do not always go hand in hand.

~Grettir's Saga, c.34

There are no guarantees in this life. Sometimes your desires just aren’t in the cards.

172. Eyes cannot hide a woman’s love for a man.

~The Saga of Gunnlaugur the Worm-tongue, chapter 13

Eyes can reveal what the mouth may be afraid to speak.

173. Braver are many in word than in deed

~Grettir Saga, c.4

It’s easy to talk a big game. Prove your worth with actions, not statements.

174. One’s back is vulnerable, unless one has a brother.

~Grettir Saga, c.82

Watch your brother’s back and he’ll watch yours. Never undervalue the people close to you.

175. He knows most who most has tried.

~Grettir Saga, c.17

Experience leads to wisdom. Even if you fail, you gain new perspectives when you try.

176. There are more things to be thought of by men than money alone.

~The Saga of Grettir, chapter 47

There’s much more to this life than chasing wealth. Don’t get greedy.

177. Many seem wise who are lacking in wit.

~Grettir Saga, c.17

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Just like wisdom, a sense of humor is an important quality to possess.

178. True is the saying that no man shapes his own fortune.

~Grettir Saga, c.41

Sometimes you need to step back and let destiny run its course.

179. Luck is one thing, brave deeds another.

~Grettir Saga, c.34

Actions lead to results. Don’t just hope for the best and then get disappointed when nothing happens.

180. There is more in the heart of man than money can buy.

~Grettir Saga, c,47

Wealth isn’t everything. Don’t lose sight of what’s truly important to you.

181. Many have been brought to death by overconfidence.

~Grettir Saga, c,54

Pride comes before the fall. Be cautious and humble, and don’t let your ego get the best of you.

182. Trust no man so well that you trust not yourself better. Many are unfit to be trusted.

~Grettir Saga, c.67

Believe in your own instincts first. Don’t let others make important decisions for you.

183. It is ill to have a thrall for your friend.

~Grettir Saga, c.82

Treat the people in your life with respect. Don’t try to have power over your companions.

184. Youth is hasty.

~The Saga of Harald Hardrade, c.27

Wisdom often comes with age and experience.

185. Good to love good things when all goes according to thy heart's desire.

~Volsunga, c.28

Stop and smell the roses. Appreciate the good times when things are working in your favor.

186. A man's own hand is most to be trusted.

~Viga Glum's Saga, c.4

If you want something done right, do it yourself.

187. No harvest is had without the seed first being sown.

~King Olaf Trygvisson's Saga, c.8

Don’t expect rewards if you don’t put in the effort. Actions lead to blessings.

188. Luck accompanies wisdom.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.131

Knowledge often leads to success. It’s no coincidence that the luckiest people also tend to be clever.

189. A man's own hand is the truest test.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.153

You know what works for you. Believe in yourself first.

190. Two masters is one too many, if a man wishes to be true.

~The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson, c.170

You alone control your destiny. Be your own boss.

191. The sluggard waits till afternoon.

~The Saga of Magnus the Good, c.17

Act now. Don’t procrastinate.

192. Short is the life of the proud.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.14

Conceited people usually end up failing. Stay humble.

193. A sleeping man's an ignorant man too.

~The Story of Hreidar the Fool

Be proactive in your life. You can’t accomplish anything while you’re sleeping.

194. Bad counsel turns out badly.

~Vatnsdæla Saga, c.3

Don’t seek advice from people who you don’t respect.

195. The reason why young men get nowhere is that they overestimate the obstacles every time.

~The Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgothi, c.7

Things really aren’t as difficult as they seem. Try, and you’ll succeed.

196. Reputation rarely flatters.

~Bandamanna Saga, c.2

Judge people based on your own experiences with them – not what you hear from others.

197. Many eyes squint when there's money around.

~Bandamanna Saga, c.5

Dishonest people can be deliberately misleading when it comes to finances.

198. The treachery of friend is worse than that of a foe.

~Gisli Sursson's Saga, c.32

Betrayal hurts worse when it comes from someone you care about. Be true to your friends.

199. A man without wisdom is lacking in much.

~Hamthesmal 29

There is no wealth more valuable than wisdom.

200. Many hands make light work.

~Grettir's Saga, c.17

There is power in numbers

201. Long is it remembered what youth has gained.

~The Tale of Gunnlaug the Worm-tongue and Raven the Skald, c.13

Always try to improve yourself. Lessons you learn now will benefit you later in life.

202. A person should tend to the oak if they want to live under it.

~Egil's Saga, c.71

If you want rewards, you need to work for them.

203. Anything can be told to a friend.

~Egil's Saga, c.56

Your true friends are there to listen to you and help you through your problems. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

26 Best Havamal Quotes

Havamal, or "sayings of the high one", is a collection of Norse poems, that is presented as a single poem.

The verses of the Havamal are attributed to Odin, and contain both practical and philosophical questions, thoughts, and ideas. The Havamal quotes below are snippets from the Havamal and are interesting in a modern-day context because while most speak of things that aren't important/relevant to us today, many their underlying meaning remains.

204. Cattle die, kinsmen die, all men are mortal. Words of praise will never perish, nor a noble name.

~The Havamal

All creatures meet the same fate eventually. How you’re remembered is what’s truly important.

205. Always rise to an early meal, but eat your fill before a feast. If you're hungry you have no time to talk at the table.

~The Havamal

Sometimes fellowship with the people you care about is the most important thing.

206. Moderately wise a man should be, not too crafty or clever. A learned man's heart whose learning is deep seldom sings with joy.

~The Havamal

Knowing too much can stand in the way of your happiness.

207. Never walk away from home ahead of your axe and sword. You can't feel a battle in your bones or foresee a fight.

~The Havamal

Always be prepared. It’s impossible to tell what the future may hold.

208. The unwise man is awake all night worries over and again. When morning rises he is restless still, his burden as before.

~The Havamal

Stressing over a difficult situation only makes it worse. Focus on solutions.

209. It is fortunate to be favored with praise and popularity. It is dire luck to be dependent on the feelings of your fellow man.

~The Havamal

Your self-worth comes from you and you alone. Don’t let your social standing determine your level of self-esteem.

220. Wake early if you want another man's life or land. No lamb for the lazy wolf. No battle's won in bed.

~The Havamal

If you want something, go out there and get it. Laziness has no reward.

221. Be your friend's true friend. Return gift for gift. Repay laughter with laughter again, but betrayal with treachery.

~The Havamal

Friendship is a two-way street.

222. Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind, but rather keep watch o'er his wits. Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling; to the heedful comes seldom harm, for none can find a more faithful friend than the wealth of mother wit.

~The Havamal

Keep a level head. Pride often leads to misfortune.

223. Wise he is deemed who can question well, and also answer back: the sons of men can no secret make of the tidings told in their midst.

~The Havamal

The art of conversation is extremely valuable. Know the questions to ask and the answers to give.

224. Never a whit should one blame another for a folly which many befalls; the might of love makes sons of men into fools who once were wise.

~The Havamal

The power of love can make reasonable people do crazy things.

225. A fool will gape when he goes to a friend, and mumble only, or mope; but pass him the ale cup and all in a moment the mind of that man is shown.

~The Havamal

Alcohol can be a truth serum. Sometimes true thoughts and feelings come out after a few drinks.

226. Wake early if you want another man's life or land. No lamb for the lazy wolf. No battle is won in bed.

~The Havamal

227. Go you must. No guest shall stay in one place for ever. Love will be lost if you sit too long at a friend's fire.

~The Havamal

It can be easy to get complacent. Keep pushing ahead, and don’t get too comfortable in one place.

In Conclusion

The Vikings are most remembered for their sheer strength and brutality, but it's clear from reading these Viking quotes, that they had much to offer in the way of wisdom.

While the language may change over the years, the timeless lessons remain relevant to this day. Heed the ancient knowledge of the Viking people, and you will undoubtedly reap the benefits. There's an old Viking quote:

Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from."

Reflect on these 227 Viking quotes, proverbs, poems, and passages, and always be on the hunt for sage advice from cultures across the ages, as well as in your own life.