During the events of Vikings: Valhalla, we got to meet a lot of people that were important to the storylines of the three main characters of the series. Of course, season 2 allowed us to see the main characters meeting new people in their own journeys, as Freydis decided to walk her own path in life instead of tagging along with Harald in his own quest to regain his position as the king of Norway. Some of the people that Freydis met on her journey were the Jomsvikings. So, who are the Jomsvikings in Vikings: Valhalla?
In Vikings: Valhalla, the Jomsvikings were Vikings that came from a place called Jomsborg and were known to act like pirates. Unlike the other Vikings that ended up converting to Christianity, the Jomsvikings were staunch believers of the old ways and were less likely to accept new religions.
The thing about the Jomsvikings is that they are actually legendary in terms of their status in history, as there is no real way of knowing whether or not they existed. Nevertheless, it is still interesting to see how Vikings: Valhalla was able to portray this semi-legendary group of Vikings and how they were able to help in the development of Freydis’s storyline as she embarked on her own journey.
Who Are The Jomsvikings?
Back in season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla, we got to see how Freydis was said to be a legendary figure called the Last Daughter of Uppsala. She was given a sword with engravings that were said to be important to the traditional beliefs of the Vikings. As such, she was as traditional as any Viking could get because she clung to her beliefs in the old Norse pagan gods instead of embracing Christianity. And it was this fact that got her life entangled with Olaf, who was a Christian zealot that wanted to erase any hint of paganism in the Viking world.
At the end of the first season, Freydis and Harald were on the run from the forces that attacked Kattegat, and that was where things started in season 2 when they were on the run from Olaf and his men. Of course, Olaf now had the support of Denmark on his side because he was ordered by King Sweyn to hunt down Freydis and Harald as he made them believe that they were threats to the people of Kattegat.
While on the run, Freydis, Leif, and Harald met Viking warriors that offered to help them and take them far away from the mainland so that they could live in peace and follow the old ways without fearing the possibility of getting killed due to their faith. That was when Freydis met the Jomsvikings, who helped them escape Olaf’s forces. So, who are the Jomsvikings?
The Jomsvikings are a group of traditional Vikings that still believe in the old Norse pagan gods and aren’t receptive to Christianity. However, in Vikings: Valhalla, they were also described to be Viking pirates that raided ships for goods and resources. Then again, during the events of Vikings: Valhalla, we did see that they were seemingly acting as pirates for a good reason, as they were smuggling people from the mainland to an island settlement called Jomsborg.
Jomsborg was seen as the second coming of Uppsala due to how it was the last bastion of pagan faith for the Vikings. That is why the Jomsvikings are called such, as they come from Jomsborg and have established their settlement there. In fact, the Jomsvikings took people from the mainland to Jomsborg so that they could practice their religion there. The Jomsvikings embraced Freydis due to her status as the Last Daughter of Uppsala and even allowed her to become their new priestess or spiritual leader.
That is why, during the events of Vikings: Valhalla, Freydis acted as a leader to the people of Jomsborg, especially during the time when Harekr, the leader of the Jomsvikings, was away to take people from the mainland to Jomsborg. But the truth was that Harekr never wanted the mainland people to commune with the Jomsvikings as he saw them as impure people that were not as pure as the Jomsvikings in terms of their faith. That was the reason why Freydis and Harekr clashed near the end of season 2.
Were The Jomsvikings Real?
Vikings: Valhalla, like the original Vikings series, was meant to be a dramatic way of retelling the story of the Vikings that lived more than a thousand years ago. The stories of these Vikings were told in the Vinland sagas, which are chronicled in The Saga of Erik the Red and The Saga of the Greenlanders. That is why a lot of the characters in Vikings: Valhalla were inspired by real-life people. So, does that mean that the Jomsvikings are real?
The Jomsvikings were both real and not real. Yes, it might sound confusing, but you’ll understand why their status as real-life figures is still up for debate. But the thing that needs to be said about the Jomsvikings is that they are said to be legendary Vikings that lived during the Vinland sagas.
Unlike normal Vikings, the Jomsvikings were said to be an elite order of Vikings that were staunchly dedicated to the Norse pagan gods but were also said to be mercenaries and pirates that fought for any lord that was willing enough to pay for their services. These Vikings lived during the 10th and 11th centuries and were said to be conquerors that had feats more legendary than regular Vikings. Of course, like in Vikings: Valhalla, they lived in a place called Jomsborg.
Jomsborg is also said to be a legendary place that may or may not have existed, just like how the Jomsvikings are shrouded in mystery. Jomsborg’s exact location, or its existence, has not yet been established, though it is often maintained that Jomsborg was located on the eastern outlet of the Oder River. But some historians have concluded that the Jomsvikings and Jomsborg are legendary.
The fact that the Jomsvikings are said to have existed as a religious order of Vikings is actually a precursor to religious orders of knights in the Christian world, such as the Knights Templar. In that regard, while the Knights Templar are said to be real, they are still similar to the Jomsvikings in the sense that a lot of the stories that are told about them are legendary and fictional. That means that there is a good chance that the Jomsvikings were actually real but were dismissed as legends due to the unbelievable fictional tales told about them.