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How accurate is the respresentation of York/Jórvík in the manga Vinland Saga?

How accurate is the respresentation of York/Jórvík in the manga Vinland Saga?

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In the manga Vinland Saga, the heroes arrive at "York". Clearly, it should have been called Jórvík but let's forgive them that for now. Below is how the manga shows the city from the sky. Comparing this map to a current map of York, the resemblance is striking.

However, how accurate is it for Jórvík?

Within the scope of artistic licence it seems to be fairly close to what Roman York is believed to have looked like. Given that Vikings didn't have a reputation for being much in the way of civil engineers it's probably reasonable to assume that Jorvik had much the same layout as the Roman and subsequent Anglo-Saxon versions.

That being said, "accuracy" of city maps from the Dark Ages is going to be iffy at the best of times…


Early life

Ragnar was born to the Swedish king Sigurd Ring and his wife Alfhild Gandolfsdottir. Ώ] During his adult life he married his first wife Lagertha and fathered Halfdan, ΐ] and with his third wife Aslaug he fathered Ivarr the Boneless, Björn Ironside, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Ubba. Ώ]

Besieging Paris

In March 845, Ragnar and a force of at least 4,000 men besieged the capital city of Paris, West Francia. One of his men, Sten Stensson, fought side-by-side with Ragnar during the battle. Α] The siege ended in a victory for the Vikings, who plundered and occupied Paris before departing after King Charles the Bald‎ paid a ransom of 7,000 livres of silver and gold. Β]


Seeing his sons grow into legendary heroes, Ragnar wished to outdo them by planning to raid and conquer England with only two ships. Ώ] In 865, Ragnar and his drengir arrived in Northumbria, and the raids that followed were carefully calculated. However, Ragnar was eventually captured by ealdorman Ælla of Northumbria Γ] and put to death by being thrown into a pit of snakes. Δ]


Early life

Born in Cairo to parents Ashraf and Zeniab Hassan, Layla and her family emigrated to the United States in 1986 when she was two, Ώ] before finally settling in Queens, New York. It was there that Layla grew up alongside her two younger brothers, Rami and Kaden. She was granted American citizenship through a process known as naturalization. ΐ]

In her childhood, Layla often drove her parents crazy as she always disassembled her toys rather than playing with them. She also disliked surprises and objects that seemed to work by magic, Growing up, Layla began showing a penchant for rule-breaking and she disliked the regimented nature of formal schooling, due to having an unpleasant experience of being punished for playing by the rules. This cemented her existing tendency to buck authority. Ώ]

At some point during her youth, Layla found and became a fan of the band Rha Victoria. She even met them backstage after a gig of theirs at the Madison Square Garden in 2000. ΐ]

After high school, Layla was pressured by her father into post-secondary enrollment despite her plans not to continue studies as well as her poor grades. However, she showed promise in engineering and this led her father to enroll her in the University of California in Berkeley under the electrical engineering program. Ώ]

Working at Abstergo

However, Layla remained uncommitted to her studies and found herself thriving in the campus' highly politicized atmosphere, feuding with the school's administration. It was during this time she met Sofia Rikkin, who was part of a delegation of Abstergo touring the campus with the company's "young innovators" recruitment program. Ώ] ΐ]

Sofia was intrigued by Layla's interest in technology, and as such offered her a job with Abstergo where she could work her way up to the Animus lab. In 2006, Layla dropped out of the university and joined Abstergo, working first in the I+D division of Abstergo Fitness Α] and later in the Research and Development division. Ώ]

Over the years, Abstergo used several of her ideas to make adjustments to the Animus, though she was never made aware of the company's Templar affiliations. Although Layla worked for Abstergo for eleven years, the one thing she wanted more than anything else was a promotion to work on the Animus Project. However, she was denied this offer due to her numerous transgressions against Abstergo protocols. ΐ]

Egyptian revolution activism

In January 2011, protests against then-president Hosni Mubarak and his regime erupted in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. Layla, feeling the need for revolution, asked for a leave of absence and returned to her home country. She was present for the Tahir Square demonstrations. Although her fluency in Arabic was minimal, she managed to become strongly involved in the country's revolutionary youth culture. She helped her new friends communicate via social media and also in hacking digital devices despite the widespread government censorship. Ώ]

In July 2013, after the coup d'état that installed Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president, Layla decided to reluctantly return to America to work for Abstergo again. She was issued her own portable Animus, but her satisfaction with her job grew stale. The near-lack of contact with Sofia angered Layla over the denied professional opportunity. Ώ]

For the next three years, Layla continued her work at Abstergo while also secretly modding her Animus to able to process DNA of those not related to her and also excessively damaged DNA. She had planned to present her new design to Sofia and finally be a part of the Animus team. However due to the Assassin attack on the Abstergo Foundation Rehabilitation Center in October 2016, all contact with Sofia stopped. Ώ]

Assignment in Egypt

In 2017, as part of a Historical Tactical Team, Layla and her co-worker and best friend, Deanna Geary, were assigned by Simon Hathaway to find and retrieve an important historical artifact from the Qattara Depression in Egypt. During this expedition, Layla found the mummies of the ancient Assassins Bayek and Aya. Without informing her superiors, she used her own portable Animus to relive their memories from around the year 48 BCE in order to prove her worth to the Animus Project. ΐ] Β]

Layla's refusal to check in with Abstergo led to the company deploying a Sigma Team to find her and Deanna. While Deanna was assaulted in her hotel, Layla made use of the skills she'd obtained through the Bleeding Effect to dispatch her attackers. ΐ]

She was later found by William Miles, Mentor of the Assassins after he had caught wind of her situation. He offered her a position with the Brotherhood and faced with no other option, Layla agreed to work with him, but refused to actually join as a member. ΐ]

Working with the Assassins

By the end of 2017, she had not only become a member of the Assassins, but befriended several members, including Charlotte de la Cruz, Arend Schut-Cunningham, and Harlan Cunningham, and had become a leader of her own Assassin cell. Γ]

As part of her first Assassin mission, she and Kiyoshi Takakura went on a mission to Quebec. They searched the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec for a relic which had belonged to the Recollects. Things went sideways when they were confronted by Abstergo, but Kiyoshi's past as a yakuza helped him save Layla from danger. Γ] Δ]

Herodotos' Lost Histories

Layla with the Spear of Leonidas

In October 2018, during her quest for Isu artifacts, Layla discovered the Lost Histories of Herodotos, the earliest known Greek historian. From this work, she learned of the Spartan mercenary Kassandra who had wielded an Isu weapon, the Spear of Leonidas. Layla went out searching for the broken spear, and after finding it she was able to relive Kassandra's memories with the help of another ex-Abstergo employee Dr Victoria Bibeau. Γ]

After reliving Kassandra's memory of discovering Atlantis for the first time, Layla and her crew sailed from London to the coast of Santorini aboard the Altaïr II, hoping to find the secret underwater entrance to the ancient city. Layla, having found the entrance and the city, further explored Atlantis, looking for a way to open it. Not finding anything then, she decided to further relive Kassandra's memories to find out how she might open the city. Γ]

Once Layla had the necessary knowledge to open the city, she realigned the mirrors reflecting the light beam and the city was opened. It was then that she met with Kassandra herself, kept alive by the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus. Kassandra warned that as the Templars and Assassins represent order and chaos, either side prevailing over the other would result in the world's doom. Declaring Layla the prophesied one who would bring balance, Kassandra passed the staff on to Layla and immediately lost her immortality and expired – Layla held her in her arms as she died. Layla then returned to the Animus to synchronize with the remainder of Kassandra's memories. Γ]

Unlocking the Seal of Atlantis

Whilst exploring Kassandra's memories, Layla encountered a hologram of the Isu Aletheia, who guided Kassandra to hold onto the Staff until she could hand it over to Layla, whom Aletheia referred to as the "Heir of Memories". Upon exiting the Animus, Layla heard Aletheia's voice issue from the Staff, instructing her to identify the three symbols to unlock the Great Seal to Atlantis. Layla, with the assistance of the Altaïr II, later located the symbols in the tombs of Agamemnon, Orion, and Eteokles. Ε]

All the while, Bibeau expressed concern for Layla's well-being while Aletheia warned that someone called the Interloper sought to stop her. Realizing that Kassandra's associate, Phidias, knew the meaning of these symbols, Layla relived the memories of Kassandra's brother Deimos, who was responsible for the sculptor's murder, despite the dangerous effects on her mind, at which Bibeau was forced to remotely pull her out. Ε]

After hearing from Aletheia that the Interloper was male, Layla soon lost contact with the Altaïr II as it was attacked by the Sigma Team. Uncertain of her team's status, Layla went to unlock the Seal, realizing that the three words Phidias had repeated when Alexios assaulted him were the password. Subsequently, she was relieved to hear that her team had fought off the Sigma Team. Furthermore, Alannah Ryan claimed that someone was listening in on their communications, so the Altaïr II was forced to go dark until it was safe to open up Atlantis. Ε]

Trials of Atlantis

Having successfully unlocked Atlantis, Layla entered the room, where she was greeted by Aletheia and joined by Victoria, who was concerned about her friend's wellbeing. Aletheia tasked Kassandra to enter simulations of realms created by her in order to master the staff. This was so that Layla would not fall to the Staff's influence and corruption. Ζ]

Layla with a dying Victoria

As Layla continued to relive Kassandra's memories while the latter explored the simulations, Layla's behaviour became increasingly aggressive, which caused Victoria to forcefully pull Layla out of the Animus, citing the Bleeding Effect to be affecting her. This culminated in Layla accidentally killing Victoria with the Staff. Horrified at what she'd done, Layla was approached by Aletheia, who proclaimed that Layla might not be the true "Heir of Memories" after all, and that she needed time to reflect. Layla refuted Aletheia's statement, blaming the Staff for her actions though Aletheia reminded her that she dictated who the "Heir" was and not Layla. Layla later agreed to leave and take some time to reflect, requesting Aletheia to look after Victoria until she returned. Η]

Layla and Otso Berg facing off

Layla subsequently returned to the chamber, wishing to finish the trials despite Aletheia's apprehension. Nevertheless, Layla was able to convince the Isu to let her back in. After reliving Kassandra's memories of her trials' completion, Layla was quickly woken up by Aletheia, who informed her that the Interloper, revealed to be Otso Berg, had arrived. Layla was briefed by the Templar of the things that had transpired since her team's discovery of Herodotos' Lost Histories. As Layla tried to negotiate with Berg by using the Staff to help his daughter Elina, Otso Berg interrupted and threatened her to hand over the Staff. ⎖]

The two engaged in a fight which saw Layla defeating Berg with the Staff. She then proceeded to impale Berg's back with the Staff, rendering him immobile. As Berg passed out from his injuries, Layla approached Victoria's body, taking the earphones off her ear. In doing so, Layla regained communications with Alannah and her team, informing her of what had transpired and requested the team to pick her up from the vault. ⎖]

Finding the Wolf-Kissed

After the incident in Atlantis, Layla's relationships with Kiyoshi and Alannah became strained. By May 2020, she had been reassigned to an Assassin cell with Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane because of their experience with Desmond Miles when he had a hard time controlling the bleeding effect. Months later, as the Earth's magnetic field continued to increase in potency since the 2012 coronal mass ejection, resulting in huge electromagnetic disturbances worldwide creating an aurora borealis over the entire world, the team received a strange message that promised a solution, which led them to a New England Viking grave in North America dating to the ninth century. Using her Animus, Layla was able to relive the memories of the Norse warrior, Eivor Varinsdottir. Shaun also placed a mood stabilizer on Layla's neck, to ensure she didn't succumb to the Staff's power again. ⎗]

After completing the memories of Eivor, ending with her discovery of the Yggdrasil Chamber below Hordaland, Layla travelled to Norway. Layla connected herself to the Yggdrasil device, and successfully slowed the machine down to return the planet to its normal state. Within the simulation, she met the Reader and Basim Ibn Ishaq, unknowingly releasing the latter. As a result of being connected to the machine, she dropped the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus. Without the Staff, she was informed by the Reader that if she disconnected she would have just over a minute before succumbing to the outside radiation. In part to atone for the people she had hurt, Layla decided to stay with the Reader and continue to search for a solution in the Grey. ⎗]


Set in 873 CE, Valhalla has players take the role of Eivor, a Viking Raider and Clan Leader of the Norsemen who can be played either as male or female. The game retains the dialogue choice and NPC relationship elements from Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, with new elements such as forging political alliances with NPC clans. Every choice and decision of the players affects the world of the game in real time. Players can travel from the cold shores of Norway to England. Β]

Eivor is able to equip an assortment of weapons, and dual wield many of them Eivor can also use a Hidden Blade in combat, which has not been used since Origins. ⎜]

Eivor can develop their own settlement and build and upgrade structures such as tattoo shops and barracks, they can also recruit new members of their clan and can train their own army for raids or other missions. Β]

The player is able to build a raiding party by recruiting non-player characters to assist with these. ⎝] Though the use of naval transport has returned, naval combat has been dialed back. Eivor's longship will act more as a means of travel when performing raids and for escaping after land combat, rather than being used in combat with other naval vessels. Ε] ⎞] Players can take part in activities like drinking games, hunting or traditional Norse games such as flyting. ⎟] A player is able to create a Viking mercenary that can be recruited by other players, acting as a non-playable character within those games the player gains additional in-game rewards for successful missions. ⎝]

Warriors of past

A romanticized picture of Vikings as Germanic noble savages emerged in the 18th century, and expanded during the Victorian era Viking revival. In Britain it took the form of Septentrionalism, in Germany that of "Wagnerian" pathos or even Germanic mysticism, and in the Scandinavian countries that of Romantic nationalism or Scandinavism. In contemporary popular culture these clichéd depictions are often exaggerated with the effect of presenting Vikings as caricatures.
The Gokstad Viking ship on display in Oslo, Norway.The period from the earliest recorded raids in the 790s until the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 is commonly known as the Viking Age of Scandinavian history. The Normans, however, were descended from Danish Vikings who were given feudal overlordship of areas in northern France — the Duchy of Normandy — in the 10th century. In that respect, descendants of the Vikings continued to have an influence in northern Europe. Likewise, King Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England who was killed during the Norman invasion in 1066, had Danish ancestors. Many of the medieval kings of Norway and Denmark married into English and Scottish royalty and occasionally got involved in dynastic disputes.[citation needed]
The motives driving the Viking expansion form a topic of much debate in Nordic history. One common theory posits that the Norse population had outgrown agricultural potential of their Scandinavian homeland.[citation needed] For a coastal population with superior naval technologies, it made sense to expand overseas in the face of a youth bulge effect. However, this theory does little to explain why the expansion went overseas rather than into the vast, uncultivated forest areas on the interior of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It should be noted that sea raiding was easier than clearing large areas of forest for farm and pasture in a region with a limited growing season. No such rise in population or decline in agricultural production has been definitively proven.
In England the Viking Age began dramatically on 8 June 793 when Norsemen destroyed the abbey on the island of Lindisfarne. The devastation of Northumbria's Holy Island shocked and alerted the royal Courts of Europe to the Viking presence. "Never before has such an atrocity been seen," declared the Northumbrian scholar, Alcuin of York.[citation needed] More than any other single event, the attack on Lindisfarne demonized perception of the Vikings for the next twelve centuries. Not until the 1890s did scholars outside Scandinavia begin to seriously reassess the achievements of the Vikings, recognizing their artistry, technological skills and seamanship.

A giant Viking welcomes visitors to the town of Dannevirke in New Zealand, founded by 19th Century Scandinavian settlers.Led by the operas of German composer Richard Wagner, such as Der Ring des Nibelungen, Vikings and the Romanticist Viking Revival inspired many creative works.



A ninja or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations. The ninja, with their underhanded tactics, were contrasted with the samurai, who were careful not to tarnish their reputable image.

In his Buke Myōmokushō, military historian Hanawa Hokinoichi writes of the ninja:

“ They travelled in disguise to other territories to judge the situation of the enemy, they would inveigle their way into the midst of the enemy to discover gaps, and enter enemy castles to set them on fire, and carried out assassinations, arriving in secret. ”

The origin of the ninja is obscure and difficult to determine, but can be surmised to be around the 14th century. Few written records exist to detail the activities of the ninja. The word shinobi did not exist to describe a ninja-like agent until the 15th century, and it is unlikely that spies and mercenaries prior to this time were seen as a specialized group. In the unrest of the Sengoku period (15th - 17th centuries), mercenaries and spies for hire arose out of the Iga and Kōga regions of Japan, and it is from these clans that much of later knowledge regarding the ninja is inferred. Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate, the ninja descended again into obscurity. However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, manuals such as the Bansenshukai (1676) — often centered around Chinese military philosophy — appeared in significant numbers. These writings revealed an assortment of philosophies, religious beliefs, their application in warfare, as well as the espionage techniques that form the basis of the ninja's art. The word ninjutsu would later come to describe a wide variety of practices related to the ninja.

The mysterious nature of the ninja has long captured popular imagination in Japan, and later the rest of the world. Ninjas figure prominently in folklore and legend, and as a result it is often difficult to separate historical fact from myth. Some legendary abilities include invisibility, walking on water, and control over natural elements. The ninja is also prevalent in popular culture, appearing in many forms of entertainment media.

A ninja or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations. The ninja, with their underhanded tactics, were contrasted with the samurai, who were careful not to tarnish their reputable image.

In his Buke Myōmokushō, military historian Hanawa Hokinoichi writes of the ninja:

“ They travelled in disguise to other territories to judge the situation of the enemy, they would inveigle their way into the midst of the enemy to discover gaps, and enter enemy castles to set them on fire, and carried out assassinations, arriving in secret. ”

The origin of the ninja is obscure and difficult to determine, but can be surmised to be around the 14th century. Few written records exist to detail the activities of the ninja. The word shinobi did not exist to describe a ninja-like agent until the 15th century, and it is unlikely that spies and mercenaries prior to this time were seen as a specialized group. In the unrest of the Sengoku period (15th - 17th centuries), mercenaries and spies for hire arose out of the Iga and Kōga regions of Japan, and it is from these clans that much of later knowledge regarding the ninja is inferred. Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate, the ninja descended again into obscurity. However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, manuals such as the Bansenshukai (1676) — often centered around Chinese military philosophy — appeared in significant numbers. These writings revealed an assortment of philosophies, religious beliefs, their application in warfare, as well as the espionage techniques that form the basis of the ninja's art. The word ninjutsu would later come to describe a wide variety of practices related to the ninja.

The mysterious nature of the ninja has long captured popular imagination in Japan, and later the rest of the world. Ninjas figure prominently in folklore and legend, and as a result it is often difficult to separate historical fact from myth. Some legendary abilities include invisibility, walking on water, and control over natural elements. The ninja is also prevalent in popular culture, appearing in many forms of entertainment media.

The word "ninja" in kanji scriptNinja is the on'yomi reading of the two kanji . In the native kun'yomi reading, it is read shinobi, a shortened form of the longer transcription shinobi-no-mono . The term shinobi has been traced as far back as the late 8th century to poems in the Man'yōshū. The underlying connotation of shinobi means "to steal away" and — by extension — "to forbear", hence its association with stealth and invisibility. Mono means "a person".

Historically, the word ninja was not in common use, and a variety of regional colloquialisms evolved to describe what would later be dubbed ninjas. Along with shinobi, some examples include monomi ("one who sees"), nokizaru ("macaque on the roof"), rappa ("ruffian"), kusa ("grass") and Iga-mono ("one from Iga"). In historical documents, shinobi is almost always used.

Kunoichi, meaning a female ninja, supposedly came from the characters (pronounced ku, no and ichi), which make up the three strokes that form the kanji for "woman" .

In the West, the word ninja became more prevalent than shinobi in the post-World War II culture, possibly because it was more comfortable for Western speakers. In English, the plural of ninja can be either unchanged as ninja, reflecting the Japanese language's lack of grammatical number, or the regular English plural ninjas.

Despite many popular folktales, historical accounts of the ninja are scarce. Historian Stephen Turnbull asserts that the ninja were mostly recruited from the lower class, and therefore little literary interest was taken in them. Instead, war epics such as the Tale of Hōgen (Hōgen Monogatari) and the Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) focus mainly on the aristocratic samurai, whose deeds were apparently more appealing to the audience. Historian Kiyoshi Watatani states that the ninja were trained to be particularly secretive about their actions and existence:

"So-called ninjutsu techniques, in short are the skills of shinobi-no-jutsu and shinobijutsu, which have the aims of ensuring that one's opponent does not know of one's existence, and for which there was special training."

Yamato Takeru dressed as a maidservant, preparing to kill the Kumaso leaders. Woodblock print on paper. Yoshitoshi, 1886.The origin of the ninja is based on the spies and assassins that have existed throughout Japanese history. The title ninja has sometimes been attributed to the semi-legendary 4th century prince Yamato Takeru. In the Kojiki, the young Yamato Takeru disguised himself as a charming maiden, and assassinated two chiefs of the Kumaso people. However, these records take place at a very early stage of Japanese history, and is unlikely to be connected to the shinobi of later accounts.

The first recorded use of espionage was under the employment of Prince Shōtoku in the 6th century.Such tactics were considered unsavory even in early times, when, according to the 10th century Shōmonki, the boy spy Koharumaru was killed for spying against the insurgent Taira no Masakado. Later, the 14th century war chronicle Taiheiki contained many references to shinobi, and credited the destruction of a castle by fire to an unnamed but "highly skilled shinobi".[

However, it was not until the 15th century that spies were specially trained for their purpose. It was around this time that the word shinobi appeared to define and clearly identify ninjas as a secretive group of agents. Evidence for this can be seen in historical documents, which began to refer to stealthy soldiers as shinobi during the Sengoku period. Later manuals regarding espionage are often grounded in Chinese military strategy, quoting works such as The Art of War (Sunzi Bingfa), by Sun Tzu.
The ninja emerged as mercenaries in the 15th century, where they were recruited as spies, raiders, arsonists and even terrorists. Amongst the samurai, a sense of ritual and decorum was observed, where one was expected to fight or duel openly. Combined with the the unrest of the Sengoku era, these factors created a demand for men willing to commit deeds considered not respectable for conventional warriors. By the Sengoku period, the shinobi had several roles, including spy (kanchō), scout (teisatsu), surprise attacker (kisho), and agitator (koran). The ninja families were organized into larger guilds, each with their own territories.A system of rank existed. A jōnin ("upper man") was the highest rank, representing the group and hiring out mercenaries. This is followed by the chūnin ("middle man"), assistants to the jōnin. At the bottom was the genin ("lower man"), field agents drawn from the lower class and assigned to carry out actual missions.

The plains of Iga, nested in secluded mountains, gave rise to villages specialized in the training of ninjas.The Iga and Kōga clans have come to describe families living in the province of Iga (modern Mie Prefecture) and the adjacent region of Kōka (later written as Kōga), named after a village in what is now Shiga Prefecture. From these regions, villages devoted to the training of ninjas first appeared.The remoteness and inaccessibility of the surrounding mountains may have had a role in the ninja's secretive development. Historical documents regarding the ninja's origins in these mountainous regions are considered generally correct. The chronicle Go Kagami Furoku writes, of the two clans' origins:

"There was a retainer of the family of Kawai Aki-no-kami of Iga, of pre-eminent skill in shinobi, and consequently for generations the name of people from Iga became established. Another tradition grew in Kōga".
Likewise, a supplement to the Nochi Kagami, a record of the Ashikaga shogunate, confirms the same Iga origin:

"Inside the camp at Magari of the Shogun [Ashikaga] Yoshihisa there were shinobi whose names were famous throughout the land. When Yoshihisa attacked Rokkaku Takayori, the family of Kawai Aki-no-kami of Iga, who served him at Magari, earned considerable merit as shinobi in front of the great army of the Shogun. Since then successive generations of Iga men have been admired. This is the origin of the fame of the men of Iga."
A distinction is to be made between the ninja from these areas, and commoners or samurai hired as spies or mercenaries. Unlike their counterparts, the Iga and Kōga clans produced professional ninja, specifically trained for their roles. These professional ninja were actively hired by daimyos between 1485 and 1581, until Oda Nobunaga invaded Iga province and wiped out the organized clans. Survivors were forced to flee, some to the mountains of Kii, but others arrived before Tokugawa Ieyasu, where they were well treated. Some former Iga clan members, including Hattori Hanzō, would later serve as Tokugawa's bodyguards.

Following the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Tokugawa employed a group of eighty Kōga ninja, lead by Tomo Sukesada. They were tasked to raid an outpost of the Imagawa clan. The account of this assault is given in the Mikawa Go Fudoki, where it was written that Kōga ninja infiltrated the castle, set fire to its towers, and killed the castellan along with two hundred of the garrison. The Kōga ninjas are said to have played a role in the later Battle of Sekigahara (1600), where several hundred Kōga assisted soldiers under Torii Mototada in the defence of Fushimi Castle. After Tokugawa's victory at Sekigahara, the Iga acted as guards for the inner compounds of Edo Castle, while the Kōga acted as a police force and assisted in guarding the outer gate. In 1614, the initial "winter campaign" at the Siege of Osaka saw the ninja in use once again. Miura Yoemon, a ninja in Tokugawa's service, recruited shinobi from the Iga region, and sent ten ninjas into Osaka Castle in an effort to foster antagonism between enemy commanders. During the later "summer campaign", these hired ninjas fought alongside regular troops at the Battle of Tennōji.
Shimabara rebellion
A final but detailed record of ninjas employed in open warfare occurred during the Shimabara Rebellion (1637�). The Kōga ninja were recruited by shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu against Christian rebels led by Amakusa Shirō, who made a final stand at Hara Castle, in Hizen Province. A diary kept by a member of the Matsudaira clan, the Amakusa Gunki, relates: "Men from Kōga in Omi Province who concealed their appearance would steal up to the castle every night and go inside as they pleased."

The Ukai diary, written by a descendant of Ukai Kanemon, has several entries describing the reconnaissance actions taken by the Kōga.

"They [the Kōga] were ordered to reconnoitre the plan of construction of Hara Castle, and surveyed the distance from the defensive moat to the ni-no-maru (second bailey), the depth of the moat, the conditions of roads, the height of the wall, and the shape of the loopholes." — Entry: 6th day of the 1st month

The ruins of Hara castle.Suspecting that the castle's supplies may be running low, the siege commander Matsudaira Nobutsuna ordered a raid on the castle's provisions. Here, the Kōga captured bags of enemy provisions, and infiltrated the castle by night, obtaining secret passwords. Days later, Nobutsuna ordered an intelligence gathering mission to determine the castle's supplies. Several Kōga ninja — some apparently descended from those involved in the 1562 assault on an Imagawa clan castle — volunteered despite being warned that chances of survival were slim. A volley of shots were fired into the sky, causing the defenders to extinguish the castle lights in preparation. Under the cloak of darkness, ninja disguised as defenders infiltrated the castle, capturing a banner of the Christian cross. The Ukai diary writes,

"We dispersed spies who were prepared to die inside Hara castle. . those who went on the reconnaissance in force captured an enemy flag both Arakawa Shichirobei and Mochizuki Yo'emon met extreme resistance and suffered from their serious wounds for forty days." — Entry: 27th day of the 1st month
As the siege went on, the extreme shortage of food later reduced the defenders to eating moss and grass. This desperation would mount to futile charges by the rebels, where they were eventually defeated by the shogunate army. The Kōga would later take part in conquering the castle:

"More and more general raids were begun, the Kōga ninja band under the direct control of Matsudaira Nobutsuna captured the ni-no-maru and the san-no-maru (outer bailey). " — Entry: 24th day of the 2nd month
With the fall of Hara Castle, the Shimbara Rebellion came to an end, and Christianity in Japan was forced underground. These written accounts are the last mention of ninjas in war.

In the early 18th century, shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune founded the oniwaban, an intelligence agency and secret service. Members of this office, the oniwabanshū ("garden keeper"), were agents involved in collecting information on daimyos and government officials. The secretive nature of the oniwaban — along with the earlier tradition of using Iga and Kōga clan members as palace guards — have lead some sources to define the oniwabanshū as "ninjas". This portrayal is also common in later novels and jidaigeki. However, there is no written link between the earlier shinobi and the later oniwabanshū.

A page from the Shōninki (1681), detailing a list of possible disguises.The ninja were stealth soldiers and mercenaries hired mostly by daimyos. Their primary roles were those of espionage and sabotage, although assassinations were also attributed to ninjas. In battle, the ninja could also be used to cause confusion amongst the enemy. A degree of psychological warfare in the capturing of enemy banners can be seen illustrated in the Ōu Eikei Gunki, composed between the 16th and 17th centuries:

"Within Hataya castle there was a glorious shinobi whose skill was renowned, and one night he entered the enemy camp secretly. He took the flag from Naoe Kanetsugu's guard . and returned and stood it on a high place on the front gate of the castle."
Espionage was the chief role of the ninja. With the aid of disguises, the ninja gathered information on enemy terrain, building specifications, as well as obtaining passwords and communiques. The aforementioned supplement to the Nochi Kagami briefly describes the ninja's role in espionage:

"Concerning ninja, they were said to be from Iga and Kōga, and went freely into enemy castles in secret. They observed hidden things, and were taken as being friends"
Later in history, the Kōga ninja would become regarded as agents of the Tokugawa bakufu, at a time when the bakufu used the ninjas in an intelligence network to monitor regional daimyos as well as the Imperial court.

Arson was the primary form of sabotage practiced by the ninja, who targeted castles and camps.

The 16th century diary of abbot Eishun (Tamon-in Nikki) at Tamon-in monastery in Kōfuku-ji describes an arson attack on a castle by men of the Iga clans.

"This morning, the sixth day of the 11th month of Tembun 10, the Iga-shu entered Kasagi castle in secret and set fire to a few of the priests' quarters. They also set fire to outbuildings in various places inside the San-no-maru. They captured the Ichi-no-maru (inner bailey) and the Ni-no-maru."
—Entry: 26th day of the 11th month of the 10th Year of Tenbun (1541)
In 1558, Rokkaku Yoshitaka employed a team of ninja to set fire to Sawayama Castle. A chunin captain led a force of forty-eight ninja into the castle by means of deception. In a technique dubbed bakemono-jutsu ("ghost technique"), his men stole a lantern bearing the enemy's family crest (mon), and proceeded to make replicas with the same mon. By wielding these lanterns, they were allowed to enter the castle without a fight. Once inside, the ninjas set fire to the castle, and Yoshitaka's army would later emerge victorious. The mercenary nature of the shinobi is demonstrated in another arson attack soon after the burning of Sawayama Castle. In 1561, commanders acting under Kizawa Nagamasa hired three Iga ninja of genin rank to assist the conquest of a fortress in Maibara. Rokakku Yoshitaka, the same man who had hired Iga ninja just years earlier, was the fortress holder — and target of attack. The Asai Sandaiki writes of their plans: "We employed shinobi-no-mono of Iga. . They were contracted to set fire to the castle". However, the mercenary shinobi were unwilling to take commands. When the fire attack did not begin as scheduled, the Iga men told the commanders, who were not from the region, that they could not possibly understand the tactics of the shinobi. They then threatened to abandon the operation if they were not allowed to act on their own strategy. The fire was eventually set, allowing Nagamasa's army to capture the fortress in a chaotic rush.

The most well-known cases of assassination attempts involve famous historical figures. Deaths of famous persons have sometimes been attributed to assassination by ninjas, but the secretive nature of these scenarios have been difficult to prove. Assassins were often identified as ninjas later on, but there is no evidence to prove whether some were specially trained for the task or simply a hired mercenary.

Portrait of Oda Nobunaga, by Jesuit painter Giovanni Niccolo, 1583-1590.The warlord Oda Nobunaga's notorious reputation led to several attempts on his life. In 1571, a Kōga ninja and sharpshooter by the name of Sugitani Zenjubō was hired to assassinate Nobunaga. Using two arquebuses, he fired two consecutive shots at Nobunaga, but was unable to inflict mortal injury through Nobunaga's armor. Sugitani managed to escape, but was caught four years later and put to death by torture. In 1573, Manabe Rokurō, a vassal of daimyo Hatano Hideharu, attempted to infiltrate Azuchi Castle and assassinate a sleeping Nobunaga. However, this also ended in failure, and Manabe was forced to commit suicide, after which his body was openly displayed in public. According to a document, the Iranki, when Nobunaga was inspecting Iga province — which his army had devastated — a group of three ninjas shot at him with large-caliber firearms. The shots flew wide of Nobunaga, however, and instead killed seven of his surrounding companions.

The ninja Hachisuka Tenzō was sent by Nobunaga to assassinate the powerful daimyo Takeda Shingen, but ultimately failed in his attempts. Hiding in the shadow of a tree, he avoided being seen under the moonlight, and later concealed himself in a hole he had prepared beforehand, thus escaping capture.

An assassination attempt on Toyotomi Hideyoshi was also thwarted. A ninja named Kirigakure Saizō (possibly Kirigakure Shikaemon) thrust a spear through the floorboards to kill Hideyoshi, but was unsuccessful. He was "smoked out" of his hiding place by another ninja working for Hideyoshi, who apparently used a sort of primitive "flamethrower". Unfortunately, the veracity of this account has been clouded by later fictional publications depicting Saizō as one of the legendary Sanada Ten Braves.

Uesugi Kenshin, the famous daimyo of Echigo province was rumored to have been killed by a ninja. The legend credits his death to an assassin, who is said to have hid in Kenshin's lavatory, and gravely injured Kenshin by thrusting a blade or spear into his anus. While historical records showed that Kenshin suffered abdominal problems, modern historians have usually attributed his death to stomach cancer, esophageal cancer or cerebrovascular disease.

A variety of countermeasures were taken to prevent the activities of the ninja. Precautions were often taken against assassinations, such as weapons concealed in the lavatory, or under a removable floorboard. Buildings were constructed with traps and trip wires attached to alarm bells.

Japanese castles were designed to be difficult to navigate, with winding routes leading to the inner compound. Blind spots and holes in walls provided constant surveillance of these labyrinthine paths, as exemplified in Himeji Castle. Nijō Castle in Kyoto is constructed with long "nightingale" floors, which rested on metal hinges (uguisu-bari) specifically designed to squeak loudly when walked over.Grounds covered with gravel also provided early notice of unwanted intruders, and segregated buildings allowed fires to be better contained.

See also: Ninjutsu
The skills required of the ninja has come to be known in modern times as ninjutsu, but it is unlikely they were previously named under a single discipline. Modern misconceptions have identified ninjutsu as a form of combat art, but historically, ninjutsu largely covered espionage and survival skills. Some lineage styles (ryūha) of ninjutsu such as Togakure-ryū were known in the past.

This diagram from the Bansenshukai uses divination and esoteric cosmology (onmyōdō) to instruct on the ideal time for taking certain actions.The first specialized training began in the mid-15th century, when certain samurai families started to focus on covert warfare, including espionage and assassination. Like the samurai, ninja were born into the profession, where traditions were kept in, and passed down through the family. According to Turnbull, the ninja was trained from childhood, as was also common in samurai families. Outside the expected martial art disciplines, a youth studied survival and scouting techniques, as well as information regarding poisons and explosives. Physical training was also important, which involved long distance runs, climbing, stealth methods of walking and swimming. A certain degree of knowledge regarding common professions was also required if one was expected to take their form in disguise. Some evidence of medical training can be derived from one account, where an Iga ninja provided first-aid to Ii Naomasa, who was injured by gunfire in the Battle of Sekigahara. Here the ninja reportedly gave Naomasa a "black medicine" meant to stop bleeding.

With the fall of the Iga and Kōga clans, daimyos could no longer recruit professional ninjas, and were forced to train their own shinobi. The shinobi was considered a real profession, as demonstrated in the bakufu's 1649 law on military service, which declared that only daimyos with an income of over 10,000 koku were allowed to retain shinobi. In the two centuries that followed, a number of ninjutsu manuals were written by descendants of Hattori Hanzō as well as members of the Fujibayashi clan, an offshoot of the Hattori. Major examples include the Ninpiden (1655), the Bansenshukai (1675), and the Shōninki (1681).

Some practitioners of modern ninjutsu include Stephen K. Hayes and Masaaki Hatsumi, who is the head (sōke) of Bujinkan, a martial arts organization based in Japan. However, the link between modern interpretations of ninjutsu and historical practices is a matter of debate.

The ninja did not always work alone. Teamwork techniques exist: for example, in order to scale a wall, a group of ninja may carry each other on their backs, or provide a human platform to assist an individual in reaching greater heights. The Mikawa Go Fudoki gives an account where a coordinated team of attackers used passwords to communicate. The account also gives a case of deception, where the attackers dressed in the same clothes as the defenders, causing much confusion. When a retreat was needed during the Siege of Osaka, ninja were commanded to fire upon friendly troops from behind, causing the troops to charge backwards in order to attack a perceived enemy. This tactic was used again later on as a method of crowd dispersal.

Most ninjutsu techniques recorded in scrolls and manuals revolve around ways to avoid detection, and methods of escape.These techniques were loosely grouped under corresponding natural elements. Some examples are:

Hitsuke - The practice of distracting guards by starting a fire away from the ninja's planned point of entry. Falls under "fire techniques" (katon-no-jutsu).
Tanuki-gakure - The practice of climbing a tree and camouflaging oneself within the foliage. Falls under "wood techniques" (mokuton-no-jutsu).
Ukigusa-gakure - The practice of throwing duckweed over water in order to conceal underwater movement. Falls under "water techniques" (suiton-no-jutsu).Uzura-gakure - The practice of curling into a ball and remaining motionless in order to appear like a stone. Falls under "earth techniques" (doton-no-jutsu).
A komusō monk is one of many possible disguises.Disguises
The use of disguises is common and well documented. Disguises came in the form of priests, entertainers, fortune tellers, merchants, rōnin, and monks. The Buke Myōmokushō states,

Shinobi-monomi were people used in secret ways, and their duties were to go into the mountains and disguise themselves as firewood gatherers to discover and acquire the news about an enemy's territory . they were particularly expert at travelling in disguise.
mountain ascetic (yamabushi) attire facilitated travel, as they were common and could travel freely between political boundaries. The loose robes of Buddhist priests also allowed concealed weapons, such as the tantō. Minstrel or sarugaku outfits could have allowed the ninja to spy in enemy buildings without rousing suspicion. Disguises as a komusō, a mendicant monk known for playing the shakuhachi, were also effective, as the large "basket" hats traditionally worn by them concealed the head completely.

Ninjas utilized a large variety of tools and weaponry, some of which were commonly known, but others were more specialized. Most were tools used in the infiltration of castles. A wide range of specialized equipment is described and illustrated in the 17th century Bansenshukai, including climbing equipment, extending spears, rocket-propelled arrows, and small collapsible boats.

A suit of armor purportedly worn by ninjasWhile the image of a ninja clad in black garbs (shinobi shōzoku) is prevalent in popular media, there is no written evidence for such a costume. Instead, it was much more common for the ninja to be disguised as civilians. The popular notion of black clothing is likely rooted in artistic convention. Early drawings of ninjas were shown to be dressed in black in order to portray a sense of invisibility. This convention was an idea borrowed from the puppet handlers of bunraku theater, who dressed in total black in an effort to simulate props moving independently of their controls. Despite the lack of hard evidence, it has been put forward by some authorities that black robes, perhaps slightly tainted with red to hide bloodstains, was indeed the sensible garment of choice for infiltration.

Clothing used was similar to that of the samurai, but loose garments (such as leggings) were tucked into trousers or secured with belts. The tenugui, a piece of cloth also used in martial arts, had many functions. It could be used to cover the face, form a belt, or assist in climbing.

The historicity of armor specifically made for ninjas cannot be ascertained. While pieces of light armor purportedly worn by ninjas exist and date to the right time, there is no hard evidence of their use in ninja operations. Depictions of famous persons later deemed ninjas often show them in samurai armor. Existing examples of purported ninja armor feature lamellar or ring mail, and were designed to be worn under the regular garb. Shin and arm guards, along with metal-reinforced hoods are also speculated to make up the ninja's armor.

A page from the Ninpiden, showing a tool for breaking locks.Tools used for infiltration and espionage are some of the most abundant artifacts related to the ninja. Ropes and grappling hooks were common, and were tied to the belt. A collapsible ladder is illustrated in the Bansenshukai, featuring spikes at both ends to anchor the ladder. Spiked or hooked climbing gear worn on the hands and feet also doubled as weapons. Other implements include chisels, hammers, drills, picks and so forth.

The kunai was a heavy pointed tool, possibly derived from the Japanese masonry trowel, to which it closely resembles. Although it is often portrayed in popular culture as a weapon, the kunai was primarily used for gouging holes in walls. Knives and small saws (hamagari) were also used to create holes in buildings, where they served as a foothold or a passage of entry. A portable listening device (saoto hikigane) was used to eavesdrop on conversations and detect sounds.
The mizugumo was a set of wooden shoes supposedly allowing the ninja to walk on water. They were meant to work by distributing the wearer's weight over the shoes' wide bottom surface. The word mizugumo is derived from the native name for the Japanese water spider (Argyroneta aquatica japonica). The mizugumo was featured on the show Mythbusters, where it was demonstrated unfit for walking on water. The ukidari, a similar footwear for walking on water, also existed in the form of a round bucket, but was probably quite unstable. Inflatable skins and breathing tubes allowed the ninja stay underwater for longer periods of time.

Despite the large array of tools available to the ninja, the Bansenshukai warns one not to be overburdened with equipment, stating ". a successful ninja is one who uses but one tool for multiple tasks".

Although shorter swords and daggers were used, the katana was probably the ninja's weapon of choice, and was sometimes carried on the back. The katana had several uses beyond normal combat. In dark places, the scabbard could be extended out of the sword, and used as a long probing device. The sword could also be laid against the wall, where the ninja could use the sword guard (tsuba) to gain an higher foothold. While straightswords were used before the invention of the katana, the straight ninjatō has no historical precedent and is likely a modern invention.

A pair of kusarigama, on display in Iwakuni Castle.An array of darts, spikes, knives, and sharp, star-shaped discs were known collectively as shuriken. While not exclusive to the ninja, they were an important part of the arsenal, where they could be thrown in any direction. Bow were used for sharpshooting, and some ninjas bows were intentionally made smaller than the traditional yumi (longbow). The chain and sickle (kusarigama) was also used by the ninja. This weapon consisted of a weight on one end of a chain, and a sickle (kama) on the other. The weight was swung to injure or disable an opponent, and the sickle used to kill at close range.

Explosives introduced from China were known in Japan by the time of the Mongol Invasions (13th century). Later, explosives such as hand-held bombs and grenades were adopted by the ninja. Soft-cased bombs were designed to release smoke or poison gas, along with fragmentation explosives packed with iron or pottery shrapnel.

Along with common weapons, a large assortment of miscellaneous arms were associated with the ninja. Some examples include poison, caltrops,cane swords (shikomizue), land mines, blowguns, poisoned darts, acid-spurting tubes, and firearms. The happō, a small eggshell filled with blinding powder (metsubushi), was also used to facilitate escape.

Legendary abilities
Superhuman or supernatural powers were often associated with the ninja. Some legends include flight, invisibility, shapeshifting, the ability to "split" into multiple bodies, the summoning of animals, and control over the five classical elements. These fabulous notions have stemmed from popular imagination regarding the ninja's mysterious status, as well as romantic ideas found in later Japanese arts of the Edo period. Magical powers were sometimes rooted in the ninja's own efforts to disseminate fanciful information. For example, Nakagawa Shoshujin, the 17th century founder of Nakagawa-ryū, claimed in his own writings (Okufuji Monogatari) that he had the ability to transform into birds and animals.

Perceived control over the elements may be grounded in real tactics, which were categorized by association with forces of nature. For example, the practice of starting fires in order to cover a ninja's trail falls under katon-no-jutsu ("fire techniques").

Actor portraying Nikki Danjō, a villain from the kabuki play Sendai Hagi. Shown with hands in a kuji-in seal, which allows him to transform into a giant rat. Woodblock print on paper. Kunisada, 1857.The ninja's adaption of kites in espionage and warfare is another subject of legends. Accounts exist of ninjas being lifted into the air by kites, where they flew over hostile terrain and descended into, or dropped bombs on enemy territory. Kites were indeed used in Japanese warfare, but mostly for the purpose of sending messages and relaying signals. Turnbull suggests that kites lifting a man into midair might have been technically feasible, but states that the use of kites to form a human "hang glider" falls squarely in the realm of fantasy.

Kuji-kiri is an esoteric practice which, when performed with an array of hand "seals" (kuji-in), was meant to allow the ninja to enact superhuman feats.

The kuji ("nine characters") is a concept originating from Taoism, where it was a string of nine words used in charms and incantations.In China, this tradition mixed with Buddhist beliefs, assigning each of the nine words to a Buddhist deity. The kuji may have arrived in Japan via Buddhism, where it flourished within Shugendō. Here too, each word in the kuji was associated with Buddhist deities, animals from Taoist mythology, and later, Shinto kami. The mudrā, a series of hand symbols representing different Buddhas, was applied to the kuji by Buddhists, possibly through the esoteric Mikkyō teachings. The yamabushi ascetics of Shugendō adopted this practice, using the hand gestures in spiritual, healing, and exorcism rituals. Later, the use of kuji passed onto certain bujutsu (martial arts) and ninjutsu schools, where it was said to have many purposes. The application of kuji to produce a desired effect was called "cutting" (kiri) the kuji. Intended effects range from physical and mental concentration, to more incredible claims about rendering an opponent immobile, or even the casting of magical spells. These legends were captured in popular culture, which interpreted the kuji-kiri as a precursor to magical acts.

Famous people
Many famous people in Japanese history have been associated or identified as ninjas, but their status as ninja are difficult to prove and may be the product of later imagination. Rumors surrounding famous warriors, such as Kusunoki Masashige or Minamoto no Yoshitsune sometimes describe them as ninjas, but there is little evidence for these claims. Some well known examples include:

Kumawakamaru escapes his pursuers by swinging across the moat on a bamboo. Woodblock print on paper. Kuniyoshi, 1842-1843.Mochizuki Chiyome (16th cent.) - The wife of Mochizuke Moritoki. Chiyome created a school for girls, which taught skills required of geisha, as well as espionage skills.
Fujibayashi Nagato (16th cent.) - Considered to be one of three "greatest" Iga jōnin, the other two being Hattori Hanzō and Momochi Sandayū. Fujibayashi's descendents wrote and edited the Bansenshukai.
Fūma Kotarō (d. 1603) - A ninja rumored to have killed Hattori Hanzō, with whom he was supposedly rivals. The fictional weapon Fūma shuriken is named after him.
Hattori Hanzō (1542-1596) - A samurai serving under Tokugawa Ieyasu. His ancestry in Iga province, along with ninjutsu manuals published by his descendants have led some sources to define him as a ninja. This depiction is also common in popular culture.
Ishikawa Goemon (1558-1594) - Goemon reputedly tried to drip poison from a thread into Oda Nobunaga's mouth through a hiding spot in the ceiling, but many fanciful tales exist about Goemon, and this story cannot be confirmed.
Kumawakamaru (13th-14th cent.) - A youth whose exiled father was ordered to death by the monk Homma Saburō. Kumakawa took his revenge by sneaking into Homma's room while he was asleep, and assassinating Homma with his own sword.
Momochi Sandayū (16th cent.) - A leader of the Iga ninja clans, who supposedly perished during Oda Nobunaga's attack on Iga province. There is some belief that he escaped death and lived as a farmer in Kii Province. Momochi is also a branch of the Hattori clan.
Yagyū Muneyoshi (1529-1606) - A renown swordsman of the Shinkage-ryū school. Muneyoshi's grandson, Jubei Muneyoshi, told tales of his grandfather's status as a ninja.
In popular culture

Jiraiya battles a giant snake with the help of his summoned toad. Woodblock print on paper. Kuniyoshi, c. 1843.Main article: Ninja in popular culture
The image of the ninja entered popular culture in the Edo period, when folktales and plays about ninjas were conceived. Stories about the ninja are usually based around historical figures. For instance, many similar tales exist about a daimyo challenging a ninja to prove his worth, usually by stealing his pillow or weapon while he slept. Novels were written about the ninja, such as Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari, which was also made into a kabuki play. Fictional figures such as Sarutobi Sasuke would eventually make way into comics and television, where they have come to enjoy a culture hero status outside of their original mediums.

Ninja appear in many forms of Japanese and Western popular media, including books (Kōga Ninpōchō), television (Ninja Warrior), movies (Ninja Assassin), Satire (REAL Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book) video games (Tenchu), anime (Naruto), manga (Basilisk) and Western comic books (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Depictions range from realistic to the fantastically exaggerated, both fundamentally and aesthetically, and often portray ninja in non-factual ways for humor or entertainment.


Leif Ericson Viking Ship The Leif Ericson Viking Ship site is run by a group whose main purpose is to educate the world that Leif Ericson was the first European to set foot upon and explore the North American Continent. The site also has a useful Viking FAQ, and much information about Viking ships. They even build and sail their own longships. Nice.

Stigombord A Danish site (also in English) on the reconstruction of Viking ships, with videos, animations, and 3D models.

Viking Ship Museum Part of a larger site on a Viking ship museum in Denmark. This section is about a reconstructed ship, the Sea Stallion, and its voyages in 2008 and 2007, including logbook details and diaries. The site also contains a clear, accurate history and top-notch geographical details about the Vikings and their expansion.

The Viking Sunstone A small ugly Viking page that gives two sides to the discussion on whether or not Vikings used what is called a Sun-Stone. Supposedly the Vikings used polarization of skylight to direct themselves, since magnetic compasses didn’t yet exist. Offers fair arguments for both sides.

The Oseberg Ship Museum site for the famed Oseberg ship.

Viking Ships and Norse Wooden Boats Learn about Viking ships that have been discovered through archaeology. Site provides links to different ships and what they looked like when they were discovered and what they may have looked like in ancient times. Most of the site is not in English but it is still an interesting site to look at pictures and read the information that is translated. However, site is poorly organized and some of the links are not interconnected to the page being viewed.

Historical Viking Sites:

Of course we need BBC! Part historical articles, part building longships, part games. Talks about the role of women, various raids throughout Britian, etc.

Ancient Warriors: The Vikings

Ancient Warriors: The Vikings is another documentary that can be viewed in full on Youtube. This is much shorter than the Lost Worlds and is primarily a military history of the Vikings.

This page is probably the best of the of a re-enactment group pages! The site has some really useful articles about the daily life of the Norse, the Society of the Viking age, warfare, shipbuilding, language, and literature.

Lost World of the Vikings is a documentary that can be viewed in full on Youtube. The History Channel shows us the Lost World of the Vikings and the advances and technology of the Nordic culture.

This site is okay, but as nice as others. This site contains a very short history of the Vikings, the Netherlands, Rorik, Leif Eriksson, Erik the Red, Vinland, L’Anse aux Meadows, and Dorestad. The most basic mythology is shown. There is a tiny, tiny blurb about female s, but it is the same as anywhere else.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

This is a search engine for archaeological finds in Scotland. One has to look through the lot of Viking search results, but it gives a good insight into the burial practices of the Vikings in Scotland. Also many of the documents list everyday items that were buried with the Viking settlers and raiders.

The Vikings was an action/adventure film directed by Richard Fleischer in 1958, produced by and starring Kirk Douglas, and based on the novel The Viking by Edison Marshall. The following link is a short excerpt from the movie on Youtube.

The Vikings is a web site that gives a lot of good information on the Vikings as they actually were. It is a good place to start to get some generalized information on them if you are unfamiliar with their culture.

The following web site is a collection of artwork throughout history that has been inspired by the Vikings. It also contains some illustrations from Snorri’s Sagas.

This website has a wealth of information on the “Norse Vikings and all things Scandinavian.” This is another excellent site to introduce one to the Vikings.

This web site, although a tad gimmicky and cheesy, does give the basic definitions of the Viking Runes. It is on the PBS web page, so I figure that it must be somewhat historically accurate.

Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga

The website talks about the Viking exhibit in the Smithsonian museum. It also gives a guided tour of the exhibit, showing pictures and telling about artifacts used by the Vikings, accompanied by pictures and paintings of Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. There is a “Viking voyage” feature where one can go through the voyages of the Vikings. Seeing how far and where they traveled.

A kind of plain and dull site, but provides some decent information on Viking life. There are descriptions and pictures of their ships, descriptions of how they were built and how they were used. Also talks about Vikings abroad, trading, and even Viking law.

A plain site, but full of good information. The site goes through the different Norse Gods and their roles in mythology. Also discusses the etymology of the word Viking, which I haven’t yet seen in a Viking site. Provides historical records and maps of Viking journeys.

Not a great site, but provides a description of Vikings and some links to some more Viking sites. It does offer some Viking activities like cook a Viking meal, make Viking clothes, or make a Viking ship model.

Vikings During the Medieval Warm Period

This website offers some interesting insight into the effect of the climate on Viking traveling. Like a lot of other sites it shows routes Vikings took when traveling, but presents the idea that such routes and traveling only took place due to the warm climate.

A small ugly Viking page that gives two sides to the discussion on whether or not Vikings used what is called a Sun-Stone. Supposedly the Vikings would use polarization of skylight to direct themselves, since magnetic compasses didn’t yet exist. Offers fair arguments for both sides.

The Fate of Greenland’s Vikings

A rather wordy article from Archaeology Magazine about the fate of Vikings in Greenland. There are interesting pictures to go along with the interesting text. One of the better articles on Vikings that I found.

51 Headless Vikings Found In English Execution Pit

Super cool article from National Geographic about 51 headless Viking bodies found in an execution pit. A picture is included. I wish the article were longer and provided more pictures, but the story is cool nonetheless.

A short page with some information on Thor The God of Thunder. It is short, but concise, and gives a decent understanding of who Thor was and why he was important without wasting anytime.

This site looks similar to what our site is trying to achieve. A collection of links to the Sagas. Links to articles about Vikings. Links to videos about Vikings. This site really provides one with access to a lot of cool things. Worth one’s while.

A BBC site about Vikings for elementary-age children. It addresses the very basics of historical Viking life, covering basic facts about who they were, what everyday life was like, their beliefs, and what happened to them. A good overview that includes a timeline and glossary.

While it has fairly good categories and information, the layout is headache inducing has too many sub-categories on the main page for them to really be useful

Mostly focues on runes from different countries, but also has good information about the social structure of the Vikings, addressing family hierarchy and social order as well as political structures and raiding.

Viking Reenactment Society

As a site intended to be a resource for re-enactors, it provides information about ancient Viking life in specific ways—how big were their tents, how did they dye their clothes—useful for specifics like that.

A site promoting an historical Viking town which has been recreated, it also provides information about everyday Viking life based on their research and excavations. The notes about Viking clothing and even the origins of the word “Viking” are clear and specific.

Focuses on what the Vikings ate as well as providing a context for their food. How they obtained their food, what they ate when, and how it was prepared. Provides links to more information and a glossary—a nice overview.

Basically a list of what food items from the Viking period that archeologists have found and where and was created to aid in organizing historically accurate feasts. Very basic information, but still useful with more links provided for more information.

Not very useful at all. While easy to navigate, it barely provides any information and the information it does provide is very basic. It would be useful to elementary teachers, however, because it provides a couple of quiz templates and activities that would teach research skills as well as information about the Vikings.

The Vikings on Thinkquest

Detailed and easy to navigate. The site discusses the culture, lifestyle, religion, weaponry, and ships of Medieval Vikings in an easy to follow manner that also discusses how these things changed throughout the Viking period.

Vikings in the Netherlands

Useful and easy to navigate. Addresses general Viking history, settlements, mythology, the role of women, and some recent discoveries of Viking jewelry. It provides a good overview of history and the historical context of the Vikings.

This web page is a cooperative of Alaska, The Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. The goal is to help students and teachers to communicate about Vikings and share their knowledge.

Old Norse Name Formations

Just as the title says this is an attempt to give a comprehensive list of prefixes and suffixes for names. It also attempts to explain the reasoning behind the names as well as the way names were constructed.

Learning Old Norse: Some suggestions

This sight is a simple listing of resources with brief annotations. Only listing a few print materials as well as a small number of web based resources available for self-directed research.

This is the story of how Odin got his horse. A story told by a drunk man. A hilarious retelling of the story told almost as if told by a real Viking over a fire to his children. It has a number of amusing, if poorly drawn, pictures interspaced within the narrative. Warning: Foul Language.

Encyclopedia Mythica is an astounding resource for mythic information. It has entire sections built specifically for various different cultures. This includes the Norse cosmology as well as basic mythos. There is a full alphabetic listing of almost every Norse mythological figure included.

This is a interesting Wiki article from the New World Encyclopedia. Like most other wiki style articles it contains an abundance of information. This specific article is wholly about Midgard and its link to the other realms.

This is an interesting sight with a massive list of Viking mythology, all alphabetically listed in an easy to use sidebar. This sight also has a small number of different Sagas and legends available as resources. Beyond the basic this sight has a listing of the Viking Runes as well as what they supposedly mean.

A short and simple webpage attempting to cover what most others haven’t covered. How well it accomplishes this is up to you to decide. It does cover basics of Viking literature as well as some basics on Runes and where they fit in.

Vikings invade pop culture with style!

While at first you may think that this article is about how Vikings have infiltrated the modern world it is more about where in the modern world you can find things about Vikings.

Swedish Viking History and Mythology

This site by a university in Sweden gives a fairly basic summary of Viking history and mythology, particularly related to Sweden. The section on mythology is essentially a summary of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. The site is simple, easy to read and navigate, but also contains frequent spelling errors.

A paper written about the construction of Viking shoes. Several good pictures of authentic shoes are shown, as well as patterns and instructions so that you can make your very own pair!

A site with depictions of a carved door in Norway that depicts the story of Sigurd slaying the dragon Fafnir. The site is basic, but gives a good short outline of the story with the accompanying carvings from the door.

This is a site of links to other websites that provide information on countries that speak Germanic languages. While the list is not annotated, many of the links are good places to start when looking for information on a certain country’s Viking history.

This is a nice website that gives an introduction to the historical Vikings. It contains information on their history and culture, the gods, the sagas and portrayals of Vikings in later ages. While fairly basic, the site gives a solid jumping-off point for studying Norse culture.

The official website for the country of Denmark contains this section about the history of Denmark during the Viking age. It gives a good depiction about what life in Denmark during the Viking age would have looked like.

A massive index of links to Norse texts, scholarly articles and websites on Norse history. While much of the information is useful and quite detailed, it takes a lot of time and determined effort to find the information you are looking for.

The website of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. This site focuses on the historical accuracy of the stories of Viking travels to America. It provides some good background for what are the current misconceptions about Vikings in America.

Two hours of NOVA programming on Vikings that aired in 2000. The site includes video clips on Viking ships, villages, runes, the Viking diaspora, and an analysis of who the Vikings were.

Essay on Historical Vikings

This essay is a researched look at the historical Vikings. The author quotes several primary sources to back up her points and also includes some maps of the Viking territory. It’s easy to follow and quite

Watch the video: Vinland Saga Askeladds True Name Sub vs Netflix dub vs Sentai dub (May 2022).