The 13th Warrior

The 13th Warrior (1999)

9 corrected entries

Corrected entry: The Vikings are supposed to all speak the same language (which is one of the reasons Ahmed manages to learn it). They even refer to it when asking Ahmed "How did you learn our language?". The only problem is, they are NOT speaking the same language. The messenger boy and the old crone both speak modern-day Norwegian, the other 12 warriors speak a mixture of Danish, Swedish and made-up words that don't make sense. Buliwyf himself sounds strained and unnatural, as if he has learned his lines phonetically.

Twotall

Correction: The movie takes place in Medieval times, and pretty much all languages have changed over time. A mixture of Norwegian, Danish and Swedish would be typical for the time, as even English of the period used words from different languages, and is pretty much a completely different language compared to modern English.

rswarrior

Corrected entry: Before the village is attacked, Ibn catches a chainmail armor which is thrown to him. He then, very easily, slips into it as if it were made of plastic. If it was real chainmail, it would weigh about 60 pounds. Also, the usual way of dressing up in chainmail armor is to "roll" it on inside out, and the weight would require the assistance of a second person.

Correction: Chainmail weighs about 25-30 pounds at its heaviest. One person could put a shirt on alone, but catching one would take some strength, of which Ahmed Ibn Fadlan did not posess in the movie.

Corrected entry: Ibn uses the metalworking equipment in the village to reshape the Viking broadsword he was given into a scimitar, all well and good except he's from Bagdad and at the time this movie was set the scimitar wasn't used by Arabs in Persia.

Correction: He reshapes it into a lighter, curved blade. He never refers to it as a scimitar. Curved blades were used in battle by Persian warriors dating back to the Achaemenid warriors, around 500 BC.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: The average size of European horses during that time was about 1.35m, equal to that of modern ponies. Ancient Arab horses are said to have been only slightly smaller than modern Arab horses (1.45-1.55m). Thus Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan's horse might have been bigger than those of the Northmen (who, like the Wendol, ride modern sport horses in the movie).

Correction: There have always been many breeds of horses in Europe, and larger horses were a necessity in Scandinavia and Russia simply due to geographical and environmental conditions. Breeding for size began in the early Middle Ages, and modern Clydesdales and Shire horses are direct descendants of the Great Horse, bred for war and farming. Bedouins began breeding the smaller Arabians as faster, more agile warhorses during the same time period. The Great Horse (in war called destriers)of the Middle Ages, in Northern and Eastern Europe was commonly almost twice the size of an "average" horse, and preffered by Viking raiding parties. Both horses and ponies were being seperately bred in the Middle Ages.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Ahmed and his friend first arrive in the viking camp Ahmed says "try Greek" but the language his friend speaks is Latin.

Correction: Not quite. Melchisidek does start in Greek, but switches to Latin after a few sentences.

Corrected entry: When the old woman calls for the 13 warriors in the beginning of the film, we see one man volunteering at a time. When the sixth warrior volunteers, Ibn's friend tells him "Eight." In fact, only eleven warriors are chosen including Ibn, not 13.

xx:xx:xx

Correction: While Ahmed (Ibn) and his friend are speaking, the woman is still designating warriors. They don't show all of them being counted, or in fact, do not show all who were chosen, either. The director concentrated on building tension by having the conversation taking place while the warriors were being chosen. Also, the count goes from eight to ten while they are speaking, to signify the choosing is still occuring suring the conversation.

Corrected entry: No one in the court of the Calif, or in Bagdad at all, is bearded. Then, as now, it was a custom of all Arabs to grow beards.

Correction: This is both nonsense and a gross generalisation. Plenty of men in medieval Bagdad or the rest of the Arab world didn't wear beards or moustaches. Most notably, many imams were either clean shaven or had small ringbeards. Traditions do change over the centuries.

Corrected entry: In the scene after the first man-eater attack Achmed and one of the vikings drink mead from a horn. When the viking first drinks the horn is a steep curve pointed upwards. As he is drinking the camera cuts to the opposite side and suddenly his horn is pointing downwards. When Achmed drinks from it the horn is suddenly curved slightly in two places, rather than the earlier one.

Correction: The warriors simply twisted the drinking horn 180 degrees as they exchanged it numerous times. Its not uncommon to twist things around when exchanging an item.

Corrected entry: When the Wendol come down from the mountain and Ahmed and a viking see them at the guardtower it is daylight. But when the Wendol attack the village it is night. Do the Wendol really take so long to ride on horses?

Correction: They assembled for the attack in daylight, then waited for the cover of darkness to attack.

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Mistakes

In a scene in a cave that is the lair of the "eaters of the dead," the camera takes an overhead wide angle shot of the "eaters" walking down into the cave. It is possible to see a young man wearing a burgundy t-shirt and beige shorts (a crew member), sitting against the wall of the cave cross-legged.

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Trivia

The story of this film is basically a retelling of the story of Beowulf and Grendel. Buliwyf is Beowulf, the Wendol are Grendel, King Hrothgar is of course himself. Ahmed Ibn Fahalan was added to lend the story historical credence as Ahmen Ibn Fahalan really did travel north from Baghdad and encountered Viking men.

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