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  • Viking women you need to know

    June 14, 2021 4 min read

    Viking women you need to know

    Have you ever tried to take the story of the Vikings from a feminist perspective? No ? This is hardly surprising, for a culture as virile, brave and powerful as that of the Vikings , men with shaggy beards, imposing physique and tattoos expressive of their bravery and masculinity.

    Yet, one has to wonder where were the Viking women while the men split the skulls of their adversaries on the battlefields, threw themselves into the seas of Scandinavia and set out to conquer new lands? What were they doing now? The answer, provided by archaeological research, will surprise you.


    Who were the Viking women?

    No history is made without women. Aren't they indeed the vehicle that men use to come into this world? Don't they deserve justice in societies where they often only appear in bland lights?

    It should be noted that Viking society was a fundamentally patriarchal society. The roles were therefore distributed according to gender . From childhood, women were taught household arts, family precepts and traditions, moral laws and values, etc. which they must then pass on to their children. Clearly, as the other would say, the arm was the man of society and the woman was the soul.

    However, and the Viking woman was certainly not a Shakespearean Juliet. Far from there. The education of women was supposed to make them strong, firm, and energetic people , capable of touching the heart of their husband and, if need be, inciting him to avenge the honor of their family. The women gained more authority as soon as the men went to war or to trade, because they then became responsible for the management of the house.

    viking women

    @ ici_explora

    Obviously, their status in Viking society depended on their social class. A distinction is made between the female slave, that of the middle class and that of the nobility . But discoveries, texts from the Middle Ages and the great Irish sagas give us important revelations about Viking women.

    Already, we note that they had predominantly masculine features. Physically, they were completely different from the modern woman. Better still, archaeological excavations and in-depth analyzes reveal that Viking women had acquired the right to fight from men. More details in the next section.

    Viking fighter discovered at Birka in Sweden

    Extensive study has confirmed that Viking women actually earned the right to fight alongside men in battle. It was led in 2017 by Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, researcher and member of the Viking Phenomenon research project , and Swedish osteologist Anna Kjellstrom who currently works in the Department of Archeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University.

    The study consisted of a DNA analysis of the bones of a Viking warrior skeleton found in a burial in Sweden at Birka since 1878. It identified two X chromosomes and a complete absence of a Y chromosome. researchers, it was a woman of 1 meter 70 and aged about thirty years.

    The hair, sword, axe, shields, arrowheads and dice game found in the burial had led people to believe it was a man until this recent study which revealed that Rather, it was a female Viking warrior who led troops into battle. The study was published in the journal Antiquity.

    This was the first time that the existence of female Viking warriors had been proven . But Birka's skeleton was probably not that of the first female warrior. Others will certainly be discovered later.

    Freydís Eiríksdóttir, the enfant terrible of Erik the Red

    We are in the 10th century. Freydís Eiríksdóttir, child of Erik the Red and sister of Leif Eriksson, participated in an exhibition curated by Thorfinn Karlsefni in Vinland. Faced with the threat of the Native Americans , the young warrior then pregnant of eight undertook to pull out all the stops.

    She tore her clothes and struck her bare chest with her sword. She accompanied this gesture with a war cry which frightened the natives who took the key to the fields without further delay. The battle ended immediately. Although she was later condemned to exile for having organized massacres during other expeditions, she established herself as a fearless Viking warrior and distinguished herself as an explorer of Vinland.

    Freydis Eiriksdottir

    @ petite_chriss

    Queen Emma

    Here we are in the 11th century, a century that revealed one of the last great female figures of the Viking Age. It's Queen Emma. Daughter of Duke Richard of Normandy and a mother of Danish descent , she twice married English kings and gave birth to two kings of England. Alongside her Danish husband Knut the Great, she was the protector of the Church.

    Johanna Katrin Fridriksdottir in her book entitled "Viking women, powerful women, Rediscovering the place of women in a virile people" offers a deconstruction of the patriarchal vision of Viking society to highlight the existence of female warriors during the age Viking . She invites the reader to consider the Valkyrie, this warrior goddess of Norse mythological heroes who decides the fate of warriors in battle.

    It also recalls the adventures of the proud Princess Gudrún who avenges the honor of her family and who, rather than confining herself to domestic tasks, makes decisions, writes and sometimes participates in battles. The purpose of the book is clear: to descend into the imagination to give back to the Viking woman the place she deserves in history.

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