The Truth About Shieldmaidens
You. Oh friends. How are you my, name is Arthur ger and today I'm going to talk about the existence. Of ship maidens, in the medieval scandinavian. Society. Especially, when it comes to the viking, period. This. Was a video requested. By one of my patrons, mr., victor Stefan's, his, daughter is, curious. About shoot, maidens, hello, little carries this, video is for you sweetheart but. We all know it's your father who is really, interested in shield. Maidens for. Academic, purposes of course. Alright. The. Existence. Of shield. Maidens, is debatable. Opinions. Vary outside. The academic field some. Believe they, existed, others. Not, that much it's, a constant, balance between yes. And no. In. The economic field however it's. The exact same situation 50/50. Some. Argue, and present, strong evidences that support, the existence. Of field maidens and others. Do the exact same thing but to, support the in existence. Of shield, maidens so. In this video I will remain impartial, and present. You both sides, giving. A general, panorama, and then you will be the judge of that if chief. Shield maidens were real or not. Let's. Start this video it's. True that in Norse mythology and, both in sagas, and folk tales warrior. Women appeared, quite, often. Volker. Is to be more precise either. Supernatural. Entities or mortal. Women, and occasionally. Women, who are spiritual. Entities, of a person who often appeared, in dreams, Oh clad, in armor, and sometimes. On horseback, we. Not a doubt Valkyries. Are connected. To battle, and have, a very active presence. In the conflicts, of mortals, so, they are a good indicator, of perhaps. A past where, women in Scandinavia, had a very active role, in war. We. Also have some mentions of women, who, knew how to use. Weapons, and war, fierce, fighters. Such. Such. As the example of Freddy's edicts doctor presented. In the Vinland. Sagas, both the sex of the Greenlanders, and Eric the Red saga.
She. Isn't regarded, as a shield maiden but. Without a doubt she's, a fierce, fighter. And fought. Both northern. American natives miss Kier links and put, many others to the sword, of. Our own people it's, a very interesting account, you should definitely. Consult, and. Then. Of course we. Have accounts, of people who witnessed. Firsthand, Norse, and Germanic, peoples, in battle, and their. Accounts, tell us of warrior. Women shield. Maidens. Unfortunately. These accounts are too few which, leads us to believe that, indeed. Shoot maidens were, real. But, it wasn't, common, it was something that happened sporadically. But, at least we know some, women have had an active role in the, art of war. We. Have a very peculiar account from sacks, or grammatical in, his history. Of the Danes written, about the first decade, of the, 13th, century, where. He tells us some. Accounts of shield maidens, during, the Viking, Age of Denmark. A period. In history with, a significant. Temporal and cultural, distance from Saxons, own time but, still an important, account. He. Speaks about women, captains. In a Danish army and he, describes, them as such and I quote these. Captains. Who had the bodies of women nature. Disto, the souls of man and, then. Another, account. There. There were women in Denmark. Who dressed. Themselves to. Look like man, and spent. Almost every minute cultivating. Soldiers. Skills. In. Such as accounts, we have names, such as hepa and wizna being, shield maidens, and captains, on a, danish army, sella, a warrior. Woman and a very accomplished, pirate, viking. Lagata. A skilled, female fighter Deb, York also, famously, skilled, in battle one, of these women, Edna was. Even given part of Denmark to rule as a reward, for her prowess in battle and, then, she, was soon, killed because those. She, ruled thought. It was disgrace to be subjected to a woman's, loss. We. Have other names of warrior women and, despite. Their very successful. Endeavors, and, always. Running. Away from what. They were supposed. To do as women. In a patriarchal. Society they. Always end up either married, or killed. In success, grammatical, accounts, and I. Cannot help to think that these accounts, may, be to reinforce, the old idea that women have, no place in the battlefield, because. Sooner, or later they. Have to meet their fate to either get married or die, so, there seems to be in. These, accounts a certain, degree of religious, and social moral, and the stigmatization of, women. We. Have to take into, consideration that, Saxo, grammatical was a christian a cleric. And above, all it was a man a person. Deeply, acculturated, in certain ideals that completely. Disregard, the Valor of women. Even. Though he presented has more, than a dozen names, of warrior, women it's, clear, that he did not approve of warrior, women because. He always gives. Them the same fate, over, and over again getting. Married, or being. Killed reducing. Them to a state of domestication. Or two nothing at all. The. Problem, with these accounts, is that, these warrior, women remained, in folk legends, and accounts. From the Viking Age. Saxo had access, to such accounts but, being a Christian, in, a period, in history when. The mentality, changed, greatly and he himself writing. His accounts in Latin he, was clearly. Influenced. By classical, models even, his warrior women seemed to be closer to classical.
Concepts, Of Amazon's, rather, than a heathen, view, on women and the. Truth of these accounts isn't clear, it isn't, clear where truth meets anta's. II, but. Take notice that this warrior, women are not just classical. Fictions, brought to Northern. European, perspectives. A great. Portion of Sexsmith. Dear material, comes, from native, Scandinavian. Sources. Which, he used to compose a considerable. Part of his work so. Saxes tales at least in, the first nine books have. Strong, parallels, with Old Norse, literature. We. Have a couple of accounts of man who dressed themselves as women. Probably. The most famous account is when, the God who, dressed, himself as, a woman with, the help of Loki the joint, three stole, Thor's hammer and would, only return it if he got married with the goddess Freyja tool. Disguises. Himself as in, a bridal dress pretending. To be Freya he, goes to his own wedding with the giant got. His hammer back and killed. The Giant and all the other guests. But. We, have other accounts, in the sagas such as Eric Roth who, dressed, himself in, a woman's clothing to. Get close to the princess Sigmund, and, when. Questioned, why, he looks so masculine, his. Justification, is, simply. That he is a fighting, woman, a shieldmaiden. That's. Why she's so muscular. We. Have the account of Helle in el, viaje de índice, Varna where he'll. Be himself disguised, as a woman and when, asked. Why he is so, masculine, he simply states that he was was a warrior, woman. There. Are other accounts such, as these men. Disguising. Themselves as, women. For, various, reasons but, their. Justifications. Are always, quite simple, they are warrior. Women and that's, it which. People take, as something. Completely. Normal. Even. Though distressful. But, they take their arguments, as something, quite plausible. These. Accounts, from Old Norse literature. Show. That the, idea of warrior. Women was, not. Something, completely, out of the ordinary not. Only, in pre-christian. Scandinavia. But also during the medieval, period of Scandinavia. And Iceland. Because. Such, accounts, remained. And were. Quite, normal. To the Nordic audience, for, centuries. All. Of these accounts of Old, Norse literature, even sexist. Accounts. Greatly. Based on Old Norse, narratives, seem, to represent free Christian beliefs, in warrior, women and Valkyries. Which. May well be the remnants of, past. When, women really had a very active role, in world. Volker. Is most belonged to the spiritual, beliefs of pre-christian.
Scandinavia. Of a, past which, was no longer part of the belief structure. Of a, society when the accounts, were written down so, they were turned, into something, absolutely. Fantastical. In. The same way that might as well be what happened, to real, warrior. Women, with. The changes, in the belief system, of pre-christian, Scandinavia, a society. Always growing, towards, a patriarchal. System, of governance. Warrior. Women of the past were, turned into, fantastical. Beings, into, Valkyries, and with. The Christian influence. Valkyries. Became Amazon's, the. Written accounts we have that might, indicate warrior. Women existed, seemed. To be just fantasy, but. That may be because at first real, warrior, women were turned, into, fantasy. And that fantasy. Later was regarded, as half reality. Perhaps. We are facing three. Historical. Realities, pre, Viking, Viking, Age and Catholic. Period warrior, women turned into Valkyries. And Valkyries, turned to warrior. Women. Speaking. Of Icelandic, sagas, we have important. Accounts. Concerning. Women. Who take up arms and are, fierce fighters, I've, already mentioned. The, saga of the Greenlanders. Where. You can find, the account of fairies, Eric's dog team she. Isn't, regarded. As a shield, maiden but, she's a fierce fighter since. The very beginning of the account you noticed that this woman, is up to no good she. Departs, from Greenland, into Vinland somewhere. In North America, she, intends, to go with two men so. They can share profit because, North, America was a wonderful, place to get resources, especially timber, which, was almost inexistent, in Greenland, and Iceland. Upon. Arriving, to Vinland things go from bad to worse, Freddy's. Constructs, a lot of lies which. Leads to the killing of handful of man and she herself kills. The wives of such man she. Fights against, the northern, American natives, in battle. Rage she. Has terrible temper anyway. What, we have to take from, this is the fact that she. Wears man's, clothes, and wills weapons, she, was indeed skilled at least in combat. In. Neos, saga, we have a couple of interesting, accounts, of female. Characters, involved, in blood feuds and a, chain of blood, vengeance there. Is a horrible. Blood, feud between two women, elegant, and better, Cora to. Rival, houses sending members of each household, to assassinate. The others this. Feud, reaches. Such, proportions that soon every, member of the family is involved in people from outside. These two women shared, insults. And they, created a chain of events that leads to the death of so, many people. There. Are a couple of other sagas. Where women, are always portrayed. In, this manner either. Bloodthirsty. Or vengeful. Or even. Creating chains of lies and deceit, causing, unnecessary death. We, don't have come to explore, in depth other. Accounts, such as the ones I've described. But. You can explore, them in the Finland, sagas, newest, saga, nice Lasogga, like stella saga, Elvia. Saga, to name a few, the point is, Icelandic. Sagas were written during the 13th, century but. They report, events from the Viking, period, it's. Christians. Writing, about their past as Eden's. So. There seems to be a certain tendency to, portray, the heathen past as something. Very brutal, and almost stupidly, barbaric, when, compared, to the reality of the Catholic, period. There. Seems to be this tendency to, portray, hidden, women, as something. Very negative to, warn Christians.
That The healin past was, not good and women's. Rightful, place was, not in a battlefield and they, shouldn't, wield weapons, or, it. Will have disastrous. Outcomes. So. In Old Norse and old Icelandic, literature, when. We see warrior, women it might, not be true accounts. Because of these religious. And social. Tendency. To portray, them as something. Negative to. Construct, a social, moral and create clear limitations. On the very nature of women. Forbidding. Them to act in a certain way because. In a Catholic, religious, perspective. Women. Had to behave, in. A specific restrictive. Way or. These. Sagas. Indeed portray true warrior, women that existed, real life should maidens but, the negative connotations. Are immense. Precisely. Because these, were accounts. Written by Christians. And the, social, and religious, stigma, is reinforced. But. Then we have archaeological, evidences. According. To archaeological, findings, women. Add defined roles, in cooking knitting, taking, care of the house and the children managing. The slaves that honed and taking. Care of the farm as well as the land we deemed their properties. During. Times of war and, the. Absence of their husbands, it wouldn't be surprising that, they would take, up arms to defend their, land their. Properties, and their, children. During. Times of war women. Were frequently. Left alone, with their children, if their, husbands, died oh the, Aspen's possessions, including, lands. Incomes. And belongings, went to their wives during. The Viking, period it, wasn't an obligation, for women to find a new husband, or, remarry. To, another man upon, their previous, husband's, death. They. Were absolutely. Free, to choose to, be without a husband, as such. Women, would take the role of their. Deceased husband's, as being. The head of the household, and also. As being warriors, taking, up shoot and weapons, not, necessarily. To go to war but, to protect, one's, properties. Now. Let's focus on the fact that women were left alone with their children. We. Know from, historical records, Old Norse, literature, and, archaeological. Evidences, that, children. Especially. Boys were. Often, trained, almost, since birth in the art of war to. Wield an axe strengthening. Their muscles, to lift a shield and start, to practice with the bow and arrow at the very early age to widen their, shoulders, and backs, the. The process of growth to be able to push, the bowstring, as further, back. As the coup as. Previously. Said women. Were left behind to take care of their, properties, and to. Take care of the children they. Had an important, role in the continuation of educating. The children in the art of war when men were away, children. Needed to know how to fight, because, someone. Had to protect their properties, when, mom and dad were. Away. There. Are historical. Reports, and even. Archaeological. Evidences of children. Killing, children. Sometimes. A young link no more than 12, winters, of age capable. Of killing a 15, year old, children. Learned. A variety of combat skills and techniques including. Fighting with their bare hands, even. Three year old boys. Played. A war game with wooden swords, and throwing.
Spears Covered, by a piece of leather so, that they would not hurt themselves or, others. Who. Trained, these children. In the art of war when, their fathers, were, away or God, the. Mothers of these children, women, had to know how to fight, or at least at the, very least know how to properly, use weapons, so they could teach their children and, introduce. Them properly, in the art of war, this. Doesn't, mean women, went to battle but, if they knew how to fight. Why. Shouldn't a widow or a woman. Who decided to stay single, go, to war or any other kind of conflict, why, shouldn't they take up arms and go, to battle if nothing, else prevented, them from doing so I've. Already mentioned Valkyries. At the, very beginning of this video because, we. Don't a doubt in, most accounts. They are portrayed, as warrior, women. Valkyries. Were one, of the most important. Mythical. Beings in pre-christian. Scandinavia, playing. An important. Role in, the. Religious, and spiritual, concepts of for both warriors, in general, and, women they. Are linked, to death cults, and with, destiny, as well as having the function of guardianship. Being. Spiritual. Entities who take the dead warriors, into, the afterlife, the. Valkyries, embody, the feminine, spirits, who guide and protect, the individuals, and the community. There. Is a wondrous. Variety, of metal, figurines, of Valkyries. Found, in grave mounds especially, in Viking Age burial, mounds for women. We. Have a number. Of, Viking. Age burial, mounds of women. With, figurines. Representing. Women with weapons. Often. Described, as being. Representations. Of vulgar ease and. The. Contents of the graves themselves. Contain, weapons. There. Are a couple of archaeological, sites of Viking Age women's, graves but I often like to mention the. Soviet. Mounds. In Bergen, Norway, and the, ones in America Sweden. The. Ones from southern, Europe. Most. Of the burial mounds in that area are of women, and in. Their graves there are loads of weapons and the. Most Abaddon is the axe the, weapon greatly used in battle but. Also in, domestic, affairs of course axes. Were commonly used by warriors in the battlefield but also as. Powerful. Symbols, of high social status, so we cannot say with absolute certainty that, these, women were. Indeed. Warriors. But. Certainly, there is this link to battle were. Maybe, even battle magic and religious, worlds connected with warfare, so. In a certain way also finding. Valkyries, in these burial mounds and such, spiritual, entities being female, in nature. May be, related, to the role of women as warriors. In pre-christian. Scandinavia. The. Bergerbar, burial, contained. A large number of weapons, and it turned out to be the grave of a woman it's. The so called burqa female, Viking warrior you, can look it up it's, a grave dating from the 10th century and the, person in there had, been buried with items, indicating it, had achieved elite. Status, during the during life weapons. And battle gear included. Shields and an axe, armor, piercing arrows, and two horses. This. Particular grave also, included, a full game board complete, with pieces suggesting. The deceased, was no mare soldier, but a warrior and leader a shiftin. Someone. Read a certain, military status. This. Grave was discovered, very early during the 19th. Century and. Excavations. Were held in. 1970. More than a century later and for, a very long time it was thought to be the grave of a man only. In. 2017. DNA, analysis, confirmed, that the person, was female for. 200, years it was believed to be a man, and only, one here and a half ago we, came to the conclusion it. Was a woman, and this. Is where the problem resides, for. Too long we thought burial, mounds filled, with weapons were, exclusively. For men and only. Now we DNA, analysis, more openly, available in, archaeology, we. Come. To the conclusion it was for both genders, we. Stand in a point where, it's difficult to overlap. Centuries, of evidences with. New ones that, contradict, them which, is why a lot of people find, it hard to believe in, warrior, women in the, Viking Age because for centuries the. Story we have been told goes. Against, that belief I. Have. Said, this before. And continue. To reinforce we. Must not disregard. The. Fact that Viking, warrior women have been found most. Of them during the 19th, century and, that. Makes an outstanding. Difference. In, the perceptions. We have of warrior, women these. Warrior, women for over a century have, been misidentified.
As. Males because, archaeologists. Acculturated. In a Western. Society we'd, strictly. Defined gender, roles view, man alone, as warriors this. Is a medieval Western cultural construction, that doesn't fit into the perspective, of hidden, cultures, especially of, northern Europe we. Assume, that man, alone are warriors, but. These assumptions. Are inaccurate. In archaeological. Contexts of northern. Europe gender. Roles cannot, be applied to every, culture, or every, civilization, of the past many. Societies, of the past didn't, have gender, roles so. We must take that, social, factor into consideration, that, way of thinking, that can no longer be applied in the field of human. Sciences. Specially. In history. And archaeology. So. I take, the opportunity to, give you a challenge, I've. Already spoken about Viking. Age women's. Graves in Scandinavian. Soil so. Now take a look by ourselves at the 10th and 11th, centuries Viking. Age Norse. Immigrant, graves of eastern, England, for. Instance outside. Scandinavia. Several. Graves, previously. Assumed, to, have belonged to man which. Actually. Turned out to be women, not. All of them but, with. An equal distribution of, men and women and the, great majority of these women, were buried with weapons. It's. Your homework so. Have fun, and take your own conclusions. You. Will notice that in this video I have constantly, contradicted, myself with facts, with. Factors, that lead to both reinforcing. The existence, of shoot, maidens. And the, absolute. Opposite. Because. That's. How we, eventually. Find the truth doubts, lead us to, lead us to seek the answers answers create. New doubts and on and on it goes we. End up contradicting. Ourselves over, and over again with. New factors, to support, or, disapprove. Our claims because, that's how we gather, knowledge. To construct a line of thought that. Later on might lead, us to the, truth. Even. Though archaeology. Has greatly, evolved, in the past 50. Years, there's. Still a lot of work to do, there. Are a lot of ideas evidences. Suppositions. And possible, interpretations. But, the truth is in the 21st century it's still, very premature. You, assume, anything, about warrior. Women in, the Viking Age let alone a definite. Conclusion, it's. Still, a work in progress. My. Good friends I hope you have enjoyed, this video a very, special thanks to my patron, mr. Victor Stefan's, for suggesting. This video and to. His little daughter Carey's, sweetheart. Don't, forget your, homework. Thank. You all for watching see. You on the next video and as, always.