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Why Viking Women had it Made
Transcript of Why Viking Women had it Made
Married around 12-15
Did not have a say in who married
Lived with extended family
Childbirth was difficult and dangerous
Had rights legally protected
As a widow could own her own buisness
Continued to own property after marriage
Could pass on inheritance to her children
Had specific distribution of labor based on gender
Could not divorce under any circumstances
Could not own a buisness without a special permit
Had no legal rights
Husband controlled and owned everything within the marriage
Did the same work, including manual labour as men
More Than Raiders:
Role in Society
Legal Status of Women
Women in Norse Mythology were portrayed as beautiful and more importantly wise
Men priests, Godar, has the same power and prestige as women priestess, Gydjer
Valkyrie: chooser of the slain
Valkyrie were divine female warriors in Norse Mythology. It was they who decided the winning side in a battle.
Valkyrie may have had mortal coutnerparts, shield maidens. Fierce female warriors who rode into battle and trained along side men.
There are historical writing and arechologically evidence such women existed. Including foreign accounts of being conquered by raids lead by women, like in Ireland and the tale of the Red Maiden.
Although they enjoyed rights most women in the Middle Age didn't, Norse women still had little say in who they married. Marriages were arranged by fathers to further family alliances.
Women brought linen, wool, a spinning wheel, a loom and a bed as part of her dowry. If the girl was rich she might also bring jewelry, farm animals or even farms. However these things continued to be the property of the wife during the marriage.
If a husband mistreated his wife, or children, or if he was lazy she had the power to divorce him.
It was as simple as declaring herself divorced from her husband once at the door of the house,
And once beside their bed in front of witnesses
Women typically could keep their dowry after divorce
During a divorce babies and small children stayed with their mother while older children were divided up among their parents
Because a woman's property continued to be hers throughout the marriage when she died she could choose to leave her dowry to her children, even though she was married when she died
These freedoms included the protection from unwanted attention and violence from men. Typically if a man laid a hand on a women in a violent manner, it was said he had dishonored his family
Women in Norse Society
When you think of a Viking raider you think of men, but where were the women in all of this?
Women in Norse Society
Norse women were back at home enjoying independence, legal rights and an important place in Norse religious life.
Although they were not as revered as men during the Viking ages, Norse Women enjoyed more rights and freedoms as well as respect than any other European Women at the time!
Volva: were a kind of shamaness who used a magic called Sieo .
Men could practice Sieo but to do so they had to cross the gender barrier. (Odin, Greatest of the Gods, dressed as a women when he practiced Sieo; a skill taught to him by his wife, Frigg)
Valkyrie: Chooser of the Slain
Running the household and farm while the husband was on raids.
Cooking, cleaning, and other domestic chores.
All dairy chores, including milking cows, and making cheese.
Drying and storing meat and other product to make sure their was enough food to last the cold winter.
Caring for livestock.
And last but not least, chores like weaving.
However, unlike women in other parts of Europe, A widowed Norse woman could own and run their own business and farms, doing all the things her dead husband would have done
Most Norse women married between the ages of 12-15. Once married they were the keys to every building in the house hold a sign of their responsibility. This meant they were responsible for:
Generally the gender barriers for Norse society lay metaphorically at the front door of the house
Women may not have enjoyed as many rights as the male Vikings did, but they still had a considerably lenient system pertaining to legal status. They had choices and rights pertaining to marriage, possessions, their dowry, and even divorce!
Example of a Norse Bridal crown worn by the bride
Then, the woman was divorced! It was really as simple as that!
It was said that the Volva were able to "see" things even the Gods didn't know about.