What would it be like to be a woman in the Viking Age?

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What Was Life Like for Women in the Viking Age?

1A woman’s role in Viking Age society

Between historical evidence and media depictions, the Scandinavian women in Viking Age society are both mystery and subject to controversy.

In fact, technically, it seems that is not even accurate to call them „Vikings”. The Old Norse word „vikingar” applied only to men, especially to those men who sailed from Scandinavia to far away places, such as Britain and other European lands, Russia, the North Atlantic islands or North America between A.D.800 – 1100.

Known as hostile, violent warriors and brutal raiders, the Vikings were also pretty good at establishing trade routes, forming settlements and founding cities. They were a huge lasting impact on cultures, languages and customs of the places they sailed to.

What about the women? What was their role in this society? Did they truly fight alongside the men, were they warriors? Did they sail on the famous Viking boats to places as Europe, Russia or North America?

Even though it can be difficult to separate myth from reality (see this article: 5 Popular Myths about Vikings that are NOT actually true), we now know for sure a few things about these women. Like the fact that they had much more freedom and power in their society than other women of their day.

Also, there are recent studies that suggest that many Norse women sailed alongside the men on those famous long boats. As a result, Vikings women played an active role in Viking colonization.

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