Author Topic: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous  (Read 1546 times)

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Offline Askold

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Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« on: September 02, 2014, 11:23:19 pm »
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/female-viking-warriors-proof-swords
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/07/invasion-of-the-viking-women-unearthed/1?csp=34tech&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+usatoday-TechTopStories+%28Tech+-+Top+Stories%29&siteID=je6NUbpObpQ-K0N7ZWh0LJjcLzI4zsnGxg#.VAaIj2PMFx1


To make a long story short:

Archeologists had commonly considered that whatever skeletons they found were male if they were buried with swords or other items of war. No need to check further after all why on Earth would WIMMIN get a warrior's burial...

Now someone had the crazy idea of actually inspecting the bones and it is starting to look like half the warriors were women!

This has also lead to other new conclusions, for example it might be that the vikings that first came to the British isles weren't a roaming band of bloodthirsty marauders.
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Women may have accompanied male Vikings in those early invasions of England, in much greater numbers than scholars earlier supposed, (Researcher) McLeod concludes. Rather than the ravaging rovers of legend, the Vikings arrived as marriage-minded colonists.
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Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 11:25:56 pm »
Cue the misogynist rationalizations.

Offline unknown

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 12:05:35 am »
IIRC, there was another incidence of something similar happening with another ancient cultural burial ground (female skeletons found with weapons), and people rationalized it by saying that the weapons were buried with the women because they were suppose to symbolize the women's husbands, who were the real warriors.

Offline lord gibbon

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 12:15:18 am »
Are you referring to the Scythians, perhaps? I know for some time people disbelieved that they had woman warriors, when by all accounts they inspired the myth of the Amazons.

On a side note, has anyone else noticed how the "civilized" people treated women worse than the "barbarians"?
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Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 02:28:47 am »
On a side note, has anyone else noticed how the "civilized" people treated women worse than the "barbarians"?

I have indeed.
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Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 06:39:58 am »
The Vikings were the closest the human race has come to the "just don't give a fuck"-itude of the one and only honey badger.  This is hardly surprising, but still awesome.
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Offline guizonde

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 07:58:43 am »
The Vikings were the closest the human race has come to the "just don't give a fuck"-itude of the one and only honey badger.  This is hardly surprising, but still awesome.

When you get an epic poem written about a lawyer who rather than destroying monsters carves out his opponent's ass by debating verbally in court with him, you know they were on another level to other civilizations.
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Offline Askold

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 09:22:11 am »
I guess I should technically add that this does not mean that every single viking woman was a warrior, just that women were also buried with swords. It might mean that those were just heirlooms.

On the other hand: I am still stunned that historians and archeologists let their prejudices affect their work so much. Only now they are accepting that a skeleton with warrior equipment might belong to a woman. And there was of course that little detail concerning dildos. Dildos have been found from archeological digs for God knows how long and the usual response is to call it a "ritual item" and discard it.

Because the tought of a woman having a dildo for masturbation purposes is too embarrassing.

Cue the misogynist rationalizations.
Those came immediately. On Facebook there was a comment on the lines of "This is ridiculous, why the hell would they bring breeders to the front line?!?"

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Complete nonsense.

If half of the warriors were women, then why aren't half of the sagas about women and half of the contemporary records about women? Why aren't half of the runic inscriptions about fallen shield maidens? Where are the graves of women who died of battle injuries?

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Wishful thinking ... Some people will reach pretty far to revise history to fit their notions... Shield Maidens may have existed... Most cultures have examples of female fighters to some extent... But this one lost me at 50%... Even the Spartans didn't send their breeders out to fight...

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I call bullkrap! Some were undoubtedly female. It feels like they had a very egalitarian society from what I remember reading. But half? Pfft. Someone is appealing to a political agenda...

(Well the article from Tor is misrepresenting the data by claiming that 50% of warriors were female, but that is no excuse to calling women "breeders" or other idiocy.)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 09:40:52 am by askold »
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!

Offline Katsuro

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 01:07:55 pm »
I guess I should technically add that this does not mean that every single viking woman was a warrior, just that women were also buried with swords. It might mean that those were just heirlooms.

Well as swords were exceptionally expensive (most viking fighters would have had an axe or some kind of spear, swords were only for the uber wealthy) and as such were symbols of status it's quite likely that some of the skeletons (both male and female) were just buried with heirlooms and were not fighters themselves.

One of the ways to hazard a guess is to looks at the physique.  If memory serves the skeletons they've found before that they're pretty sure were warriors tend to be taller than average and often have extremely well developed, sometimes overdeveloped, upper-body muscles particularly the shoulders (mostly from the rowing and having to pick up and carry the ships across land - yes, they did that).

Also worth mentioning is that there are accounts of female warriors in other "pagan" societies like the Celts and a lot of the restrictions on what women could do and what they could own/inherit etc and some other sexist ideas seem to have been largely given to us by the Normans (despite being descended from vikings) and possibly the Romans to some extent.  So it shouldn't really be a huge surprise if there were female viking warriors.  Still interesting though.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 01:13:33 pm by Katsuro »

Offline Old Viking

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 07:09:39 pm »
The fifty percent seems dubious, but I bet they did have women warriors. And I suggest they were good at it.  Long ships had no room for passengers.
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Offline lord gibbon

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Re: Female viking warriors suprisingly numerous
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 07:38:24 pm »
Well, if anyone should know...
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Religion is regarded by the common man as true, by the wise man as false, and by the powerful man as useful
Yeah, if the pagans are so smart, why did Jesus invade Pagan-land on the back of a dragon and kill them all!