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What Are Women's Roles In The Viking Age?

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The Icelandic Norse during the Viking Age were clever craftsmen and navigators with strong religious, family, and character values. During the middle ages in Europe, any settlement would require farmers, traders, and craftsmen, to name a few. In Norse society Nordic women upheld those positions, acting more as equals. Norse enemies such as Christian monks saw them only as warriors, heathens, and bloodthirsty, a society of aggressive men with subservient females. This belief can be seen within the works of Christian writers of the Viking Age. Until the 21st century, scholarly focus on brutal warfare and invasion often overshadows Nordic women’s roles in the Viking Age. This affects the scholarship of Iceland due the fact that Icelanders were not invaders but settlers who constructed their own unique society. Medieval Iceland had no king, and although it was not a truly equal society, the Althing…show more content…
The Icelandic society held women in high esteem due to the religious significance they held. The Norse religion associated women with both wisdom and magic. Certain women were also believed to possess a special link with nature and with supernatural sources of power. There are a variety of terms used to describe female sorcerers. Prominent representations of women within the Norse religion are Sibyls, Valkyries, and Norns. Most of these religious women in the sources are powerful agents of Odin, who is master of the” magic of seiður, which is a fundamental source of his power.
“Óðinn knew, and practised himself, the art which is accompanied by greatest power, called seiðr (‘black magic’), and from it he could predict the fates of men and things that had not yet happened, and also cause men death or disaster or disease, and also take wit or strength from some and give it to others. But this magic, when it is practiced, is accompanied by such great perversion that it was not considered without shame for a man to perform it, and the skill was taught to the
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