Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9434725:

Keep your hands to yourself 16 12, 8:49pm

@joshupetersen As a professional medieval historian, I regret to say that you're wrong here. That study that purported to find that 50% of invaders were women said nothing of the kind. The media collapsed two different archaeological studies into one. The first found that 7 out of 16 bodies in a Norse burial site in England were women, and the second reported that a couple of female bodies had been found buried with weapons. They are both interesting, but for unrelated reasons. All the evidence strongly suggests that most Viking warriors were men.

Valkyries are not proof that the Norse did not have 'traditional gender roles'. Valkyries are male fantasies of 'strong' women, roughly the same way that Lara Croft or most female superheroes are. They're sexual fantasies, not evidence of gender equality.

The evidence we have from the pre-Christian period in Scandinavia strongly suggests that while women had more legal rights than they did at many other times and places in medieval Europe, they were distinctly subordinate to men in many ways. The political system of Scandinavia had no room for women exercising formal political power, for example. The local male rulership controlled the religious system, with only a minor role for women. Men appear to have controlled most of the economic power, from what we can tell. Iceland may have been slightly more egalitarian, but its political structure was still entirely male controlled.