Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9675662:

Baby Daddy 2 9, 2:56am

As a profession medieval historian, I'm afraid I have to call nonsense on this. Old Norse society was deeply concerned with identifying the proper paternity of children, and having sex with a woman who was not your wife was a crime. The right to prosecute this crime belonged to either her husband or, if unmarried, her father and other male relatives. It's true that the Norse did not distinguish between premarital and extramarital sex (so fornication and adultery were essentially the same offense), but it's clear that illicit sex by a woman was a crime. Far from celebrating the survival of every child, Norse society was concerned to make sure that too many children were not being produced because it was recognized that not all children could be supported (given the climate and generally poor food resources). Infanticide of unwanted children was pretty widespread.

If you want to know more about this, take a look at Jenny Jochens' Women in Old Norse Society, especially the sections on marriage and paternity.