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Author Topic: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!  (Read 580 times)

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Offline LiliasTopic starter

Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« on: September 04, 2014, 05:54:10 PM »

Offline Missy

Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 05:57:06 PM »
Yeah we kick ass, we're the best out there!

Offline Polymorph

Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 01:37:51 AM »
I remember an episode of the Time Team where they excavated an early Anglo Saxon or possibly Jute burial ground on the south coast of England. There most of the skeletons were buried with spear and shield, including the women. There is also the famous iron age chariot burials from northern England, at least one of those was definitely a woman.

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 12:13:51 PM »
Sorry, not to debunk it, but I am not impressed or convinced.

It lacks evidence, plus the numbers seem off.

Quote
"There is some archaeological evidence for early Norse female settlement, most obviously oval brooches, but this evidence is minimal. The more difficult to date evidence of place names, personal names, and DNA samples derived from the modern population suggests that Norse women did migrate to England at some stage, but probably in far fewer numbers than Norse men," begins the study.

Early Norse female settlement Not raids.

Quote
Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided to revamp the way they studied Viking remains. Previously, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male simply because they were buried with their swords and shields. (Female remains were identified by their oval brooches, and not much else.) By studying osteological signs of gender within the bones themselves, researchers discovered that approximately half of the remains were actually female warriors, given a proper burial with their weapons.

Again, hard to be proven and not likely. Whose to say those buried were actual warriors or 'Shield Maidens?'  Were there injuries pertaining to cause of death, in battle? At best, it looks good on paper but that is about all. Vikings have been known to bury individuals with weapons as for them, their possessions carried over in the afterlife. This does not mean that all could be warriors or warrior bred. Until further evidence is revealed to have legitimate proof, I may be less skeptical, but as it stands it is an interesting fairytale and nothing more.

Offline LiliasTopic starter

Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 02:54:35 PM »
Did you read the comment referred to at the end of the article?

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 04:14:12 PM »
Sure did, it is mostly 'theories.' :\

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Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 04:19:51 PM »
Vikings have been known to bury individuals with weapons as for them, their possessions carried over in the afterlife.

If there were not women who were warriors in life, why would they think to provide women with warrior-weapons in the afterlife?

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 05:38:52 PM »
If there were not women who were warriors in life, why would they think to provide women with warrior-weapons in the afterlife?

To protect themselves? To safeguard the weapons when their husbands come over? This question can both be asked towards children and younger who had weapons buried with them as well. Anyone can be buried with/without a weapon, doesn't make them a warrior.

We can go around and around with this, the fact alone is there is no hard evidence saying they were warriors, only speculations.

Offline LiliasTopic starter

Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2014, 04:40:37 AM »
To protect themselves?

How would they protect themselves if they didn't know how to wield said weapons?

To safeguard the weapons when their husbands come over?

There is no evidence whatsoever, hard or soft, that weapons or tools were ever given into someone else's keeping. Such a thing would make no sense whatsoever. If a woman died first, why would she be buried with her living husband's weapons? If he died first, he would be buried with them.

This question can both be asked towards children and younger who had weapons buried with them as well. Anyone can be buried with/without a weapon, doesn't make them a warrior.

We can go around and around with this, the fact alone is there is no hard evidence saying they were warriors, only speculations.

Speculations are all you have to offer to the contrary, too.

This is not as short or easy a read, but it has a lot to explain.

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2014, 12:23:18 PM »
Hmm, still not enough conclusive 'proof,' one way or the other. Even in the article of the discovery, it mentioned that three of the findings were thought to be female with sword/shield.

I do not see women in Viking society going about on raids, it is amusing to think but it is also doubtful; just as it is unlikely that the article pertaining to 'half' the Viking warriors were women.  Women may of held some status in Viking culture, but it is hardly enough to fathom it would be enough to permit them in joining the men in battle of their adventures of raids. They were still as valuable of a commodity and even more unbelievable if they had children during those times.

Now onto that other article.

If by chance Viking funerals pertain to mainly items they could use in the afterlife, there is some possibility women may be buried with 'weapons,' although that does not conclude they may be warriors. It could be symbols of their status and at the very most, they may, just may received some training in using them. I mean, who is going to protect the village while the men may be away raiding? Still, I seriously doubt if any training was given it would be enough to merit a battle harden/warrioress status.

There was another article in regards to women being found buried, one with an 'axe,' one with a 'spear,' and a double burial of wife and husband which had a sword and a ship burial containing many possessions of a family. Link

And to quote something from there.

Quote
A common problem when studying graves and their assemblages is that we do not really know if the objects deposited with the dead really belonged to them (in a sense that they were used by these people during their lives), or whether they belonged to those who participated in the funeral (e.g. Williams 2006; Sayer, Williams 2009). We are also uncertain whether the contents of the graves manifest the status of the deceased (or those who buried them) or whether the deposited objects were intended to convey other symbolic meanings. Hence, it is now frequently argued that the graves and their furnishings may actually provide more information about the people responsible for the burial, rather than about the dead. The fact that Ďthe dead do not bury themselvesí has very important implications for the discussions of past mortuary behavior.



Offline LiliasTopic starter

Re: Shieldmaidens are not a myth!
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2014, 01:22:32 PM »
A lot of the misunderstanding, I believe, is due to what we think when we hear the word 'warrior'. Vikings, even male ones, were most definitely not full-time fighters and pillagers. The verb 'viking' means 'trade'; those people were travelling traders with a rather aggressive negotiating style. :-) Probably few women would go out trading, year in, year out; but it is certain that the women (and yes, the older children too - adulthood in those cultures came around 14) in overseas settlements would know how to defend their places from outside attacks. We know that the women of Celtic and continental Germanic tribes could and did fight; I doubt the Norse kept that aloof from their neighbours.

What went into the burial hoard had to do with what the deceased would be expected to do in the afterlife. A queen would be buried with jewels and finery, expected to keep ruling, not to go back to spinning and weaving, and anyone who died in battle, even if it was a cattle raid between two villages, was entitled to a warrior's funeral.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 01:31:20 PM by Lilias »