Female Viking warriors: truth or fiction?

Aug 2014
67
U.S.
Is everybody afraid to say it? Men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. They are taller, they have thicker bones, they have more muscle. That's why there are no women in the National Football League. Why is that so hard to say?
 
Nov 2018
349
Denmark
Is everybody afraid to say it? Men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. They are taller, they have thicker bones, they have more muscle. That's why there are no women in the National Football League. Why is that so hard to say?
It is true that on average, men are bigger and stronger than women are.

In the Viking Age, the average height for men was 172 cm and 160 cm for women. Both sexes were more muscular than today because of the hard manual work they had to do.

Of course, that would mean that an average man would still be bigger and stronger than an average woman.

However, we're not talking about average women and no one has claimed that it was teeming with shield maidens and besides, it took a DNA test to prove that the Viking warrior in the grave was a woman.

When the archaeologists determine the sex of skeletons from the Viking age, they will compare the pelvis with the facial features, but the women's skulls are more masculine than modern women are, where the men's skulls are more feminine.

So actually, scientists have difficulty sexing skeletons from exactly this time period.
 
Aug 2011
1,620
Sweden
Is everybody afraid to say it? Men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. They are taller, they have thicker bones, they have more muscle. That's why there are no women in the National Football League. Why is that so hard to say?
You don't need to be a man to be a shieldmaiden :cool:
 
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Apr 2017
138
Bayreuth
Is everybody afraid to say it? Men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. They are taller, they have thicker bones, they have more muscle. That's why there are no women in the National Football League. Why is that so hard to say?
Interesting thesis.
In our species we are using on that planet since 1.5 mil. years tools to overcome mass with physics.
A weapon is a tool. This is why you can take down as a human a gigantic gorilla.
Everytime you watch national geographic and see some dogs or cats taking down prey that is bigger, heavier and taller than them, then they do this with using their born with tools with physical laws.

And we humans developed tools specifically to kill somebody in a way that your physiology does not matter at all.
For the simpel reason that a tool, that can only be used by a specific amount of your group, based on their physiology is a bad tool.
It is not only the design, it is even the manual how you use it ( very important!).

The last thing you want to be on a medieval battle-field is a guy like you have in modern American sports. That is like if you would put gladiators on a battle-field.

Give you a short inside, based on biology: So taller you are so longer are your arms and legs.
You might be aware about that in your neck are very important blood vessels and if you got hurt there - you bleed out.
These blood-vessels do not only run in your neck, they are in your legs and arms, too.
So how longer your arms and legs are so more exposed are these vessels, what are prime targets.

And based on physical laws, you should be familiar with is the leverage effect. All melee weapon fighting techniques are based on that.
So who do you think has an advantage: Somebody who is closer with his body on a weapon or somebody who has a longer reach?
First lesson in all sword-fighting: Understand the leverage effect or a small boy can disarm a full grown man with minimum amount of force.

So it is exactly the other way around in nature how you imagine this by civilization. Your football guys are executing something man-made in a man-made environment, that runs on made-up rules everybody agreed on. In soccer – that has much lesser rules – you have nobody who looks at another player and judges him on size. And every soccer nation up to a specific age – nobody shushes a girl from a soccer field. That first happens in higher tiers, because this is a sport, too, with made up rules.
But in nature there are no rules except natural laws.
This is why you can not look at sports and say: Hey, we separate genders in sports so – in nature there should be a separation, too. Your body does not care if the flesh that holds the handle has a Y-chromosome.
That is the Riddle of Steel from Conan. John Milius figured that out in 1980-something. Head over body. Knowledge over brute force. That is why Conan is Conan – a flipping smart guy who studied philosophy and is on top of it a warrior that runs on the most primitive, universal natural laws, based on his knowledge.

And if you are really interested in that, here some facts about this:
We do have in the Germanic culture zone the trial of combat, what you should be familiar with by Game of Thrones.
That is a Germanic thing. That is old as the Romans and prevailed up to the medieval time.
Trials of combat were fought by women, too. Even after the church forbade weapons for women. You want to read the last sentences again, maybe.

That is medieval time. That gender and role concepts you take for granted, based on church ideologies are all developed things, past reformation.

That is why it is totally bogus if people here argue – if all men are dead the women pick up arms.
You never have a female surplus, because these people are polygamic. Means you have 5 to 15 sons per family. Even my grandfather had 9 brothers and 3 sisters. Welcome to the country-side in one of the most populated areas of Europe. In the deepest jungle on stone-age levels are 10 children per woman normal. As a free gift, if next time somebody exlpains to you population loss based on child-birth, because incompetent nature created a species that dies while populating.

And as we just learned that you can not pick up a weapon for the first time and take somebody out – you get an idea how far the usage of weapons was, that you had girls that could say: I want to fight this, I can win this. That is why guys like Saxo target that shield-maidens. As these shield-maidens are a product of the pagan/polygamic societies.


If we even go further back did the Germanics develop a system in displays to show if a warrior is female or male. They did this on deities, but they knew that a woman and a man in armor look the same and are hard to separate. They figured that out already what 2000 years later some archeologists fell for, by looking at equipment and made a wrong assumption about the gender.
This is not mythology or folklore that is the original Germanic religion. That means they have female warrior role-models they worshiped like you worship Jesus, or Buddha or whatever is your Hindu God.

A reason why Catholics still have such a Mary-cult is based on that pagan iron-age religions and in Germanic culture zones – that deity is displayed like a Valkyrie, too. Women with weapons is the most normal thing in the entire Germanic culture zone.
That is why you have to watch out, specifically if you come from the US that what you do know about Christian culture is highly influenced by later people, who had much more radical concepts and does not apply onto people in Europe. Protestants in Germany were concerning gender roles much more relaxed than guys in England and these guys more relaxed than guys in the US, because they have much more interaction with Catholics and Orthodox (who run much more on pagan stuff) who are the majority on the European continent.
And not just by some illegal Mexican immigrants – in Europe those are power-houses.

So what you got here and it is totally universal on the entire planet, that based on the high level of conflict in northern Europe and people being polygamic, you have a mercenary culture developed. Because every girl is set, She always finds a mate. Boys have to raise their status to get a girl.
As you have a market for warfare – that is what this mercenary culture served. This mercenary culture was called by Romans: Germans. The counter-part to the people of the Greek-/Roman culture zone. Prior called Scythian by the Greek. The term Celt or Gaul etc. means: This is a developed German.

Now in every culture that has a lot of warfare training with weapons or dealing with military stuff is more dominant, has more people taking part in it. That is why you have so many girls that could use a tool like a sword or a spear.

BUT that girls do not need warfare to level up, they can marry with 15 and are set from that point on, as that is a life-changing decision.
The moment a woman becomes part of her own family, she looses freedom. Every 15 year old son will be, by law, more responsible for her family than her. It it is like in cultures of today in Asia or Africa. Comes from the same stuff.
So nothing is black and white. You have a partner, but for that you loose freedom.

So what you could do – is to not getting married. So instead of serving a family, you serve an ideology. Here a religion, that advertizes girls in warfare. And that is not unique – the communists had the same concept – people all over the world do this. There are more girls fighting right now than NATO soldiers, based on ideologies.

And that displays in the name: Shield-maid.
A maid is always an unmarried woman. The German word 'Madchen' comes from that. It translates to – young unmarried human female, while a MAID is an adult unmarried human female.
And shield translates to: That girls can use a shield. The shield is the foundation to do military warfare. So they are not anymore on the – I do martial arts level. That girls can move in a group, as a group on a battle-field.
It is in the name.

That is why ideas of defending militia reserves are totally absurd. Everybody was the militia reserve. Every Germanic fortification along the Roman border was defended by the whole population. That is what you do anyways. For that you do not need a shield-maid.
The only reason why that was rare, but even reported by the Romans, is because these guys are polygamic and doing warfare was no necessity for girls, as they were set.

(While using sources here from France or Briton is not very smart – as these were already so developed that here it was the opposite like in the Roman/Greek culture zone. They used their gender to show that they are no fighting forces. Specifically in France. With the Germans the Romans were not so kind, because here you had girls that had not read the book about why they can not throw a spear.)

So to answer your accusation. No. I am not guided by fear – I am guided by education.

And if you want to see this live and in color – you can look at all that Kurdish based units like PKK and YPG. All that girls are unmarried, too. They solve the exact same problems in the exact same way and they have zero to do with people of north of the Alps Europe.
That is what history is as a science about – not playing Dungeons&Dragons, because LOTR was not cool enough – by understanding the past – understanding patterns that lead to present structures to make the best possible decision for the future:
Head over body. Knowledge over brute force/simple solutions. 1.5 mil years old human knowledge is this.
 
Aug 2014
67
U.S.
Interesting thesis.
In our species we are using on that planet since 1.5 mil. years tools to overcome mass with physics.
A weapon is a tool. This is why you can take down as a human a gigantic gorilla.
Everytime you watch national geographic and see some dogs or cats taking down prey that is bigger, heavier and taller than them, then they do this with using their born with tools with physical laws.

And we humans developed tools specifically to kill somebody in a way that your physiology does not matter at all.
For the simpel reason that a tool, that can only be used by a specific amount of your group, based on their physiology is a bad tool.
It is not only the design, it is even the manual how you use it ( very important!).

The last thing you want to be on a medieval battle-field is a guy like you have in modern American sports. That is like if you would put gladiators on a battle-field.

Give you a short inside, based on biology: So taller you are so longer are your arms and legs.
You might be aware about that in your neck are very important blood vessels and if you got hurt there - you bleed out.
These blood-vessels do not only run in your neck, they are in your legs and arms, too.
So how longer your arms and legs are so more exposed are these vessels, what are prime targets.

And based on physical laws, you should be familiar with is the leverage effect. All melee weapon fighting techniques are based on that.
So who do you think has an advantage: Somebody who is closer with his body on a weapon or somebody who has a longer reach?
First lesson in all sword-fighting: Understand the leverage effect or a small boy can disarm a full grown man with minimum amount of force.

So it is exactly the other way around in nature how you imagine this by civilization. Your football guys are executing something man-made in a man-made environment, that runs on made-up rules everybody agreed on. In soccer – that has much lesser rules – you have nobody who looks at another player and judges him on size. And every soccer nation up to a specific age – nobody shushes a girl from a soccer field. That first happens in higher tiers, because this is a sport, too, with made up rules.
But in nature there are no rules except natural laws.
This is why you can not look at sports and say: Hey, we separate genders in sports so – in nature there should be a separation, too. Your body does not care if the flesh that holds the handle has a Y-chromosome.
That is the Riddle of Steel from Conan. John Milius figured that out in 1980-something. Head over body. Knowledge over brute force. That is why Conan is Conan – a flipping smart guy who studied philosophy and is on top of it a warrior that runs on the most primitive, universal natural laws, based on his knowledge.

And if you are really interested in that, here some facts about this:
We do have in the Germanic culture zone the trial of combat, what you should be familiar with by Game of Thrones.
That is a Germanic thing. That is old as the Romans and prevailed up to the medieval time.
Trials of combat were fought by women, too. Even after the church forbade weapons for women. You want to read the last sentences again, maybe.

That is medieval time. That gender and role concepts you take for granted, based on church ideologies are all developed things, past reformation.

That is why it is totally bogus if people here argue – if all men are dead the women pick up arms.
You never have a female surplus, because these people are polygamic. Means you have 5 to 15 sons per family. Even my grandfather had 9 brothers and 3 sisters. Welcome to the country-side in one of the most populated areas of Europe. In the deepest jungle on stone-age levels are 10 children per woman normal. As a free gift, if next time somebody exlpains to you population loss based on child-birth, because incompetent nature created a species that dies while populating.

And as we just learned that you can not pick up a weapon for the first time and take somebody out – you get an idea how far the usage of weapons was, that you had girls that could say: I want to fight this, I can win this. That is why guys like Saxo target that shield-maidens. As these shield-maidens are a product of the pagan/polygamic societies.


If we even go further back did the Germanics develop a system in displays to show if a warrior is female or male. They did this on deities, but they knew that a woman and a man in armor look the same and are hard to separate. They figured that out already what 2000 years later some archeologists fell for, by looking at equipment and made a wrong assumption about the gender.
This is not mythology or folklore that is the original Germanic religion. That means they have female warrior role-models they worshiped like you worship Jesus, or Buddha or whatever is your Hindu God.

A reason why Catholics still have such a Mary-cult is based on that pagan iron-age religions and in Germanic culture zones – that deity is displayed like a Valkyrie, too. Women with weapons is the most normal thing in the entire Germanic culture zone.
That is why you have to watch out, specifically if you come from the US that what you do know about Christian culture is highly influenced by later people, who had much more radical concepts and does not apply onto people in Europe. Protestants in Germany were concerning gender roles much more relaxed than guys in England and these guys more relaxed than guys in the US, because they have much more interaction with Catholics and Orthodox (who run much more on pagan stuff) who are the majority on the European continent.
And not just by some illegal Mexican immigrants – in Europe those are power-houses.

So what you got here and it is totally universal on the entire planet, that based on the high level of conflict in northern Europe and people being polygamic, you have a mercenary culture developed. Because every girl is set, She always finds a mate. Boys have to raise their status to get a girl.
As you have a market for warfare – that is what this mercenary culture served. This mercenary culture was called by Romans: Germans. The counter-part to the people of the Greek-/Roman culture zone. Prior called Scythian by the Greek. The term Celt or Gaul etc. means: This is a developed German.

Now in every culture that has a lot of warfare training with weapons or dealing with military stuff is more dominant, has more people taking part in it. That is why you have so many girls that could use a tool like a sword or a spear.

BUT that girls do not need warfare to level up, they can marry with 15 and are set from that point on, as that is a life-changing decision.
The moment a woman becomes part of her own family, she looses freedom. Every 15 year old son will be, by law, more responsible for her family than her. It it is like in cultures of today in Asia or Africa. Comes from the same stuff.
So nothing is black and white. You have a partner, but for that you loose freedom.

So what you could do – is to not getting married. So instead of serving a family, you serve an ideology. Here a religion, that advertizes girls in warfare. And that is not unique – the communists had the same concept – people all over the world do this. There are more girls fighting right now than NATO soldiers, based on ideologies.

And that displays in the name: Shield-maid.
A maid is always an unmarried woman. The German word 'Madchen' comes from that. It translates to – young unmarried human female, while a MAID is an adult unmarried human female.
And shield translates to: That girls can use a shield. The shield is the foundation to do military warfare. So they are not anymore on the – I do martial arts level. That girls can move in a group, as a group on a battle-field.
It is in the name.

That is why ideas of defending militia reserves are totally absurd. Everybody was the militia reserve. Every Germanic fortification along the Roman border was defended by the whole population. That is what you do anyways. For that you do not need a shield-maid.
The only reason why that was rare, but even reported by the Romans, is because these guys are polygamic and doing warfare was no necessity for girls, as they were set.

(While using sources here from France or Briton is not very smart – as these were already so developed that here it was the opposite like in the Roman/Greek culture zone. They used their gender to show that they are no fighting forces. Specifically in France. With the Germans the Romans were not so kind, because here you had girls that had not read the book about why they can not throw a spear.)

So to answer your accusation. No. I am not guided by fear – I am guided by education.

And if you want to see this live and in color – you can look at all that Kurdish based units like PKK and YPG. All that girls are unmarried, too. They solve the exact same problems in the exact same way and they have zero to do with people of north of the Alps Europe.
That is what history is as a science about – not playing Dungeons&Dragons, because LOTR was not cool enough – by understanding the past – understanding patterns that lead to present structures to make the best possible decision for the future:
Head over body. Knowledge over brute force/simple solutions. 1.5 mil years old human knowledge is this.
Wow, 1,700 words to refute the “interesting thesis” that men are physically stronger than women! There is a limit of 10,000 characters for these pages, so I'll have to write my further thoughts in a separate post.
 
Aug 2014
67
U.S.
At Ryanx:

I was especially interested in the bit where you say that small stature is an advantage in hand-to-hand combat, and specifically that modern-day NFL behemoths would be at a disadvantage in that kind of combat. I guess if a defensive lineman from the local NFL team is rude to me in a bar I shouldn’t be afraid to have a barroom fight with him.

At the risk of getting another 1,700 word rebuttal, here’s another "interesting thesis": Women’s bodies are capable of things men’s bodies can’t handle. A woman’s body can turn a single sperm cell into a fully-formed human being in nine months, then produce milk to sustain the baby until he or she is ready to be weaned. My Mom did that for me a few decades ago, and I'm eternally grateful to her for it. Men’s bodies, lacking all of that fantastically complex specialized equipment, are bigger, stronger, and faster.
 
Apr 2017
138
Bayreuth
Wow, 1,700 words to refute the “interesting thesis” that men are physically stronger than women! There is a limit of 10,000 characters for these pages, so I'll have to write my further thoughts in a separate post.
Yes, so absurd it is, that you can take on it from archaeology, history, warfare, biology, physics and even arts. Surprise! So uneducated you are in all that fields. Would make me think, if I would be in your shoes, but we are not here in a self-discovery group.

You are No 3 now in that thread who pretends to run on a level of pre-pleiocene, based on a junior high-school biology class level and totally not aware about, that your "thesis" means that people of the military have for 5000 years, at least, ran on incompetence, while you now think you figured it out.

Very strange to me how somebody can be interested in history while having such a low respect for humans that lived before him/her on that planet, what you do not even realize that you show with such an approach.

They put 13 year old boys on battle-fields. Period. And here you are – explaining to the world, that actually if you a have a Y-chromosome you are superior and indirectly suggest if you want to kill a gorilla then this is impossible, because gorillas are much bigger and stronger than our species, without even realizing this.

So let's get on with that:

At Ryanx:

I was especially interested in the bit where you say that small stature is an advantage in hand-to-hand combat, and specifically that modern-day NFL behemoths would be at a disadvantage in that kind of combat. I guess if a defensive lineman from the local NFL team is rude to me in a bar I shouldn’t be afraid to have a barroom fight with him.

At the risk of getting another 1,700 word rebuttal, here’s another "interesting thesis": Women’s bodies are capable of things men’s bodies can’t handle. A woman’s body can turn a single sperm cell into a fully-formed human being in nine months, then produce milk to sustain the baby until he or she is ready to be weaned. My Mom did that for me a few decades ago, and I'm eternally grateful to her for it. Men’s bodies, lacking all of that fantastically complex specialized equipment, are bigger, stronger, and faster.
You did not pay attention: Only if you take a tool of the category melee weapon that applies.
Indirectly if you take a modern one. You got gun - he got none - does not matter how big or small he is, right? That concept you understand, I hope.
Now let's take a guess - why we ended up with a tool that make the chances fifty-fifty. Fifty-fifty - because if you both have guns it does not matter at all what size you are.

Melee weapons are more primitive. Means at some minor things still physiology matters. That is why on the one hand if you bring a sword - that is like a gun, while if the other one has a sword, too - and he is not as average as possible he might have an advantage or dis-advantage. You can ask anybody who does such things, how much fun it is for them to fight a lefty as this can be an advantage/disadvantage, too.
Hello. How can I help you? No, it makes no difference fighting a boy or a girl and yes you always have that little sight or smile in the faces if you switch to the left hand or are two heads bigger than you, because they know what comes next and that this will be a little tougher than usual.
That is why nobody came up with special rules in one-on-one fight to the death. That first happens after they changed by culture the weapons, so that nobody got killed anymore.

It is actually a basic fundamental you would learn in the first week if you would try to wield a sword or a spear. There are even specific very popular martial arts that are based on the same natural laws that advertise themselves with exactly the same thing: Size does not matter anymore.

And do not even try to fool me that this was the only thing that you thought is interesting to defend that nonsense you put up there, because it made somehow sense based on the observation of the pampered modern civilization at your place of the world on first sight or should I take you seriouse on that and you will start to practice now for 5 years with a sword to carry it into a bar, because some linebacker could be rude to you and you have to defend your what? Your honor? It is up to 25 years prison, I think, at your place. Something I would think about, before bringing a weapon into a bar.

There are humans on that planet that do such former military stuff for millennia and they have, too always little boys who are 6 to 8 years old who think they can take on girls, just because they are boys and get them in line. And you are 100% none of them, who has to live on that civilization level, I do not even think you come from a violent area, where people pull all kinds of melee weapons in fights, based on the examples you took.
So let's skip that idea of you will carry a spear into a bar and by all means - if somebody even should pull a knife at other places of the world at you - GO AWAY and do not even dare to think - that based on what you know from your first world is any form of experience at other places. You might stand in front of a hick who comes from a culture where they practice with that stuff since they are 6 years old and who is in that grim situation, that he has to make a living by that.

Doing a mistake is absolutely okay, but justifying it, because you think that missing knowledge makes you inferior, is not okay.
 
Mar 2019
52
Belgium
There are no plausible records of female warriors among vikings. But we know that into Battlefield in Germanic areas there were groupe of women who were used as moral support for their men (look at us, if you loose, we ll become the wife of your enemies).

And for the scythes, they are not at the origin of the Amazon myth. But as every nomade people, children (boys and girls) learned to ride horse long before speaking or walking. So Greek saw for the first time scythian women on horse, they associated them the Amazon. Why? Because the horse was a male pregorative into Greek societies. It's always a question of perspective

In fact for ancient Greek and romans, even Saudi Arabia would be considered as a "female society"
 
Dec 2017
801
-------
Although, there were female rulers of Norse descent I doubt they went into battles against male warriors. Females would have little chance surviving in the battles. Most females had many children in those days.

One known ruler of Norse descent of was Olga of Kiev . Her Norse name was Helga. The obliterated Drevlyans Slavic tribe (ancestors of Ukrainians) , who killed her husban Igor of Kiev (Ingvar in Norse).
Olga of Kiev - Wikipedia
 
Jun 2017
438
maine
Although, there were female rulers of Norse descent I doubt they went into battles against male warriors. Females would have little chance surviving in the battles. Most females had many children in those days.
The tradition of the shield-maiden is pretty strong. While the practice was probably not common, it existed to the degree that it was not unusual. As has been pointed out, the warrior in the Birka grave was shown by DNA osteological analysis to be female (Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2017). As late as 1000 AD there was Freydis Eiriksdatter, sister of Leif Eiriksen--and she may have been pregnant. Surviving in battle was often a matter of skill rather than brute strength.

Warring women are know among non-Germanic people as well. In ancient times, there was Artemisia of Caria, Zenobia of Palmyra and Teutia of Illyria. In this century there has been (as has been mentioned), Boadicea in England, Grace (or Grania) O'Malley, "Black" Agnes of Dunbar, and Joan of Arc. In more recent times there was Lozan of the Apaches.

Being skilled in warfare and/or having an aggressive nature is not a male prerogative. They could plan strategy, lead warriors and go into battle; it just wasn't the usual.