Ceilidh E. Burdick

Women in the Viking Age: Gender and Power in Ancient Scandinavia

The popular image of the Viking Age centers around fearless warriors clad in armor traveling in powerful warships to raid foreign lands in the name of glory or a king; the spoils of their battles being treasure and maidens alike. When it comes to “Viking” women, the popular image leans towards buxom beauties left at home to raise children or scantily clad valkyries guiding dead warriors to Valhalla. While the inspiration for such romantic notions stem in part from reality, further emphasized by theatrical minds, the roles of women spanned much wider than housewives, mothers, and psychopomps. Women played several other essential roles which often go overlooked by mainstream depictions. They held unique power through their abilities and relationships in nearly all spheres of society: domestic, commericial, and spiritual. This discussion will cover the multitude of roles women held in Viking Age Scandinavia.

[Recorded August 12, 2023]

Ceilidh E. Burdick, MA/Mphil, is a historian and independent researcher . She received her MA degree in Viking and Medieval Norse studies from Háskóli Íslands (University of Iceland) and Universitetet I Oslo (University of Oslo). Ceilidh is also an alumna of Salem State University, earning a BA in Public History, and a BA in Art & Design. She is a Fellow of the Leifur Eiríksson Foundation, a member of two national honor societies, and a founding member of The Pursuit of History. Her interest in history spans throughout the European Iron Ages.

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