The women in Viking society were not Vikings, they were just Scandinavian women. They had heavy household duties like the women in society still do a lot of the time. Wives handled all the food and often times wore the key to the food cabinet on their waist to display their authority. “The farm animals were also her responsibility and when her husband went trading, went Viking, or hunting she also ran the farm in his absence.”[1] Wives were doing more than just the food preparations, especially if their husband was an active Viking.

Some women were doing a lot more than farming as well. There were some very important women; most of whom were Queens or relatives of Viking rulers. “One of the richest burials of Viking Age Scandinavia is that of the Oseberg 'queen', buried in a very grand style with a richly-decorated ship and large numbers of high-quality grave goods in 834.” [2] Queen Emma definitely wanted her name to be remembered. Her father was Duke Richard of Normandy; she was married to two English kings and was a great patron of the church. One thing I didn’t know is that a woman could divorce her husband in the Viking age.

I don’t really feel like there’s still a “role” barrier now that we’re in 2012. Let’s get real; the women in Viking times were walking around with keys to their food cabinet on their waist. Some women are walking down Wall Street right now making money I’ll never see, it all depends on what you do. One thing that’s still the same is women in 2012’s society can divorce their husbands (depending on where you live in the world of course). Scandinavian women during the Viking era had a lot more freedom than women in many other countries of Europe. They actually had more freedom than some women in the world do today.

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Questions:
  1. Who do you think had more authority in the Viking age, the males or the females?
  2. What do you think would of happened if a women in the Viking age wanted to divorce her husband but wasn’t allowed to?
  3. Have you ever heard of someone being buried in a ship before you heard of Queen of Osberg?
  4. How would you feel if you were a woman taking care of the farm while your husband was away?
  5. What did the women wear on the waist to symbolize authority?
  6. Who was one female of the Viking era named in this document?
  7. Why was she so important?
  8. How do you think her trying to go through a divorce would’ve gone over?
  9. Can you think of a way women in the Viking age were probably similar to women now?
  10. What do you think a Viking male would do once his wife divorced him?




[1] http://www.viking.no/e/life/ewomen.htm
[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/women_01.shtml, “Women of Influence”