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Wickie and the strong women

the Vikings are considered to be rather rough contemporaries, as a bearded warriors and skilled navigators, who dominated with their fast ships, the Northern seas and went on their raids just squeamish works. Of women, the speech was in the popular stories less. Now the evidence is mounting, however, that Scandinavian women are already in the 8. Century had a high social position. This is also confirmed by a study by tübingen-based researchers, the teeth and bones from the Viking age of 8. to 11.Century and the whole of the middle ages studied and in the journal "Economics and Human Biology" reports. A in the teeth of stored health markers shows that in the case of the Vikings, both sexes fed on the same well.

the study is based on comprehensive biological and archaeological data to more than 15,000 human skeletons from across Europe, from the past 2000 years. A team of researchers had carried in the framework of the network "Global History of Health" to each dead about 100 different indicators: dental characteristics, bone mass, or signs of wear. From the data, the researchers gained insights about the development of health, nutrition, work load and violence in different regions of Europe, also in different centuries.

Laura Maravall and Jörg from Asked evaluated, especially the condition of the teeth of skeletons from Scandinavia and compared the results with corresponding data from the Mediterranean. The focus is in particular one feature that they call "linear enamel hypoplasia" was. In the case of malnutrition and/or severe conditions, especially during the early Childhood line-like damage to the teeth. "Such horizontal wells on the teeth can be seen still today in the case of poor people in some regions of India," says Baten.

Similar to well-fed

The researchers were especially interested in strong differences between the sexes, which they evaluated as an indication of social inequality. For the period between the 8. and 11. Century, the analysis yielded a clear finding: The Viking women from rural regions in Scandinavia were similar to well nourished as the men. This let to a far-reaching equal status they close, so Asked. "The relatively good nutritional and health status reflects the decision of the parents to feed your female offspring similar to and care for in illness, such as the male offspring," says Baten.

to check your Thesis, used the tübingen-based scientists, a second indicator, the length of the thigh bone. This measure provides information on the length of the body, the in good nutrition and health in the population average is greater shortfall than in the case of malnutrition. The result is here: The Vikings were nearly the same size as the men.

A different picture for larger settlements in Scandinavia, for example, for the Norwegian Trondheim, the Swedish cities of Lund and Sigtuna, an early medieval Viking settlement on the present territory of the Swedish province of Stockholm. "The women have not reached equality values on the country," says Baten. The difference between the city and the country, the economic historian, explained by the specialization in livestock farming in the country, brought especially for women, are there economic advantages and, thus, Reputation. "Unlike the Agriculture, which had to be operated because of the higher muscular force, especially of men, could women contribute in livestock, much to the family income. The probably picked for their position in society," says the researcher.

Also, in England, reconstructed, researchers recently the face of a Viking had been buried with weapons additions.

The findings fit to a range of historical sources, which give indications to the equality of Scandinavian women, however, they often come from a later time and to describe individual cases. The trader, spy and Diplomat Ibrahim ibn Jakub from the at that time Muslim Spain was surprised in 10. Century with a visit to the Wikingerort hedeby, that the women could let their men get a divorce and support from the local community received. "Such rights of women in other regions of Europe had not at that time."

A further note on the equality of women in the early Viking societies had resulted in 2017, the sex determination of buried Viking skeletons from the settlement of Birka in Sweden. Due to the body size and, above all, the grave goods were archaeologists long assumed that there must have been a military leader acted. Two horses, spear, arrows, knives, two shields and a pair of stirrups, and especially the long sword and the battle axe could only have a Viking warrior belongs to. Until the genetic analysis and bone studies also showed that it must have clearly acted to a woman. "This may just be an isolated case have been indicates but also to the fact that Viking women had a stronger position than women in other regions", so Asked.

Also in England, reconstructed, researchers recently the face of a Viking had been buried with weapons additions. It turned out that the woman had a gaping wound to the forehead, is said to have originated from a battle axeman. Previously, there had been no evidence that women were actually involved in combat operations. Total equality did not exist in the middle ages, but also in Scandinavia, women were not allowed to co-decide about political gatherings. And slaves had no rights.

role models for the Valkyries?

But, in many respects, was better than in other regions of Europe. For women from the Mediterranean, the tübingen study showed a difference in position, in any case, the health values of the teeth in the medium were significantly worse than for men. Asked, believes it is possible that the strong, equal women of the Viking age in the 8th Century concrete literary role models were, for example, for the Valkyries in Nordic mythology as a mighty spirit being the father of all gods, Odin, and dead warriors from the battlefield to the Afterlife guide. "These women in the Nordic countries could have fed popular myths about the Valkyries, and they were Asked strong, healthy and tall," says.

This Interpretation of the Bonn Medievalist Rudolf Simek too far. "In the Sagas state anywhere that they were big and strong. Valkyries were otherworldly beings, dead demons. The war inside you to be late in the middle ages, is to mix the conceptual with the so-called shield girls, and occasionally in medieval literature, occurring king's daughters, the drag in the absence of brothers in the battle." In the real life of the Vikings, but the strong women played a clearly larger role, as the Vikings researchers for a long time assumptions.

Created: 15.11.2019, 19:56 PM

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