Representations Of Women And Women

1539 Words Oct 1st, 2015 7 Pages
Representations of what is believed to be female characters holding weapons have been previously observed on the fragments of the Oseberg tapestry. The textile fragments show human-esque figures that appear to be either standing in front of spears or holding them and who wear clothing that is closely representative of long dresses which were worn by Viking Age women. Some apparently female figures are also holding swords. The Oseberg tapestry is difficult to interpret, but it has been suggested that its imagery may represent a procession of some sort, perhaps one that occurred as part of a funeral. Jesch has also speculated whether the female figures on the tapestry might be valkyrjur “choosing the slain for the honour of Valhall” . Jesch notes the variety of places that female Scandinavian graves can be found, from Iceland to Russia, yet she is hesitant about presenting this as evidence of female participation in Viking raids. She says, “In spite of the archaeological evidence that women from Scandinavia accompanied the men who went trading and adventuring in the east, we are never told this in the written sources.”
However, what written sources do contain is a picture of how medieval writers viewed the Viking Age through a gendered bias. Jesch analyzes the History of the Danes, written by Saxo Grammaticus in the 12th century, and how he treats “warrior women” in the stories such as Lathgertha and Alvid. There is little doubt that Saxo uses the idea of women as…

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