Well-illustrated, closely argued and fascinating. GUARDIAN
This is the first book-length study in English to investigate what women did in the Viking age, both at home in Scandinavia and in the Viking colonies from Greenland to Russia. Evidence for their lives is fragmentary, but Judith Jesch assembles the clues provided by archaeology, runic inscriptions, place names and personal names, foreign historical records and Old Norse literature and mythology. These sources illuminate different aspects of women's lives in the Viking age, on the farms and in the trading centres of Scandinavia, abroad on Viking expeditions, and as settlers in places such as Iceland and the British Isles. Women in the Viking Age explores anunfamiliar aspect of medieval history and offers a new perspective on Viking society, very different from the traditional picture of a violent and male-dominated world.
JUDITH JESCH is Reader in Viking Studies at the University of Nottingham.
Part 1 Life and death - the evidence of archaeology: the Westness woman; the archaeology of burials; woman in her home environment. Part 2 Women's lives in runic texts: runic inscriptions; objects with runes; memorial stones. Part 3 Female colonists: the evidence of names; the settlement of Iceland. Part 4 Foreign views: international contact in the Viking age; visitors to Scandinavia; Viking women outside Scandinavia. Part 5 Art, myth and poetry: female figures in the art of the Viking age; sexuality, wisdom and heroism - female figures in Norse myth and legend; women in Skaldic poetry; the audience of Viking poetry. Part 6 Warrior woman to nun - looking back at Viking women: warrior women; Old Norse literature; women in the sagas of Icelanders.