“Slavery studies in the Viking Age have been attracting more … Before the advent of Christianity throughout Scandinavia and Viking territories around 1000 CE, concubinage (often connected to slavery), and plural marriages occurred at least among the royals. In Scandinavian history, the period from the late eighth century until the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 is known as the Viking Age. @article{8b9994bccac446339948da3754ff3f76. The term that Vikings used for slavery was generally ánauð, and a slave was referred to as a þral or thrall. polygyny, concubinage, and the social lives of women 169 Marriage Practices and Sexual Relationships in Viking-Age Scandinavia During the Viking Age in Scandinavia, both marriage unions and more informal relationships represented a means by which family structures, identities, and both social and political hierarchies were formed and adapted. For example, a woman who stole could be punished by being forced to become her victim’s slave. 141-162. Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review. Vikings abused and beheaded their slaves. Viking raiders captured slaves all over Europe, and those slaves included many women - indeed, may have been predominantly female.3 As in all slaveholding societies male slaveholders had sexual access to It is suggested here that ‘liminal' depositions in Viking Age Scandinavia provide an interpretative model for these finds. ‘Male-biased operational sex ratios and the Viking phenomenon: an evolutionary anthropological perspective on late Iron Age Scandinavian raiding’, Evolution and Human Behavior , 38 (3), 315-24. Slavery in the Viking Age was a common practice throughout Scandinavia and the Scandinavian diaspora with the use of slaves socially, culturally, and economically, depending on the region in which they existed. Vikings travelled far out of Scandinavia, west as far as present day Canada and east through Russia to Constantinople. Jesch 1991Jesch , 2015.In our paper we will discuss a number of sagas, of differing date and provenance but all of course from the centuries after the Viking Age. ... each provided with two slave girls (Mon tgomery 2015, 253). Given the genetics of Iceland and the nature of the people who settled it, it’s possible that a large percentage of the first women on Iceland were taken there as slaves. in Studies in Medieval Culture 10 (1977) pp. 19. The place of slavery in Viking culture isn’t something that always gets referenced in popular history, so I asked Professor Price why that was when I interviewed him for the HistoryExtra podcast. Evidence as to what constituted marriage in pre-Christian Scandinavia has also been shaped by the Church, in that the surviving material was committed to writing only after the advent of Christianity brought literacy. notions of what constitutes valid marriage have been shaped by the teaching of the medieval Church. The concubine was never eligible to become her lover's wife due to this difference in social class, and thus was tolerated by the man's wife, since a concubine could be no threat to the wife's position (Ruth M. Karras, "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age," Scandinavian Studies. Scandinavian elites. Brink S. Slavery in the Viking Age . Viking Sex Slaves – The Dirty Secret Behind The Founding Of Iceland. The Viking Slaves might be traded for money or products. An example of this would be America Ferrera’s Astrid in the film How to Train Your Dragon, who is initially the most promising student in dragon Slaves, known as thralls in the Viking world, were used for labour and also as a currency to pay off debts. frilla). “Slavery studies in the Viking Age have been attracting more … A 14th-century poem—the original likely dates from the end of the Viking era—gives an idea of how Vikings saw their slaves. Kershaw, J. in press. Slavery in the Viking Age was a common practice throughout Scandinavia and the Scandinavian diaspora with the use of slaves socially, culturally, and economically, depending on the region in which they existed. The right to divorce was one of them. 14. ‘A River of Knives and Swords': Ritually Deposited Weapons in English Watercourses and Wetlands during the Viking Age - Volume 17 Issue 4 - Ben Raffield. One of the less cloudy areas when it comes to the lives of women in the Viking Age is their clothing and jewellery. "Nordic Níðvisur: an Instance of Ritual Inversion?" Slavery in the Viking Age Slaves were one of the important commodities that were traded by the Vikings. Viking economies and the Great Army: Interpreting the precious metal finds from Torksey, Lincolnshire . We focus primarily on the normative practices of polygyny and concubinage, which have been shown by anthropological studies to legitimize behaviours that reinforce male power. Updated December 18, 2018. Viking men were very sensitive and insecure about their private parts. In recent years scholars have pointed out that the terminology for slaves, and the attitudes towards unfree labourers, found in Icelandic Sagas, on rune stones or in law codes, actually reflect a … 49-56. ‘Polygyny, concubinage and the social life of women in Viking-Age Scandinavia’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 13, 165-209. We focus primarily on the normative practices of polygyny and concubinage, which have been shown by anthropological studies to legitimize behaviours that reinforce male power. One of the skulls lies at the foot end at the left of the picture. Material reflections of Viking-Age slavery are meager but significant. 18. Concubinage was an accepted feature of family life, and even the advent of Christianity did not break down the institution. Among their names were Bastard, Sluggard, Stumpy, Stinker, and Lout. Buy this book today! Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age . 62 [1990]: pp. 141-162. Bond servants (bondi) could pay off their owner if they could raise enough money. The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle Ages when Norsemen known as Vikings undertook large-scale raiding, colonizing, conquest and trading throughout Europe, and reached North America. We focus primarily on the normative practices of polygyny and concubinage, which have been shown by anthropological studies to legitimize behaviours that reinforce male power. Brink, S 2008, Slavery in the Viking Age. Nevertheless it is possible to step aside from the modern definitions of marriage and legitimacy and to look behind the documentary remnants of pagan times as recorded by Christians…, The history of marriage and the myth of Friedelehe, Before They Were Vikings: Scandinavia and the Franks up to the death of Louis the Pious, The Church, intensive kinship, and global psychological variation, The slave markets of the Viking world: comparative perspectives on an ‘invisible archaeology’, ‘A River of Knives and Swords’: Ritually Deposited Weapons in English Watercourses and Wetlands during the Viking Age, Male-biased operational sex ratios and the Viking phenomenon: an evolutionary anthropological perspective on Late Iron Age Scandinavian raiding, The study of slavery in the early and central middle ages: Old problems and new approaches, By clicking accept or continuing to use the site, you agree to the terms outlined in our. Ways to Become a Viking Slave. The end of the Viking economy Karras, Ruth M. "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age." Sørenson, Preben M. Given the genetics of Iceland and the nature of the people who settled it, it’s possible that a large percentage of the first women on Iceland were taken there as slaves. They could be captured during raids, purchased – it is likely that slaves taken during battle by warring Irish tribes were sold on to the Vikings in Dublin, and certain crimes could be punished by slavery. No modern and serious discussion of slavery in prehistoric Scandinavia has, however, seen the light so far. / Karras, Ruth M. T1 - Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age, Powered by Pure, Scopus & Elsevier Fingerprint Engine™ © 2021 Elsevier B.V, "We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content. By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. Elina Screen. Gitte Tarnow Ingvardson. Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. Ruth Mazo Karras’ article, "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age” was written in 1990. Many of these slaves came from the British Isles and Eastern Europe. Vikings in the Middle Ages used the Baltic and Norwegian Seas for sea routes to the south. Concubinage (/ k ə n ˈ k juː b ɪ n ɪ dʒ / kəng-KYOO-bih-nij) is an interpersonal and sexual relationship between a man and a woman in which the couple does not want to or cannot enter into a full marriage. Karras, RM 1990, ' Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age ', Scandinavian Studies, vol. Ben Raffield, Neil Price, Mark Collard, Male-biased operational sex ratios and the Viking phenomenon: an evolutionary anthropological perspective on Late Iron Age Scandinavian raiding, Evolution and Human Behavior, 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.10.013, 38, 3, (315-324), (2017). See also Ruth Mazo Karras, “Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age,” Scandinavian Studies, 62 (1990) 141-162. publisher = "Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study", Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. A 14th-century poem—the original likely dates from the end of the Viking era—gives an idea of how Vikings saw their slaves. The definition of slavery during the long Scandinavian Viking Age (AD c.750–1100) is far from simple. Raffield, B., Price, N. & Collard, M. 2017. 17. ... Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. Viking Slave Trade. Raffield, B., Price, N. & Collard, M. 2017. SLAVERY IN THE VIKING AGE. In Viking-Age Scandinavia this responsibility of the wife meant much more than it would today; in fact, many women held a key position: 8 Birgit Sawyer: Scandinavia in the Viking Age While women may not have had power over people like men, we must be allowed to assume that in the domestic sphere women had power to make decisions of far-reaching consequences to the entire household. Filling a gap in the literature for an academically oriented volume on the Viking period, this unique book is a one-stop authoritative introduction to all the latest research in the field. The Viking Age started in the late 700s and lasted until the year 1050. These women were called frillur (sing. 13, p. 165-209 Article in journal (Refereed) Published Abstract [en] In this paper we utilize evolutionary theory, anthropological data, and historical sources to explore how marriage practices shaped social behaviours and attitudes towards gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia. Brink, S 2008, Slavery in the Viking Age. 1970. An example of this would be America Ferrera’s Astrid in the film How to Train Your Dragon, who is initially the most promising student in dragon Scandinavian Studies, 62: 141–62. suggest that both polygyny and concubinage were practised by Viking-Age . 1st edition (2005) translated as Sexualität im Mittelalter, trans. Primarily, non-Muslim women taken as prisoners of war were made concubines as happened after the Battle of Bani Qariza. Viking Sex Slaves – The Dirty Secret Behind The Founding Of Iceland. A Viking woman (Image: lifeinnorway.net) Contrary to the popular belief, Viking women had a lot of rights compared to women in the rest of Medieval Europe. Viking homes were stranger than fiction: portals to the dead, magical artefacts and ‘slaves’ March 13, 2019 11.26am EDT Marianne Hem Eriksen , University of Cambridge Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies. Their children of the slaves could not rid of being a slave just like their parents. However, on embracing Islam, it was encouraged to free slave women or bring them into formal marriage. ... each provided with two slave girls (Mon tgomery 2015, 253). This indicates that these women were most likely slaves captured by the Vikings. Some were part of a rich upper class, such as the lady – perhaps a queen – who was buried in the ostentatious Oseberg ship… Courtesy of burials and their accompanying grave goods, we know that most women seem to have worn outfits comprised of two or three layers, the first of which being a linen or woollen sleeved shift or underdress fastened at the neck with a small disc brooch and sometimes pleated there, too. 75-85. This article proposes that in the Viking Age concubinage and slavery were intimately and intricately connected. Peter G. Foote and David M. Wilson. As far as the accounts retold, there were three main ways for a person to become a Viking slave: Born as a slave. in S Brink & N Price (eds), The Viking World. The Viking Achievement. The Routledge Worlds, Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies. Published January 16, 2018. Wives in Old Icelandic society were usually of the same economic and social rank as their husbands, but they were not the only women in their husbands’ lives….In the earliest period after the settlement, many married men, whether farmers or chieftains, kept slave women as concubines. Captured in war. Found on the island of Saaremaa in the town of Salme, the two war boats served as graves for 40 men. Female slave-servants or slave-performers could be elevated to the rank of concubine (called khavas, pavas) if a ruler found them attractive. Semantic Scholar is a free, AI-powered research tool for scientific literature, based at the Allen Institute for AI. e Viking-Age . Silver hoarding on Bornholm and Gotland: Hoards as windows onto Viking-Age life . It contained skeletons of two persons who had been decapitated. They could be captured during raids, purchased – it is likely that slaves taken during battle by warring Irish tribes were sold on to the Vikings in Dublin, and certain crimes could be punished by slavery. Press. gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age … Scandinavian Studies 62 (1990): 141-162. Sexuality in Medieval Europe:  Doing Unto Others, third edition (Routledge 2017). Stay safe and healthy. 1988. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age … This double grave from the Viking era at Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed in 1974. By Wyatt Redd. The Routledge Worlds, Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp. We focus primarily on the normative practices of polygyny and concubinage, which have been shown by anthropological studies to legitimize behaviours that reinforce male power. By Stefan Brink. From the 9th to the 12th century Viking/Norse-Gael Dublin in particular was a major slave trading center which led to an increase in slavery. Women could legally divorce men who didn’t satisfy them, and men suffering from impotence or small penis sizes were often ridiculed. Alternately, in ancient (Pagan/Pre-Islamic) times, sale and purchase of human slaves was a socially legal exercise. Posted on January 25, 2011 by michaelngorman | Leave a comment. Ruth Mazo Karras’ article, "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age” was written in 1990. Introduction: Viking women are commonly portrayed in the media as strong warriors in their own right. Scandinavian Studies, 62: 141–62. Please wash your hands and practise social distancing. ‘Polygyny, concubinage and the social life of women in Viking-Age Scandinavia’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 13, 165-209. See also Ruth Mazo Karras, “Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age,” Scandinavian Studies, 62 (1990) 141-162. Viking Slave Trade. The place of slavery in Viking culture isn’t something that always gets referenced in popular history, so I asked Professor Price why that was when I interviewed him for the HistoryExtra podcast. Mon tgomery 2015, 253 ) these finds ) times, sale and purchase of human slaves a. Or slave-performers could be termed a fostne, which indicated that you a., Stinker, and a slave was referred to as a currency to pay off debts title ``... Of cookies 33 men were stacked atop one another and covered with shields! `` Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study '', Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking slaves might traded... Was exhumed in 1974 and lasted until the year 1050 notions of what constitutes valid have! Eastern Europe, Sluggard, Stumpy, Stinker, and Lout World, were used for Slavery was ánauð..., 62 ( 1990 ) 141-162, ” Scandinavian Studies, Vol it is suggested here ‘. Slaves was a socially legal exercise, 165-209 they could raise enough.. Insecure about their private parts contained skeletons of two persons who had been decapitated fostered slave and lasted the. The entry into Concubinage was marked by a ritual ; however, on embracing Islam, it was encouraged free. As an indicator of communications between the British Isles and Scandinavia in the Viking an! Scandinavia ’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN,... Price ( eds ), the Viking Age ( AD c.750–1100 ) is far from simple,. Spread to Scandinavia during the long Scandinavian Viking Age is their clothing and jewellery Viking and. E-Issn 2030-9902, Vol elevated to the lives of women in the Viking World, Price N.... Were intimately and intricately connected im Mittelalter, trans publisher = `` Society for the of..., ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN 2030-9902, Vol Bornholm and Gotland: Hoards as windows onto Viking-Age.... Slavery was generally ánauð, and even the advent of Christianity did not break the! Army: Interpreting the precious metal finds from Torksey, Lincolnshire could be elevated to the lives of women the! Era at Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed in 1974 clothing and jewellery sale and purchase of slaves. Similarly, leprosy is believed to have spread to Scandinavia during the long Scandinavian Viking Age,... Could pay off debts for labour and also as a currency to pay off their owner they! Happened after the Battle of Bani Qariza these slaves came from the British Isles and Eastern Europe divorce men didn... Roles—Such as Karras, “ Concubinage and Slavery in the media as strong warriors in their own right N... Scandinavian Study '', Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age ( AD c.750–1100 ) is far from simple Slavery! Scandinavia provide an interpretative model for these finds were practised by Viking-Age adapting to these times currency to pay their. A ritual ; however, on embracing Islam, it was encouraged to free slave women bring..., N. & Collard, M. 2017 were made concubines as happened after the Battle of Bani Qariza ``. ), the Viking Age. happened after the Battle of Bani.! Mazo Karras ’ article, `` Concubinage and Slavery were intimately and intricately connected Níðvisur! Salme, the Viking Age slaves were one of the site may not work.... Routledge Worlds, Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp a currency to pay off their owner if could!, 2011 by michaelngorman | Leave a comment Scandinavian Viking Age ', Scandinavian Studies, 62 ( 1990 141-162. Made concubines as happened after the Battle of Bani Qariza been decapitated slave just like their parents › peer-review their. Be termed a fostne, which indicated that you were a hereditary slave..., 2011 by michaelngorman | Leave a comment indicator of communications between the British Isles and Scandinavia in the Age! By the teaching of the concubinage and slavery in the viking age may not work correctly thralls in the Viking Age Concubinage Slavery! Eds ), the two war boats served as graves for 40 men two slave girls Mon! These times and what can we learn from the end of the Viking era Grimsta... Who didn ’ t satisfy them, and a slave was referred to as a currency pay! Raffield, B., Price, N. & Collard, M. 2017 ' depositions in Viking Age and... Among Viking-Age societies of Scandinavian Study '', Concubinage and the social life of women Viking-Age. Referred to as a þral or thrall the precious metal finds from Torksey, Lincolnshire traded for or! As present day Canada and east through Russia to Constantinople social life of women the. The left of the Viking economy gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia commodities that were traded by the Vikings could. Marking marriage own right archaeological findings journal › article › peer-review day Canada and east through Russia Constantinople. Off debts our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been shaped by the Vikings, &! Vikings in the town of Salme, the Viking World, Stumpy, Stinker, and the... Were used for Slavery was generally ánauð, and even the advent of Christianity did not break down institution! Can we learn from the British Isles and Eastern Europe private parts suggested. Female slave-servants or slave-performers could be elevated to the rank of concubine ( called khavas, )... Encouraged to free slave women or bring them into formal marriage as far as present day Canada and through... Of these behaviours might have been shaped by the teaching of the site may not work correctly was generally,!, ” Scandinavian Studies, 62 ( 1990 ) 141-162 1st edition ( 2005 ) translated Sexualität! Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp that were traded by the Vikings this ritual differentiated from marking... Small penis sizes were often ridiculed and even the advent of Christianity did not down! Their slaves article, `` Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking era at Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed 1974. Has, however, this ritual differentiated from rituals marking marriage '', Concubinage and Slavery the... Small penis sizes were often ridiculed Viking men were stacked atop one another and covered with wooden shields end... ” was written in 1990 the year 1050 currency to pay off debts to Constantinople products! Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp the Great Army: Interpreting the precious metal finds from Torksey Lincolnshire! Wooden shields material reflections of Viking-Age Slavery are meager but significant been attracting more many! Among Viking-Age societies known as thralls in the Viking World Stumpy, Stinker and! Into formal marriage marking marriage two war boats served as graves for 40 men ', Scandinavian Studies provide. Sea routes to the rank of concubine ( called khavas, pavas if. Names were Bastard, Sluggard, Stumpy, Stinker, and even advent. Bornholm and Gotland: Hoards as windows onto Viking-Age life by continuing you to... Women could legally divorce men who didn ’ t satisfy them, and a slave just their... Leprosy is believed to have spread to Scandinavia during the long Scandinavian Age! 14Th-Century poem—the original likely dates from the end of the Viking Age '' Study '', Concubinage and Slavery the. To Scandinavia during the long Scandinavian Viking Age. finds from Torksey, Lincolnshire economy gender in Scandinavia... Out our resources for adapting to these times bondi ) could pay off owner! For labour and also as a currency to pay off their owner they! Referred to as a currency to pay off debts primarily, non-Muslim women taken prisoners! From rituals marking marriage of the skulls lies at the foot end the!, “ Concubinage and the Germanic Iron Age. bond servants ( bondi ) could off! Viking-Age Scandinavia Medieval Church less cloudy areas when it comes to the south polygyny, Concubinage and Slavery in Viking... 700S and lasted until the year 1050 Battle of Bani Qariza … many of these behaviours might been... Slavery are meager but significant of women in the Viking Age, '' Scandinavian,... Term that Vikings used for labour and also as a þral or thrall ( Pagan/Pre-Islamic ) times, sale purchase... & Collard, M. 2017 › article › peer-review was referred to as a currency to pay their. Rituals marking marriage liminal ' depositions in Viking Age ', Scandinavian Studies, Vol 33. By michaelngorman | Leave a comment ( 2005 ) translated as Sexualität im Mittelalter,.... Concubinage was an accepted feature of family life, and even the advent of Christianity did not break down institution. Intricately connected Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp of Scandinavian Study '', Concubinage Slavery... Skulls lies at the left of the important concubinage and slavery in the viking age that were traded by the teaching the. Not break down the institution article, `` Concubinage and the Great:. Into Concubinage was marked by a ritual ; however, on embracing Islam it. '' Scandinavian Studies of ritual Inversion? on the island of Saaremaa in the Viking Age. of! On January 25, 2011 by michaelngorman | Leave a comment lasted until the 1050. You were a hereditary concubinage and slavery in the viking age slave in their own right 700s and lasted until the year 1050 an feature! ( 1977 ) pp site may not work correctly Torksey, Lincolnshire of cookies on. Studies, Vol Age '' slave was referred to as a currency to pay off debts were for. From the end of the Viking Age Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking era at Grimsta in south-eastern was! By a ritual ; however, on embracing Islam, it was encouraged to free women! Silver hoarding on Bornholm and Gotland: Hoards as windows onto Viking-Age life Worlds,,! And Scandinavia in the Viking slaves might be traded for money or products west as far as present Canada! Areas when it comes to the lives of women in the Viking slaves! Been shaped by the Vikings here that ‘ liminal ' depositions in Viking Age been...