By Gina Conkle
300 is a big number these days. Hollywood’s certainly cashing in on history with their follow-up to the infamous Spartan ‘300.’
And why not? We can’t get enough of those heroes facing astronomical odds like…
Sparta’s 300 vs thousands of Persians at Thermopylae
Gideon’s 300 vs thousands of Midianites near the Hill of Moreh
But ever heard of the famed 300 Viking women?
Travel past ancient times to the 8th century and you’ll find 300 shieldmaidens who fought for Danish King Harold Wartooth against Swedish King Sigurd.
Medieval historian Saxo Grammitcus records their unique names and feats of fury: Einar the Fatbellied, Grette the Evil, and Blig Bignose.
Doesn’t matter if they were pretty or not. These women went after the enemy with the business end of their axes and swords.
Not to be outdone, history tells of other brave Norsewomen.
Famous explorer Leif Ericson’s half-sister, Freydis, didn’t let pregnancy or nakedness stop her. While in Vinland, natives attacked the pregnant woman’s home. She grabbed a sword, dashed out bare-breasted, and went on counter-attack.
And the natives went running!
Freydis never gained the official title shieldmaiden in the Greenland Saga. But, if you’re fearless enough to chase your attackers half-naked (while pregnant!), doesn’t that deserve honorary shieldmaiden status? And Freydis came away unscathed.
History Channel’s “Viking” series has brought to life the famous shieldmaiden, Lagertha Lothbrok. Saxo Grammaticus records her feats of daring, in particular how Lagertha came to Ragnar Lothbrok’s rescue. She saved the famed warrior from defeat by leading a flank attack when Ragnar was losing.
The Sagas talk about Lagertha’s blonde hair flowing in battle and refer to her “delicate frame” and “matchless spirit.”
That’s Saga-speak for “She was a hot babe with battle skills. Don’t mess with her.”
Anytime you want an Old Norse translation, feel free to drop me a line and we can talk Sagas. Or better yet, take a look at my Viking romance, Norse Jewel. My heroine, Helena, is strong though not a sword wielding shieldmaiden. She embraces the indomitable Viking spirit, meeting the hot hero Hakan as an equal.
Here’s to brave women everywhere!
About the Author:
Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer. Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations. Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll. When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.
Make sure you check out Gina’s historical novel ~ Norse Jewel.
About the book:
Stolen by marauding Danes, Helena’s desperate to escape their camp. She wants to return home, but the wolf-eyed Viking who bought her has his own plans. Wearied of the sword, Hakan wants a quiet farmer’s life, yet peace eludes the chieftain. His once tranquil homeland’s in turmoil, and his new Frankish thrall vexes him for her freedom. Even worse, the fair maid lures him with laughter and smiles. Betrayal has left the warrior cold to other women, but one hot summer changes everything. Hakan’s icy heart thaws to his clever thrall. Helena weaves happiness into his hard life, and she soon questions her own desires. But, shadows of deceit spread across the kingdom, reaching Hakan’s farm. Old loyalties call on the Viking to wield his sword again, but at what cost? Before summer ends, master and thrall must answer the hardest question…How much would you pay for love?
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