Women's Roles In Norse Mythology

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Women’s roles in society in Norse mythology are generally not specific to their gender. Women could be warriors, priestesses, poets, or housewives, and sometimes a woman was actually a man. Women in ancient Norse societies had rights such as the ability to divorce for valid reasons and to own land, which wasn’t allowed or didn’t exist in other parts of Europe. By looking at the Eddas and Sagas, reading the myths, and studying the archeological remains of the people of the region, we can see the different roles that were held by the women of this old world pagan religion.
Brunhild of the Volsunga saga was originally a Valkyrie, but since she disobeyed Odin he placed her into a deep sleep until the bravest of men could arouse her (Guerber,
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A shield-maiden is a woman who had chosen to fight as a warrior. Other examples of shield-maidens mentioned by name in the Norse sagas include Hervor in The Saga of Hervor and Heidreks, Brynhildr of The Saga of Bosi and Herraud, the Swedish princess Thornbjǫrg in The Saga of Hrolf son of Gautrek, and Princess Hed, Visna and Veborg in Gesta Danorum. (Shieldmaiden, n.d.). The Gesta Danorum is an essential source for Danish history and is known for being one of the oldest documents written about the history of Latvia and Estonia. The documents speak of legendary shield-maidens that participated in the Battle of Bravalla in Sweden around the year 750. Saxo Grammaticus writes that the captains had the bodies of women and the souls of men thirsting for war (Grammaticus, 2006). War was not the only tradition that predominantly male that the women of Norse times infiltrated, there were also female shamans and seers in Norse…show more content…
As shown by Rosenberg, Thor and Loki dressed as women to retrieve the stolen hammer, Mjolnir on pages 475-477. The hammer represents Thor’s strength and masculinity, without it, he is unable to compete in a battle. Thor does not embrace having to cross-dress and has difficulty with the disguise because it depicts his unmanliness. However, Loki embraces the chance to transform into a woman and use his trickery against the giants. Loki was even able to convince Thrym, the giant who stole Mjolnir, that Thor was Freya his wife to be. Additionally, Loki uses gender stereotypes to convince Thrym to overlook the masculine characteristics of his bride. Loki also exhibits signs of femininity when he gave birth to an eight-legged foal after having intercourse with a stallion while transformed into a mare while scheming against a builder. This foal is none other than Odin’s horse Sleipnir-the best horse among gods and

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