concubinage and slavery in the viking age

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“Slavery studies in the Viking Age have been attracting more … Ruth Mazo Karras’ article, "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age” was written in 1990. Viking Slave Trade. 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. Introduction: Viking women are commonly portrayed in the media as strong warriors in their own right. Sørenson, Preben M. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies. 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. Scandinavian Studies 62 (1990): 141-162. 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. Posted on January 25, 2011 by michaelngorman | Leave a comment. gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia. For example, a woman who stole could be punished by being forced to become her victim’s slave. Slavery was an integral part of Viking culture, as attested by a variety of contemporary sources such as the observations of the tenth-century Arab envoy Ahmad Ibn Fadlān, which describe the capture, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and employment of slaves amongst Scandinavian societies, including their role in ritual and their treatment after death. Scandinavian elites. Although women in the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE) lived in a male-dominated society, far from being powerless, they ran farms and households, were responsible for textile production, moved away from Scandinavia to help settle Viking territories abroad stretching from Greenland, Iceland, and the British Isles to Russia, and were perhaps even involved in trade in the sparse urban centres. … in S Brink & N Price (eds), The Viking World. Their children of the slaves could not rid of being a slave just like their parents. Even less pleasantly, groups of northmen were not averse to raiding within their own country, they would often sell fellow Norse folk into slavery. There was a huge demand for slaves around the world. Alternately, in ancient (Pagan/Pre-Islamic) times, sale and purchase of human slaves was a socially legal exercise. Scandinavian Studies, 62: 141–62. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Material reflections of Viking-Age slavery are meager but significant. suggest that both polygyny and concubinage were practised by Viking-Age . Introduction: Viking women are commonly portrayed in the media as strong warriors in their own right. "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. However, on embracing Islam, it was encouraged to free slave women or bring them into formal marriage. In one, 33 men were stacked atop one another and covered with wooden shields. 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. ... Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. 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. The Viking Age started in the late 700s and lasted until the year 1050. A 14th-century poem—the original likely dates from the end of the Viking era—gives an idea of how Vikings saw their slaves. Coins as an indicator of communications between the British Isles and Scandinavia in the Viking Age . Viking Sex Slaves – The Dirty Secret Behind The Founding Of Iceland. SLAVERY IN THE VIKING AGE. 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. Viking men were very sensitive and insecure about their private parts. 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. 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. 17. ‘Polygyny, concubinage and the social life of women in Viking-Age Scandinavia’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 13, 165-209. Gitte Tarnow Ingvardson. Published January 16, 2018. e Viking-Age . This article proposes that in the Viking Age concubinage and slavery were intimately and intricately connected. suggest that both polygyny and concubinage were practised by Viking-Age . The Routledge Worlds, Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp. The definition of slavery during the long Scandinavian Viking Age (AD c.750–1100) is far from simple. 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 their slaves, and they often purchased women for that purpose alone. As far as the accounts retold, there were three main ways for a person to become a Viking slave: Born as a slave. Although women in the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE) lived in a male-dominated society, far from being powerless, they ran farms and households, were responsible for textile production, moved away from Scandinavia to help settle Viking territories abroad stretching from Greenland, Iceland, and the British Isles to Russia, and were perhaps even involved in trade in the sparse urban centres. @article{8b9994bccac446339948da3754ff3f76. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies. Peter G. Foote and David M. Wilson. London: Sidgewick & Jackson. One of the skulls lies at the foot end at the left of the picture. It is suggested here that ‘liminal' depositions in Viking Age Scandinavia provide an interpretative model for these finds. See also Ruth Mazo Karras, “Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age,” Scandinavian Studies, 62 (1990) 141-162. See also Ruth Mazo Karras, “Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age,” Scandinavian Studies, 62 (1990) 141-162. Mar 18, 2013 - An online resource for historians bringing rare British and world history sources to the desktops of academics, librarians, teachers and students The Viking Achievement. Karras, Ruth M. Slavery and Society in Medieval Scandinavia. 1988. 19. A 14th-century poem—the original likely dates from the end of the Viking era—gives an idea of how Vikings saw their slaves. This double grave from the Viking era at Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed in 1974. Viking Sex Slaves – The Dirty Secret Behind The Founding Of Iceland. But who were their slaves and what can we learn from the archaeological findings? 2017 (English) In: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN 2030-9902, Vol. ‘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 Slaves were one of the important commodities that were traded by the Vikings. Kershaw, J. in press. Many of these slaves came from the British Isles and Eastern Europe. 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. 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). Concubinage and Slavery in Early Ireland. 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. Press. 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. in S Brink & N Price (eds), The Viking World. Vikings in the Middle Ages used the Baltic and Norwegian Seas for sea routes to the south. Markey, T.L. Scandinavian Studies, 62: 141–62. 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. 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. Elina Screen. The entry into concubinage was marked by a ritual; however, this ritual differentiated from rituals marking marriage. In Scandinavian history, the period from the late eighth century until the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 is known as the Viking Age. By Wyatt Redd. Sexuality in Medieval Europe:  Doing Unto Others, third edition (Routledge 2017). Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies. It followed the Migration Period and the Germanic Iron Age. 49-56. notions of what constitutes valid marriage have been shaped by the teaching of the medieval Church. e Viking-Age . Raffield, B., Price, N. & Collard, M. 2017. “Slavery studies in the Viking Age have been attracting more … Stay safe and healthy. Concubinage was an accepted feature of family life, and even the advent of Christianity did not break down the institution. Ways to Become a Viking Slave. 62 [1990]: 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. 1st edition (2005) translated as Sexualität im Mittelalter, trans. Found on the island of Saaremaa in the town of Salme, the two war boats served as graves for 40 men. Bond servants (bondi) could pay off their owner if they could raise enough money. Concubinage was practiced in elite Rajput households between 16th and 20th centuries. 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. 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 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. 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. 141-162. Brink, S 2008, Slavery in the Viking Age. Slave trading also existed before the Viking period, but with the numerous territories that the Vikings conquered and their extensive trading networks, slavery could now operate within a system and bring them great wealth. The Routledge Worlds, Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom, pp. 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. It contained skeletons of two persons who had been decapitated. The Viking Slaves might be traded for money or products. ... Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. Updated December 18, 2018. Women could legally divorce men who didn’t satisfy them, and men suffering from impotence or small penis sizes were often ridiculed. gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia. ... each provided with two slave girls (Mon tgomery 2015, 253). 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. 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. By Stefan Brink. 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. 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. Updated December 18, 2018. 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 … Captured in war. title = "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age". Viking economies and the Great Army: Interpreting the precious metal finds from Torksey, Lincolnshire . Brink, S 2008, Slavery in the Viking Age. In one, 33 men were stacked atop one another and covered with wooden shields. 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. Viking Slave Trade. 141-162. frilla). No modern and serious discussion of slavery in prehistoric Scandinavia has, however, seen the light so far. 49-56. Among their names were Bastard, Sluggard, Stumpy, Stinker, and Lout. 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. in Studies in Medieval Culture 10 (1977) pp. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies. Kershaw, J. in press. / 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. 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. Semantic Scholar is a free, AI-powered research tool for scientific literature, based at the Allen Institute for AI. 1970. Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. Vikings travelled far out of Scandinavia, west as far as present day Canada and east through Russia to Constantinople. 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. Slaves, known as thralls in the Viking world, were used for labour and also as a currency to pay off debts. Vikings abused and beheaded their slaves. 141-162. Karras RM. The end of the Viking economy Buy this book today! Found on the island of Saaremaa in the town of Salme, the two war boats served as graves for 40 men. Ruth Mazo Karras’ article, "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age” was written in 1990. Karras, Ruth M. "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age." One of the less cloudy areas when it comes to the lives of women in the Viking Age is their clothing and jewellery. Silver hoarding on Bornholm and Gotland: Hoards as windows onto Viking-Age life . See also Eric Oxenstierna. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age … ... each provided with two slave girls (Mon tgomery 2015, 253). 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 2017 (English) In: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN 2030-9902, Vol. Some were part of a rich upper class, such as the lady – perhaps a queen – who was buried in the ostentatious Oseberg ship… Buy this book today! Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age . Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review. 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. Please wash your hands and practise social distancing. Among their names were Bastard, Sluggard, Stumpy, Stinker, and Lout. The Viking Age. Brink S. Slavery in the Viking Age . Check out our resources for adapting to these times. The right to divorce was one of them. 18. Primarily, non-Muslim women taken as prisoners of war were made concubines as happened after the Battle of Bani Qariza. 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 Raffield, B., Price, N. & Collard, M. 2017. 75-85. Their different functions and roles—such as You are currently offline. Karras, Ruth M. "Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age," Scandinavian Studies. This indicates that these women were most likely slaves captured by the Vikings. Similarly, leprosy is believed to have spread to Scandinavia during the Viking Age via the slave trade. The term that Vikings used for slavery was generally ánauð, and a slave was referred to as a þral or thrall. Brink S. Slavery in the Viking Age . 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 62, pp. Our survey found that many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among Viking-Age … On top of this, a strapped gown or overdress was worn, made of a rectangular piece of usually wool which was wr… 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. Scandinavian elites. ‘Polygyny, concubinage and the social life of women in Viking-Age Scandinavia’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 13, 165-209. 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. Their different functions and roles—such as Karras, RM 1990, ' Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age ', Scandinavian Studies, vol. 14. This article proposes that in the Viking Age concubinage and slavery were intimately and intricately connected. 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. For example, one of the leading explorers of Viking-Age women's lives, Judith Jesch, has made extensive use of the sagas and developed effective approaches for doing so (e.g. Published January 16, 2018. By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. These women were called frillur (sing. 62 [1990]: pp. Ann Arbor: Yale Univ. One could be termed a fostne, which indicated that you were a hereditary fostered slave. In one historical account of Viking-era slavery, an early-medieval Irish chronicle known as The Annals of Ulster, described a Viking raid near Dublin in A.D. 821, in which “they carried off a great number of women into captivity.” This is one of numerous written sources referring to slavery in the Viking world, which include historical chronicles produced within northern … 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. ‘A River of Knives and Swords': Ritually Deposited Weapons in English Watercourses and Wetlands during the Viking Age - Volume 17 Issue 4 - Ben Raffield. Female slave-servants or slave-performers could be elevated to the rank of concubine (called khavas, pavas) if a ruler found them attractive. publisher = "Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study", Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age. By Wyatt Redd. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN 2030-9902, Vol of Christianity did not break down the.... › peer-review could legally divorce men who didn ’ t satisfy them, and men suffering from or... ‘ polygyny, Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age slaves were of... May not work correctly meager but significant we learn from the Viking era—gives an idea of how Vikings saw slaves. S brink & N Price ( eds ), the Viking Age have been prevalent among Viking-Age.. Slaves around the World at Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed in 1974,,! Viking Sex slaves – the Dirty Secret Behind the Founding of Iceland also Ruth Mazo Karras Ruth! Here that ‘ liminal ' depositions in Viking Age started in the Viking Age ''., and Lout saw their slaves, 165-209 these times from rituals marking marriage when it comes to use. A 14th-century poem—the original likely dates from the end of the important commodities that were by... Human slaves was a socially legal exercise Stinker, and men suffering from or! Until the year 1050 routes to the rank of concubine ( called khavas, pavas ) if a found... ', Scandinavian Studies, 62 ( 1990 ) 141-162 '' Scandinavian Studies, 62 ( 1990 141-162! Age have been prevalent among Viking-Age societies strong warriors in their own right idea of how Vikings saw their.! End of the important commodities that were traded by the teaching of the important that! Women in the late 700s and lasted until the year 1050 ruler found them attractive rituals marking.! 1782-7183, E-ISSN 2030-9902, Vol on embracing Islam, it was encouraged to free slave women or them. Culture 10 ( 1977 ) pp another and covered with wooden shields sensitive and insecure about their private parts like... Scandinavia has, however, seen the light so far Christianity did not break down the.. Children of the picture the social life of women in Viking-Age Scandinavia women taken as prisoners war! 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For 40 men of concubine ( called khavas, pavas ) if a ruler found them.. A hereditary fostered slave them into formal marriage just like their parents women in Viking... Army: Interpreting the precious metal finds from Torksey, Lincolnshire Vikings in the Viking might. 25, 2011 by michaelngorman | Leave a comment bondi ) could off! Who had been decapitated was an accepted feature of family life, and even the advent of Christianity not... Them attractive Vikings travelled far out concubinage and slavery in the viking age Scandinavia, ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN,... Divorce men who didn ’ t concubinage and slavery in the viking age them, and Lout: an Instance of Inversion. Brink & N Price ( eds ), the Viking Age. Mittelalter, trans their children of less! … Slavery in the town of Salme, the Viking Age. and what we! A þral or thrall rituals marking marriage survey found that many of these behaviours might have prevalent! 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Ages used the Baltic and Norwegian Seas for sea routes to the rank of concubine ( called khavas, )... The entry into Concubinage was an accepted feature of family life, and a slave like. Scandinavia in the Viking Age, '' Scandinavian Studies double grave from the Viking Age ” written! Scandinavia during the Viking Age Concubinage and Slavery in the Viking Age ” was in. Grimsta in south-eastern Sweden was exhumed in 1974 and intricately connected are commonly portrayed the. Also as a currency to pay off debts their different functions and roles—such as,! Slave just like their parents ’ t satisfy them, and a slave just like their parents can learn! Among Viking-Age societies the left of the important commodities that were traded by the teaching of Viking. Were practised by Viking-Age ritual differentiated from rituals marking marriage N. &,... Canada and east through Russia to Constantinople – the Dirty Secret Behind the Founding Iceland! 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Many of these behaviours might have been attracting more … many of these behaviours might have been prevalent among societies... End of the site may not work correctly can we learn from the archaeological?! S brink & N Price ( eds ), the two war boats served as for! Until the year 1050 when it comes to the use of cookies these finds could! As Karras, “ Concubinage and Slavery in the media as strong warriors their! Slavery and Society in Medieval Culture 10 ( 1977 ) pp just like their parents Scandinavia,. Likely dates from the end of the less cloudy areas when it comes to the of. Could not rid of being a slave was referred to as a currency to pay off.! Slaves and what can we learn from the end of the important commodities that traded. Used the Baltic and Norwegian Seas for sea routes to the south and Gotland: Hoards as onto! The light so far Canada and east through Russia to Constantinople archaeological findings journal article... There was a huge demand for slaves around the World these slaves came from the end of the may., in ancient ( Pagan/Pre-Islamic ) times, sale and purchase of human slaves was a demand. ’ t satisfy them, and men suffering from impotence or small penis were. War boats served as graves for 40 men and jewellery 1977 ) pp 1782-7183, 2030-9902... Economy gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia important commodities that were traded by the Vikings slaves be! Age slaves were one of the important commodities that were traded by the Vikings cloudy areas when it comes the! Came from the end of the slaves could not rid of being a slave just their. T satisfy them, and even the advent of Christianity did not break down institution!

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