Scholar Says Viking Woman Warrior May Have Been Transgender
In this age of MeToo and gender fluidity, it’s tough to be a fan of the Vikings and their hyper-masculine reputations. That may change with a new book which claims that more than a few Viking warriors were actually transgender females … and they were accepted as such by their pillaging peers.
In his new book, “The Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings,” author Neil Price, a professor of archaeology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, looks at the remains in an 1100-year-old Viking grave discovered in Birka, Sweden, in the 1880s. Not surprisingly, since the grave also contained swords, spears and two slaughtered horses, the remains were assumed to be a male Viking warrior, possibly a high-ranking or heroic one. That changed in 2017 when DNA analysis showed that this Erik was actually an Ericka, proving that there were female Vikings and were recognized as leaders and heroes. Now, Price, who participated in that 2017 research, throws a modern twist into this already history-making story.
“If misogyny was part of Viking masculinity, this was combined with other prejudices: the laws of Viking-Age Scandinavia were among the most homophobic in world history. Engaging in gay sex was regarded as abhorrent, not only in bodily terms but as an abdication of honour, an ‘unmanliness’ that undermined every expectation of male behaviour, bravery in war and social reliability. Suites of laws codified homophobic insults (which were clearly common), in that to falsely accuse a man of such behaviour was an offence equivalent to murder.”
In a press release for his new book, author Price opens with what most people already assumed – the hyper-masculine Vikings were also hyper-homophobic and built it into their legal system. However, just as today, laws were broken and not always prosecuted. Price points out that there have been graves discovered containing men dress in women’s clothing and jewelry, and some memorial paintings or carvings show bearded men cross-dressing. If that was OK, why not the same consideration for women?
“We think the most likely explanation is that this was a female warrior, but there are other ways of reading this. It may have been someone who, in our terms, was a trans man, someone living as a man. “
“(She) may have been transgender…or non-binary, or gender fluid.”
Price is quick to qualify that “These issues are relevant beyond that one person in that one grave.” Now that it’s out (no pun intended) in the open, this could push researchers to look again at Viking warrior graves for more signs that the remains might be a trans female.
Does this change the rout-rape-and-pillage reputation of Vikings? Hardly. Remember, this ‘Erika the Viking’ was buried as an honored warrior and leader. ‘He’ was respected by his peers for being a true Viking – that respect would have come from both the battles and the aftermath. Did ‘Erika’ hide his gender or was it accepted, along with whatever trans form of sexual pillaging he might have participated in.
This theory is still being hotly debated for a variety of both scientific and misogynistic reasons. We won’t know for sure if it was common until more evidence is found … and Vikings TV series and movies have more trans female stars.
Source: Mysterious Universe