The Vikings loved their children, and when they weren't exploring, travelling, farming, raiding or invading faraway shores, they dedicated much of their lives to raising strong children who would do them proud.
Viking children were primarily raised by their mothers, although sometimes Viking boys lived with another family for a period of time as a foster child. This was meant to forge bonds between the two families and entitled the boy to help from his foster family, as well as his birth family.
According to the book, Vikings participated in a bloody tradition of throwing babies into the air and "catching" them on the tips of their spears, but Olvir The Child Sparer refused to take part in the activity.
Vikings didn't have family names. Instead, boys and girls usually took their father's, or sometimes mother's, first name as a surname and added “son” or “dottir” (daughter).
In the Viking Age children's lives were not differentiated from those of adults like they are today. Children were also put to work from a young age. They were part of the family and had to help with the daily tasks. Children helped their parents with indoor tasks, such as looking after the fireplace or making food.
A typical couple probably had 2 or 3 living children at any one time. Few parents lived to see their children marry. And fewer lived to see their first grandchild. Three generation families were rare.
There is no record of Vikings sharing their wives. If anything, the available evidence suggests that Viking men of high status often had several female partners apart from their wives. This left low-ranking Viking men at a disadvantage when securing partners for themselves.
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If the newborns were tiny, an additional child the family would not be able to feed, or considered 'sickly' they would be taken into the local forest and 'exposed. ' This consisted of laying the child naked on the forest floor, walking away and leaving them there to die of cold, thirst and starvation.
Like many traditional civilizations, Viking Age society at home and abroad was essentially male-dominated. Men did the hunting, fighting, trading and farming, while women's lives centered around cooking, caring for the home and raising children.
Viking women married young—as early as 12 years old. By the age of 20, virtually all men and women were married.
Eiginmaður/eiginkona = Husband/wife. Often shortened to maður and kona, and in these short forms even couples that are only dating may sometimes use them.
From Old Norse dóttir, from Proto-Norse ᛞᛟᚺᛏᚱᛁᛉ (dohtriz, “daughters”), from Proto-Germanic *duhtēr, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰugh₂tḗr.
On the other hand, women were respected in Norse society and had great freedom, especially when compared to other European societies of that era. They managed the finances of the family. They ran the farm in their husband's absence. In widowhood, they could be rich and important landowners.
Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, an Arab lawyer and diplomat from Baghdad who encountered the men of Scandinavia in his travels, wrote that Vikings treated their female chattel as sex slaves. If a slave died, he added, “they leave him there as food for the dogs and the birds.”
The Viking reputation as bloodthirsty conquerors has endured for more than a millennium but new research shows that some Norsemen approached the British islands with more than a little trepidation.
VIKING BOYS had to work on the farm, or help to make goods in wood or metal. Boys didn't get told off for fighting. In fact, they were actually encouraged to fight – not just with their fists or by wrestling, but with proper weapons: spears, axes and SWORDS.
After the child's birth, the mother typically returned to work with little delay. Evidence suggests that mothers nursed their children until the age of 2 years, which may have dictated the interval between the births of a couple's children.
The purpose of the Vikings' violence was to acquire wealth, which fed into the political economy of northern Europe, notably in the form of gift-giving. Viking warriors were motivated by a warrior ideology of violence that praised bravery, toughness, and loyalty.
They used tightly-rolled softened wool as a sort of tampon. These spread throughout the Roman Empire because they were affordable and comfortable and required less clean-up than a pad did. The Byzantines continued to use them well into the 14th century before converting almost completely to the belt.
In Viking tradition, when a warrior and a maiden decided to become one as man and wife, it was common practice for members of the community to give the new bride a kitten or kittens. As said by The Viking Answer Lady “Kittens were sometimes given to new brides as an essential part of setting up a new household.
Sagas and runic inscriptions show that families were formed by monogamous marriages. A man may have had relationships, and children, with several women, but when he died, only one wife was acknowledged.
Viking men usually had only one wife. However, the wealthiest Vikings also often had multiple mistresses who resided in their homes along with their offspring. While Vikings' wives led the household, mistresses had limited rights, including the freedom to move out unless they were slaves.
The defeat of the king of Norway, Harald III Sigurdsson, at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 is considered the end of the age of Viking raids.
However, the people who did those things long ago have descendants today who live all over Scandinavia and Europe. In fact, in many Scandinavian countries, there are large groups of people who dedicate their lives to living as the Vikings did long ago.