Seven Viking Romances by AnonymousCombining traditional myth, oral history and re-worked European legend to depict an ancient realm of heroism and wonder, the seven tales collected here are among the most fantastical of all the Norse romances. Powerfully inspired works of Icelandic imagination, they relate intriguing, often comical tales of famous kings, difficult gods and women of great beauty, goodness or cunning.
The tales plunder a wide range of earlier literature from Homer to the French romances - as in the tale of the wandering hero Arrow-Odd, which combines several older legends, or Egil and Asmund, where the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops is skilfully adapted into a traditional Norse legend.
These are among the most outrageous, delightful and exhilarating tales in all Icelandic literature.
Viking Society: Men, Women and Children
Within the male-dominated Viking society, women had a certain amount of personal power, depending on their social status. Women were valuable members of the society and it was shameful for a man to harm a woman. Spinning, carding, weaving, cutting and sewing took a long time. Viking women married young—as early as 12 years old. By the age of 20, virtually all men and women were married.
The seven chapters discuss domestic, economic, intellectual, material, political, recreational, and religious life. Life expectancy, family structure, rights of women. Average life expectancy was something in the range of 30 years to 40 years. This means only a few people lived long enough to become a grandparent. Author points out women had far more rights in Scandinavia during the Viking Age than typical for the medieval era. They could divorce and had inheritance rights.
During the Norse era, multiple "families" lived in the same longhouse, working the same farm holding. This "grand family" played an important role in shaping Norse society and its laws and customs, and was the standard unit of society. A household might consist not only several husband-and-wife couples with one member of each couple typically related by blood to one member of every other couple and their children, but also the families of servants and bondsmen. During this time, the typical household size was probably ten to twenty people. This household size suggests that at the end of the settlement era, Iceland had a population of about 60, people.
Daily life for most men and women during the Viking Age revolved around subsistence-level farmwork. Almost everyone lived on rural farmsteads that produced most of the goods used by the people who lived there. The two main tasks of women were producing clothing and preparing food.
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Adult life-span Having reached adulthood, the survival prospects for men and women were very different. The 31 to 40 year olds were the 'middle-aged' people of the Viking Age and 50 years of age would be thought of as 'old'. Women seem to have had an especially high death rate in the age group 41 to 50 when compared with the men, but this is because about eight out of ten of the adult men had already died at an earlier age. It was exceptional for anyone to reach what we would today call 'old age'. Things to find out and do Perhaps you can find some life-expectancy figures for some modern 'western' countries and compare them with those for Viking Age Jorvik. Why do you think people live longer, on average, in a modern society?