Freydis Eiriksdottir, Viking Shield Maiden

Price: $54.00


John Jenkins Designs

Freydis Eiriksdottir (born c.970) was a Norse woman said to be the daughter of Eric The Red, who figured preminently in the Norse exploration of North America as an early colonist of Vinland, while her brother, Leif Erikson, is credited in early histories of the region with the first European contact.

The medieval and primary sources that mention Freydis are the two Vinland sagas.
The Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of EriK The Red.
The two sagas offer differing accounts though Freydis is portrayed in both as a strong willed woman who would defy the odds of her society.

The most famous account we have of Freydís, describes the following native attack on the expedition camp.
The natives, equipped with “war slings” or catapults, stealthily attacked the expedition’s camp at night and shot at the Norse settlers. Many of the Nordic invaders panicked, having never seen such weapons.

Freydis calls out, “Why you run away from such worthless creatures, stout men that ye are, when, as seems to me likely, you might slaughter them like so many cattle? Let me have a weapon, I think I could fight better than any of you”.
They give no heed to what she says. Freydis is eight months pregnant at the time, but this does not stop her from running out of her tent and grabbing the sword from her fallen brother in arms, Thorbrand, Snorri’s son. Then come the Skraelingiar upon her. She lets down her sark so that one breast is exposed, and stikes her breast with the sword, letting out a furious battle cry.
At this the Skraelingiar are frightened and rush off to their boats, and flee away. Karlsefni and the other settlers come up to her, and instead of praise, rebuffs her behaviour.