The Vikings - Men and Women

Read the following documents.
Draw and complete the chart at the bottom of this page in your book.



When Auth the Deep-minded learned that her son had been killed she realised that she had no further prospects ... so she had a ship built in secret, in the forest, and when it was completed she loaded it with valuables and prepared for a voyage. She took all her surviving family with her.
                                                                                    John Haywood, Penguin History Atlas of Vikings


Spindle-whorls (for spinning thread) were found at the American Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows. Men were buried with weapons and tools; women with jewellery, needlework, weaving equipment, and other household utensils that would be useful in the afterlife.
                                                                                      Laxdaela Saga, Penguin History Atlas of Vikings


Each woman wore on her bosom a container made of iron, silver, copper or gold – its size and substance depending on her man’s wealth. Attached to the container was a ring carrying her knife. Round her neck she wore gold or silver rings.
                                                                           Ibn Fadlan about northern traders met on the River Volga


A Viking wife runs the household. The thralls help her do the everyday jobs – cooking, spinning and weaving – and are disciplined if they misbehave. The woman of the house is also in charge of the keys to the chests which contain the family valuables. When her husband leaves to go raiding, he publicly hands over his keys as a sign that she is now in charge of both the house and the farm.
                                                                                                                  John Clare, I Was There – Vikings


Helga and Gird (her daughter) work hard at home all year round. Hard work has made Helga strong. Like many of the Scandinavian women she is tough, sharp-tongued and strong-willed. She has to be, while Sven (her husband) is at sea she has to keep the servants in order and protect the farm from thieves and wild animals. Her main task is to make food for the family. She also makes clothes.

Alan Steel, The Vikings


             Tick the boxes to show whether Viking women, men, or both
                  did each of the following activities.







Arts and crafts


Making clothes

Settling new lands

Exploring expeditions

Raiding trips

Trading voyages