Customer Reviews: Women in the Viking Age
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars9
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on June 9, 2000
This is a very readable yet scholarly book. Jesch uses a large number of diverse sources to help us gain an understanding of women in the Viking Age, and has organized the book according to these sources. Archaeological evidence from grave sites gives us much information about wealthy women in particular, and evidence from house-sites tell us more about ordinary women's lives. Evidence from runes is especially fascinating, as runic inscriptions are often short and cryptic. Yet here we often find what women actually wrote or accomplished, for example memorial stones they raised to honour dead relatives, or stones raised in honour of them building a bridge. Jesch looks at Scandinavian women travelling abroad (e.g. evidence from place names in England) and women mentioned in foreign writings, and how other cultures viewed them. She also looks at how they are portrayed in art, myths and poetry.
Finally Jesch extracts some common themes from these sources, and identifies some common female types, for example the warrior woman and the inciter. (For this, however, I would recommend "Old Norse Images of Women" by Jenny Jochens.)
There are numerous excellent photos and illustrations in this book, which really help bring it to life. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Viking/Norse history.
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on February 2, 1999
Jesch's interdisciplinary approach enables the reader to understand and see the otherwise undocumented history of women in the Viking Age. She adds the material evidence of archaeological findings, runic texts, and Viking names to the evidence from narratiave sources to explore the history of women and their roles in the Viking Age. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, Jesch establishes a platform on which to reuild the history of Viking women and helps us to better understand the important roles women played in the Viking Age. She has included numerous illustrations depicting various Viking artifacts, copious notes explaning the meaning and significance of her research, and an extensive bibliography of resources that will add to our understanding of the Viking Age. Narrowing her focus to specific areas of research on Viking women, Jesch brings Viking women and portions of their history into prominence. This suggests that there is more to learn and explore in the field of Viking women, particularly in the areas of religion and legal positions of women during the Viking Age.
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on July 15, 2003
This is a good history of Norse women. The writer has no noticable political agenda so it is just straight history. It is not just P.C. "women studies" like some books on the topics. So it is worth your money. Wyatt Kaldenberg
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on August 19, 2002
I just recently purchased this book and read it in 2 days. It seems to keep to facts, not opinions (unless stated). It was fairly easy to read (only a few "dry" places) and it gave it's sources for everything so more reading on the subject is possible. I found it fascinating.
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on August 17, 2000
I first got this book as a source for a paper in my Viking history class. I had had trouble finding decent resources and this book was a life-saver! There is so little information on Viking women, largely because of the stereotypes that many people have about the Vikings. In reality, Viking women enjoyed many rights and privileges that women in other parts of the world did not have. My only regret is that there is not more info about this subject. Thank you, Judith Jesch, for writing a much needed resource for info on Viking women.
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on August 19, 2004
I found this to be rather dry, tho informative, with an irritating theme running through about 'not having enough evidence to really know for sure'. I appreciated her use of multiple disaplines to explore these women's lives... however, I find myself believing that MS. Jesch has much more knowledge to share on Viking women than was presented in her book, and so would have prefered that her conclusion, at least, reflected so. I would have appreciated(and expected) a section with her conclusions about daily life in the differing circumstances of these women. Such as fibre arts, foods, clothing, armor, weapons, homes, homesites, disease/wound cause of deaths, etc. This to flesh out discoveries hinted at in her work. I would be willing to explore further Viking women writings of hers, especially if co-authored and with even more informative pictures.
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on June 30, 2014
I am still reading the book. I am at this point very happy with it. It has as much information as would seem possible about Viking women. Glad I don't live in that age though I find it very interesting.
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on June 3, 2014
This was the perfect gift for my Niece. Highly recommended to anyone interested in history or stories about interesting Women.
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on November 25, 2014
A must-have for any female Viking Age scholar or reenactor! Also great for the boys!
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