“Let me but have a weapon, I think I could fight better than any of you.”
806: Freydís Eiríksdóttir
Don't Mess With Freydís
Born: c.970AD Possibly Present-day Greenland
Died: After 1104 AD
Freydís’s main piece of history states that when the Vikings in Vinland were on the run from a Native war party, Freydís (who was extremely pregnant at the time) requested a weapon to fight and said she could beat any of the men attacking them.
None of the Vikings took her up on her offer so she ended up pulling a sword off a dead guy, bearing her breasts to the Natives, and screaming bloody murder. Evidently the Natives took that as a sign that she was not one to mess with and ran off in one of the stories.
In the other source (The Greenlanders Saga), Freydís was a conniving brat who married for money and only came to Vinland in search of more wealth. She also convinces her husband to kill her brothers while she chops some women up with an ax. When Leif catches her, he refuses to punish her, but instead everyone treats her coldly and she goes on her way.
Historians now believe the second account, The Greenlanders Saga, was probably Christian propaganda. In The Greenlanders Saga, Freydís is referred to as a heathen for refusing to convert to Christianity.
Interestingly enough, The Erik the Red Saga was actually written after The Greenlanders Saga and is kind of a retelling of the first. Even though this is the case, historians still find The Erik The Red Saga more objective and accurate towards what we know of the Vikings in Vinland.
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Tough Mothers by Jason Porath