Shieldmaidens were fierce female Viking warriors believed to have fought alongside male warriors. However, their existence was questioned for a long time. But all theories about these female soldiers resurfaced again after the discovery of a grave in Birka, Sweden in 1889. Unfortunately, it took another 128 years to prove that it was a woman after osteological testing and DNA study.
One of the most popular legendary Norwegian Viking shieldmaidens was Lagertha Lodbrok. She was portrayed in literature as a courageous fighter with the courage of a man. She used a sword and a circle shaped shield made of planked wood with a piece of iron bolted to the front during battles.
It was believed that she met her husband, Ragnar Lodbrok, in a battle. She was leading a group of imprisoned female warriors disguised as men, while Ragnar was fighting King Frø of Sweden to get revenge for his grandfather’s death. The female warriors who Lagertha was leading at that time were said to be prostituted by King Frø.
Lagertha definitely stood out since it was not hard to distinguish such a badass woman like her in a crowd of male warriors. Her beautiful and long blonde hair didn’t go unnoticed. She was eventually courted, married and had three kids with Ragnar before they divorced.
Shieldmaidens in general were the kind of girls who devoted their lives to the pursuit of war. They dressed as men during battles most of the time and had no problems with it. They had the looks to make men swoon but also were dangerous to mess with. These unapologetic ladies were more interested in activities such as horseback riding, swordsmanship and archery among others.