A concept drawing for the Viking Woman Warrior of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited
which is a recreation of the original HWS series based on the AD 800 - AD 1400 era of warfare. Vikingrunion is a rather anachronistic representation of the various Scandinavian under one banner, representing the real-life Scandinavian Vikings during the Viking age, much like to the Kalmar Union that existed in the middle ages.
Inspired by the music: Sovngarde (EOS Skyrim OST)
by Jeremy Soule
When it comes to the middle ages, there's no shortage of inspirations and works related to the Vikings. From their often romanticized mythology and portrayal, to the more scholarly and insightful research, there's just so many on which I really admire! So, this drawing is dedicated to the Vikings, as part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series!
As for the character depicted in the series, she is Gunnhild Freysdottir, daughter of Frey Hjalmarsson, chieftain of Rogalan, that ruled on the south western coast of what is now Norway. She is depicted in typical, but stylized Viking mail shirt, danish axe (two handed so technically she cannot use shield at the same time), viking round shield (which is rather small), seax and the stylized helmet. In their times, women could and did participate in battle, either as shield maiden or self defense (Read the old Danish Saga for more information)
So, who were the Vikings?
Vikings, who doesn't know them? The Seafarers who navigate the seas with the longboats, from the cold icy lands of Scandinavia to land as far as america. The warriors who adorned their weapons and worship the old gods, whose children were taught in warfare since birth. The artisans who created many fine arts, jeweleries and weapons whose quality rivaled their neighbors. And most importantly, their horned helmets!
Wait, what? no, not the horned helmets. The Viking never worse such thing, even if they did (which would be very rare), it probably was for ceremonial purposes. The idea of a Viking as a proud warrior race, whose thirst of plunders and destruction and berserkers charging through the enemy line is something that popular media have on them. But were they really as barbaric force as people often associated them with?
There was actually never any unity between the Norse people during the viking age, every village, tribes and communities were practically an independent power of their own. Why they embarked on sea-expedition (and plundering along the way) is still speculated by many historians, some say its for trade, some say its for migration, other thinks its more political. Whatever the reason maybe, they pretty much came in contact with the majority of the Europeans, including the Muslims and the Byzantines. By the turn of the 11th century, with the introduction of Christianity, some of the converted royal families began on a much different pathof "Viking-ing", they opted to establish their authority over scandinavia, creating the kingdom of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and adopted much of the administration and rule like their neighbors. The conversion from the Old Gods were slow, but it had massive cultural impact on the Scandinavians, and by then, the Viking age had come to an end.
Historically speaking, Viking itself is the Old Norse of "Sea Expedition", and since many of these "Vikings" were encountered with their longboats on their seaborn/seafaring expedition they were refereed a such. Of course, this is just a general assumption, as the term Viking could be found with more or less similar context in Scandivavian Sagas and Chronicles of the Anglo Saxons (Their Germanic cousins). Apart from their "warmongering" activity, they were also known for their rather strange culture to the rest of christened Europe, and that is bathing. They wash themselves every Saturday, while the majority of Europeans probably bathed once in a few months. One explanation was, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe had plenty of water and woods to support communal bathing facility. For the rest Europe, most bathing facilities were built by the already extinct Romans and was very very expensive due to the lack of logistics to support them. Also, communal bathing was seen as "following the decadent practice of the pagan roman", so the idea pretty much discouraged many people to partake in such activity. However, while the Norse people bath on their washing day (Saturday in old Norse), most Europeans washes their undergarments quite regularly, so maybe it's just a different perception of hygiene
There are plenty of errors in this drawing, either the art of the (anachronistic) historical depiction. So any feedback is much appreciated
May clash/make friends with the following:
and maybe..the North American Indian
Developed from the original sketch: Gunhildr Freysdottir of the Nordic Kingdoms
If you prefer the post-Viking Christianized Medieval Scandinavian Shieldmaiden, see the Danish
, Swedish* and Norwegian
culture after the 11th century (Post Viking).
A Part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited - You can find more on the various faction on the map here: