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January 19, 2014
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Gunnhildr Freysdottir of Vikingrunionen (Norse) by Gambargin Gunnhildr Freysdottir of Vikingrunionen (Norse) by Gambargin
A concept drawing for the Viking Woman Warrior (Norse/Viking Shieldmaiden) 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

Not to be confused with Asa Dagsdottir the Horny Viking

Disclaimer: I am by no means expert in History, just a humble man with passion for learning history. Also, English is not my first language so if you do find any errors or would like to make a correction/feedback, please feel free let me know :) (Smile)


INTRODUCTION

The Vikings have occupied many pages of Historical Research as well as Works of Fantasy. From their intriguing culture, weapons and warfare, to their more elusive legends, myths and their Sagas. Interestingly enough, the World is currently divided between those that prefers to portray them as proud warrior race, and those who chose to stick with the historical accuracy. Whether or not this has anything to do with Vikings and their Horny Helmets, that's up to anyone guess. But behind their pillaging, rampaging, and terrorizing puny europeans, The vikings were also some of the most active traders in their era, and quite surprisingly, very hygienic as compared to most Europeans of that time.


DRAWING COMMENTARIES

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)


REFERENCES AND OTHER RELATED MEDIA

May clash/make friends with the following:

The Celts Deirdriu and Gwenhwyfar of Celtic Alliance (Celts) by Gambargin, The Anglo-Saxons Frua Aelfwynn of Seaxna Rice (Anglo-Saxons) by Gambargin, The Byzantines Basilissa Sotirisa of Basileia Rhiomanion (Greek) by Gambargin

and maybe..the North American Indian Immookalee of Italwa Ani-Yvwuyu (American Indian) by Gambargin

Developed from the original sketch: Gunhildr Freysdottir of the Nordic Kingdoms

Drawn as part of the Nordic Alliances in the Historically Wrong Sketch Series HWS: Medieval Shieldmaidens of the North by Gambargin, whose aim is to portray the post-viking Christianized Scandinavia, including the Kingdom of Denmark, Sweden and Norway.


A Part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited - You can find more on the various faction on the map here:

HWS Medieval Revisited - Faction Map v.1.22 by Gambargin


HISTORICAL COMMENTARIES

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 =P

There are plenty of errors in this drawing, either the art of the (anachronistic) historical depiction. So any feedback is much appreciated :)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmivpus:
mivpus Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014
I love the detail in this, as well as the historical knowledge your portray. 
Far too often, the Vikings are shown with odd costumes and horns, where in reality, they didn't run around with a two-meter helmet made of feathers. I mean, I know the whole "horn thing" came when  monks saw them as devils and all, but I am glad your portrayl is this good.
Reply
:iconshadowviking:
ShadowViking Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really like everything you've done in this series—phenomenally detailed and illustrated. Great work!
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
Thank you very much for the kind words. I'm glad you like my work :)
Reply
:iconsusandevy:
susandevy Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very nice details in helmet and shield !
a badass viking lady indeed !
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014
Viking lady with proper dress, ready for battle and maybe some other viking-ing activities :D
Reply
:iconisbjoernson:
Isbjoernson Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, the detail on your main character is stunning. Definitely a great reference! Thanks for uploading this.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014
You are more than welcome sir, i'm glad my work could be of any help!
Reply
:iconbastler:
bastler Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014
Actually Vikings beside knights is not too fantastic, as knights were present in the Viking era, just not the "classic" full plate armored knights.
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:iconiglybo:
Iglybo Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
Love that helmet ^^
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
Thanks :D
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:iconiglybo:
Iglybo Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014
:hug:
Reply
:iconarwendeluhtiene:
ArwendeLuhtiene Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
She's awesome!
Fortunately it's not really historically 'wrong', as there are attestations of Scandinavian/Norse warrior-women (the 'shieldmaidens') in records, tombs and stories :) 
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
You are definitely correct! It's a bit amusing for me bacause most people think of Norse warrior women as Valkyries or some maidens dressed in winged helmet and armor that looked like wonder woman! I think my shield-maiden is pretty boring compare to the Valkyries that most people make :D
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:iconarwendeluhtiene:
ArwendeLuhtiene Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I think she's awesome!! :)
Many people are probably influenced by Wagner-style Valkyries, I suppose...Which I like as well, but of course, they're not really that accurate historically (especially considering the oh-so-tightly corseted mail and long skirts the opera singers used to wear). And then there's the same ol' innacurate depictions of 'Northern warrior-women' in Wonder-Woman bikinis, yes...

Personally, I think realistic shieldmaidens look way more awesome :) Let us hope Lagertha from 'Vikings' helps extending that image!
Btw, I showed your Viking and Anglosaxon shieldmaidens to my mum (whose working on a project about Anglosaxon culture and Beowulf), and she loved them too :) Thanks again for drawing so many realistic warrior-women, we definitely need more like these nowadays!


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:iconakitku:
akitku Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think she could probably clash with pretty much anybody! ;) Wonderful job on her. I love the details of her helmet and the pattern on the shield.
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
Thanks akitku! the pattern on the shield is probably the hardest, nordic and anglo-saxon art are beautiful, but really challenging to make =P
Reply
:iconbrowncoatmando:
BrowncoatMando Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Hobbyist

maybe another Gunhildr- an earlier one, maybe an ancestor of the Gunnhildr I wrote for.

In any case looks like she comes from "the land of the ice and snow..." and not someone to cross , lest your head end up on a spearpoint, if not hers, the army at her back

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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
The land of the ice and snow....i could probably write a saga for her :P
Reply
:iconbrowncoatmando:
BrowncoatMando Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014  Hobbyist
connect her to your 4 way war for England- think I sent you an email about that.
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:iconbrowncoatmando:
BrowncoatMando Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist
as long as it ends in the Highlands in the 1130s, maybe end it with her moving to the Hebrides where Deirderu's messenger finds her,
or maybe this is just an ancestor- hanging out with the likes of Ragnar Lothbrok and such

the name- names tend to repeat in dynasties so when her father is named Frey he kind of has to name his daughter Gunhildr.
Reply
:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Love the details, especially the helmet and the shield. And the longboat in the background looks amazing too. A great improvement over the original!
Reply
:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
Many thanks for the compliment :)
Reply
:iconironsides11:
ironsides11 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
I really like her helmet. This is a huge improvement from the original (and the original was pretty good too!).
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
Thanks for that! :)
Reply
:iconckyhc:
CKyHC Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
cool)
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
Cheers :)
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