Revisionist history: female warriors

Malcolm Redfellow

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The re-appraisal of a grave at Birka "proves" the high-status warrior, buried with two horses (a chariot pair?), quality weaponry and all the attributes of a leader (but nothing "feminine"), was:
actually a female in her thirties who died in the mid-tenth century.
There's an introduction here, but the mass-media are picking up on the "story", albeit months late (the NY Times had it last September and one of the better "popular" accounts). I suspect it is sufficiently off-beat and sensational to go viral.

The story of grave Bj581 was complicated because, at an early stage, the interred bones were separated from the grave-goods: good old-fashioned 19th-century sloppy recording. In the 1970s one researcher identified the remains as those of a female, but — again — the connection with the grave-contents was not made. A small further complication was that the burial may have been made with the subject in sitting position, but subsequently collapsed.

Post-scripts:
I've always reckoned Medb was more than a fable.



One of the personally-deplorable aspects of Norman conquests, in both Britain and Ireland, is we (and I) have ended with rather dreary naming. The chief researcher of this re-appraisal is Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson — impressive enough in itself.
 


Spirit Of Newgrange

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surely female warriors who kill and die in action must constitute a tiny percentage of all warriors in history ?

imagine a world where the women did all the fighting while the men huddled back in the huts awaiting news from the battlefield ?
 

silverharp

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surely female warriors who kill and die in action must constitute a tiny percentage of all warriors in history ?

imagine a world where the women did all the fighting while the men huddled back in the huts awaiting news from the battlefield ?
it only makes sense in Hollywood where 5ft nothing waifs can routinely drop kick 6ft 4 trained killers.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Happy new year Redfellow, looking forward to reading many more of your interesting posts this year.

This is one of mine from a thread few years ago about Shieldmaidens.

http://www.politics.ie/forum/history/232125-shieldmaidens.html#post8641402

Aud the Deepminded, 834-900AD

This woman, who I had never heard of prior, is a very interesting character, similar to Lagertha in many ways. Daughter of Ketill Flatnose from Norway, married to Olaf the White, King of Dublin, who was a descendant of Ragnar Lothbrok(being a great grandson of Sigurd Snake in the Eye). Her son Thorstein, conquered half of Scotland before being killed in that conflict, and Aud following his death and the prior death of her husband found herself and her surviving family in a precarious situation. She had a ship built in secret, and commanding 20 men set off for the Orkneys with her followers. There she married off a granddaughter to a local warlord and then continued on to Iceland where she is reputed to have introduced Christianity to the inhabitants and, once landed, to have freed the slaves amongst her crew.

I wonder if the SS Aud, 1916 arms ship was named after her?
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Happy new year Redfellow, looking forward to reading many more of your interesting posts this year.

This is one of mine from a thread few years ago about Shieldmaidens.

http://www.politics.ie/forum/history/232125-shieldmaidens.html#post8641402

Aud the Deepminded, 834-900AD

This woman, who I had never heard of prior, is a very interesting character, similar to Lagertha in many ways. Daughter of Ketill Flatnose from Norway, married to Olaf the White, King of Dublin, who was a descendant of Ragnar Lothbrok(being a great grandson of Sigurd Snake in the Eye). Her son Thorstein, conquered half of Scotland before being killed in that conflict, and Aud following his death and the prior death of her husband found herself and her surviving family in a precarious situation. She had a ship built in secret, and commanding 20 men set off for the Orkneys with her followers. There she married off a granddaughter to a local warlord and then continued on to Iceland where she is reputed to have introduced Christianity to the inhabitants and, once landed, to have freed the slaves amongst her crew.

I wonder if the SS Aud, 1916 arms ship was named after her?
Aud was only a cover-name for the SS Castro, a coaster of the Wilson Line of Hull, which was unfortunate to be caught in the Kiel Canal at the outbreak of WW1, laying rusting as the renamed SS Libau until April 1916. Since the original Aud was a Norwegian vessel (a collier, I believe) out of Bergen, you have grounds for that suggestion.

See what I mean about how Norman conquests took away the richness of Celtic (and, as here, Scandinavian) namings? I wanna be Mael-Colium Fear-Dearg.

Hold on, though, are there not two Auðr Djúpúðga?

One is Auður Ivarsdatte, daughter of Ivar Vidfamne Halfdansson, died early in 8th century, buried at Jelinge (allegedly).

The other is Auðr Djúpúðga Ketilsdóttir, neither a goodly nor a bucksome woman, who is your subject there (and features in the Laxdaela Saga — where her main offence seems to be wearing "breeches"). On the death in battle of her husband, Oleif Injaldsson, she had an ocean-going knarr built, and commanded it and a crew of rounded-up freedmen from Caithness to Breiðafjörður in Iceland.

There is, of course, a populist reason to get aboard this thread. Jez Butterworth (he of The Ferryman) has scripted Britannia as a series for Sky/Amazon. On past Game of Thrones experience, not just chances of cross-dressing but bits of gratuitous nudity?
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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surely female warriors who kill and die in action must constitute a tiny percentage of all warriors in history ?

imagine a world where the women did all the fighting while the men huddled back in the huts awaiting news from the battlefield ?
Bit sexist, perchance, Spirit Of Newgrange?

The legendary female warrior is well established in myth (and even reality), across many cultures. Start with the Scythian Amazons, pursue down to the Nachthexen of the Soviet 588th Night Bomber Regiment, and beyond ... Don't by-pass Kipling too readily.
 

Telstar 62

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RTE recently suggested that women and Socialists 'won'
the 1916 Rising...;)
 

McSlaggart

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surely female warriors who kill and die in action must constitute a tiny percentage of all warriors in history ?

imagine a world where the women did all the fighting while the men huddled back in the huts awaiting news from the battlefield ?

I honestly do not know. Before the "modern" world with citys and large army's I would have thought that ladies may have taken action to protect themselves and their children.
 

Dame_Enda

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Account of two Shieldmaidens in the Volsunga saga. They sound somewhat evil.

wikipedia said:
Brynhildr of the Vǫlsunga saga, along with her rival in love, Guðrún Gjúkadóttir, provides an example of how a shieldmaiden compares to more conventional aristocratic womanhood in the sagas. Brynhildr is chiefly concerned with honor, much like a male warrior. When she ends up married to Gudrun's brother Gunnarr instead of Sigurðr, the man she intended to marry, Brynhildr speaks a verse comparing the courage of the two men:

Sigurd fought the dragon
And that afterward will be
Forgotten by no one
While men still live.
Yet your brother
Neither dared
To ride into the fire
Nor to leap across it.[11]

Brynhildr is married to Gunnarr and not Sigurðr because of deceit and trickery, including a potion of forgetfulness given to Sigurðr so he forgets his previous relationship with her.[11] Brynhildr is upset not only for the loss of Sigurðr but also for the dishonesty involved. Similar to her male counterparts, the shieldmaiden prefers to do things straightforwardly, without the deception considered stereotypically feminine in much of medieval literature. She enacts her vengeance directly, resulting in the deaths of herself, Sigurðr, and Sigurð's son by Guðrún. By killing the child, she demonstrates an understanding of feud and filial responsibility; if he lived, the boy would grow up to take vengeance on Brynhildr's family.

Guðrún has a similar concern with family ties, but at first does not usually act directly. She is more inclined to incite her male relatives to action than take up arms herself. Guðrún is no shieldmaiden, and Brynhildr mocks her for this, saying, "Only ask what is best for you to know. That is suitable for noble women. And it is easy to be satisfied while everything happens according to your desires."[11] In her later marriages, however, she is willing to kill her children, burn down a hall, and send her other sons to avenge the murder of her daughter, Svanhildr. In the world of the sagas, women can be both honorable and remorseless, much like the male heroes. While a shieldmaiden does not fill a woman's typical role, her strength of character is found in even the more domestic women in these stories.
 
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D

Deleted member 45466

Lads, this isn't new info, nor is it revisionist.

Historical scholars have long known that scythians probably had a few female warriors.

I'm sure if you google it, you'll find more citations of nomadic armies employing a few particularly aggressive females in their units. Even the misogynistic, patriarchal arab armies had a few fighting females; that was back in the days when war was face to face.

As the OP states the night witches were aviatrices who had some success bombing Germany. If the testimony of German fighter aces is reliable, Red army female fighter pilots weren't much good. To be fair,™ their fighters had the manouverability of a fossiled mastodon. A turkey shoot for Messrs.

Nothing remarkable about this topic. Nor is it food for thought.

OP is clearly hoping that this thread will encourage other fantasists to indulge in discussing Xena, dominatrices, bondage, and pegging.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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RTE recently suggested that women and Socialists 'won' the 1916 Rising...
Who's to disagree?

I'd nominate:
  • Molly Adrian (though I think her real name was Mary Ellen Adrien) for her repeated bike rides "through enemy lines", that Ashe and the Fifth Battalion should have contact with the GPO (and intelligence about RIC movements across Fingal).
  • Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh was at Jacob's Biscuit Factory, and gave one of the best eye-witness accounts of the battering of the GPO.
  • Cumann na mBan had to be ordered out of the GPO — it took Seán Mac Diarmada forcibly backing up waffly Pearse before they would agree — late on the Friday morning of Easter week. The first shell arrived promptly on their grudging departure.
  • The Kilkenny Cumann were (later) more than tart in their comments about how the menfolk sat around debating, but not actually getting stuck in.
  • Marie Perolz of Inghinidhe na Éireann, on her motor-bike, all the way from Dublin to the brigades in Waterford, Cork, and Limerick, brought MacCurtain and MacSwiney the orders for the Rising. She was Markievicz's acolyte and surrogate, one of the seven women deported to English prisons (all "leftists" and not to be trifled with).
Oh, and add Caitlín, Bean Uí Chléirigh (wife of Tom). I encountered her the once — at an Irish-Soviet Friendship fund-raiser, which might indicate her political bent, so to speak. She was ordered by Tom to be nowhere near the Rising, for she was wholly privy to the planning. Her vitriol against those who, to her mind, rewrote the history to the disadvantage of her late husband and denigrating the women involved was something to encounter.
 
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Malcolm Redfellow

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OP is clearly hoping that this thread will encourage other fantasists to indulge in discussing Xena, dominatrices, bondage, and pegging.
That says more about your problems than any of mine. Check out my postings: I've been factual — even Medb (Queen Mab?) is something more than mere legend.

Perhaps you could explain this "Xena" and any connection to hanging out the laundry.

By the by, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment were flying Polikarpov PO-2 crop-dusters. Not quite "state of the art".
 
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D

Deleted member 45466

That says more about your problems than any of mine. Check out my postings: I've been factual — even Medb (Queen Mab?) is something more than mere legend.

Perhaps you could explain this "Xena" and any connection to hanging out the laundry.

By the by, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment were flying Polikarpov PO-2 crop-dusters. Not quite "state of the art".
Sure, but if you'd read my post, you'd have noticed the words "fighters". Sturmoviks were fighters.

PO-2's were used for bombing (a crafty contrivance, since German fighters couldn't decelerate to the PO's snail pace to shoot it down).

Like I said, all of this is old hat. If you're trying to make some tedious point about women being equal to men, yes sure, a very small number of females were very good at unconventional armed combat, even in antiquity.

Amazons were probably just blokes with long hair btw.

The Spartans wore their hair long!
 
D

Deleted member 45466

Who's to disagree?

I'd nominate:
  • Molly Adrian (though I think her real name was Mary Ellen Adrien) for her repeated bike rides "through enemy lines", that Ashe and the Fifth Battalion should have contact with the GPO (and intelligence about RIC movements across Fingal).
  • Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh was at Jacob's Biscuit Factory, and gave one of the best eye-witness accounts of the battering of the GPO.
  • Cumann na mBan had to be ordered out of the GPO — it took Seán Mac Diarmada forcibly backing up waffly Pearse before they would agree — late on the Friday morning of Easter week. The first shell arrived promptly on their grudging departure.
  • The Kilkenny Cumann were (later) more than tart in their comments about how the menfolk sat around debating, but not actually getting stuck in.
  • Marie Perolz of Inghinidhe na Éireann, on her motor-bike, all the way from Dublin to the brigades in Waterford, Cork, and Limerick, brought MacCurtain and MacSwiney the orders for the Rising. She was Markievicz's acolyte and surrogate, one of the seven women deported to English prisons (all "leftists" and not to be trifled with).
Oh, and add Caitlín, Bean Uí Chléirigh (wife of Tom). I encountered her the once — at an Irish-Soviet Friendship fund-raiser, which might indicate her political bent, so to speak. She was ordered by Tom to be nowhere near the Rising, for she was wholly privy to the planning. Her vitriol against those who, to her mind, rewrote the history to the disadvantage of her late husband and denigrating the women involved was something to encounter.
The 1916 rising was lost you berk.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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As the OP states the night witches were aviatrices who had some success bombing Germany. If the testimony of German fighter aces is reliable, Red army female fighter pilots weren't much good. To be fair,™ their fighters had the manouverability of a fossiled mastodon. A turkey shoot for Messrs.
Oh, do try to get something aright.

The 588th was formed after October 1941. Consider the range of the PO-2, and a 74kW engine, and where the Eastern Front stood until 1945. "Bombing Germany" the Nachthexen most certainly didn't. There's another clue in the renaming (October 1943) as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment: Taman for the opposition to Operation Edelweiß, the thrust into the Caucasus. The "classic" Nachthexen operation was "nuisance bombing" — drifting in on low-power and dropping light bombs on rear-echelon targets.

As for a "turkey shoot for Mess(e)rs", it didn't work that way — as your other contradictory post recognises. In 24,000 missions, the Nachthexen lost just thirty of its complement.

Colonel Nadia Vasil'yevna Popova and her comrades qualify for something more than flippant mockery.

 
D

Deleted member 45466

PO-2's never engaged in dogfights i.e. they weren't deployed by the soviets to engage Messrs.

Turkey shoot is a reference to 109's destroying lots and lots of sturmoviks (some of which were piloted by women).

Wake up!
 

Notachipanoaktree

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So! Is she guilty of war-crimes, brutality, and crimes against humanity. Should her bones be smashed to dust and scattered to the four winds. Should all knowledge of her be erased in case she encourages a following.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Lads, this isn't new info, nor is it revisionist.

Historical scholars have long known that scythians probably had a few female warriors.
Better have a word with the Institute of Archaeology in Moscow.

The Institute does annual excavations around Voronezh, where there are quite a few kurgans — Scythian burial mounds, towards the northern edge of Scythian territories. Of 21 recent excavations, five have shown young women with weapons, bows-and-arrows and throwing spears. Much of Scythian art is less than gender specific: but why would a burial include an artificial beard?

The current theory is that the men-folk were charged with summer-time transhumation of the horses, while the women provided light defence of the home lands.

The British Museum exhibition on the Scythians runs for another few days. Well worth the trip.
 


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