“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shield Maidens. Did they really exist?

 A lot of people who enjoy the History Channel series Vikings come by here.

In general, everyone tends to agree that the props, wardrobe and sets are about as accurate as it's possible to make them in a television production.

However, there's one issue associated with the show that seems to have divided viewers pretty evenly.

The presence of women warriors in the series is the sticking point. Some people believe they existed in Norse society. Others don't think it probable.



I first came across this a long time ago when I was reading about the Norse , their culture and customs.  They had influence all the way into Western Russia (the Easterlings), all the way to North America, and down into the Mediterranean lands. They were a major presence in England from the late 700's until Stamford Bridge in 1066.  Historians know a lot about them because they left behind many well preserved settlements (York was the Viking capital in England and the Viking remnants there are still being excavated.)  They left many graves and ship burials which preserved significant quantities of their artifacts. They also had stories that told the histories of their people, called the sagas.  The Norse sagas clearly state that there were "Shield Maidens." But archaeological evidence is scant and subject to interpretation.

The idea of women warriors at first seemed ludicrous to me.  There may be some unusually big, strong women who could hold their own in hand to hand combat, but they would have had to be rare. Men are physically stronger than women in general.  In those days, you didn't snipe at people from 500 yards, you stood within feet of them and flailed away with heavy weapons. How, I thought, could a woman possible hold her ground against men in that environment. It seemed very unlikely.

My brother who had been a policeman told me not to underestimate how strong a woman in a fury can be. He said he'd had more trouble containing them than with men, because unlike most men a woman in a rage doesn't know when to stop and just keeps coming.

A security guard at a hospital told me the same thing.  He hated female 1013 cases more than male cases. 1013 means drug crazed, or mentally disturbed.  Women out of control were harder to handle than men in the same situation.  Partially I suspect that with both the guard and my brother, this is because they had instinctive reservations about using strong force on women, and none at all about using strong force on men.  "Strong force" implies a beat down.  But it does provide a clue to the overall question of whether or not there could have been women warriors in the time of the Vikings.

I am going to put some links here that discuss the idea.  Anyone who wants to do the same , either for or against the idea, or to give their thoughts on the question is welcome to do so.

As an aside, although I think Shield Maidens were a historical fact, I don't in principle approve of women being involved in combat, for a multiplicity of very good reasons. Putting women on a modern battlefield in combat roles is sick, and it's almost always espoused by people who have never been there themselves and are politically motivated, pushing their own agenda regardless of the consequences to others.

Was Lagertha Lodbrok based on real people, or is she made up to add drama to the show?











48 comments:

  1. Despite many who have tried to claim female skeletons have been found in weapon graves when you actually look there have been no positively identified female remains ever found in a weapons grave or tomb. Nor has there ever been a female skeleton found in any of the mass burial pits scattered all over Europe.

    While there have been a few mixed graves that contained mostly jewelry but had a few weapons in them that also had human remains that could be identified as Female they are not only rare (like less than 12 if I remember right) but also they do not fit the norm of Norse warrior graves. Specifically int hat warrior graves were never mixed to such a degree.

    However the last bit is the most telling to me because of all the thousands of small skirmishes that resulted in mass graves of 10, 20 or more warriors all over, especially in England. If the so called Shield Maiden was even just rare that should result in at least some evidence within these sites.

    secondly what makes any man think that our present day society was the first to fantasize about the perfect woman? Just like the mechanic that hangs girly calendars of women with hot rods or the farmer who has em with tractors. You get the idea.

    Today we may be able to redirect resources (for a while anyway) to try and make such things possible but our ancestors did not have that luxury and if they had tried we would all be speaking Arabic right now anyway.

    My complaint is not that they had to throw one (a shield maiden) in there but at the numbers the show likes to try and claim it is dangerous at a societal level and is only going to make things harder when the age of cheap energy comes to an end.

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  2. There can't be much doubt that the number of such individuals that might be expected to exist at a given time would be far fewer than the show depicts. I don't dispute that. But I do think individuals of this nature had to have existed. I realize that analyzing bones in a grave is subjective and subject to error. But my own thought is that in the cases where weapons were buried with bodies later determined by skeletal analysis to have been female, in at least some of those cases it's logical to believe that there actually were women warriors buried there. In just about every time, there have been women who fought though sometimes they had to do it in disguise, such as "Mother Moses" in the Napoleonic War.

    If the question is "did Shield Maidens exist in Norse Culture" I think there is enough evidence, both literary and physical, to support a positive response.

    But I am not suggesting that there were so many they were common, as the show does imply by the numbers of Shield Maiden characters it portrays.

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    1. I would think of it more as the White on Black rape the left is always trying to find an example of. Statistically a non-entity and therefore not worth bringing up. More than likely if used at all they would have been only in defense of home. However I think when you say "weapons were buried" you discount the idea of trophies brought home to a loved one more than something that was used by the individual before it was placed in the grave. Norse burial sites were just not done in shades of gray.

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    2. I'm not sure a full sized sword would have been something you brought home to the little woman. Most women would prefer a nice bone comb, or some gold jewelry. That's like me bringing my wife home an AK47 or RPG from Beirut, instead of jewelry.

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    3. Most all the weapons found in mixed graves with identifiably Female skeletons were spears actually.

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    4. Ok. I'll buy that. But the same principle applies. If you were coming home from a successful raid would you bring your wife a weapon or something more calculated to appeal to the feminine heart? It just doesn't make sense to me.

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    5. Why not all the above? It makes perfect sense to me but then I would wager I been around more women in a somewhat tribal situation than you have. I bet you won't believe this but I have trained women to fight in armor in just the style we are talking about as a matter of fact. Dozens maybe even more than dozens. I used to teach a class on spear fighting as a matter of fact and spear is the weapon most female fighters eventually drift to as it is actually the more equalizing requiring the least amount of Manly traits to wield effectively. In fact if there were Female Norse warriors I would bet the shield would be the last thing they would use.

      Ya know though that brings up an interesting question of whether any shield bosses were discovered in those graves.

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    6. You couldn't be part of the shield wall with no shield, and that was basic to their tactics. Did you mean "sword" when you wrote shield?

      I'd be interested in knowing how you came to be involved with the armor/weapons/women thing. Some kind of reenactment group? How did you learn those skills, it's certainly an arcane art now.

      I don't know if shield bosses were in graves. I know they were in ship burials but there are only a handful of those and not all were Norse. Sutton Ho was Saxon, for instance.

      If women can be trained to fight, both then and as you were involved in, then doesn't that tend to support my point?

      I'm sure you have been around more women in that kind of situation than I have, since I never did anything like that. Before I was married the women I associated with were certainly not masculine in any way, the more feminine in every respect the better! After I got married my wife monopolized my "associating" so to speak.

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    7. Yes I was involved in a reenactment group for several years was even a society level officer involved in the safety and rules for armored combat. Secretly or not so secretly 90% of all women out there dreamed of being a fighter and would constantly push for more resources to encourage it's promotion to the gender as a whole. It misdirected a lot of time and resources for something that never panned out to be honest. Maybe 1 out of 1000's actually lasted more than a year or so including my ex-wife and couple of ex-girlfriends.

      Reality is a bitch especially when you have limited numbers and limited resources and plenty of things that need doing. Leaders back then had more important and pressing matters to worry about and little time to try and put square pegs into round holes.

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    8. That would have been fun. I'd have liked to get in there and flail away at other people, would have been great to work off some steam. I'm not sure I would want women in the melee though. If you beat one up you'd be a jerk, if one of them thumped you, you'd be a wimp. No win situation there.

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  3. This is from a contemporary chronicler, Saxo Grammaticus. If he is writing of things he had first hand knowledge of, it certainly supports the existence of Shield Maidens. If, on the other hand, he is doing a Herodotus, and writing about things he "heard of" or somebody told him, it's not as conclusive but still points towards there having been shield maidens even if it is only historical gossip.

    ‘And that no one may wonder that this sex laboured at warfare, I will make a brief digression, in order to give a short account of the estate and character of such women. There were once women among the Danes who dressed themselves to look like men, and devoted almost every instant of their lives to the pursuit of war, that they might not suffer their valour to be unstrung or dulled by the infection of luxury. For they abhorred all dainty living, and used to harden their minds and bodies with toil and endurance. They put away all the softness and lightmindedness of women, and inured their womanish spirit to masculine ruthlessness. They sought, moreover, so zealously to be skilled in warfare, that they might have been thought to have unsexed themselves. Those especially, who had either force of character or tall and comely persons, used to enter on this kind of life. These women, therefore (just as if they had forgotten their natural estate, and preferred sternness to soft words), offered war rather than kisses, and would rather taste blood than busses, and went about the business of arms more than that of amours. They devoted those hands to the lance which they should rather have applied to the loom. They assailed men with their spears whom they could have melted with their looks, they thought of death and not of dalliance.’

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    1. Those tomes were written in the late 1100's directly for a patron who it should be noted commissioned a....

      Heroic History of the Danes

      A bit suspect motivation to begin with and far from being a primary source of the matter.

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    2. I think it's a primary source. The "Danes" were still a political and societal source in 1066 so Gramatacus would have been writing about things he saw himself. It's possible there were ulterior motives for what he wrote, but people reading it in his day would have cried "BS" if he was too flagrant about revisionist history because everyone would have known, more or less, what went on in the "Dane Law" regions.

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    3. He wasn't even born until 1180 by that time the Norse were all Christians. If that's a primary source then anything I write about the civil war would be primary.

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    4. I have a headache.

      Let's just agree that I'm right and you're wrong. That's the civilized way, I think.

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  4. I'm not sure. I'd like to think that woman could kick some ass, but were they out there doing so? I'd say that most women only fight when they absolutely have to. In that time frame they may of had to. I wouldn't think as much as med though. I think men probably fought on more of a regular basis. Women only fought when someone was coming after them. That's just a guess.

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    1. A lot of what I read last night said the same thing. The opinion of most historians tends to be that women only fought when they were forced into a corner. Since part of Viking warfare consisted of killing the children of a defeated people, once the males of a community were killed the women wouldn't have had much choice. Vikings didn't routinely kill the younger women and young girls, however, for reasons that are obvious. I think to a large extent your guess is correct. I do think though, that some women made a lifestyle out of fighting though certainly not in large numbers.

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    2. Vikings were against killing children.

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  5. Don't forget Boudica and Joan of Arc.

    if it was now. I would still prefer my bow. Long distance.

    when the Vikings came here, were they not taller than us? They definitely are now. The woman would have been taller than the average Male Briton then.

    I know plenty of women that could easily fight a man now. I have even seen it, drunk ladies.... I will leave that thought with you.

    With real training I cant see why a shield maiden couldn't have been disguised as a concubine and used as a body guard.

    PMS with a side of crazy?

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    1. Sol, I'd go along with that. I don't see any physical reason why a woman couldn't have fought, although I think she would have been at a real disadvantage engaged with a male opponent. Women just don't have the upper body strength , in most cases, to handle the weapons and defensive equipment of the day for very long. There are always exceptions though.

      I think it would have been hard for a woman to be a shield maiden and stay attractive to men, though. Who wants a girl friend that might be tougher than they are? I can't imagine men being as easy going about that as is portrayed in the series. Still, male ego notwithstanding , I think such women must have existed, on a small scale.

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    2. The average height of a viking based off skeletal remains is 5'9. People from the Netherlands are the tallest in the world.

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  6. Harry,


    (captaincrunch)


    Yeah' I think "Shieldmaidens" were rear but did exist.,

    As per women in modern combat roles. Its happening like it or not. I think lowering physical standards and creating unisex stuff is bullshit. I heard that there are no longer urinals on the newest aircraft carriers???

    I would not join the military now. This country has fallen too far into political correctness and its damaged morale in the armed services. Those facts and others will lead to defeat in battle.

    I saw photo's of Russian Orthodox Priests blessing AK-47's during a Russian Army Graduation ceremony. I thought that was good. Good for the Russkie's.

    If I was going to join and army of some, maybe I would join Isreal's IDF. The Isreals are not jacking around with political correctness and besides all the women carry M-16's and are hot. I would probably find a wife over there in Isreal pretty quick. Just think, a chick that can handle and M-16 like she can handle cooking me steak and potatoe's.

    Also on a side note; I have yet to see and ugly lesbian chick in the IDF.

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    1. CC, It's a huge mistake to put women in combat roles. I don't want to write a long missive here, but I will tell you a quote I read once. I can't remember who said it, and I haven't been able to find it again. But what the speaker said was "when a nation ceases to protect it's women of child bearing age, then that nation will cease to exist." Or words to that effect.

      Also, we have enough men who come back with problems. Not just physical problems, which are bad enough, but with mental issues they will never shake, and which will make them unhappy the rest of their lives. Why should we inflict that on women? Women are nurturers, homemakers, and they keep their husbands sane. Their presence damps down aggression and violence.

      Even the Israelis, with their unique situation, don't put women into combat now.

      I think you are like me in this, you were born into the wrong time. I'd have been happier being British in the 1870's. You would have been in a better environment during the neolithic age. Sometimes people are just square pegs in round holes. We should start a club.

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    2. Women still fight in the Israeli army.

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  7. Harry and everyone else here - you know that i have never seen the show. but based on the conversation about it - i think that the show is confusing female shieldmaidens with an entirely different group - the celts and the picts.

    the celts were known for women being trained as warriors:

    http://www.celtlearn.org/pdfs/women.pdf

    http://www.pabay.org/skyeviews.html

    http://metal-gaia.com/2012/04/26/ancient-celtic-women/

    i especially like this line:

    "A whole troop of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Celt if he called his wife to his assistance!” ~ Amicus Marcelling

    and here is some info on pictish women warriors:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picts

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=648XZxwd6bIC&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq=pictish+woman+warriors&source=bl&ots=mtOvSlbaA5&sig=nkDQ6kmzRcwOkZPNG56_HrleWr4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HWmHU_aFHsz58QXlg4DIDA&ved=0CEEQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=pictish%20woman%20warriors&f=false

    sorry for such a long link but it is to a book.

    anyway, i have always been interested in the Norse because of their legends of 'Vinland" - which is actually Cape Breton Island, my island. the native Mi'kmaq have many stories and songs about blonde gods coming from the sea. i have always been interested in researching this and maybe one day even writing the history of my island. their are many viking settlements found around the island and the most fascinating thing is that the Norse, who landed here after goodness knows how long they traveled - they met up with the most peaceful of all native north americans and then intermingled with them. what a combination - fierce warriors marrying and having children with a people that did not believe in fighting!

    anyway, long comment i know, but i just had to point out that based on the conversation here and everything that i have read about the show Vikings - i think they are turning known pictish and celtic women warriors into Norse women warriors. you have to remember that when the vikings landed, and tried to invade a small pictish or celtic settlement - everybody had to fight - and fight for their lives! there is much literature available that supports that the pictish and celtic women scared the living beejeezuz out of the Norse raiders because the Norse were not used to women warriors.

    just my 2 cents. much love Harry. you always cause the best discussions.

    your friends,
    kymber

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    1. I've read about the Picts, and even seen that quote before. They gave the Romans a bad time. There is a lot of written material from the era on the Picts because the Romans were inveterate record keepers and writers. I think they were also a bit titillated by the idea of women warriors, since their own women were so carefully raised to be feminine.

      It's possible that the producers got some of their material from the Picts, or it may be that they read the same things about Shield Maidens that I was reading last night and just decided to enhance and expand that role in the show. Ragnar did have a wife named Lagertha Lothbrok. They broke up when Ragnar wanted a second wife, the Princess. The show stays pretty true to that. Lagertha was a Shield Maiden. Of course, all this is oral history.

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    2. Boudica! hooray!

      I agree with Kymber. Faced with rape and burning of your home, a Mum will do anything to protect her children. They may not have all gone to battle, but I would have thought the best would have gone when the mens numbers dwindled.

      the Cornish kept the Romans at bay with wild stories and fierce fighting as did the Welsh and the Scottish. (Celts and Picts) Boudica being one of the leaders of an English Tribe.

      http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/articles/b/boudica.aspx

      I have mixed thoughts on women being on the front line. Israel has national service for men and women. The only way women can get out of it is to have children or to be religiously excused.

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    3. Sol - you are bang on and i couldn't agree with you more. if you are attacking a small village then women, who aren't even trained as warriors will become more fierce than the fiercest of warriors. however, after several decades of being invaded by the Norse, the villages of the british isles learned that everyone needed to know how to fight! and the pictish and celtic women are proof of that.

      however, in today's world - do i want women in the military fighting on the front lines - NO WAY! do i want women fire-fighters saving me from a burning down 30-story building - NO WAY! but i served 10 years in the canadian forces, i passed the training for base defense force, and i just helped put out a 400 x 400 metre brush fire tonight. and there were only 12 of us there, 11 if i didn't show up, and i helped. i made sure the men had water and i bashed little smokey left-overs to bits, and i put dirt and moss on little smokey things that the men missed.

      i don't want women on the front line. but if anyone ever tries to invade my tiny community of 40 people- i will be the first one out there, protecting my men and my children. and no one wants to come face to with me....based on all of my training.

      i have had training in weapons, self defense, and combat that most men, who own all kinds of weapons have never experienced. so please - to all of you - don't come barking at the bottom of my driveway. the world has never experienced a proper banshee like me. and there are so many other women out there who are the same. and you don't want to run into any of them. especially if they come from white, celtic, pictish, norse, germanic or russian bloodlines.

      thank you for your very well-thought out comment Sol. i like to see your comments here.

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    4. Hey Kymber,

      (captaincrunch)

      we can use you and your husband down here in Texas.

      'Just take Interstate 35 south until you get to the state border checkpoint on the Texas, Oklahoma border.

      At that checkpoint (we weed out the okies:) you (and your husband) will both be issued your own AR-15's, ammo, mags, food etc. Then you will be granted land somewhere in the state for settlement and a farm.

      we need people like guys down in Texas:)

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    5. They'll never give up their place in Canada, CC. I don't see how they could have it better than they already do. But I understand your wanting them for neighbors. I would too.

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    6. I'm ok with women in the service. I just don't think they belong in combat arms. Maybe I'll do a post sometime about that and we can hash that one around. I agree with what you are saying, Sol and Kymber. In special, dire circumstances I imagine everybody gets drawn in. Although, if I were the tribal chieftain, I'd try to get noncombatants away from the area of operations. It would have been hard enough to fight the Romans without worrying about a massacre of dependents if you lost.

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    7. captain - if we weren't already living in such an awesome place - we'd head to Texas pronto!!! thanks for the invite and remember - you would always be welcome here!

      Harry - you need to start the discussion of women in combat arms. i am DEAD against it and am ready for a rowdy discussion!!!

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    8. Kymber, I might do that but I have to recover from the raging controversy of the Shield Maidens first!

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    9. Vikings influenced the celts and scots. Ivar the boneless was king of Dublin for some time. Vikings were not scared of picts, the romans were. Vikings feared no one, they embraced death. Lagertha last name was not lothbrok either was ragnar's. That was his nick name which meant hairy breeches. Ragnars last name was sigurdsson as his father wad king Sigurd of Sweden. His first son was not bjorn either it was Ivar and bjorns mother was actually aslaug not lagertha. Aslaug was his first wife and lagertha was his third, he had three wives.

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  8. I would guess that they did exist, but more in a ceremonial rather than 'actual combatant' role. If the Norse mythos embraced the concept of otherworldly female warriors claiming the fallen, like valkyries, it would make sense to think that there may have been earthly representations of those women to inspire the troops.

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    1. I think that's right. Over the course of this discussion, it seems like the general consensus is that such women did exist, but the schism develops when it comes to the extent they were in Norse society. My vote goes to the idea that there were Shield Maidens, but that they were rare. That was the original bone of contention, because the show Vikings makes it look like they were so common and numerous as to be unremarkable, and I don't think that's right.

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  9. Well, PP. I think the overall vote goes to Shield Maidens having existed, though in limited number and perhaps in a different role that that portrayed on the show. Now all that remains is the get the word out to the world of academia that the issue has been resolved. I need to decide what learned journal to publish my findings in.

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    1. Soon as I see some actual reference to factual evidence or even something beyond "Feelings" I will say there was a real discussion. Till then it's pure fantasy and no facts are gonna get int he way. It's a lot like OBamacare :)

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    2. Hum. I saw plenty of evidence I'd accept as at least plausable. Dare I suggest that your beliefs concerning current events and issue have influenced your thoughts on this subject?

      But, that would mean you were a revisionist, casting the past to support a modern agenda.

      Say it ain't so!

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  10. and Harry - i have to state once again - i don't believe that these Norse shieldmaidens existed. the writers of this show are incorporating ideas of the celtic and pictish female warriors.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, it's my blog and I get to declare the winner! My unbiased and impartial opinion is that I am right. ;-)

      Who knows. Since all the great pulsing brain domeheads of science and academia couldn't solve the question I doubt we can , but it was fun to talk about something different.

      I think you would look really good in woad. Me, not so much.

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    2. Harry, my friend - it's your blog and your rules but you must remember that "some" women remember when they have been "slighted" and they always find a way to pay it back - bahahahahahha! oh buddy, i am not telling you to watch your back...i am just telling you that if you chose PP over me, then you should bloody-well start watching your back a little more - bahahahaahahah!

      naw jest teasin' witchya.....or am i? remember...i am a true and proper Norman and can trace my ancestory back before 1066. and my husband can trace his to Robert the Bruce. it's actually pretty interesting eh?

      oh who am i kidding? regardless of our ancient lineage, we are up here in cape breton building carts out of garbage and trying to put out brush fires that idiots lit. oh ya - and we are living high on the hog on my tiny pension - we can't even afford a real tractor - bahahahahah!

      Harry - i love these kinds of posts of yours that get everyone engaged and everyone sharing their opinion and whatnot.

      but buddy, having chosen my arch-nemesis over me....you should probably start carrying 3 or 4 weapons when you leave the house. i have many, many friends down there in the US of A. oh, i am having waaaaay too much fun with this.

      much love always, buddy, to you and all of yours! your friend,
      kymber
      (p.s. - you should start watching your back. i honestly can't believe that you chose PP, my favourite wiener, over me. paybacks are deadly, buddy. like deadly. bahahahahahahah!)

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    3. Kymber, PP and I are locked in mortal intellectual combat! Actually, we don't agree on much of anything but we get along. You have a great life up there, and are rich in every aspect of life that matters. You two never seem to worry about anything! I'd give a lot for that personality trait.. I'm the exact opposite.

      My ancestors were Scots Irish peasants, as far as I can tell, so I guess I won't delve into that too much! ;-)

      PP doesn't think Shield Maidens existed at all, so I am not choosing him. Actually, he is sort of closer to you on this issue. Anyway, I would never take the side of a grungy old farmer, over an attractive woman. Some things are more important than a trivial issue like who is really right!

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    4. bahahhahah! oh i am going to have to make sure he sees this comment! "grungy old farmer" - bahahahahah!

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  11. As to women in modern combat. Some gals in combat support roles, particularly MP's, have certainly distinguished themselves. One E-5 in Iraq got a silver star for leading a team assaulting into and clearing multiple trenches filled with serious bad guys (republican guard, fedaying(sp) or the like). The citation was as legit as they come.

    In a training event I was in recently a young female soldier had the .50 she was manning jam. She cleared it while simultaneously firing her M4 at the enemy! I am genuinely unsure how she did that but it was recognized by the OC's as well as the Brigade Commander. Even at 100 pounds soaking wet with rocks in her pockets I would let that girl watch my back!

    Are there women can fight, run and ruck as well as most men, yes. That being said there are plenty of women who cannot do this. As to their integration into ground forces.

    Some of it is puffery, female NCO's and Officers taking staff positions in Infantry Brigades, Battalions and the like. The gender of the Signal or Human Resources Officer/ NCO is totally irrelevant. I have seen this during deployment and it is a non issue.

    As to combat arms MOS's I will keep my thoughts to myself.

    I agree women are undoubtedly more of a hassle to cops than men. Mostly this is because they are conditioned that they an say (or generally do) whatever they want to men without the risk of physical harm. I know what a Cop will do if I get frisky so it is all Yessir, No Sir but drunk Trailer Trash Suzie is going to yell, scream and probably attack him.

    Also cops, who are generally men, are by and large conditioned not to hurt the ladies. Even if they are not it is pretty hard for 200 pound corn fed Bubba to explain why he had to use a baton on the aforementioned 120 pound Suzie.

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    1. There are a lot of practical reasons women should stay out of combat arms. With the kind of wars we fight today, I don't think they should be driving trucks or doing anything that will put them in a position where they can wind up like a number of women have done in the last ten years, as prisoners. Those instances, without exception, have ended badly even if the woman later got home.

      My main objection is that it's immoral. I think it's immoral to put young men into a battlefield environment but that's how we are and there's no way around it. I don't see the need for women with missing limbs, disfigurements, disabilities, or psychological damage. That's too high a price to pay to appease the great god of political correctness, even if the practical aspects of combat service didn't make it impractical.

      I fully realize I am not in step with the times but in my humble opinion, "the times" are full of irrationality and outright stupidity on the part of a fairly banal overall population, let alone the supposed "leaders.

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  12. The most famous female warriors appear to have been based on Scythian woman taking up the martial role. Something like 5% of there warrior graves are women.

    It should be noted that the Scythians were a horse people and fought with bows (including the use of poison arrows). Both would take away a lot of the strength disadvantages.

    Viking women were expected to bring a dowry with them. It is entirely possible to see a turn to some sort of alternate employment from young woman who came from families with many older daughters, or from orphans from households of high social standing.

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    1. Herodotus was really fascinated by the Scythians. Historians said his tales of women warriors were made up, but later excavations proved him correct.

      I guess it's one of those things that won't be settled until somebody invents a time machine and can go back and verify the situation. I believe the Shield Maidens existed, though on a limited scale. Others don't. There's logic either way, which is undoubtedly why it's still a raging controversy among academics. I think it only popped up on the "commoner" scene with this new series by History Channel.

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