Jorvik Viking Festival

Explore the Jorvik Group

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With tales of conquest, adventure and prophecy, new lands discovered, and alliances forged and broken, the stories of the extraordinary women of the Viking Age are often forgotten.

Drawn from the rich heritage of Norse literature and supported by archaeological evidence, these epic tales tell the struggle of a people to establish themselves across Europe and beyond, offering us glimpses into the lives they led and the beliefs they held.

 

Viking seeress Thorbjorgr

völvur, a respected and feared seeress of the Vikings’ religion.  With a staff and heavily decorated ritual costume, Thorbjorgr predicts the return of good fortune in the Saga of Eric the Red. Read her story.

 

Aud the deep minded

After a turbulent early life of conflict and escape, Aud is known for the settlement of Iceland, where she led her people wisely and benevolently, rewarding those who aided her family through their troubles. Read her story.

 

Eric Bloodaxe's wife Gunnhild

Wife of Eric Bloodaxe, mother of kings, and king-maker – Gunnhild was one of the most politically active women in Norway, Orkney and Jorvik, featuring prominently in several sagas. Read her story.

 

Persuader of men Sigrid

A ruthless and determined character capable of charming power and bending it to her will. She was known as a ‘persuader of men’, in particular for convincing the rulers of Sweden and Denmark to ambush the King of Norway, who had scorned her in the past. Read her story.

 

Female warrior shield maidens

Though the existence of female Viking warriors is debated, several sagas mention shield maidens who led their own armies into battle; for example the warriors Heid, Wisna and Webiorg at the Battle of Brávellir, circa AD 770. Read their story.

Images of Thorbjorgr the Seeress and Sigrid the Haughty by Charlotte Graham.