There had been debates among historians on whether real female Viking warriors who fought, raided, and ransacked just as fiercely as men did really exist or not. It was not until 2017 when Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, an archaeologist from Uppsala University, published her study about a Viking grave discovered in Birka, Sweden, in the 1800s. She and her team revisited the grave and uncovered that the warrior in the grave was a woman, as confirmed by DNA tests. This proved that female Viking warriors were a thing during the Viking era, around 790 to 1100 AD. Although, other experts still challenged her findings.

Freydis Eiríksdóttir

Freydis Eiríksdóttir (c. 970-c. 1004 CE) (Original image by Luc Van Braekel on Flickr/Uploaded by , CC BY 4.0, worldhistory.org)

Freydís Eiríksdóttir was Erik the Red’s daughter. Erik was a Viking explorer who was exiled after killing his neighbors who murdered his slaves. So, it was not much of a surprise when his daughter turned out to be a fierce warrior, too, who decided to join an expedition after seeing her brother Leif Eiriksson gain infamy for discovering Vinland. Depending on which story you read, Freydis was either an awesome warrior or an evil one.

In Erik the Red’s Saga, she was left alone when a group of natives attacked their party on their way to Vinland. She called their attackers out by saying,

“Why run you away from such worthless creatures, stout men that ye are, when, as seems to me likely, you might slaughter them like so many cattle? Let me but have a weapon, I think I could fight better than any of you.”