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Eivor Varinsdottir, a shieldmaiden during the 9th century

A shieldmaiden is a female warrior from Norse folklore and mythology, typically women who fought alongside men in battles. For instance, the Valkyries were shieldmaidens that brought the souls of dead Viking warriors to the afterlife known as Valhalla.


During the Viking expansion, a number of shieldmaidens fought within the Great Heathen Army, such as Eivor Varinsdottir, Soma, Valdis, and Halfdan Ragnarsson's mother Lagertha.[1]

In the 10th century, Thyra Haraldsdottir, the daughter of King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark and Norway - and wife of Styrbjörn the Strong - was also a shieldmaiden.[2]

Behind the scenes

From a historical standpoint, many scholars are split on the concept of shieldmaidens. Some believe they only existed in story, while others believe there is a historical basis for the idea.