Women in Old Norse Society by Jenny JochensWomen in Old Norse Society by Jenny Jochens

Women in Old Norse Society

byJenny Jochens

Paperback | March 26, 1998

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Jenny Jochens captures in fascinating detail the lives of women in pagan and early Christian Iceland and Norway: their work, sexual behavior, marriage customs, reproductive practices, familial relations, leisure activities, religious practices, and legal constraints and protections. Much of this information also applies to everyday life in the entire Germanic world. Conveying the experiences not only of aristocrats but also of ordinary farmers, the author draws from her extensive knowledge of the oldest and fullest record of the Germanic tribes.

Women in Old Norse Society places particular emphasis on changing sexual mores and the impact of the imposition of Christianity by the clergy and the Norwegian kings. It also demonstrates the vital role women played in economic production: homespun was used for every conceivable domestic purpose; the lengths of cloth became the standard of measurement for local commercial exchange and were used to obtain commodities abroad.

Jochens's masterly command of the Old Norse narratives and legal texts enables her to provide a rich social history that includes the fullest analysis to date of pagan and Christian marriage and the first comprehensive study of infanticide in the North.

Jenny Jochens is Professor of History Emerita at Towson University.
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Title:Women in Old Norse SocietyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.2 inPublished:March 26, 1998Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801485207

ISBN - 13:9780801485206

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

Chapter One. Gudny Bodvarsdottir and Gudrun Gjukadottir: Nordic-Germanic Continuity

Chapter Two. Marriage
The Pagan-Christian Conflict
Pagan Marriage
Christian Marriage
Two Marriages
Divorce and Widowhood

Chapter Three. Reproduction
Conception: Theory and Knowledge
Heterosexual Lovemaking
Sexual Initiative
Pregnancy and Birth
Paternity
Infanticide
Baptism
Reproduction and Royal Succession

Chapter Four. Leisure
Work before Leisure
Gender
Idleness and Sleep
Sports and Games
Storytelling
Drinking and Word Games
Emotional Distress
Politics

Chapter Five. Work
Gender Division of Labor
Outdoor Work
Indoor Work

Chapter Six. The Economics of Homespun
General Use
Coats
Cloth as Medium of Exchange
Export of Cloth and Coats
Measurements
Foreign Cloth

Conclusion

Appendix: Sources
Sagas of Icelanders
Kings'Sagas
Contemporary Sagas
Laws
Christianity, Historicity, Oral Tradition, and Poststructural Doubt

Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

From Our Editors

Jenny Jochens captures in fascinating detail the lives of women in pagan and early Christian Iceland and Norway - their work, sexual behavior, marriage customs, reproductive practices, familial relations, leisure activities, religious practices, and legal constraints and protections. Much of this information also applies to everyday life in the entire Germanic world. Conveying the experiences not only of aristocrats but also of ordinary farmers, the author draws from her extensive knowledge of the oldest and fullest record of the Germanic tribes. Women in Old Norse Society places particular emphasis on changing sexual mores and the impact of the imposition of Christianity by the clergy and the Norwegian kings. It also demonstrates the vital role women played in economic production: homespun was used for every conceivable domestic purpose; the lengths of cloth became the standard of measurement for local commercial exchange and were used to obtain commodities abroad. Jochens's masterly command of the Old Norse narratives and legal texts enables her to provide a ric

Editorial Reviews

"Well documented and well presented, Women in Old Norse Society covers much material that has not been dealt with in English. It serves the dual purpose of establishing a focus on women and of providing an enormous amount of good cultural history."—Theodore M. Andersson, author of The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (1180–1280)