Therese Johaug, famous Norwegian cross-country skier
In the Viking Age (about 793-1066 AD) Scandinavians owned both male and female “treller”, both unfree Scandinavians and slaves taken from other European countries.
It is still under discussion if the Vikings were barbaric warriors or sophisticated traders. New Viking findings prove extensive trading with clothes, spices, jewellery, glass, gold and weapons – often in exchange for slaves. It is known that the Vikings took slaves from the Baltic to Constantinople and from Ireland to the Arab countries where white slaves were a very popular commodity.
In the Viking sagas, many slaves are mentioned – especially women. It was “the young, strong and beautiful” that were taken, because they had the highest value. Scandinavian women are known for their symmetrical faces and so-called Nordic features; often with athletic bodies, blond hair and blue eyes.
In Scandinavian Viking societies, the owner could buy and sell a slave, and he could treat his slave as he pleased. If the owner killed one of his slaves, it was not considered murder. If a free man killed another man’s slave, the murderer only had to pay for a new slave. The price was nearly the same as that of a domestic animal.
Did you know that Scarlett Johansson’s father is Danish?
If a female slave got pregnant (the father was often Scandinavian), her child automatically became the property of her owner. If a pregnant slave was sold, her unborn child became the new owner’s property as well.
Slavery in Norway was probably at its height around year 1000. The extent is impossible to say with certainty. The English Domesday Book of 1086 AD states that nine percent of the total English population were slaves, while scientists estimate that one third of the population were “treller” in Norway.
Recent research has shown that a large part of the Scandinavian’s genetic material can be traced back to the Celts.
Text by: Thor Bugge Lanesskog, ThorNews
Photo from top by: Paul Paiewonsky, http://www.scarlettjohansson.org
Sources: Wikipedia, http://www.arild-hauge.com