Other Fighting Femmes of the Ancient World

Lathgertha_by_Morris_Meredith_Williams
By Morris Meredith Williams (1881-1973) – The Northmen in Britain (pub. 1913) by Eleanor Means Hull, p. 17, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25052539

Lathgertha was also a ruler immortalized in Halfdanar Saga, which tells her story under the name Hladgerd. She rallied to hero Halfdanar’s cause, leading twenty ships in battle to save the day. She is also commemorated in a Saxo Grammaticus tale where he supplied more background about what inspired Lathgertha to take up the battle girdle—she and a group of noblewomen were taken for slaves by invading Norwegians who locked them into a prison brothel. The noblewomen refused to suffer this indignation and turned the tables on their captors, taking their weapons and going into battle. Grammaticus describes her as endowed with “a man’s temper in a woman’s body. With locks flowing loose under her helm, she fought in the forefront of the battle, the most valiant of warriors. Everyone marveled at her matchless feats.”

This excerpt is from The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

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