Auğr, an Exceptional Woman


However much of this we choose to believe, it is clear that Auğr was
an exceptional woman. Although there were probably few, if any, other
female settlers quite like her, she shows the maximum a woman could ,
achieve in the socially turbulent times of the Viking Age. Deprived of
the support of both husband and son, she had to take initiatives and
undertake a male role if she was to get her family to Iceland. Having
done so, she clearly commanded respect. In the more settled societies of
the Norway they came from and Iceland as it became, women probably
had fewer opportunities to play any role other than those of wife,
mother and housekeeper. But in the brief interval between leaving Nor-
way and arriving in Iceland, some women clearly had to be more. There
is no doubt that Auğr took advantage of the greater opportunities and
fewer social constraints in the Norse colonies of the British Isles and that
the later stories and legends about her, however romanticised, preserve
a true picture of the possibilities opened up for women in the upheaval
of the viking movements.

Source: Judith Jesch, Female Colonists in Women in the Viking Age, (Woodbridge, Suffolk and Rochester New York: The Boydell Press, 1986), 83.

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