The Vikings and Homosexuality

Homosexuality(argr) was not regarded by the Viking peoples as being evil, perverted, innately against the laws of nature or any of the other baggage about the concept that Christian belief has provided Western culture.

Cock Worship in Ancient Ireland 4

It is interesting to note that the Vikings considered that old age caused a man to become argr. A well-known proverb stated svá ergisk hverr sem eldisk, “everyone gets argr as he gets older.” This possibly could point to an increasing acceptance of homosexuality after a man had raised a family and grew older (Sørenson 20), although a man such as the chieftain Snorri goði who fathered 22 children, the last at the age of 77 (just before he died), certainly proves that a man never was really too old to father children! (Jochens 81). For a man who could not have children (whether due to impotence, sterility, age, etc.) homosexual relations may have been acceptable. One slang term for such a man seems to have been kottrinn inn blauði, or “soft cat” as reported in Stúfs þaacute;ttr, an epilogue to Laxdæla saga, in a conversation between the Norwegian king Haraldr harðráði and Stúfr, the son of Þórðr kottr (Þórðr the Cat): puzzled by the unusual nickname, Haraldr asks Stúfr whether his father Þórðr was kottrinn inn hvati eða inn blauði, “the hard or the soft cat.” Stúfr declines to answer despite the implied insult, but the king admits that his question was foolish because “the person who is soft (blauðr) could not be a father” (Jochens 76).

Source : Gunnora Hallakarva runs the Viking Answer Lady Page, a collection of essays on all sorts of aspects of Viking culture. She wrote this piece, which is a splendid summary of modern discussion on Viking homosexuality

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