The Prover of Weapons and the Maker of War

McCowan Perez, Brad L
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From sports, teams to modern media the Norse warriors of the Viking age often symbolize extreme or idealized masculinity. However, how did these Norsemen view their own masculinity? What traits did they perceive as essential to being a man and a warrior? Throughout my thesis, I will answer these questions through an examination of nine selections from the vast range of saga literature produced in medieval Iceland. For these individuals their identity as warrior bonded closely with their identity as men. The heroes, outlaws, and kings in these sagas exhibit important ideal traits like courage, wisdom, honor, ferocity, wealth, and kingly sovereignty. The writers of the sagas used legendary and historical figures to present a picture of ideal masculinity. An analysis of Norse masculinity reveals how these men perceived themselves and their ancestors. In addition, it illustrates how literature influences masculinity within a culture.