Freydis Eiriksdottir was a Viking warrior who was misunderstood. Part of the problem is that she is only mentioned a couple of times in the Vinland sagas. ancient.eu says she was either a great woman warrior or an evil, conniving murderer. She was, after all, a Viking and the daughter of one because her dad was Eric The Red. She is mentioned in his saga and is heroic in it, but he too had a twisted reputation. Eric was exiled from Iceland, where Freydis was born, because he killed another Viking without apparent reason. Freydis is also mentioned in The Saga of the Greenlanders, where she is portrayed as evil. She is said to have married a weak man. At one point she told her husband that she had been abused and beaten by some men so he had to avenge the insult or lose her. In this story she kills many women with an ax. Said to be brave but hot-tempered, Freydis frightened the natives of Vinland. In one version of native events, she picked up a sword from a fallen Viking to defended Icelanders whom locals were attacking. She remains a colorful enigma.
Mileva Maric was a pioneer scientist who was married to Albert Einstein. She was said to be equally brilliant, perhaps maybe even smarter than he was as she participated in his career before they were divorced. During their marriage she remained in the shadows. Some call her a collaborator. Others say she was not. What is not doubted is that she was a brilliant physicist in a time when women were not recognized for their gifts. Her actual input is his career as a genius remains a mystery.
I first learned about Belva Lockwood, the woman pictured just above, in the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY. Born on a farm, Belva, like Mileva Maric, was way ahead of her time. She began teaching school at 15 and married at 19, but her husband died shortly, leaving her with a child to raise. After getting a college degree, she moved to Washington, DC and married Ezekiel Lockwood. Approaching 40, she decided to study law, but it was not easy to find a school that would accept her. She finally succeeded and became the 1st woman to practice law before the US Supreme Court. She ran for President of the US and stepped on many male feet while encouraging women to study law and change the ones that hurt them
The final 2 women were royals. Mary Tudor, the first female monarch in England’s history, became Mary I and reigned from 1553 until her death 5 years later. The daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, her time of rule was controversial, and she was called Bloody Mary because she burned supposed Protestant heretics at the stake. She married 3 times disastrously. Smithsonian Magazine has called her nickname, Bloody Mary, a myth mired in misconception. She is a queen worth learning about. So is hotly debated Queen Isabella of Spain, the woman who sponsored Columbus’ voyages. Sometimes called the Warrior Queen, Isabella started The Inquisition and was one of the most powerful rulers in history.