Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sexy Historical Swedes

Swedes were fashionable in the Viking Ages. See? Stereotypes are based on some grain of truth. Even if that truth started nearly a thousand years ago. Swedish stereotypes really have a lasting power unseen by other stereotypes I think.

A new archaeological study has found that women during the Viking Age, such as in the town of Birka, dressed somewhat provocatively. It seems they were proud of their breasts. And showed them off. Much to the chagrin of the Church which was finding its way into Swedish society around 1000 or 1100.

Apparently looking at various artifacts has shown that buckles which were once thought to be worn at the collarbone, to hold clothes up, probably weren’t. Leaving the possibility that instead of the back being shown off, the breasts were.

The Church wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of women showing off their boobs. Something to do with the prudish nature of Christianity. Despite the numerous artistic renderings of the Virgin Mary with Jesus at her breast. Or the sensual overtones found in so many religious writings, visions, paintings, and every other form of biblical media. But that doesn’t count because that was Jesus. He is the son of God.

What I find interesting is not the religious prohibition of showing off breasts. That is to be expected when looking at the history of Christianity. Or most religions for that matter. What is interesting to me, being a history nerd, is that people can extrapolate so much from just a couple of buckles found in a grave. Blows my mind. Makes me wonder how accurate it is though also. Because there are always people who will argue. So some might say that the clothing was meant to accentuate the breasts, while others might say it was open in the back, and others will say that it all just moved around after thousands of years.

I don’t know. I do know that Swedes do not lack in prudishness when it comes to showing off breasts. The summer months near just about any body of water in Sweden will lend credence to that. So I’m going to say that clearly this pride in Swedish boobs goes way back to the Viking Age.

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