Women Are Better Than Men, Part A Million and One

“The language of conversion can be abrupt.”  With these words Karl F. Morrison approaches an account by Snorri Sturluson (1178/9-1241) of the Christian king of Norway, Olav Tryggvason (969-1000) and the non-Christian Queen Sigrid of Sweden, whom the king wished to marry.  “Marriage negotiations progressed well until the queen refused to abandon the religion that she held, as her kinsmen before her had done.  Olav, she said, could, without hindrance or reproach, worship whatever god pleased him.

“King Olav was very wroth and answered hastily, ‘Why should I wed you, you heathen bitch?’, and he struck her in the face with the glove he was holding in his hand.”  This was no way to win the heart of Queen Sigrid the Strong-minded.  Her response was instant: “This may be your death,” she said.  Turned into Olav’s staunchest enemy, she married the king of Denmark, whom she incited to the battle in which Olav died.

Varieties of Religious Conversion in the Middle Ages, from the chapter “Gender and Conversion in the Merovingian Era” by Cordula Nolte

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