Sigrid "the Haughty" -
Viking rebel. On the eve of the first millennium, King Olaf of Norway decided to convert to Christianity. With this act he insisted that all his people join him, or face death. Many were reluctant to stop worshiping their ancient gods and goddesses. The roots of Christianity were not all that firm in much of Christian Europe anyway; people still turned in times of trouble to their pre-Christian deities such as the earth goddesses of health. In 998, when it was proposed that Sigrid, daughter of the Swedish king, marry Olaf, she rebelled. To his face she told him, "I will not part from the faith which my forefathers have kept before me." In a rage, Olaf hit her. It is said that Sigrid then calmly told him, "This may some day be thy death." She proceeded to avoid the marriage, and created instead a coalition of his enemies to bring about his downfall. Olaf was defeated in an epic Viking battle some years later. It should be noted that Viking women had a certain measure of protection through their family, which was likely to avenge any serious wrong done them.