How much were two women worth in 11th century Iberia? For the Vikings the price was a blanket of wolf skin, a sword, a shirt, three scarves, a cow and some salt.

This fascinating story is part of research done by Helio Pires from the New University of Lisbon. His article, “Money for Freedom: Ransom Paying to Vikings in Western Iberia”, appears in the latest issue of Viking and Medieval Scandinavia.

Pires’ article examines the taking of prisoners and collecting of ransoms by Vikings on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula. He was able to uncover two documents, dating from the first half of the 11th century, where people described the payments they made to Vikings to return family members.

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