There were once women in Denmark who dressed themselves to look like men and spent almost every minute cultivating soldier’s skills; they did not want the sinews of their valour to lose tautness and be infected by self-indulgence.
Loathing a dainty style of living, they would harden body and mind with toil and endurance, rejecting the fickle pliancy of girls and compelling their womanish spirits to act with a virile ruthlessness. They courted military celebrity so earnestly that you would have guessed they had unsexed themselves.
Those especially who had forceful personalities or were tall and elegant, embarked on this way of life. As if they were forgetful of their true selves they put toughness before allure, aimed at conflicts instead of kisses, tasted blood, not lips, sought the clash of arms rather than the arm’s embrace, fitted to weapons hands which should have been weaving, desired not the couch but the kill, and those they could have appeased with looks they attacked with lances.
Passage from ‘History of the Danes’, by Saxo Grammaticus in approximately 1200 CE.
MCLAUGHLIN, M., (1990), The Woman Warrior - Gender, Warfare And Society In Medieval Europe. Womens Studies-an Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol.17(3-4), pp.193-209.