'From the Fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord'.
Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian homeland to trade, raid and invade along the coasts of Europe. Their influence and expeditions extended from Newfoundland to Baghdad, their battles were as far-flung as Africa and the Arctic.
But were they great seafarers or desperate outcasts, noble heathens or oafish pirates, the last pagans or the first of the modern Europeans?
This concise study puts medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim accounts alongside more recent research into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It includes biographical sketches of some of the most famous Vikings, from Erik Bloodaxe to Saint Olaf, and King Canute to Leif the Lucky.
It explains why the Danish king Harald Bluetooth lent his name to a twenty-first century wireless technology; which future saint laughed as she buried foreign ambassadors alive; why so many Icelandic settlers had Irish names; and, how the last Viking colony was destroyed by English raiders.
Extending beyond the traditional 'Viking age' of most books, A Brief History of the Vikings places sudden Scandinavian population movement in a wider historical context. It presents a balanced appraisal of these infamous sea kings, explaining both their swift expansion and its supposed halt. Supposed because, ultimately, the Vikings didn't disappear - they turned into us.
About the Author
Jonathan Clements is the author of Pirate King, Moon in the Pines and Confucius: A Biography. He lives in London and Jyvaskyla.
|Introduction : Britannia Deserta : the Dark Ages||p. 1|
|Songs of Valkyries : myths and legends of Scandinavia||p. 15|
|Fury of the Northmen : from the first raids to Harald Bluetooth||p. 48|
|Great heathen hosts : highlands, islands, Ireland and England||p. 66|
|Brother shall fight brother : Harald Fairhair and sons||p. 81|
|The road east : Vikings, Russians and Varangians||p. 98|
|Advent of the white Christ : from Harald Greycloak to Olaf Crowbone||p. 116|
|Beyond the edge of the world : Iceland, Greenland and Vinland||p. 137|
|London Bridge is falling down : from Svein Forkbeard to Olaf the Stout||p. 160|
|The thunderbolt of the North : the life and legends of Harald the Ruthless||p. 186|
|Children of Thor : one thousand years later||p. 214|
|Rulers during the Viking age||p. 230|
Series: Brief History of
Number Of Pages: 273
Published: 15th September 2005
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.2 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.248