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Northmen: The Viking Saga 793-1241 AD

northmen

In his new book Northmen: The Viking Saga, 793 – 1241 AD, John Haywood gives an overview of the age of the people we now call Vikings.

The Extent of Indigenous-Norse Contact and Trade Prior to Columbus

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The full extent of Norse exploration in North America is a growing field and the extent of their contact and trade with Indigenous Americans is becoming increasingly known.

The Varangian Legend: Testimony from the Old Norse sources

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In the eleventh century there existed, within the great army of the Byzantine empire, a regiment composed mainly of soldiers from Scandinavia and the Nordic countries. This regiment was known as the Varangian Guard

Raiders from the North: Irish Enslavement during the Viking Age

Photo by Rob Hurson / Flickr

Both the interactions with the Irish as well as the enslavement of the Irish influenced Norse culture.

Goodbye to the Vikings

Goodbye to the Vikings

Vladimir Polach talks about how scholars are researching the Vikings.

Swan you say? Medieval Feasting!

Medieval feast

A guest post on medieval food and feasting in the Middle Ages by author Regan Walker.

BOOK REVIEW: The Northern Queen by Kelly Evans

Book: The Northern Queen by Kelly Evans

Kelly Evans’Anglo-Saxon novel centres around the story of Aelfgifu of Northampton (990-1040); from her rise in court and eventual marriage to one of England’s most famous early kings, Cnut the Great (995-1035), to her repudiation, and later life with her sons after Cnut’s passing.

BOOK REVIEW: Spies, Sadists, and Sorcerers: The History You Weren’t Taught in School

Book: Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers by Dominic Selwood

A review of Dominic Selwood’s, ‘Spies, Sadists, and Sorcerers: The History you Weren’t Taught in School’

Ingroup identification, identity fusion and the formation of Viking war bands

Vikings

The lið, a retinue of warriors sworn to a leader, has long been considered one of the basic armed groups of the Viking Age.

A Viking Mess – Northmen: A Viking Saga Movie Review

Northmen: A Viking Saga. Photo by Variety.com

This week’s medieval movie is Northmen: A Viking Saga.

The Norwegian Attack on Iona in 1209-10: The Last Viking Raid?

Photochrom print of Iona from about 1905

A closer look at what happened in and around Iona in the early 1200s, makes the interpretation that this was just another such ‘classic viking raid’ rather unlikely.

Of Myths, Fairy Tales, and TV series

vikings season 4

As Season 4 of Vikings is readying to raid our TV screens, we will try and show how their writer Michael Hirst and his team of historical advisers do not limit their endeavour to Norse Mythology, royal genealogies and other sagas. Indeed they stray far away, deep into the recesses of time. As we say a long, long time ago …

The Vikings, their worms, and the diseases they got

Photo by Charles Starrett / Flickr

The Vikings and people of the Norse world would have been predisposed to emphysema and other lung conditions, according to a paper published last week in Nature: Scientific Reports.

Berserkir: a re-examination of the phenomenon in literature and life

Iron helmet from a Vendel era (550-793 AD) boat grave in Vendel, Uppland, Sweden. Displayed at the Museum of History in Stockholm. Photo by Mararie  / Wikimedia Commons

This thesis discusses whether berserkir really went berserk.

Berserk for berserkir: Introducing Combat Trauma to the
 Compendium of Theories on the Norse Berserker

Photo by Jakub T. Jankiewicz / Flickr

This thesis attempts to provide a brief overview of major pieces of the English-language scholarship concerning the Norse berserker. It tries to demonstrate consistent flaws in scholarly treatment and the hollow nature of many major theories and attitudes.

The Viking Coloring Book – Kickstarter project gets funding

Image from the Viking Coloring Book project - courtesy Dayanna Knight

It took only three days for Dayanna Knight’s idea of creating a Viking Coloring Book to reach its funding goal of $3000 on Kickstarter.

Excavating Past Population Structures by Surname-Based Sampling: The Genetic Legacy of the Vikings in Northwest England

medieval studies england

The method of historical surname-based ascertainment promises to allow investigation of the influence of migration and drift over the last few centuries in changing the population structure of Britain and will have general utility in other regions where surnames are patrilineal and suitable historical records survive.

Danish ferocity and abandoned monasteries: the twelfth-century view

Ruins of Lindisfarne - photo by _The Real McCoy /Flickr

Apart from brief accounts of attacks on Lindisfarne and Donemutha in the 790s, there are almost no accounts of Viking attacks on Anglo-Saxon monasteries in contemporary sources. There are however many in twelfth century sources, most of them fictive or largely so. This article tries to explain why twelfth-century authors found it so important to invent stories of Viking brutality towards monks and nuns and what ideas and material they used to create their stories

The Christmas Eve massacre of 986

Iona Abbey - photo by dun_deagh / Flickr

For the year 986, the Annals of Ulster records, ‘Iona was plundered by Danes on Christmas Eve, and they killed the abbot and fifteen men of the seniors of the church.’ What more can we learn about this attack and why it happened?

Women in Viking-Age Scandinavia, or, who were the ‘shieldmaidens’?

The Viking shieldmaiden Lagertha, depicted in The Northmen in Britain (1913) by Eleanor Means Hull

I will address two questions: a) how are we to interpret the descriptions of these war-like women in the past, and b) does the contrast between active pagan and passive Christian women reflect real changes?

The Snake Motif in Viking Art: 10­th – 12th Centuries

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A guest post by Armstreet on Snake motifs in 10-12th century Viking art

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages?

Medieval ice skates made of bone on display at the Museum of London. Photo by Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

How did medieval people pass the time during the coldest part of the year? I came across several instances of medieval people strapping on skates and taking a twirl (or a tumble!) on the ice. Here is how it all began!

The Wolf-Warrior: Animal Symbolism on Weaponry of the 6th and 7th centuries

Beserkers - Vendel era bronze plate found on Öland, Sweden.

Decorative art in Scandinavia during the late Iron Age and Viking Period was largely dominated by animals in stylized forms.

Power and Politics at the time of King Harald Bluetooth, Denmark

Runeside of Harald Bluetooth's great Jelling stone at the church in Jelling, Denmark - Photo by  Jürgen Howaldt

He was the Harald that won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made pagans Christian, and that is fairly easy to read, but what did he exactly say? What does it meant when he says he won for himself all of Denmark?

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