Political and Cultural Relations between Norway and England after the Conquest

Political and Cultural Relations between Norway and England after the Conquest

By Bjorn Bandlien

Paper given at The Thirteenth International Saga Conference, held at Durham / York, from 6—12 August 2006

Great Britain depicted in this map from 1420.

Introduction: The connections between Norse and Anglo-Saxon literature and culture have received a lot of scholarly interest over the years. The Northumbrian influence on Eddic poetry in the tenth century and the skaldic poetry connected to Cnut the Great in the early eleventh century are examples of such studies of literary exchanges between the Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures.

Among historians, the focus has been mainly on the political culture related to the Danelaw, English influence on the Scandinavian church, and the emergence of trade relations from the late twelfth century onwards. Cultural and political connections after 1066 have received less attention, even though great interest has lately been shown in the skalds connected to the Northumbrian earl Waltheof in the 1070s.

In an article on the skalds at King Cnut the Great’s court, Matthew Townend argued that we should begin to see skaldic poetry as an integral part of Anglo-Saxon court literature. What I want to suggest here is that there were important connection between Anglo-Norman England and Scandinavian literature and culture as well, even though the Anglo-Norman kings and writers increasingly looked to the continent for modes of explaining their society.

Click here to read this article from the International Saga Confererence Archive


Learn more about the Norman Conquest in this special issue of Medieval Warfare

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