By Jonathan Clements
'From the Fury of the Northmen carry us, O Lord'. among the 8th and 11th centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian native land to alternate, raid and invade alongside the coasts of Europe. Their impact and expeditions prolonged from Newfoundland to Baghdad, their battles have been as far-flung as Africa and the Arctic. yet have been they nice seafarers or determined outcasts, noble heathens or oafish pirates, the final pagans or the 1st of the fashionable Europeans? This concise research places medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim money owed along newer learn into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It contains biographical sketches of a few of the main well-known Vikings, from Erik Bloodaxe to Saint Olaf, and King Canute to Leif the fortunate. It explains why the Danish king Harald Bluetooth lent his identify to a twenty-first century instant expertise; which destiny saint laughed as she buried overseas ambassadors alive; why such a lot of Icelandic settlers had Irish names; and, how the final Viking colony was once destroyed via English raiders. Extending past the normal 'Viking age' of so much books, "A short background of the Vikings" areas surprising Scandinavian inhabitants stream in a much wider ancient context. It offers a balanced appraisal of those notorious sea kings, explaining either their quick enlargement and its intended halt. intended simply because, eventually, the Vikings didn't disappear: they become us.
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