And you get to learn exactly what a "blood eagle" is, and trust me, it's just as cool and gross as it sounds. There are tons of photos and drawings included, so the history feels fully explored. The book goes through the lives of several important figures in viking history, as well as some other major players from the era, and gives an overview of the age of the vikings from the beginning in the 8th century, to when it officially ended.
The Ultimate Online Guide to Norse Mythology and Religion
Best of all is the writing style, which is written in the same overly-scholarly tone that Kendrick's book was, but since Jones was writing about thirty years later, it's more readable and fun, as you can see from this passage: "The Moors took so many prisoners that the gallows of Seville did not suffice for them, and the city's palm trees bore strange fruit. Report of the Emir's victory was not entrusted to mouth and quill alone: he sent the severed heads of vikings on a dumb but eloquent embassy to his allies in Tangier. People just don't write history books that way anymore, and it's a damn shame.
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The Secret History of the Vikings
Nov 10, Genni rated it really liked it Shelves: history. My knowledge before reading this consisted primarily of the Viking raids on English coastal areas. It was most interesting to learn that they had permanent settlements, especially into the Baltic area and even Russia. I was also unaware of their long history in Normandy, which shed a different light on English medieval history. His beautifully worded intro makes the reader feel as though she is about to embark on an incredibly balanced view of the Vikings. For most of the book, Jones manages this My knowledge before reading this consisted primarily of the Viking raids on English coastal areas.
For most of the book, Jones manages this. His writing contained a self-conscious aspect that made it very readable, even amusing sometimes. It does leave one wondering what the newest developments are in the study of Viking history. But if one has the compulsive habit of picking up these older history books from second-hand book shops as I do, then this cannot be helped.
I found this to be an excellent introduction. A dream of a history book: deep, detailed, never a moment's boredom, and, ta-da, with writerly touches. I have a huge gratitude for writerly touches wit, humour, art spent on a sentence in non-fiction, that doesn't often bother to be a writer too. It makes the research swim by when you have them nuggets to look forward to. Sep 06, Bruce rated it liked it. This is a detailed and comprehensive history of the Viking Age, an excellent resource for those wishing to learn more about this fascinating and important era.
His discussions are broad and encyclopedic, covering political history, explorations, art, religion, and the daily life of the people. Jones writes clearly, and he organizes his vast amount of material skillfully, delineating and weaving known historical facts with legends and speculation. His characters come alive, and he clarifies the temporal relationships among events at multiple locations throughout the region of Viking influence.
More than just a history, the book provides valuable insights into the culture of the Scandinavian people during the period Jones covers. This is a helpful and readable book. Shelves: history. This book serves as a very good general introduction to the history of the Norse from legendary times to Interestingly, despite having visited some of the sites mentioned and except for children's books on the subject and the occasional article, I think this was only the first or second real book I ever read about my putative ancestors.
They are rather embarrassing. View 2 comments. Oct 03, Shane rated it really liked it. This was an interesting and informative history of the Vikings, but I really would have preferred to have read a more recent account.
This book was originally published in and a huge amount of archaeological discoveries and reinterpretations have gone on since then, so I couldn't help but wonder how different a modern history would be. There were a couple of things I didn't like. The author loved describing the pre-Christian vikings as heathens rather than pagans, which I felt was unnecessa This was an interesting and informative history of the Vikings, but I really would have preferred to have read a more recent account.
The author loved describing the pre-Christian vikings as heathens rather than pagans, which I felt was unnecessary.
The author also loved using words so obsolete that I've never seen some of them before in my life. And I dare say some of them were even long obsolete in the 's, let alone today.
Overall it was good in the absence of a modern history of the Vikings, but if there is indeed a more modern, well told history then I'd prefer that than this. Mar 02, Michael rated it did not like it. In the interests of full disclosure, I didn't finish this book but I tried very hard, I'm marking it off as read as I'm never going to finish it and I don't like seeing it constantly sitting on my To Read shelf So many people had said good things about it and I was really keen to learn some history of the Vikings and this book seemed appropriate to that!
It was written a while ago and the language reflects that but I could cope with that element. What I really struggled with was the discursiv In the interests of full disclosure, I didn't finish this book but I tried very hard, I'm marking it off as read as I'm never going to finish it and I don't like seeing it constantly sitting on my To Read shelf What I really struggled with was the discursive pointless revealing of facts, maybe I've read too much historical fiction but there was no thread holding it all together.
There's no apparent common theme tying things together, it's like the author has come up with an idea and wanted to get it down on the paper. There's no feel of being back in the 's and experiencing what was happening and understanding the decisions and actions, just a bland recitation of fact. Might be worth it for others but I'm off to find potentially less accurate but more immersive options. Oct 06, Lauren Albert rated it it was amazing Shelves: history-world , history-european , history-ancient.
Immensely readable, well-written account of the history of the vikings. Jones is addicted to analogies and metaphors and they do help to make the vikings and those who encountered them more "present. And they didn't just war against others but against each other as well--both at home and overseas. May 18, Ryan rated it liked it Shelves: european-history. I have to admit, I really struggled to finish this book.
It is full of unfamiliar to me Viking leaders, many of whom share the same name, and unfamiliar Scandinavian locations and Viking events. That said, I am now more versed on Viking history, which I knew little about beyond the raids on England and brief settlement of North America. Before and during the Viking Age, the kingdoms of Scandinavia, except for the far northern regions, I have to admit, I really struggled to finish this book.
Before and during the Viking Age, the kingdoms of Scandinavia, except for the far northern regions, shared a common language, religion, culture, art and feudal economic system. The author reviews all these aspects of Viking society, as well as Viking law, ship building, reliance on a slave economy and the eventual conversion to Christianity. Viking history in Scandinavia is a story familiar to much of the rest of Europe in that there were warring kingdoms, internal coups and familicide as a means of obtaining power.
The latter part of the book was of more interest to me when the author turned his attention to the Viking raids on the richer and more sophisticated England, Ireland, Wales, and France, the motivation for which being the pursuit of land, wealth and fame. The author also explains how Vikings, while mixing with the local Slavic population, helped to establish Russia with Kiev as its capital.
The settlement of Iceland, Greenland and North America, and the eventual demise of the latter two, is also covered by the book. One little fact that I learned and found intriguing was that Goths and Anglels the Anglo in Anglo-Saxon were originally from Scandinavia. It really seems to be for people who are already very familiar with Viking history and geography and want a detailed overview of Viking history in one volume. Feb 08, Philippe rated it really liked it Shelves: owned-books.
Very detailed but the back and forth between eras can be confusing at times. Nov 10, Riversue rated it really liked it. This is one of the definitive histories of the Vikings. Feb 10, Tyler rated it liked it Shelves: historical. A very lengthy and detailed historical book, I learned a lot from it. Uppsala University archaeologist Neil Price, a co-author of the study, reacted to the critics with a mix of irritation and disbelief. The continuing controversy over Bj illustrates a larger issue for DNA-driven research: how to resolve contradictions between results of genomic research and evidence from more traditional disciplines.
Even today, Colby, Skeyton and dozens of other English villages have place names derived from Old Norse. The project had collected genetic samples from more than 2, people living in the same rural areas that their grandparents had called home. The idea was to collect DNA from geographically stable populations to find clusters of genetic similarities that predated the post-Industrial Revolution world of heightened mobility. And the team did find 17 of these clusters.
For many archaeologists and historians, the finding seemed to flout their extensive research documenting a substantial and long-term Danish Viking presence, in the Danelaw area and beyond. The number of brooches found points to whole families, not just an occupying force, present across the area.
The trouble began when researchers sought non-British populations to compare with their samples. Danish genetic signatures, for example, came from the DNA of multiple sclerosis patients at a Copenhagen hospital who had participated in an earlier MS study. The lack of carefully sourced modern Danish DNA meant that the Danish genetic signature was not as well-defined as it would have been had the researchers sampled a population in Denmark with the same methodology they used for participants in Britain.
It may seem like splitting hairs, but without a clear Danish signal, it was much harder to separate Danish Viking patterns from those of another northern European population present in Britain: Just a few hundred years before the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons from northern Germany had landed in England, and many had settled. She believes that genetic signatures interpreted as Anglo-Saxon in the Nature paper may have been at least partly from Danish Vikings. You hope the analysis of the data is correct, and I believe ours was. The Littlest Vikings While unraveling the genomes of the Vikings and their descendants makes headlines, a humbler source of DNA is providing some of the most intriguing clues to their lost history.
Much of their work focuses on the house mouse Mus musculus , which evolved to be commensal with humans: The mice are not domesticated like dogs or sheep, but they are dependent on living in and around a human settlement.
A History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones
Searle was initially comparing the genetic signatures of the Madeira sample with other mouse DNA by hand, a slow and painstaking process that has since been largely replaced by computer programs. Further analysis, including ancient DNA sequencing published by a second team in , confirmed a strong link in the genetic signatures of Madeira mice with mice that lived among Danish Viking Age populations. Although there is no archaeological or historical record of the Vikings landing on Madeira, Searle believes one of their ships may have been blown off course, ending up on the remote Atlantic island.
Similar research since has found what may be the genetic signatures of Norwegian Viking Age mice in modern populations on the Azores, an island chain more than miles west of Portugal. Mice, says Searle, make particularly good surrogates, or bioproxies, for human movement. Despite the occasional unintentional global hitchhiking, mice are relative homebodies. Less common, though equally relevant, are the Viking chronicles that originated in the east, including the Nestor chronicles, Novgorod chronicles, Ibn Fadlan chronicles, Ibn Rusta chronicles, and brief mentions by Photius , patriarch of Constantinople, regarding their first attack on the Byzantine Empire.
Other chroniclers of Viking history include Adam of Bremen , who wrote, in the fourth volume of his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum , "[t]here is much gold here in Zealand , accumulated by piracy. These pirates, which are called wichingi by their own people, and Ascomanni by our own people, pay tribute to the Danish king. Early modern publications, dealing with what is now called Viking culture, appeared in the 16th century, e.
Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus History of the northern people of Olaus Magnus , and the first edition of the 13th-century Gesta Danorum Deeds of the Danes , by Saxo Grammaticus , in The pace of publication increased during the 17th century with Latin translations of the Edda notably Peder Resen's Edda Islandorum of An important early British contributor to the study of the Vikings was George Hickes , who published his Linguarum vett.
During the 18th century, British interest and enthusiasm for Iceland and early Scandinavian culture grew dramatically, expressed in English translations of Old Norse texts and in original poems that extolled the supposed Viking virtues.
A Brief History of: The Vikings
The word "viking" was first popularised at the beginning of the 19th century by Erik Gustaf Geijer in his poem, The Viking. Geijer's poem did much to propagate the new romanticised ideal of the Viking, which had little basis in historical fact. The renewed interest of Romanticism in the Old North had contemporary political implications.
The Geatish Society , of which Geijer was a member, popularised this myth to a great extent. Fascination with the Vikings reached a peak during the so-called Viking revival in the late 18th and 19th centuries as a branch of Romantic nationalism. In Britain this was called Septentrionalism, in Germany " Wagnerian " pathos, and in the Scandinavian countries Scandinavism. Pioneering 19th-century scholarly editions of the Viking Age began to reach a small readership in Britain, archaeologists began to dig up Britain's Viking past, and linguistic enthusiasts started to identify the Viking-Age origins of rural idioms and proverbs.
The new dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled the Victorians to grapple with the primary Icelandic sagas. Few scholars still accept these texts as reliable sources, as historians now rely more on archaeology and numismatics , disciplines that have made valuable contributions toward understanding the period. The romanticised idea of the Vikings constructed in scholarly and popular circles in northwestern Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries was a potent one, and the figure of the Viking became a familiar and malleable symbol in different contexts in the politics and political ideologies of 20th-century Europe.
In Germany, awareness of Viking history in the 19th century had been stimulated by the border dispute with Denmark over Schleswig-Holstein and the use of Scandinavian mythology by Richard Wagner. The idealised view of the Vikings appealed to Germanic supremacists who transformed the figure of the Viking in accordance with the ideology of the Germanic master race.
The cultural phenomenon of Viking expansion was re-interpreted for use as propaganda to support the extreme militant nationalism of the Third Reich, and ideologically informed interpretations of Viking paganism and the Scandinavian use of runes were employed in the construction of Nazi mysticism. Other political organisations of the same ilk, such as the former Norwegian fascist party Nasjonal Samling , similarly appropriated elements of the modern Viking cultural myth in their symbolism and propaganda.
Soviet and earlier Slavophile historians emphasized a Slavic rooted foundation in contrast to the Normanist theory of the Vikings conquering the Slavs and founding the Kievan Rus'. They argued that Rus' composition was Slavic and that Rurik and Oleg' success was rooted in their support from within the local Slavic aristocracy. These have included novels directly based on historical events, such as Frans Gunnar Bengtsson 's The Long Ships which was also released as a film , and historical fantasies such as the film The Vikings , Michael Crichton 's Eaters of the Dead movie version called The 13th Warrior , and the comedy film Erik the Viking.
Vikings appear in several books by the Danish American writer Poul Anderson , while British explorer, historian, and writer Tim Severin authored a trilogy of novels in about a young Viking adventurer Thorgils Leifsson, who travels around the world. The character also appears in the film The Avengers and its associated animated series.
The appearance of Vikings within popular media and television has seen a resurgence in recent decades, especially with the History Channel's series Vikings , directed by Michael Hirst.
However, the conclusions remain contentious. Since the s, there has been rising enthusiasm for historical reenactment. While the earliest groups had little claim for historical accuracy, the seriousness and accuracy of reenactors has increased. Many reenactor groups participate in live-steel combat, and a few have Viking-style ships or boats. Modern reconstructions of Viking mythology have shown a persistent influence in late 20th- and early 21st-century popular culture in some countries, inspiring comics, role-playing games, computer games, and music, including Viking metal , a subgenre of heavy metal music.
Apart from two or three representations of ritual helmets—with protrusions that may be either stylised ravens, snakes, or horns—no depiction of the helmets of Viking warriors, and no preserved helmet, has horns. The formal, close-quarters style of Viking combat either in shield walls or aboard "ship islands" would have made horned helmets cumbersome and hazardous to the warrior's own side.
Historians therefore believe that Viking warriors did not wear horned helmets; whether such helmets were used in Scandinavian culture for other, ritual purposes, remains unproven. The Vikings were often depicted with winged helmets and in other clothing taken from Classical antiquity , especially in depictions of Norse gods. This was done to legitimise the Vikings and their mythology by associating it with the Classical world, which had long been idealised in European culture.
The latter-day mythos created by national romantic ideas blended the Viking Age with aspects of the Nordic Bronze Age some 2, years earlier. They were probably used for ceremonial purposes. Viking helmets were conical, made from hard leather with wood and metallic reinforcement for regular troops. The iron helmet with mask and mail was for the chieftains, based on the previous Vendel -age helmets from central Sweden.
The only original Viking helmet discovered is the Gjermundbu helmet , found in Norway. This helmet is made of iron and has been dated to the 10th century. The image of wild-haired, dirty savages sometimes associated with the Vikings in popular culture is a distorted picture of reality. There is no evidence that Vikings drank out of the skulls of vanquished enemies. This was a reference to drinking horns , but was mistranslated in the 17th century  as referring to the skulls of the slain. Studies of genetic diversity provide indication of the origin and expansion of the Norse population.
Female descent studies show evidence of Norse descent in areas closest to Scandinavia, such as the Shetland and Orkney islands. Recent research suggests that the Celtic warrior Somerled , who drove the Vikings out of western Scotland and was the progenitor of Clan Donald , may have been of Viking descent , a member of haplogroup R-M From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Viking disambiguation. Main article: Viking Age. Main article: Viking expansion. Main article: Runestone. The Lingsberg Runestone in Sweden. Runic inscriptions of the larger of the Jelling Stones in Denmark.
Two types of Norse runestones from the Viking Age. See also: Norse funeral and Ship burial. Burial mounds Gamla Uppsala. Examples of Viking burial mounds and stone set graves, collectively known as tumuli. Main article: Viking ships. A reconstructed longship. The longship facilitated far-reaching expeditions, but the Vikings also constructed several other types of ships. Main article: Viking Age arms and armour. Viking swords. Play media. Main article: Horned helmet. Constructs such as ibid. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references quick guide , or an abbreviated title.
August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Concise Oxford English Dictionary. OUP Oxford. Vikings: Any of the Scandinavian seafaring pirates and traders who raided and settled in many parts of NW Europe in the 8th—11th centuries Campbell, Alistair Encyclopaedia Britannica. The term "Viking" is applied today to Scandinavians who left their homes intent on raiding or conquest, and their descendants, during a period extending roughly from a. Holman, Catherine Historical Dictionary of the Vikings. Scarecrow Press. Viking is not merely another way of referring to a medieval Scandinavian.
Technically, the word has a more specific meaning, and it was used only infrequently by contemporaries of the Vikings to refer to those Scandinavians, usually men, who attacked their contemporaries Simpson, Jacqueline The Viking World. Strictly speaking, therefore, the term Viking should only be applied to men actually engaged in these violent pursuits, and not to every contemporary Scandinavian Mawer, Allen In Bury, J. The Cambridge Medieval History. Cambridge University Press. The term Viking Retrieved 30 September Viking, also called Norseman or Northman, member of the Scandinavian seafaring warriors who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe from the 9th to the 11th century and whose disruptive influence profoundly affected European history.
These pagan Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish warriors were Lepel Regional Executive Committee. Business Ukraine. Visby Sweden , n. Skeat , published in , defined Viking : better Wiking, Icel. Viking-r, O.
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