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 impression 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 trendy Europeans? This concise examine places medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim debts along newer study into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It comprises biographical sketches of a few of the main recognized 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 know-how; which destiny saint laughed as she buried international ambassadors alive; why such a lot of Icelandic settlers had Irish names; and, how the final Viking colony used to be destroyed via English raiders. Extending past the normal 'Viking age' of such a lot books, "A short historical past of the Vikings" locations unexpected Scandinavian inhabitants move in a much wider historic context. It provides a balanced appraisal of those notorious sea kings, explaining either their quick enlargement and its meant halt. intended simply because, finally, the Vikings didn't disappear: they changed into us.
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