Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials, and Myths

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University of Toronto Press, 1995 - History - 240 pages
2 Reviews

The Vikings are not known for their literate legacy. Little of what they once inscribed in runes on wood, bone, and stone has survived. However these runic inscriptions are a valuable primary source of information on the Viking Age. They alow us to see the Vikings from their own point of view, unlike the records of prejudiced observers who saw the Vikings only as savage invaders. Chronicles of the Vikings attempts to show the Vikings through their own writings: runic inscriptions left behind, poems of their official skalds, literary works that entertained them, the few prose historical accounts that derive direct from Vikings, and eyewitness reports of how the northern peoples lived.

Chronicles of the Vikings defines the social values of the Viking Age, their heroic view of life which sometimes contrasts with their more prosaic way of looking at things. It looks at the problems they encountered in discovering, populating, and cultivating new lands, the difficulties of keeping law and order and the solutions they tried. We discover how they coped with famine and other natural disasters, travel and its perils, something of their popular culture, proverbs and aphorisms, and their sometimes irreverent approach to their gods and goddesses, the supernatural, magic and charms. Both at home and overseas, the Vikings live in this book.

To understand the primary sources it is essential to have some idea of how they came into being and how they were preserved. In his extensive introduction, R.I. Page discusses the problems involved in using writings of this sort and looks at the information that is preserved solely in these primary sources.

  

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Review: Chronicles of the Vikings

User Review  - Vyvyan - Goodreads

Lots of quotes; not a huge amount of context. Read full review

Review: Chronicles of the Vikings

User Review  - Louise - Goodreads

I'm only on the first chapter so far, so this review will probably change. I bought this book thinking that it might be easier going than it actually is. That said, it's very informative. There's ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
6
Getting to know the Vikings
9
The Viking homelands and their peoples
40
Settlement and landholding
58
Vikings outside Scandinavia
77
The heroic life
105
The unheroic life
139
All sorts and conditions of men
150
Law
173
Myth religion and superstition
182
The conversion to Christianity
222
Lists of texts quoted
232
Index
236
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

R. I. Page is Emeritus Elrington and Bosworth Prrofessor of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, and a noted authority on Norse literature. He is the author of Runes and Norse Myths .

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