A Brief History of the Vikings: The Last Pagans Or the First Modern Europeans?

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Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005 - History - 273 pages
2 Reviews
Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian homeland to trade and raid along the coasts of Europe. Their influence extended from Newfoundland to Baghdad, their battles were as far-flung as Africa and the Arctic. But were they great seafarers or desperate outcasts, noble heathens or oafish pirates, the last pagans or the first of the modern Europeans?

This concise study puts medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim accounts alongside more recent research into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It includes biographical sketches of some of the most famous Vikings, from Erik Bloodaxe to Saint Olaf, from King Canute to Leif the Lucky.

Extending beyond the traditional ?Viking age' of most books, A Brief History of the Vikings also places sudden Scandinavian population movements in a wider historical context. It presents a balanced appraisal of these infamous sea kings, explaining both their swift expansion and its supposed halt. Supposed because the Vikings never really went away. Instead, posits Clements, they became a part of who we are today.

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User Review  - tlockney - LibraryThing

This really lives up to its name. Don't expect detailed information about the daily lives of any of the characters whose exploits are chronicled within. But for seeing the overall arch of the viking ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Katemartin - LibraryThing

I wanted a broader picture of the Vikings than that which we tend to get in the UK. I had heard about the Volga Vikings on an 'In Our Time' episode a while ago and was intrigued by the idea of these ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Jonathan Clements is the author, co-author or translator of over thirty books, including Pirate King, The Moon in the Pines and Confucius. He divides his time between Finland and England.

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