The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction

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The Viking reputation is of bloodthirsty seafaring warriors, repeatedly plundering the British Isles and the North Atlantic throughout the early Middle Ages. Yet Vikings were also traders, settlers, and farmers, with a complex artistic and linguistic culture, whose expansion overseas led them to cross the Atlantic for the first time in European history. Highlighting the latest archaeological evidence, Julian Richards reveals the whole Viking world: their history, society and culture, and their expansion overseas for trade, colonization, and plunder. We also look at the Viking identity, through their artistic expression, rune stones, their ships, and their religion. The Viking story is also brought up to date, by examining their legacy from the medieval Icelandic sagas to 19th Century nationalism, Wagner, and the Nazis. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

I love this series, the books are exactly what they purport to be. A *very* short introduction which serves as a jumping off point for further reading. This one has a friendly, witty tone to boot. Read full review

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User Review  - rrainer - LibraryThing

I found this book with a bookmark in the middle, probably indicating that I'd read a substantial portion of it years ago, but I still started back at the beginning because I had little to no ... Read full review


Vikings then and now
Early Scandinavian kingdoms
Pagans and Christians
Changes in the countryside
Towns and trade
Across the ocean seafaring and overseas expansion
Settlers in England
Raiders and traders around the Irish Sea
Vikings and Picts genocide or assimilation?
Landnám in the North Atlantic
The edge of the world Greenland and North America
Reinventing the Vikings
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About the author (2005)

Julian Richards is Professor of Archaology at the University of York, and co-director of the Centre for Medieval Studies. He specialises in the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age England, and has directed several excavations of Viking settlements, including the only Viking cremation cemetery
in the British Isles. Previous publications include Viking Age England (Tempus, 2000).

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