Who were the Vikings? Were they the deadly marauders of popular repute - pitiless sea-wolves who voyaged across the Norwegian Sea to prey on the richer pickings of others? Or did they sail beyond their ancestral lands for reasons other than plunder and pillage? From the late 700s, the sleek silhouette of the Viking longship stealthily insinuated the inland waterways of continental Europe and Anglo-Saxon Britain. This outpouring of raiders and traders then spread across the world, from Newfoundland to Turkey - and the Viking Diaspora influenced the course of history for five centuries. Many questions about Viking origins and intent remain unanswered. Clare Downham here explores the boundaries where myth ends and truth begins. In seeking to explain why the Vikings left Scandinavia, she examines new advances in ship-building technology and economic and political competition in their homelands. Moving beyond stereotypical perceptions, the author also reveals those less familiar areas of Viking activity, such as relations with Saami, Slavs and Arabs.
Encompassing migration and identity, culture, religion and mythology, this lively survey will have strong appeal to students and general readers alike.
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd