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 impact 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 fashionable Europeans? This concise learn places medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim bills along more moderen examine into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It comprises biographical sketches of a few of the main well-known 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 expertise; 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 was once destroyed through English raiders. Extending past the conventional 'Viking age' of such a lot books, "A short historical past of the Vikings" areas surprising Scandinavian inhabitants circulate 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 became us.
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Additional info for A Brief History of the Vikings
Blair, The World of Bede (London, 1970), 265–8: ‘[Bede’s] own standards of scholarship persuaded him that it was better to go back to primary sources, in this case the Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, rather than to accept without questioning figures derived at third or fourth hand’. 13. Bede drew upon this chapter of De civitate Dei to defend his revised chronology twice: Epistola ad Pleguinam, 10; De temporum ratione, 66, lines 135–44. 87 The Codex Amiatinus is the oldest extant complete version of the Latin Vulgate and it is therefore an important witness to the Vulgate text.
Bede’s restructured chronology is viewed in the same way as previous revisions, that is: as a reaction to contemporary speculation about the end of time. 83 If the year of composition for De temporibus (703 years since the birth of Christ) is added to the traditional AM II date for the Incarnation (5199) then it is certainly true that the present year was reasonably close to the end of the sixth millennium. The apocalyptic expectations present in Bede’s Northumbria will be considered in the next chapter of this book but Landes’s ideas raise interesting questions about the motivations behind the revised chronology presented in De temporibus, and they merit brief consideration here.
Bede was indebted to the traditional doctrines of his predecessors but it is clear that he felt no obligation to follow them in a passive or uncritical manner. Alternative Frameworks of Temporal Division in Bede’s Writings By basing the Chronica minora upon a six-age framework, Bede was endorsing the world ages scheme as a legitimate model for reckoning time. The Augustinian world ages were a historical reality for Bede but he occasionally alluded to other schemes of temporal division as well. The most common alternative framework mentioned in Bede’s writings involves a tripartite division of time.
A Brief History of the Vikings by Jonathan Clements