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Norsemen in Viking Age (The Peoples of Europe) Paperback – 12 Jul 2006

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Norsemen in Viking Age (The Peoples of Europe) + The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings (Penguin Historical Atlases)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; New Ed edition (12 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405149647
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405149648
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,054,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"This is an interesting, often informative and provocative book." The Medieval Review

"[A] thought–provoking survey of, and engagement with, the whole gamut of Viking–age activities and resulting scholarship." Saga Book

"This book is an absolute delight, a quirky, hard–hitting potpourri to be dipped into and savoured by anyone even remotely interested in the period Altogether this is a lively, provocative and stimulating book, strongly recommended to anyone with interest in early medieval Europe or indeed any reader seeking entertainment." History July 2007

From the Back Cover

This book is a lively introduction to Norsemen in the period 750–1050. Without dismissing stereotypes of aggressive, warmongering Vikings, Eric Christiansen shows how Nordic peoples responded to hostile environments at home and overseas. He concentrates on life within their homelands and colonies, families and communities.

The Norsemen in the Viking Age covers many aspects of Nordic life, including ecology, politics, war, work, and migration. Christiansen examines both social conventions and self–awareness of individuals and groups, and reconstructs Viking–age ideas about the past, present, and future to explain contemporary behaviour.

Runic, poetic, and archaeological evidence is used to illustrate the author′s arguments, while an appendix sketches the outline of modern research and the directions it is taking.

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The verses are attributed to the future king Harald Hardrada, slinking from Norway after the defeat and death of his brother Olaf (St Olave) in 1030. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very well thought out book that simplisticly lays out the authors knowledge for easy reference.This enhances the book's impact on your learning to establish an understanding of how our ancestors thought and interacted with their locality and culture.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
One of the best books on the norsemen 28 April 2003
By M. Campo - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am really amazed that no-one has reviewed this book before. Anyway, I should say that this is one of the best books on the vikings ever! It offers an updated vision on the norsemen using several approaches (archaeology, literature, anthropology). The bibliography is extensive and very recent in general. Forget the many available introductions to the vikings and buy this one instead. It really deserves it (believe an Old Norse language and literature specialist tired of introductory books saying almost the same over and over again). Be it as it may, you will check after reading this book how wrong you were about the far.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
serious study of all information about Vikings 6 Sept. 2007
By R. Goodson - Published on
Format: Paperback
A required reading book for Asatru, Heathens, Neo-Norse and the like who want an accurate picture of the state of what we know and don't know about the northern world.
The author's mastery of diverse and abundant source material on the subjects, coupled with a slightly ironic flavor of wit is quite engaging. Although not written to a audience of high school level, and needing some relevant background in the area to be understandable, the read is really enjoyable. Some common pitfalls are avoided in northern research; others pointed out and elaborated on. I especially enjoyed a bit of a rant on sociological "science" interpretive culture fictions, and the clearly well thought out critical comments on university, tourist and sociological aspects to capitalizing on northern myth and legend. Not a book for those wishing to have a light read on blood drinking sea dogs, but a serious study of all information about a long ago time and region.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Ever notice It's always the other guy who's the Viking 23 May 2007
By Douglas E. Libert - Published on
Format: Paperback
The word viking is beginning to mean less and less when describing the Scandanavian cultures during the 900's.Alot of viking villages are set up to protect them from the vikings?The Anglo-Saxon kings of england were one time officialy listed as "sea-raiders"and almost every tribe in europe who had acess to a river or sea engaged in trade and (piracy).This book is lively and uses alot of sources from the period some of them so ribald they rate a PG,particularly those "men at sea" tales.I hadn't known some of those jokes were that old.When I first saw a picture of a colorfully painted viking boat in the Bayeux tapestry,I thought it must have been an artists rendition,but from reading this book I realize the pictures are actual,because the vikings took such pride in their crafts that included elaborate carvings and richly colored vessels.But as the author says,it would be one thing to reconstruct a viking boat,but could one ever reconstruct a real viking crew. Not in this day and age,the best we could come up with would be a bland imitation probably."Viking" towns were really loose confederations of families and tribes and there was no mass swarm of population by a powerful Viking government (due to Scandavian lack of birth control)onto a terrorized cringing Europe.The archaeological evidence put forth by this author shatters alot of the "Viking trading centers of power" theses I've previously read.The populations of these towns were small and there were no major viking cities to rival Rome.All the populations centers were located along the coastal areas.It seemed to me that the Scandanavians really became a great people when they mixed and adapted to the indiginous cultures already established in the areas they settled.After a read of this book a person would have to be very skeptical of those miraculous conversions of pagan Viking sea -kings to Christianity and all the bells and whistles of divine ecstasy. Seems that the Norse were quick to see "a hawk from a handsaw" and could sniff out political opportunity as it arose.The conversion to Christianity was not overnight but over generations (with pagan lapses) as the European political wind blew.When the (Viking?)Northmenadapt the Roman and Frankish culture they make something unique--the Normans-such a mixture of art,industry,law, and brutality,it still astounds.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, if cautious survey about the Norsemen 18 Oct. 2010
By Christopher R. Travers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book takes a very sceptical look at a large set of topics surrounding the Norse during the Viking age. The author is aware of how the archaeology has shed some doubt on the context and utility of textual sources, and he does an excellent job of discussing his reasons for scepticism. At the same time in my view the author may take this scepticism too far. For example he says there is no evidence of cultic associations of the Berserk rage, and notes that Iceland had a law against going Berserk, but what he fails to mention is that the section which bans this is the section which addresses pagan practices (see Laws of Early Iceland: Gragas 1 (University of Manitoba Icelandic Studies)). In many other areas, particularly relating to worldview, I think the author overlooks what the textual sources can tell us because he is over-correcting for past error.

This problem, however, is also the book's strongest point. By attempting to sweep away as much of the textual basis for our knowledge as possible, the book presents a bare foundation for further studies. Archaeology takes precedence, texts are used sparingly. The result is a minimalist approach which adds a great deal to the field of study.

Because this book begins from a fairly sceptical approach, I think it makes an excellent introduction as well as a useful reminder that scepticism is often called for where the sources pose the problems we see with the written sources we have for the Viking Age.

Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not an expert on Vikings and the Norsemen 8 Sept. 2013
By Joruxx - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book as a gift, and it seems to cover a lot including a breakdown of important subjects by name with a short description. It reads easily, and contains many interesting pictures. I bought this along with another with more in depth detail, but this book is good for me because I know very little about things Norse and it does not require extensive before-hand knowledge on the subject. I cannot vouch for the authenticity and accuracy of the facts in the book, but there are places in which other works are cited and sources are listed. I would recommend this book as an affordable source for an overview of Norsemen, but that is my uneducated opinion.
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