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Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014 Paperback – 3 Oct 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Dunedin Academic Press (3 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906716064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906716066
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 470,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Wide-ranging and thorough, attractively presented and reasonably priced, Viking Kings is an essential read for anyone interested in the Viking Age in the British Isles. --History, 2008

[Downham] gives us the history of the dynasty from contemporary and near contemporary sources and brings to bear the fruits of thirty years intense scholarship that has emerged since Smyth wrote, a period in which the study of Early Insular History has been revolutionised. In addition to the blow by blow account of the dynasty's deeds, which forms the bulk of the narrative, Downham has also appended a prosopography of 121 Scandinavian leaders active in the Insular World in the period, citing all the primary sources which mention each. This appendix will doubtless be a godsend to scholar and student alike. --Early Medieval Europe

Students of the Viking Age from any discipline need to be fully versed in its historical record. This book ably provides a well-researched and solid account of that record in Britain and Ireland, and should be valued as both a rich source and an interesting read. --Medieval Archeology 2008


Vikings plagued the coasts of Ireland and Britain in the 790s. Over time, their raids became more intense and by the mid-ninth century vikings had established a number of settlements in Ireland and Britain and had become heavily involved with local politics. A particularly successful viking leader named Aivarr campaigned on both sides of the Irish Sea in the 860s. His descendants dominated the major seaports of Ireland and challenged the power of kings in Britain during the later ninth and tenth centuries. In 1014, the battle of Clontarf marked a famous stage in the decline of viking power in Ireland whilst the conquest of England in 1013 by the Danish king Sveinn Forkbeard marked a watershed in the history of vikings in Britain.The descendants of Aivarr continued to play a significant role in the history of Dublin and the Hebrides until the twelfth century, but they did not threaten to overwhelm the major kingships of Britain or Ireland in this later period as they had done before. This book provides a political analysis of the deeds of Aivarr's family from their first appearance in Insular records down to the year 1014.

Such an account is necessary in light of the flurry of new work that has been done in other areas of Viking Studies.Recent theoretical approaches to the subject have raised many interesting questions regarding identity, material culture and structures of authority. Archaeological finds and excavations have also offered potentially radical insights into viking settlement and society. In line with these developments Clare Downham provides a reconsideration of events based on contemporary written accounts. It will appeal to a wide range of people who are curious to know more about the history of vikings in Britain and Ireland.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
Kathy Wells
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book
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Steven Galloway
5.0 out of 5 starsGood read
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Darren from Australia
5.0 out of 5 starsA great addition to our knowledge of the Viking Age
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4.0 out of 5 starsFascinating topic, solid scholarship but hard reading
11 April 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
12 people found this helpful.