By Jonathan Clements
'From the Fury of the Northmen bring us, O Lord'. among the 8th and 11th centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian place of origin to alternate, raid and invade alongside the coasts of Europe. Their effect 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 examine places medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim debts along more moderen examine into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It contains biographical sketches of a few of the main recognized 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 used to be destroyed via English raiders. Extending past the conventional 'Viking age' of so much books, "A short background of the Vikings" locations surprising Scandinavian inhabitants stream in a much wider ancient context. It provides a balanced appraisal of those notorious sea kings, explaining either their rapid growth and its intended halt. meant simply because, eventually, the Vikings didn't disappear: they become us.
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Extra info for A Brief History of the Vikings
23 Such rebellions, however, do not fill the royal letters and acts of the Trésor des chartes. In more than a thousand such acts published for Poitou and in almost ten thousand letters that have thus far been catalogued analytically in various geographic surveys, only one other case even suggests an economic conflict between peasants and lords. It was hardly a revolt at that, showing no signs of the violence evident in the 1251 assault by the canons of Paris against their serfs or that of the serfs against their landlords in 1338.
Most were tax revolts. On 16 June 1355, the cardinal legate of Rimini imposed a heavy forced loan (una grande prestanza), which citizens complained of bitterly. ”86 In the same year, another peasant revolt flared in Lucca, which, as in Rimini, had crippling taxes as at least one of its triggers. On hearing the news of Emperor Charles IV’s entry into Lucca and the ousting of the Gambacorta of Pisa and other leading families, the Lucchesi, then under Pisan dominion, sought to take advantage of the confusion to free themselves “from the heavy yoke and taxes [servaggio]” that the Pisans had imposed on them.
Footdragging, dissimulation, desertion, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, and so on . . These Brechtian forms of class struggle . . often represent a form of individual self-help . . avoid[ing] any direct symbolic confrontation with authority . . Everyday forms of resistance make no headlines. Just as millions of anthozoan polyps create, willy-nilly, a coral reef, so do thousands upon thousands of individual acts of insubordination and evasion create a political or economic barrier reef of their own.
A Brief History of the Vikings by Jonathan Clements