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.