About this course

The image of the pillaging Viking raider is a mainstay of popular culture but behind this image lies a much more complex reality. Between the eighth and eleventh centuries Viking trading, raids and conquests shaped much of British and European history. We will examine how attacks on England changed as Vikings moved from raiders to invaders, gradually eliminating many of the small kingdoms, eventually to place a Danish king on the throne. In addition, we will consider evidence for the Viking discovery of America, their activities in Russia and Byzantium and their raids on mainland Europe. The principal military and political debates will be covered alongside social and cultural analyses, to understand how the Vikings and indigenous populations interacted. Students will engage with a wide variety of primary source material, both documentary and archaeological, produced by the Vikings and by their opponents – as well as with the vibrant secondary literature.

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