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Vikings: A Concise History of the Vikings

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Vikings The saga of the Vikings rises and falls on the banks of history, ebbing and flowing with popular opinion and whimsical anecdotes. The Vikings are routinely typecast and labeled anywhere from bloodthirsty tyrants to valiant heroes. They have been condemned as pirates and praised as explorers. We have all heard the stories of the fierce warriors with long ships and Vikings The saga of the Vikings rises and falls on the banks of history, ebbing and flowing with popular opinion and whimsical anecdotes. The Vikings are routinely typecast and labeled anywhere from bloodthirsty tyrants to valiant heroes. They have been condemned as pirates and praised as explorers. We have all heard the stories of the fierce warriors with long ships and horned helmets storming onto the shores of medieval Europe; but who were these men really? Inside your will read about... ✓ From the Fury of the Northmen ✓ Retaliation, Royal Ambition, and Bribery ✓ The Viking Age of Exploration and Expansion ✓ Tidings from the East ✓ The End of the Viking Age ✓ The Vikings Come to Christ ✓ The Second Viking Invasion This book helps to unravel the mystery. Helping to finally shed the light on why the Vikings abruptly descended onto the world stage in such dramatic fashion, this book begins to explore the motives of the Viking exodus like no other and takes an in depth evaluation of all the geographical, political, economic and religious underpinnings that led the Viking Age.


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Vikings The saga of the Vikings rises and falls on the banks of history, ebbing and flowing with popular opinion and whimsical anecdotes. The Vikings are routinely typecast and labeled anywhere from bloodthirsty tyrants to valiant heroes. They have been condemned as pirates and praised as explorers. We have all heard the stories of the fierce warriors with long ships and Vikings The saga of the Vikings rises and falls on the banks of history, ebbing and flowing with popular opinion and whimsical anecdotes. The Vikings are routinely typecast and labeled anywhere from bloodthirsty tyrants to valiant heroes. They have been condemned as pirates and praised as explorers. We have all heard the stories of the fierce warriors with long ships and horned helmets storming onto the shores of medieval Europe; but who were these men really? Inside your will read about... ✓ From the Fury of the Northmen ✓ Retaliation, Royal Ambition, and Bribery ✓ The Viking Age of Exploration and Expansion ✓ Tidings from the East ✓ The End of the Viking Age ✓ The Vikings Come to Christ ✓ The Second Viking Invasion This book helps to unravel the mystery. Helping to finally shed the light on why the Vikings abruptly descended onto the world stage in such dramatic fashion, this book begins to explore the motives of the Viking exodus like no other and takes an in depth evaluation of all the geographical, political, economic and religious underpinnings that led the Viking Age.

30 review for Vikings: A Concise History of the Vikings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jacques Coulardeau

    I still wonder if Harald Hadrada is Hadrada or Harada but that’s just a little pebble in my shoe. The history of the Vikings is Fascinating in many ways. Fascinating because they are, which is not said, Germanic and as such part of the vast Germanic migration into Europe and it has to be clearly positioned between the Slavic migration and the Celtic migration respectively east and west. It would be good to remember that all these are part of the same Indo-European migration from the Middle East t I still wonder if Harald Hadrada is Hadrada or Harada but that’s just a little pebble in my shoe. The history of the Vikings is Fascinating in many ways. Fascinating because they are, which is not said, Germanic and as such part of the vast Germanic migration into Europe and it has to be clearly positioned between the Slavic migration and the Celtic migration respectively east and west. It would be good to remember that all these are part of the same Indo-European migration from the Middle East through the Caucasus and then into the vast steppes and plains of central Europe.. It would also be good to remind us of the fact that another branch of this Indo-European migration came through Anatolia to Greece and then to Italy and will give after the Roman Empire the various romance languages. It would also have been a good thing to remind us of the survival of pre-Ice-Age Turkic languages of Europe in the shape of Basque, Sami, the language of Lapplanders, and Finnish. Finland is essential in the history of the Baltic Sea. If we assume we all know this heritage or history and that the basic Scandinavian mythology, Odin, Thor and Ragnarok, is in fact a Germanic Mythology vastly shared with the other German people and was Richard Wagner’s basic inspiration, we can neglect recalling it to mind, though recollecting such facts should be basic. In the same way the sagas are often common and the German Siegfried has a Scandinavian version with Sigurd. This Germanic nature of the Scandinavian people or even peoples is central in the whole history of Europe and it probably explains why the Scandinavians never tried to raid or conquer German territory. They looked east into Slavic territory and they look west into Celtic and Frankish territory which must have appeared at the time as some continuation of the Roman Empire in western Europe and the Gaulish Celtic previous phase. The presentation dividing the whole history in three phases: raiding, conquering and settling down is interesting. In Western Europe we hardly mention them apart from their famous raids accompanied by looting, burning and killing all that could have any value or any life. With maybe one element that could be added clearly: they actually got some prisoners that they enslaved in their own communities. These slaves were the substitute workers necessary to replace the warriors who went on missions. These slaves are just servants that have no civil rights and it would have been interesting to insist on the direct government they had, each community convening their male members into some kind of general assembly that decided of all common issues. They invented direct democracy (though some might see it as a pre-Roman-Empire survival that also existed among Celtic people and was killed along with the egg the Roman legions crushed) and what will become parliament in England a few centuries later. The conquering phase presented as an exploring venture is very interesting and it reveals the change in Scandinavian societies and ideologies and it should have been twinned with the religious evolution. They replaced raiding with trading. It is commerce that saves them from being eventually destroyed, the way they were in England in the 11th century, a destruction that led to the full dissolving of Anglo-Saxon culture under the domination of Norman culture. And yet this Scandinavian influence remained in England and it will lead to Runnymede and the Magna Carta and with Parliament being re-invented later on. This Anglo-Saxon influence and behind it the direct influence of Danish and Scandinavian cultures and languages is the substratum of English today and makes English a Germanic language. This linguistic descent should have been emphasized and the famous Tristan and Yseult will be translated into German but also into Norse and Icelandic in the 12th century. The connection worked both ways from Celtic Welsh oral tradition to other Celtic areas (Cornwall, Ireland, Brittany) into English, or rather Middle English at the time, and further on into German and Scandinavian traditions. The book justly insists on the conquest of Iceland, Greenland and the discovery of Newfoundland and Canada, or Northern America. It mentions the fact they will have to eventually leave Greenland under the pressure of local Inuit or Eskimo people and the fact that they did not settle in America because of the strong hostility from the local Native Americans. This is based on sagas and old tales but such documents are essential in a mostly oral society since it was the only way for people to know their history and destiny: to listen to the sagas told by the saga-tellers/poets/minstrels who had learned them by heart from having heard them themselves. No books in those days, only memory. And these sagas were told very often to some accompanying music that could be some string instrument like the lute, or some pipes, or later on the organistrum evolving into the hurdy-gurdy (and later on in Sweden the nyckelharpa), and we probably should speak of the bagpipe too (Scandinavia or Swedish Sackpipa and Finnish Sakkipilli). Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon poem or shouldn’t we say saga, is a perfect example since it states the use of music to tell the story. The book is very interesting on the Scandinavian or Viking penetration of Ukraine (more than Russia) even if the Rus Brothers brought the root of Russian into that territory. Kiev was the cultural epicenter in Slavic lands just as much as it became the religious center of Slavic Orthodox Christianity. It is this religious link that should be seen as first finding some echo in the Christianized Vikings and at the same time lead them to the ambition of going further and reaching out to Byzantium. Interestingly the military move was defeated and they immediately replaced it with a commercial link. Note this was easy since the commercial link between Scandinavia and Byzantium already existed through the commercial network developed by the Hanseatic League. Actually it would be interesting to connect the commercial dimension that developed at the end of the first millennium and the beginning of the second to the progressive Christianization of the Vikings themselves. We could and probably should also connect this Christianization with the important Peace of God movement that developed in Feudal Europe starting in the 10th century and enabling the development of trade fairs and markets with special protection to merchants all over feudal Europe: merchants could move freely in Europe with their merchandise and be protected along the way and at the various fairs provided they paid special fees. Bartholomew Fair in London for instance developed a special court for the duration of the fair. I will not conclude like the book does with Christianization. It is this necessary evolution that explains the slow shifting from a warlike stance to a commercial stance and that commercial stance requires peace. Then the Nobel Peace Prize is the direct continuation of this evolution. But this heritage can be slightly contradictory. Scandinavia was the first European region to instate eugenic laws just after the first world war (Swedish State Institute for Race Biology in 1922 after the Swedish Society for Eugenics founded in 1909) and also the last one to get rid of them long after the second world war (The various eugenic laws lapsed only in 1976). Norway seen as a haven of peace is not always true. Norway tried to help in Sri Lanka when the Tamil Tigers were dominant in nearly half the country Thanks to their using terrorism and the ceasefire the Norwegians instated there was only the smokescreen used by the Tamil Tigers to build up their military power and to go on with their terrorist activities (assassination of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in July 2005, and/because he was a Tamil, hence a traitor to his “people” according to the narrow nationalistic approach of the LTTE). The book opens up our horizon on Scandinavia and should enable us to widen our approach and to see the great influence Scandinavia (including Finland though their language and culture is Turkic, hence agglutinative) had in Europe when it accepted to become Christian and to integrate European procedures. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

  2. 5 out of 5

    mina

    As I’m currently interested in Vikings this seemed as a good place to start. Don’t expect it to go in depth about Viking history as it is too short for that; it’s solely a beginner’s guide, enough to spark an interest for further expedition in these waters.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fatima M. Nabil

    why was bluetooth tech called bluetooth? i've always wondered :D why was bluetooth tech called bluetooth? i've always wondered :D

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lanko

    Very good material in only 40 pages. For the reasons of the Viking invasions, details of their conversion to Christianism, arriving in America first and the fact they actually had some form of democracy in the Althing long before the rest of Europe.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Varun Nayak

    A short history of one of the most enigmatic peoples of Medieval Europe, this book stands true to its title; the book is concise and gives the broad outlines of Viking history in 80 odd pages.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    A good background read into Viking history

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma Que

    Fascinating Seems like an excellent starting off point to a study of viking history. Very simply put and assumes some prior knowledge of global history.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adam Carman

    Great summary! Picked up this book to review for a textbook chapter I'm writing. It is well written and hits all the high points! Great summary! Picked up this book to review for a textbook chapter I'm writing. It is well written and hits all the high points!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thom Swennes

    Few images have been as inspiring as the sight of large, blond, bearded, and horn-helmeted Vikings invading a peaceful and unsuspecting coastal village. Their dragon-headed longboats, with their single sail, banks of oars, and rows of rounded shields, inspire fear and awe even today. Who were these warriors from the north? Why did they descend on peaceful towns, villages, and hamlets so far from their native lands? Was it for financial gain? Was it for territorial gain? This short history explor Few images have been as inspiring as the sight of large, blond, bearded, and horn-helmeted Vikings invading a peaceful and unsuspecting coastal village. Their dragon-headed longboats, with their single sail, banks of oars, and rows of rounded shields, inspire fear and awe even today. Who were these warriors from the north? Why did they descend on peaceful towns, villages, and hamlets so far from their native lands? Was it for financial gain? Was it for territorial gain? This short history explores their motivations for invasion. It also gives the reader a brief chronicle of Viking activity from their first landing on the island of Lindisfarne in 793 AD to the establishment of a permanent base in Dublin, Ireland in 841 AD. The aggressive invasion, conquering, and pillaging stage soon gave way to another era. The era of discovery saw the Northern hordes sailed westward to discover and settle Iceland and Greenland. Further evidence seems to corroborate the legend that Lief Ericson discovered the North American mainland five hundred years before Christopher Columbus made his fateful voyage in 1492. It would be illogical to assume that the seafarers that braved the unknown of the North Atlantic would shun the much smaller Baltic Sea to the east. The Vikings settled throughout the Baltic countries and Russia; bring trade and influencing the indigenous peoples and cultures. From invading barbarians to peaceful settlers, farmers, and traders, the Vikings made their mark on the world around them. A publication of a mere forty pages can’t do justice to an era and people that so dramatically changed the world that surrounded them. Today it is hard to believe that the tolerant and liberal peoples of Scandinavia could have produced such fierce and barbaric warriors. Their history is a joy to discover and this book provides the reader with a welcome introduction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Atila Yumusakkaya

    A short and informative book about the Vikings. You will get familiar with the general characteristics of the Vikings and what they had done in history. It is astonishing to see that members of these northern communities with a warrior character are the most peaceful people of today. Also, it is interesting that in the process of transition to Christianity, they did not leave their old religion immediately and had the belief in two religions together. This is a book worth reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    I appreciate this book very much. I never knew that the Viking scourge of England and Ireland was due to the treatment the Vikings had received from Charlemagne and the Franks. I find the conversion of the Vikings to Christianity very interesting. I also find it interesting that The Tibetans, like the Vikings, were extremely aggressive and violent in their day, and yet both have become profoundly peaceful people seeking after a better and kinder world.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike Briley

    This short overview of the Vikings is interesting because it takes a different perspective from the usual Hollywoodian clichés. Vikings as the underdog fighting back is an original way of looking at history and the author provides some evidence for this. The hour it took me to read this book was well spent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Vikings: A Concise History Interesting and informative. Easy read for a quiet afternoon. Author has obviously done the research to help the reader get a better understanding of the truth about the Vikings

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ed Barton

    Good Read One of the best Hourly History books. Covers the 300 years or so of Viking influence from the Arctic Circle to Byzantium. Discussion includes religion, commerce, exploration, politics and more. A good and quick intro to the Vikings.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rajiv

    A good book in Norse Mythology to start off with. With concise information on this topic, you definitely get a broader aspect in the study of mythologies. It is a must read although I highly recommend to go for detailed study if you find this fascinating.

  16. 4 out of 5

    M L Evans

    Excellent A great read, perfectly concise but with really interesting facts throughout. It is remarkable how extensive the Viking exploration and raiding was. I was particularly interested in the background reasoning as to why they launched their raiding into mainland Europe.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Wendleton

    Short, but Interesting Very quick overview of their history and a lot less ruthless than I thought. Still interesting, but a little sad that, like everything else, the Vikings were highly political.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shamsher Singh

    A Rewarding Read ! Delve into the world of Vikings, who were once the fiercest warriors in the Northern hemisphere to the peace-loving citizens of the Scandinavian fraternity now. Both Enviable!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    It was a dark day in 793 CE when Viking ships landed on the island of Lindisfarne just off the shores of England. This may be a concise history but it is fascinating nonetheless. It added some interesting detail to the history of the vikings which I was already aware of, such as the fact that the early attacks on English monasteries was a direct result of Charlemagne attacking sites sacred to them. And among the most traumatic events in this holy war being raged against the Norse was in 772 It was a dark day in 793 CE when Viking ships landed on the island of Lindisfarne just off the shores of England. This may be a concise history but it is fascinating nonetheless. It added some interesting detail to the history of the vikings which I was already aware of, such as the fact that the early attacks on English monasteries was a direct result of Charlemagne attacking sites sacred to them. And among the most traumatic events in this holy war being raged against the Norse was in 772, when Charlemagne ordered to have the holy tree Yggdrasil—an object of great religious meaning to all the would-be Vikings of the region—burned down to the ground. It also details the vikings exploration across the globe from the more obvious Iceland and Greenland to the lesser known Newfoundland and Russian adventures. It was these Viking settlers of the Baltic that became known as the “Rus”, a name from which our concept of “Russia” and “Russian” is derived. I also found the reaction to the defeats by Byzantine empire rather interesting: And then just like the old adage “If you can’t beat them, join them”, the defeated Vikings soon began showing up at the gates of Constantinople not to fight but to be hired on for active duty in the Byzantine military. Finally, I couldn't help but think of Norweigan death metal bands when I read this line! Starting in that fateful year of 800, Norwegian bands began establishing themselves in the Orkneys and the Shetlands, part of the northernmost islands of Scotland.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Wiseman

    A thirst to know more about those intrepid Vikings of legendary history led me to this book. Who were the Vikings beyond the brash invaders in long ships? Did they really hold people to ransom in the 8th to 11th centuries A.D.? The Viking altercations with the Frankish emperor Charlemagne are intriguing. That explains one reason for Viking assaults on monasteries. In early days Vikings traded in human beings... people were sold as merchandise...But what people and why? The book leaves the questi A thirst to know more about those intrepid Vikings of legendary history led me to this book. Who were the Vikings beyond the brash invaders in long ships? Did they really hold people to ransom in the 8th to 11th centuries A.D.? The Viking altercations with the Frankish emperor Charlemagne are intriguing. That explains one reason for Viking assaults on monasteries. In early days Vikings traded in human beings... people were sold as merchandise...But what people and why? The book leaves the question hanging in space...The Vikings, at one stage, sacked and looted Paris...But then what? Often, this book makes amazing claims about the Vikings, but there is no evidence or source to substantiate the claims...So frustrating...Who would believe that Kiev Vikings became an elite military unit in the Byzantine Empire to protect the Emperor. So what active duty did they perform? Evidence? While this book only claims to be a concise history of the Vikings - intriguing as it may be - perhaps it is a little too concise for the history lover? My Poetic Review + Amazon Review Songlines on the Winds

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark Laufenberg

    I learned a lot of additional things about the Vikings. Probably like a lot of people, I only knew of them as warlike, marauders and explorers. Didn't know that the source of that behavior began with the harsh treatment that they received from Charlemagne and the Franks. I also knew little about their real culture and nothing about their societies. Didn't know about their conversion to Christianity either. The book was interesting throughout and with all of the new facts that I learned, it was a I learned a lot of additional things about the Vikings. Probably like a lot of people, I only knew of them as warlike, marauders and explorers. Didn't know that the source of that behavior began with the harsh treatment that they received from Charlemagne and the Franks. I also knew little about their real culture and nothing about their societies. Didn't know about their conversion to Christianity either. The book was interesting throughout and with all of the new facts that I learned, it was a worthwhile and enjoyable read to me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Terri Gostola

    It's a short, concise summary of Viking attacks, why they might have started, the areas that Vikings spread to, their accidental discovery of Iceland, Greenland, and America. The facts that are detailed in the book follow along with documentaries I have watched on Netflix and History Channel so I would say that on the outside the book appears to be accurate. I would have liked it if there was information about the Vikings way of life, what their homes were like, how they built their ships, etc., It's a short, concise summary of Viking attacks, why they might have started, the areas that Vikings spread to, their accidental discovery of Iceland, Greenland, and America. The facts that are detailed in the book follow along with documentaries I have watched on Netflix and History Channel so I would say that on the outside the book appears to be accurate. I would have liked it if there was information about the Vikings way of life, what their homes were like, how they built their ships, etc., but this short book did not go into any of that.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Esteban

    We're Vikings victims? In an attempt to change the typical view of the Norsemen as marauding mariners bent only on pillage and destruction (although with no mention of the term "viking" being a verb, not a noun) the writer points to Charlemagne and Co as the catalyst. There may be some truth in this view but this doesn't get in the way of a decent overview of the three peoples making up the Viking sagas We're Vikings victims? In an attempt to change the typical view of the Norsemen as marauding mariners bent only on pillage and destruction (although with no mention of the term "viking" being a verb, not a noun) the writer points to Charlemagne and Co as the catalyst. There may be some truth in this view but this doesn't get in the way of a decent overview of the three peoples making up the Viking sagas

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob Willis

    A Concise History of the Vikings Very interesting reading. I learned a great deal from this short history of the Vikings. I knew a little about their raiding the British Isles, but nothing more. Their raids and expansion east as far as present day Damascus and use of the European river system surprised me .I would recommend this book for readers who are interested in historical information.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carolina Casas

    A good way to start Viking history This is a good beginner's guide for history buffs who want to switch to a new historical topic or want others to become interested in the Vikings. It doesn't gloss over much and does a great job dispelling myths about these warring and sea faring groups. A good way to start Viking history This is a good beginner's guide for history buffs who want to switch to a new historical topic or want others to become interested in the Vikings. It doesn't gloss over much and does a great job dispelling myths about these warring and sea faring groups.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A Different Point of View This is a fascinating short history of several aspects of Norse history: exploration, religious beliefs, colonization, and political structures. I wish it had included a bibliography of additional sources for readers who want to delve deeper into the subject. Also, the book would benefit from the efforts of a good editor.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dhishna

    “The wrath of Charlemagne would soon strike them again ten years later however, when in 782 he ordered 4500 Pagans in Northern Germany and Southern Denmark rounded up and forcibly baptized. When these religious captives still refused to convert, he had them all beheaded.” I loved this fast read and the author has done a good job.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Not completely bad It's hard to say whether most of this can be believed. If all the books and documentaries I have seen on Viking history and traditions a lot of this is completely new to me. I am willing to fact check most of this since it doesn't seem factual but people often interpret things differently. Not completely bad It's hard to say whether most of this can be believed. If all the books and documentaries I have seen on Viking history and traditions a lot of this is completely new to me. I am willing to fact check most of this since it doesn't seem factual but people often interpret things differently.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ericka

    Good Introduction This is a good Introduction to the Vikings, but it plays a little fast and loose with facts. Many things they state as fact we just don't know for sure and they related quite a few anecdotes, but a kid interested in Vikings will find this a great first foray into the subject. Good Introduction This is a good Introduction to the Vikings, but it plays a little fast and loose with facts. Many things they state as fact we just don't know for sure and they related quite a few anecdotes, but a kid interested in Vikings will find this a great first foray into the subject.

  30. 5 out of 5

    ALEXANDRA BURROWS

    Enjoyable and easy to read I have a little bit of Danish in my family history and always wanted to know a little about them especially their ancient viking history. This book gave a taste but wasn't too heavy. Enjoyable and easy to read I have a little bit of Danish in my family history and always wanted to know a little about them especially their ancient viking history. This book gave a taste but wasn't too heavy.

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