The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships to explore. The Age of the Vikings tells the full story of this exciting period in history. Drawing on a wealth of written, visual, and archaeological evidence, Anders Winroth captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage. He not only explains the Viking attacks, but also looks at Viking endeavors in commerce, politics, discovery, and colonization, and reveals how Viking arts, literature, and religious thought evolved in ways unequaled in the rest of Europe. The Age of the Vikings sheds new light on the complex society, culture, and legacy of these legendary seafarers.
Commended for PROSE Awards: European and World History 2015.
Honorable Mention for the 2015 PROSE Award in European & World History, Association of American Publishers One of The New York Post's Best Books of 2014 "[Winroth] has an impressive knowledge of the sources, the archaeology, and the modern historical literature... Winroth really knows what he is writing about, and has done the research... I recommend the work to anyone with little knowledge of the subject and a wish to learn more."--Eric Christiansen, New York Review of Books "Winroth really knows what he is writing about... I recommend the work to anyone with little knowledge of the subject and a wish to learn more."--Eric Christiansen, New York Review of Books "Mr. Winroth's account is superior to all its most recent competitors. He avoids what has become the traditional chronological narrative, centering his chapters instead on themes: violence first, regrettably; but then emigration, trade, state-formation and eventually, with some relief, life 'home on the farm.' He also has the happy knack of seizing on a fascinating detail to open each chapter."--Tom Shippey, Wall Street Journal "[I]nsightful, informative ... delightful chapters that flesh out our understanding of the Norsemen's world in a way that no bare narrative could... The Age of the Vikings is a wonderfully compact and fascinating companion to many facets of the Viking world... This book should prove a fascinating and rewarding read for those seeking to deepen their understanding of the Viking world."--Philip Parker, Literary Review "[T]his book is obviously where to start for anyone fed up with MGM's 'Vikings' and even remotely interested in the real story behind."--Karen Schousboe, Medieval Histories "If a person wants to approach the Viking Period for the first time or get a refresher on where scholarship is standing right now, then I am happy to recommend this fine book."--Martin Rundkvist, Aardvarcha "There was more to this seafaring civilization."--Michael Kane, New York Post "I loved this book... His prose is sharp and compelling, and often left me wanting more (in a good way)... Age of the Vikings captures the wanderlust of its subjects, placing the Vikings all over Europe and the Middle East. Winroth's Norse aren't just raiders or farmers, they are merchants, poets, warriors, and sailors... The lives of the Vikings often make for romantic fonder and good television shows, but their lives were far more complicated than those mediums let on."--Jason Mankey, Patheos "Winroth has penned a fast-paced, slender volume on the Viking Age designed for general readers...With a style that is vivid, engaging, and brilliant in detail, Winroth skillfully summarizes an impressive body of scholarship not available to most readers. He re-creates the drudgery of farm work to the far-ranging trade in exotic goods, evoking daily life in Viking Age Scandinavia."--Choice "[T]his is a detailed and scholarly work, with the full paraphernalia of notes, references and bibliography, but is very well-written and provides a most accessible and readable introduction to the Viking era, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the topic."--Jon Grimr, Magonia blog "This book ... remains such an enjoyable read that readers will find themselves carried along quickly from chapter to chapter."--Kerstin Hundahl, Scandia "Vivid, engaging, and brilliant in detail."--Choice
Anders Winroth is the Forst Family Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of "The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe" and "The Making of Gratian's Decretum."
1 Introduction: The Fury of the Northmen 1 2 Violence in a Violent Time 15 3 Roriks at Home and Away: Viking Age Emigration 45 4 Ships, Boats, and Ferries to the Afterworld 71 5 Coins, Silk, and Herring: Viking Age Trade in Northern Europe 99 6 From Chieftains to Kings 131 7 At Home on the Farm 157 8 The Religions of the North 181 9 Arts and Letters 213 10 Epilogue: The End of the Viking Age 241 Further Reading 249 Acknowledgments 253 Abbreviations 255 Notes 257 Bibliography 275 List of Illustrations 289 Index 293