The Vikings

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The Vikings have a kind of dual existence in popular culture, where the Hollywood image of horned helmeted warriors set on rape and pillage has largely been replaced with a less exciting vision of trade and settlement. Robert Ferguson's new interpretation of the Viking Age, whilst rejecting the cliches aims to return some of the violence to the mix. He argues that the Viking raids were qualitatively different than anything that had gone before precisely because of this violence, and his largely narrative account gives plentiful details of battles and conquest alongside evidence for their more peaceful activities. The thread which runs through the account though is the confrontation between a Heathen Scandinavia and the Christian kingdoms to its south and west, and the processes whereby the Viking kingdoms came to be Christianised.

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