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The Viking Diaspora presents the early medieval migrations of people, language and culture from mainland Scandinavia to new homes in the British Isles, the North Atlantic, the Baltic and the East as a form of ‘diaspora’. It discusses the ways in which migrants from Russia in the east to Greenland in the west were conscious of being connected not only to the people and traditions of their homelands, but also to other migrants of Scandinavian origin in many other locations. Rather than the movements of armies, this book concentrates on the movements of people and the shared heritage and culture that connected them. This on-going contact throughout half a millennium can be traced in the laws, literatures, material culture and even environment of the various regions of the Viking diaspora. Judith Jesch considers all of these connections, and highlights in detail significant forms of cultural contact including gender, beliefs and identities. Beginning with an overview of Vikings and the Viking Age, the nature of the evidence available, and a full exploration of the concept of ‘diaspora’, the book then provides a detailed demonstration of the appropriateness of the term to the world peopled by Scandinavians. This book is the first to explain Scandinavian expansion using this model, and presents the Viking Age in a new and exciting way for students of Vikings and medieval history.
This book is a study of communities that drew their identity and livelihood from their relationships with water during a pivotal time in the creation of the social, economic and political landscapes of northern Europe. It focuses on the Baltic, North and Irish Seas in the Viking Age (ad 1050–1200), with a few later examples (such as the Scottish Lordship of the Isles) included to help illuminate less well-documented earlier centuries. Individual chapters introduce maritime worlds ranging from the Isle of Man to Gotland — while also touching on the relationships between estate centres, towns, landing places and the sea in the more terrestrially oriented societies that surrounded northern Europe’s main spheres of maritime interaction. It is predominately an archaeological project, but draws no arbitrary lines between the fields of historical archaeology, history and literature. The volume explores the complex relationships between long-range interconnections and distinctive regional identities that are characteristic of maritime societies, seeking to understand communities that were brought into being by their relationships with the sea and who set waves in motion that altered distant shores.
Fourteen papers explore a variety of inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding the Viking past, both in Scandinavia and in the Viking diaspora. Contributions employ both traditional inter- or multi-disciplinarian perspectives such as using historical sources, Icelandic sagas and Eddic poetry and also specialised methodologies and/or empirical studies, place-name research, the history of religion and technological advancements, such as isotope analysis. Together these generate new insights into the technology, social organisation and mentality of the worlds of the Vikings. Geographically, contributions range from Iceland through Scandinavia to the Continent. Scandinavian, British and Continental Viking scholars come together to challenge established truths, present new definitions and discuss old themes from new angles. Topics discussed include personal and communal identity; gender relations between people, artefacts, and places/spaces; rules and regulations within different social arenas; processes of production, trade and exchange, and transmission of knowledge within both past Viking-age societies and present-day research. Displaying thematic breadth as well as geographic and academic diversity, the articles may foreshadow up-and-coming themes for Viking Age research. Rooted in different traditions, using diverse methods and exploring eclectic material _ Viking Worlds will provide the reader with a sense of current and forthcoming issues, debates and topics in Viking studies, and give insight into a new generation of ideas and approaches which will mark the years to come.
Stephen A. Mitchell here offers the fullest examination available of witchcraft in late medieval Scandinavia. He focuses on those people believed to be able—and who in some instances thought themselves able—to manipulate the world around them through magical practices, and on the responses to these beliefs in the legal, literary, and popular cultures of the Nordic Middle Ages. His sources range from the Icelandic sagas to cultural monuments much less familiar to the nonspecialist, including legal cases, church art, law codes, ecclesiastical records, and runic spells. Mitchell's starting point is the year 1100, by which time Christianity was well established in elite circles throughout Scandinavia, even as some pre-Christian practices and beliefs persisted in various forms. The book's endpoint coincides with the coming of the Reformation and the onset of the early modern Scandinavian witch hunts. The terrain covered is complex, home to the Germanic Scandinavians as well as their non-Indo-European neighbors, the Sámi and Finns, and it encompasses such diverse areas as the important trade cities of Copenhagen, Bergen, and Stockholm, with their large foreign populations; the rural hinterlands; and the insular outposts of Iceland and Greenland. By examining witches, wizards, and seeresses in literature, lore, and law, as well as surviving charm magic directed toward love, prophecy, health, and weather, Mitchell provides a portrait of both the practitioners of medieval Nordic magic and its performance. With an understanding of mythology as a living system of cultural signs (not just ancient sacred narratives), this study also focuses on such powerful evolving myths as those of "the milk-stealing witch," the diabolical pact, and the witches' journey to Blåkulla. Court cases involving witchcraft, charm magic, and apostasy demonstrate that witchcraft ideologies played a key role in conceptualizing gender and were themselves an important means of exercising social control.
Through runic inscriptions and behind the veil of myth, Jesch discovers the true story of viking women.
This book contains contributions by many leading scholars in Viking studies from Ireland, Britain, and Scandinavia, on diverse subjects including archaeological excavation, art historical analysis, linguistics, literature, politics, historical sources, numismatics, environmental remains, human remains, and artifact studies from c.795 to 1170. Aimed at both the non-specialist and the specialist reader, the book will prove to be a landmark publication in Viking studies for years to come. [Subject: History, Medieval Studies, Archaeology, Viking Studies, Irish Studies]
The analysis of silk is a fascinating topic for research in itself but here, focusing on the 9th and 10th centuries, Marianne Vedeler takes a closer look at the trade routes and the organization of production, trade and consumption of silk during the Viking Age. Beginning with a presentation of the silk finds in the Oseberg burial, the richest Viking burial find ever discovered, the other silk finds from high status graves in Scandinavia are discussed along with an introduction to the techniques used to produce raw silk and fabrics. Later chapters concentrate on trade and exchange, considering the role of silk items both as trade objects and precious gifts, and in the light of coin finds. The main trade routes of silk to Scandinavia along the Russian rivers, and comparable Russian finds are described and the production and regulation of silk in Persia, early Islamic production areas and the Byzantine Empire discussed. The final chapter considers silk as a social actor in various contexts in Viking societies compared to the Christian west.

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