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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.
Thomas DuBois unravels for the first time the history of the Nordic religions in the Viking Age. "A seminal study of Nordic religions that future scholars will not be able to avoid."—Church History
In the dying days of the eighth century, the Vikings erupted onto the international stage with brutal raids and slaughter. The medieval Norsemen may be best remembered as monk murderers and village pillagers, but this is far from the whole story. Throughout the Middle Ages, long-ships transported hairy northern voyagers far and wide, where they not only raided but also traded, explored and settled new lands, encountered unfamiliar races, and embarked on pilgrimages and crusades. The Norsemen travelled to all corners of the medieval world and beyond; north to the wastelands of arctic Scandinavia, south to the politically turbulent heartlands of medieval Christendom, west across the wild seas to Greenland and the fringes of the North American continent, and east down the Russian waterways trading silver, skins, and slaves. Beyond the Northlands explores this world through the stories that the Vikings told about themselves in their sagas. But the depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders, and kings. To explore the sagas and the world that produced them, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough now takes her own trip through the dramatic landscapes that they describe. Along the way, she illuminates the rich but often confusing saga accounts with a range of other evidence: archaeological finds, rune-stones, medieval world maps, encyclopaedic manuscripts, and texts from as far away as Byzantium and Baghdad. As her journey across the Old Norse world shows, by situating the sagas against the revealing background of this other evidence, we can begin at least to understand just how the world was experienced, remembered, and imagined by this unique culture from the outermost edge of Europe so many centuries ago.
While the study of networks has grown exponentially in the past decade and is now having an impact on how archaeologists study ancient societies, its emergence in the field has been dislocated. This volume provides a coherent framework on network analysis in current archaeological practice by pulling together its main themes and approaches to show how it is changing the way archaeologists face the key questions of regional interaction. Working with the term 'network' as a collection of nodes and links, as used in network science and social network analysis, it juxtaposes a range of case studies and investigates the positives and negatives of network analysis. With contributions by leading experts in the field, the volume covers a broad range: from Japan to America, from the Palaeolithic to the Precolumbian.
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.

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