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The Vikings

Far more than berserkers on the rampage, the Vikings were magnificent seafarers, explorers, traders, artists and poets. Viking artifacts can be found from Newfoundland to Russia, while their blood flows in the veins of countless European peoples.

In the British Isles, the Vikings held the Shetland, Orkney, and many of the Hebridean islands of Scotland for hundreds of years - the great warlord Somerled, progenitor of Clan Donald, was half Viking.

Likewise in Ireland - the Vikings held much of the country and established most of the cities, including Dublin.

The Danes and their Danelaw became a valued part of English history, producing one of the greatest English kings - Canute. Having conquered Normandy two hundred years before the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror and his Normans were, in fact, Vikings.

Viking culture and mythology has intertwined with the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon to produce the unique and varied heritage of the British Isles.

Buy Books about the Vikings
The Vikings
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The Vikings
by Else Roesdahl

Much more than explorers, traders, and fighters, the Vikings possessed a vibrant culture that informs our civilization to the present day. This well-organized and well-written book covers all aspects of the people and their history. Very good.
A History of the Vikings
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A History of the Vikings
by Gwyn Jones

From the earliest Greek and Roman references, through the end of their invasions in 1066, from North America to Russia, Jones covers the history of the Vikings in straight-forward, thorough style.
Historical Atlas of the Vikings
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The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
by John Haywood

Full-color, double-page maps with accompany notations bring the sweep of Viking conquest, trade and exploration to life. By helping us visualize the routes, terrain, and places people travel, maps make the stories seem more real and up close. Highly recommended.
The Viking Discovery of America
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The Viking Discovery of America: The Excavation of a Norse Settlement in L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland
by Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad

The Ingstads discovered and excavated the site of Vinland in the 1960s - not just a dry archeological read, this is a fascinating mystery story as they piece together legends and stories to locate the site and are rewarded with remarkable discoveries. Beautifully illustrated with maps and photographs.
Chronicles of the Vikings
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Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials and Myths
by R. I. Page

Terrific translations of original sources - runic inscriptions, poetry and prose, historical accounts - eyewitness history at its best. Dr. Page explains the texts and puts them into context. This is a very accessible book, for those just beginning to explore the Viking world and those who already know a lot.
Cultural Atlas of the Viking World
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Cultural Atlas of the Viking World
by Colleen E. Batey, et al

Amply illustrated photo tour of Viking sites around the world, demonstrating and discussing every aspect of Viking life - burial customs, religion, ships, art, clothing and jewelry, and more. Wonderful for reading through or browsing here and there.
Women in the Viking Age
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Women in the Viking Age
by Judith Jesch

Jesch does an outstanding job of collating available resources (archeological, historical, runic, placenames, sagas, etc.) into a coherent and readable book detailing all we know about how Viking women lived. Lots of photographs and illustrations.
Nordic Religions in the Viking Age
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Nordic Religions in the Viking Age
by Thomas A. Dubois

A fascinating look at the evolution of Norse religion during Viking times, as they interacted with surrounding cultures - Christian, shamanistic, pagan - and other peoples - Celtic, Finnish, Mediterranean, etc. Not an exposition of Norse religious beliefs, but rather a cultural history of the times.
The Viking Art of War
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The Viking Art of War
by Paddy Griffith

Griffith is an expert in military history and answers here the question: How did they do it? Chockful of maps, diagrams, and illustrations, this book details all aspects of Viking military strategy and explains their ability to defeat enemies of tremendously varied background, weapons and tactics.
Viking Weapons and Warfare
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Viking Weapons & Warfare
by J. Kim Siddorn

Siddorn focuses on types of Viking weaponry - their design, manufacture and use in war. A terrific book for reenactors or craftsmen, fairly technical. Illustrated.
Medieval Iceland
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Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power
by Jesse L. Byock

Long after the heyday of Viking expansion, Iceland was an independent republic with a vibrant, unique culture. In this book, Byock explains the world of medieval Iceland through the lens of the great Icelandic sagas, written in the 12th century. A wonderful resource to read along with the legends.
Saxo Grammaticus : History of the Danes
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Saxo Grammaticus: The History of the Danes Books I-IX
translated by Peter Fisher, edited by Hilda Ellis Davidson

Saxo was a monk living in 12th-13th century Copenhagen. Originally written in Latin, this is the first history of the Danes, beginning with earliest mythological times. This wonderful history is filled with warrior-kings, blood and guts, and norse mythology.