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Viking Empires by Angelo Forte
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Viking Empires

by Angelo Forte

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More of a technical history - the authors go over in great detail the Viking boats and the nuances of the names of various types of boats. They discuss the literature in detail. This is a scholarly book (read: a bit dry), but not too large and has a wealth of information that I had no idea existed.

The book is more oriented with the Viking impact on Western Europe than the eastern Baltic. Although I chose to read it to get a better idea of Canute and the Danish empire which included Britain, Norway, Denmark and much of the Western Baltic, as well as the Baltic happenings, I ended up finding out quite a bit about the Orkneys, Faeroes, Hebrides, and Shetland Islands and Iceland. The section covering travels and colonization in Iceland, Greenland, and North America is a short but worthy read. The last 100 pages deal with how Scandinavia integrated into Europe and the Viking spirit was redirected into the crusades. The last 150 pages were much smoother flowing than the first few hundred.

Who would have thought the Orkneys, Hebrides, and Shetland Island groups were independent power blocks shaping the future of Western Europe? Nevertheless, they were players of significant activity and scope for a few hundred years. Including the Isle of Man, they were equivalent to the rulers of areas such as Galloway, Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria, Strathclyde,and the other smaller kingdoms that eventually crystallized into the greater nations of England and Scotland. Even after these two stabilized, these fringe power brokers played important parts as weights or counterweights to disrupt the balance or spoilers to the plans and schemes of the larger nations. The same enclosure movement that destroyed Scottish culture and independent farmers in the 17th century also depopulated and destroyed the cultures of these once-thriving peoples. Who knew? ( )
  Hae-Yu | May 12, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521829925, Hardcover)

Viking Empires is a definitive new history of five hundred years of Viking civilization and the first study of the global implications of the expansion, integration, and reorientation of the Viking World. From the first contact in the 790s, the book traces the political, military, social, cultural and religious history of the Viking Age from Iceland to Lithuania. The authors show that it is no longer possible to understand the history of the Norman Conquest, the successes of David I of Scotland, or German settlement in Poland, Prussia and the Baltic States without integrating the internal history of Scandinavia. The book concludes with a new account of the end of the Viking era, arguing that there was no sudden decline but only the gradual absorption of the Scandinavian kingdoms into the larger project of the crusades and a refocusing of imperial ambitions on the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. The authors, experts in Scottish history, medieval studies, and law, have taught a course on Viking history to undergraduates at the University of Aberdeen for a number of years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:11 -0400)

"Viking Empires is a definitive new history of five hundred years of Viking civilisation and the first study of the global implications of the expansion, integration and reorientation of the Viking world. Offering an assessment of Scandinavian society before the 790s, the book traces the political, military, cultural and religious history of the Viking Age from Iceland to the Baltic states. The authors show that it is not possible to understand the history of the Norman Conquest, the successes of David I of Scotland or the relationship between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy without considering the impact of the history of Scandinavia. The book concludes with a new account of the end of the Viking era, arguing that there was no sudden decline but the gradual absorption of the Scandinavian kingdoms into the project of the crusades and a refocusing of imperial ambitions on the Baltic and eastern Europe."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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