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Armies of the Vikings, AD 793–1066 (Hardback)

History, Organization and Equipment

Ancient History Photographic Books Colour Books Military

By Gabriele Esposito
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 50 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399008396
Published: 13th October 2021


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Viking warriors were feared by their contemporaries and their ferocious reputation has survived down to the present day. This book covers the military history of the Vikings from their early raiding to the final failure of their expansionist ambitions directed against England. In that period Viking warbands and increasingly large armies had left their Scandinavian homelands to range across vast regions, including the whole of Northern Europe and beyond, even reaching North America. The British Isles were terrorized for two centuries and at times largely conquered, in Normandy, Russia and elsewhere they also settled and founded states. Tough, skilled and resourceful, with a culture that embraced the pursuit of immortal fame and a heroic death in battle, their renown as warriors was second to none. As far afield as Constantinople, the Byzantine emperors employed them as their elite Varangian Guard.

Gabriele Esposito outlines the history of their campaigns and battles and examines in detail their strategy, tactics, weapons, armour and clothing. The subject is brought to life by dozens of colour photographs of replica equipment in use.

An enjoyable exploration of the Vikings, packed with easy-to-digest information for both the Viking enthusiast and those who are marginally interested in learning more about them.

NetGalley, David Wiley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Addictive essay about war times in Viking Age. Well written, easy to follow, and full of interesting information.

NetGalley, Donde acaba el infinito

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Exploring the military history (AD 793-1066) of the Vikings, this accessible work of nonfiction examines their global impact including key campaigns, battles, and warriors. Of particular note is the use of high quality color photographs of re-enactors and emphasis on strategy, tactics, weapons, armor, and clothing.

NetGalley, Annette Lamb

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A supposed descendant of mighty Vikings, particularly Erik the Great, I am always curious and interested in historical research related to Vikings. Armies of the Vikings, AD 793–1066, did not disappoint! The content is informative and brings these warriors to life. The explanations of their plights, reasons, and rationales for some choices were helpful. I love that it covers a lot of land and it written in a way that non-academics can enjoy. Saying that, the images were vivid and stunning and can hold the attention of any reader. I appreciated the re-enactors bringing these warriors to a contemporary audience.

NetGalley, Brandi Rawlins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Any book about Vikings is pretty much guaranteed to get at least 4 stars from me. "Armies of the Vikings, AD 793–1066" managed to get the top rating by bringing Viking armies to life. I almost expected to see a couple of Vikings charging through my living room! It's written in a style that makes it easy to read, it's entertaining, and the photos are an added bonus. Great stuff!

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you are looking for a definitive guide of the Vikings from 793-1066 AD, please check this book out. I’ve learned so much from this book, more than I ever thought possible. You do learn about the spread of the Vikings, how certain groups went to Britain, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany, Germany, Jutland, and even coming so far as to the shores of North America, long before any other sea-faring explorers.
One of my favorite quotes from this book was, “Consequently, we can say that all Vikings were Norsemen, but that only some Norsemen were Vikings.” That really hits when we hear all those people who have their ancestry traced back to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and automatically assume that their family were part of the ancient Vikings. We learn that not all Vikings went raiding and left their homeland. Some stayed and were farmers, they had villages, etc. It was only a portion that left.
You also learn what happened to different groups that left their homeland. We learned about their mindset for example, when a group realized that in order to get a foothold in what’s now called England, they would have to band together and fight the different kingdoms, they couldn’t do it on their own, that separate, they were too small.
We learned not only what was happening abroad, we learned what happened in their homeland as well. We learn about such battles as the Battle of Nesjar in 1016; the reign of Cnut the Great, ruler of not only England, but Denmark, Norway, and Sweden before finally passing in 1035.
No, we can’t talk about a Viking book that doesn’t talk about what the Vikings did later on when they hit the Kingdom of the Isles, Britain, Ireland, and all the minor islands. But the Vikings of course didn’t refer to them in those terms because no one did at that time. The Vikings referred to them as the “Northern Islands” and the “Southern Irelands”. The Northern Islands were the Shetlands and the Orkney Islands (mainly Norwegian). And the Southern Islands were the Hebrides, Islands of Firth and Clyde, and The Isle of Man (mainly Scandinavian). If you want to know what went on with all these islands, please check out this book. Like I stated previously, no school history book taught me so much.
The history of the area has been mostly a wild and hostile one at that time. There were always wars, battles, fighting. The Vikings were great raiders, and this was the first time I heard them referred to as pirates, but it makes sense.
I could go on and on, but if you want to really want to take a deep dive into the Vikings from 793AD until the beginning of the Middle Ages, please check this book out, Mr. Esposito has done a great job.

NetGalley, Crystal Waldele

Armies of the Vikings is a truly fascinating fact-finding tour through the ages beautifully written by Gabriele Esposito.
Well researched and well written, easy and clear to understand text. The book is full of wonderfully detailed observations of Viking life.
The book offers insight into Viking strategies and tactics and why they were so formidable.
As it covers the military history of the Vikings that played such a significant part in Great Britain’s history, it is an engaging read.
The subject is vividly brought to life by a variety of colour photographs of replica equipment in use.
The author has packed a lot into this publication, and thanks to the re-enactment societies, has bought the outfits and weaponry to life.

NetGalley, John Derek

Perhaps the most misunderstood race of people in history, the Vikings continue to fascinate us nearly a thousand years since they first terrorised England and Europe.
The first documented Viking raid on the British Isles occurred in 793 when a force ravaged the island of Lindisfarne. Their reign of terror ended in the turning-point year of 1066, when the Vikings saw their power diminished after defeat at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
Gabrielle Esposito’s excellent book takes us from the early invasions and occupation of Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria, through several battles between the Vikings and Saxons ending in a peace treaty and the creation of the Danelaw state in eastern England.
Several Scandinavian warlords enjoyed stints as Kings of England, culminating in the long reign of Cnut the Great from 1017. Eventually, Norman influence began to be felt in England with the reign of Edward the Confessor, culminating in the subsequent conquest of England by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This decisive event marked the end of the Vikings’ plans to fully conquer England.
There are also chapters on the Viking presence in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, a section on the “Kingdom of the Isles”, (the name given to the islands surrounding the British Isles which were under Viking rule, such as the Shetlands and Orkney), and an overview of the Vikings in Europe. Their prowess as Medieval explorers is also explored.
A short, easy but informative read, Gabrielle Esposito has written an accessible guide to the Vikings which eschews the more fanciful myths in favour of hard facts. The book also includes many colour photos from the members of reenactment societies depicting the appearance of Viking warriors from various regions.

NetGalley, Wyn Lewis

About Gabriele Esposito

Gabriele Esposito is an Italian researcher and a long-time student of military history, whose interests and expertise range widely over various periods. Most of his recent studies have been dedicated to the reconstruction of the organization, functioning and tactics of the armies across history; in each of his publications there is always some relevant space dedicated to the 'material culture'of the various armies taken into account and - more in particular - to the empirical science known as 'uniformology'. Gabriele is the author of numerous books on armies and uniforms and is a regular contributor to many specialized magazines in Italy, France, Netherlands and UK. His many previous works include the following in this series:  Wellington's Infantry 1800-1815; Napoleon's Imperial Guard and Wellington's Cavalry and Technical Corps, also published by Pen & Sword. He lives in southern Italy, near the ancient battlefield of Beneventum.

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