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Vikings at War (Hardback)

Ancient History

By Kim Hjardar, Vegard Vike
Imprint: Casemate UK
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781612004037
Published: 1st October 2016



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Viking ships landed on almost every shore in the Western world during the 350 years that followed the introduction of the sail into the region, from the 9th to the 11th century. Viking ravages united the Spanish kingdoms and stopped Charlemagne and the Franks' advance in Europe. Wherever Viking ships roamed, enormous suffering followed in their wake, but the encounter between cultures changed both European and Nordic societies.

Employing unorthodox and unpredictable strategies, which were hard for more organized forces to respond to, the most crucial element of the Viking’s success was their basic strategy of evading the enemy by arriving by sea, then attacking quickly and with great force before withdrawing quickly. The warrior class dominated in a militarized society. Honour was everything, and breaking promises and ruining one’s posthumous reputation were considered worse than death itself. If a man offended another man’s honour, the only way out was blood revenge.

Never before have the Viking art of war, weapons and the history of their conquests been presented together in such detail. With over 380 colour illustrations including beautiful reconstruction drawings, maps, cross-section drawings of ships, line-drawings of fortifications, battle plan reconstructions and photos of surviving artefacts including weapons and jewellery,

Vikings at Warprovides a vivid account of one of Europe’s most exciting epochs. Vikings at Warwas awarded the Norwegian literary prize ‘Saga Prize’ in 2012; currently in its fourth printing in Norwegian, this translation makes it available for the first time in English.

★★★★★ The authors’ purpose in writing this book was to provide readers with a vivid look into the Viking Age, and this they consummately achieve. Even though the writing isn’t always riveting, nuanced insights and delightful historical tidbits make this volume not only a worthy addition to any collection specialising in Scandinavian history, but also a stellar resource for history buffs and authors seeking background for their novels.

Read the complete review here.

Pirates and Privateers, Cindy Vallar

About Kim Hjardar

Kim Hjardar holds a MPhil in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture from the University of Oslo and works as a lecturer in history at St Hallvard College. He has been involved in Viking and Medieval studies for more than fifteen years, both as a professional and through living history re-enactment. He is head of Norway’s biggest and oldest Viking re-enactment association.

About Vegard Vike

Vegard Vike is archaeological conservator at the Museum of Cultural History, Oslo. He has researched Viking handicraft technologies extensively. He works on a daily basis with X-rays and microscopes and the meticulous surface-cleaning of weapons from exhumed graves, which has given him a deep and thorough knowledge of the subject. He has also trained in martial arts using the different weapons of the era, as well as carrying out actual weapons production based on historical weaponsmith techniques.

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