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Written Sources for the Viking Age
Course code: SCANGM05
Course tutor: Haki Antonsson, Scandinavian Studies Department.
Time: Fridays, 10am-12am, room TBA, but likely to be Dr Antonsson's office
This course explores how the past was perceived in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Scandinavia. This period produced the earliest national histories in Norway and Denmark (in Latin) while in Iceland sagas about events of that country were composed in the Old Norse vernacular. The course examines the manner in which Scandinavian authors presented the history of kingdoms (and an Icelandic republic) which were Christianized at a relatively late date or around the turn of the first millennium. How, for instance, did these authors approach the pagan and Viking past of their ancestors, the conversion of the region to Christianity, and the rise of the national monarchies? The Scandinavian corpus will be examined in the context of an epoch in European intellectual life which has traditionally been labeled the ‘Twelfth-Century Renaissance’. All texts will be read in English translations.
Assessment: one 3-hour unseen examination.
Preparatory reading: An excellent first port of call is The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings, ed. Peter Sawyer (2001). The Viking World, ed. Stefan Brink and Neil Price (2008) contains short, up-to-date, articles on numerous topics. On the transition from the ‘Viking-Age’ to the Christian Middle Ages, see the Scandinavian chapters in the Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus’ca, 900-1200 (2007).
Page last modified on 26 sep 12 08:59