THE VIKINGS by Holger Arbman


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A new approach to the Vikings, viewing them not as raiders, blood-thirsty and , but as traders, who found it necessary to go beyond their local confines for and trade, and who became conquerors and colonists only occasionally -- this is based on the archaeological findings in all areas where the Viking ships-warrior ships and trading ships alike made their way. The author, a leading Swedish archaeologist, has traced the probable pattern of life in Scandinavia, the advance in patterns of ship-building technology, the primitiveness of the settlements from which the ships set forth. of their trade ships and weapons- tell much of the story:- axe, sword, short knife, shields, , mail shirts- very different from those in the Bayeux tapestries. The arts and crafts were largely found in the ships and weapons; little is known of household stencils, or of the womenfolk from any angle. The evidence of Scandinavian backgrounds in sites of military camps and graves and ports, excavations of garrisons and merchant . The British , the islands of the Atlantic- these were first from the 9th century on, and the Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells of King Arthur's efforts to them. Survivals still exist in names,- of people, streets, places. The Kingdom of York and the -the rule in Ireland- the penetration of the Continent, from trading posts near the coast, down to bloody conflict with the Moors of Spain-but few remains have been found. Much of what Arbman writes of the Vikings and Russia will be new to most readers though Kiev and Novgorod and Finland kept the stamp. Ireland, Greenland and America came relatively late. The final section, amply supported by fine plates and numerous sketches, traces the art of the Vikings, the Dancs and so on. An important book in a limited field. A fine piece of book making.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1961
Publisher: Praeger