The Viking Age: A Reader, Second Edition

Edited by Angus A. Somerville and R. Andrew McDonald

© 2014

In assembling, translating, and arranging over a hundred primary source readings, Somerville and McDonald successfully illuminate the Vikings and their world for twenty-first-century students and instructors. The diversity of the Viking Age is brought to life through the range of sources presented, and the geographical and chronological coverage of these readings. The Norse translations, many of them new to this collection, are straightforward and easily accessible, and the chapter introductions contextualize the readings while allowing the sources to speak for themselves.

The second edition of this popular reader has been revised and reorganized into fourteen chapters. Nearly twenty sources have been added, including material on children, games and entertainment, and runic inscriptions, as well as new readings on the martyrdom of Alfeah, the life of Saint Findan, and the martyrdom of Saint Edmund.

The reader can be paired for classroom use with its companion volume, The Vikings and Their Age, authored by Somerville and McDonald. Together, these books provide comprehensive coverage for a course on the Vikings. Additional resources, such as a detailed bibliography and instructions on reading skaldic poetry, can be found on the History Matters website (www.utphistorymatters.com).

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 528 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.3in x 9.2in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO

Book Formats

SKU# HE000573

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2014
    From: $49.95
    ISBN 9781442608672
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2014
    From: $110.00
    ISBN 9781442608689
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2014
    From: $39.95

Quick Overview

In assembling, translating, and arranging over a hundred primary source readings, Somerville and McDonald successfully illuminate the Vikings and their world for twenty-first-century students and instructors.

The Viking Age: A Reader, Second Edition

Edited by Angus A. Somerville and R. Andrew McDonald

© 2014

In assembling, translating, and arranging over a hundred primary source readings, Somerville and McDonald successfully illuminate the Vikings and their world for twenty-first-century students and instructors. The diversity of the Viking Age is brought to life through the range of sources presented, and the geographical and chronological coverage of these readings. The Norse translations, many of them new to this collection, are straightforward and easily accessible, and the chapter introductions contextualize the readings while allowing the sources to speak for themselves.

The second edition of this popular reader has been revised and reorganized into fourteen chapters. Nearly twenty sources have been added, including material on children, games and entertainment, and runic inscriptions, as well as new readings on the martyrdom of Alfeah, the life of Saint Findan, and the martyrdom of Saint Edmund.

The reader can be paired for classroom use with its companion volume, The Vikings and Their Age, authored by Somerville and McDonald. Together, these books provide comprehensive coverage for a course on the Vikings. Additional resources, such as a detailed bibliography and instructions on reading skaldic poetry, can be found on the History Matters website (www.utphistorymatters.com).

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 528 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.3in x 9.2in
  • Reviews

    The second edition of The Viking Age: A Reader comprises a splendid collection of primary documents relating to the Viking period. What was already an extraordinarily broad reader has in its second edition become even more useful through the inclusion of additional texts illuminating Viking life, notably those depicting childhood and entertainment. One is hard put to think of any text suitable for study of the Vikings that is not found here.
    Marianne E. Kalinke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    The Viking Age is useful; the pieces are well selected and well translated. The next time I teach a Viking class, this is a text that will be assigned.
    Benjamin Hudson, Pennsylvania State University
  • Author Information

    Angus A. Somerville is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University.


    R. Andrew McDonald is Professor in the Department of History at Brock University.
  • Table of contents

    Map of the Viking World

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Chapter One: The Scandinavian Homelands
    1. The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan
    2. A Description of the Islands of the North

    Chapter Two: Scandinavian Society
    3. The Lay of Rig (Rigspula)
    4. Politics in Harald Finehair's Norway
    5. Hoskuld Buys a Slave
    6. How the Hersir Erling Treated His Slaves

    Chapter Three: Early Religion and Belief
    7. The Norse Creation-Myth
    8. Ragnarok: The Doom of the Gods
    9. A Prophetess in Greenland
    10. Odin's Wisdom and Arts
    11. Odin Welcomes Eirik Bloodax to Valhalla
    12. Odin Hangs on Yggdrasil
    13. Odin and Human Sacrifice
    (a) The Death of King Vikar
    (b) The Deaths of Domaldi and Olaf Tretelgja
    14. Sigurd, the Earl of Lade, Sacrifices to the Gods
    15. The Temple at Uppsala
    16. A Temple in Iceland
    17. King Harald Gormsson and the Land-Spirits
    18 Norse Funeral Practices
    (a) Snorri's History of Burial Practices
    (b) Odin Orders Cremation and Becomes a God
    (c) The Death of Baldur the Good
    (d) Gunnar's Burial Mound
    19. The Living Dead
    (a) Gunnar's Posthumous Poem
    (b) Grettir's Fight with Glam

    Chapter Four: Women in the Viking Age
    20. Unn the Deep-Minded Takes Control of her Life
    21. Queen Gunnhild Has her Way with Hrut
    22. The Prowess of Freydis, Daughter of Eirik the Red
    23. A Warrior-Woman
    24. Gudrun Drives her Sons to Take Revenge
    25. Gudrun Osvifrsdaughter's Incitement of her Sons
    26. The Goading of Hildigunn
    27. Betrothals from the Sagas
    (a) The Betrothal of Olaf Hoskuldsson
    (b) How Unn Mordsdaughter Found Herself Betrothed
    28. Divorces from the Sagas
    (a) How Gudrun Divorced Thorvald
    (b) Vigdis Divorces Thord Goddi
    (c) How Aud Dealt with her Humiliating Divorce

    Chapter Five: Viking Warriors and their Weapons
    29. The Accomplishments of a Viking Warrior
    (a) Earl Rognvald Kali on Being a Gentleman
    (b) Gunnar Hamundarson, the Ideal Warrior
    (c) Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway
    30. Berserkers and the Berserk Rage
    (a) Odin's Berserks
    (b) The Rage of Skallagrim and Egil
    (c) Egil Fights a Berserk
    (d) Grettir Fights a Berserk
    31. Weapons
    (a) King Magnus Barelegs Dresses to Kill
    (b) The Sword Skofnung
    (c) Sigmund, Sigurd, and the Sword Gram
    (d) Saint Olaf's Sword, Hneitir
    (e) Viking Age Swords

    Chapter Six: Fjord-Serpents: Viking Ships
    32. King Olaf Tryggvason Builds the Long Serpent
    33. Harald Sigurdarson's Splendid Ship
    34. King Sverrir's Mariasud
    35. The Great Ships of King Hakon IV
    36. Animal Heads on the Prows of Ships
    37. Sea-Battles in the Sagas
    (a) Olaf Tryggvason at the Battle of Svold
    (b) Rognvald and Thorfinn the Mighty Fight It Out in the Orkneys
    (c) Earl Rognvald Kali in the Mediterranean
    (d) The Battle of Fimreite (Norafjord), 1184

    Chapter Seven: "Sudden and Unforseen Attacks of Northmen"
    38. On the Causes of the Viking Expansion
    39. Viking Raids on England, 789-850/1
    40. Alcuin's Letter to King Athelred, 793
    41. An English Gospel Book Ransomed from the Vikings
    42. Viking Raids on Ireland, 795-842
    43. The Martyrdom of Blathmac, 825
    44. The Life of Saint Findan
    45. Irish Resistance to the Norsemen
    46. Franks and Vikings, 800-829
    47. The Northmen in France, 843-865
    48. The Annals of St-Vast, 882-886
    49. An Account of the Siege of Paris, 885-886
    50. Vikings in the Iberian Peninsula
    (a) Ibn al-Kutia
    (b) Ibn Adhari

    Chapter Eight: "The Heathens Stayed": From Raiding to Settlement
    51. Viking Activities in England, 851-900
    52. The Martyrdom of Saint Edmund
    53. The Vikings in Ireland, 845-917
    54. Ketil Flatnose and his Descendants in the Hebrides
    55. Earl Sigurd and the Establishment of the Earldom of Orkney
    56. Runic Inscriptions from Maes Howe, Mainland, Orkney
    57. Runic Inscriptions from the Isle of Man
    58. Rollo Obtains Normandy from the King of the Franks

    Chapter Nine: Austrveg: The Viking Road to the East
    59. The Piraeus Lion
    60. The Rus
    61. The Rus Attack Constantinople
    62. On the Arrival of the Varangians
    63. A Muslim Diplomat Meets Rus Merchants on the Volga River
    64. River Routes to Constantinople
    65. A Norwegian Soldier of Fortune in the East
    66. Rus Expeditions to the Middle East
    67. The Yngvar Runestones

    Chapter Ten: Into the Western Ocean, The Faeroes, Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland
    68. The Islands in the Northern Ocean, ca 825
    69. Sailing Directions and Distances in the North Atlantic
    70. The Western Ocean
    71. Adam of Bremen on Iceland
    72. Icelandic Accounts of the Discovery and Settlement of Iceland
    (a) The Book of the Icelanders
    (b) The Book of Settlements
    (c) The Saga of the People of Eyri
    73. Skallagrim's Landtake in Iceland
    74. The Settlement of Greenland
    (a) The Book of the Icelanders
    (b) The Book of Settlements
    75. The King's Mirror on Greenland
    76. Adam of Bremen on Vinland
    77. The Norse Discovery of Vinland
    78. Thorfinn Karlsefni in Vinland

    Chapter Eleven: Viking Life and Death
    79. Advice for Sailors and Merchants
    80. Svein Asleifarson's Viking Life
    81. Egil in Youth and Old Age
    82. Children
    (a) Young Grettir helps around the Farm
    (b) Children Mimic Adults
    (c) The Child is Mother of the Woman
    (d) Choosing Sides in a Game
    83. Games and Entertainment
    (a) A Horse-fight from Njal's Saga
    (b) A Horse-fight from Grettir's Saga
    (c) A Throwing Game from Bard's Saga
    (d) Games at Sand from Hord's Saga
    (e) Entertainment at a Wedding Feast at Reykjaholar from The Saga of Thorgils and Haflidi
    (f) Mock Lawsuits from The Saga of the People of Ljosavatn
    84. The Jomsvikings Meet Their End
    85. The Death of Gunnar
    86. The Burning of Njal
    87. The Death of Thormod Kolbrunarskald

    Chapter Twelve: From Odin to Christ
    88. Early Missions to the North: The Life of Saint Anskar
    89. The Conversion of the Danes under Harald Bluetooth
    90. Olaf Tryggvason and the Conversion of Norway
    91. A Poet Abandons the Old Gods
    92. The Christianization of Norway under Saint Olaf
    93. The Conversion of the Icelanders
    94. The Conversion of Greenland
    95. The Conversion of Orkney
    96. Christianity in Sweden
    97. Christianity and the Church in Norway
    98. The Travels of King Sigurd, Jerusalem-Farer
    99. The Journey of Abbot Nikolas Bergsson from Iceland to Jerusalem

    Chapter Thirteen: State-Building at Home and Abroad
    100. Harald Finehair and the Unification of Norway
    101. State-Making in Denmark: The Jelling Stone
    102. State-Making in Denmark: Unification and Expansion
    103. The Martyrdom of Alfeah (Saint Alphege)
    104. Knut the Great and the North Sea Empire
    105. The England Runestones
    106. The Earldom of Orkney at Its Zenith

    Chapter Fourteen: The End of the Viking Age
    107. The Battle of Clontarf, 1014
    108. The Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066
    109. The Decline of the Earls of Orkney
    110. The Battle of Largs, 1263

    Epilogue
    111. Advice from Odin

    Sources

    Index of Topics

    Index of Authors and Sources

By the Same Author(s)

Related Titles