Level of study Third/Final year
Credit value 20
Semester Scheduled for 1 and 2, 2012-13
Pre-requisite modules n/a
Other pre-requisites n/a
What and where was the world of the Vikings? People we have long known as `the Vikings’ exploded onto the Anglo-Saxon scene at the very end of the 8th century, raiding settlements, murdering monks and generally wreaking havoc as they went. At least, this is what some of the texts would have us believe.
In this module you will examine critically the evidence for `Viking’ intervention in north-west Europe before c.1100. Did the Vikings really appear from `nowhere’ or were there connections between Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe before the 8th century? We will look at the evidence for settlement through place-names and burial archaeology; we will investigate questions relating to daily life, farming practices and religious/ideological beliefs. The geographical scope of this course will be broad, although most of our case-studies are from the British Isles (including Ireland) and the North Atlantic region.
This course is not designed simply to give you a narrative of events about the Vikings. You will be encourage to develop an understanding of underlying processes, such as why the Scandinavian expansion took place when it did, and what impact it had on the organisation of European society. We shall also question the use of the term `Viking’: is it a term that obscures more than it actually reveals?