Vikings in Western Europe

Department of History, School of History and Cultures

College of Arts and Law


Code 20079

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1&2

Module description

This module examines how and why groups of Scandinavians raided and settled in Western Europe from the ninth century onwards. Using a range of historical and archaeological sources, we shall look both at case studies of individual regions, and at the wider themes arising out of these: raiding and military responses to it, migration, ethnic identity, paganism and Christianity, gender in the Viking world, the processes by which the settlers were accommodated in Western European kingdoms, and the development of new North Atlantic colonies. The course will also engage with historiographical questions. First, should we view the arrival of the Vikings as the 'end of civilisation' or merely another migration, the significance of which has been overstated? Second, how appropriate is the notion of a Viking Age? Third, how do we deal with the 'problem' of popular perceptions of the Vikings?