30 August 2014

The Danish Conquest: 1000 Years

This installment is from an alert by Medievalists in their newsletter, which features this excellent article, the first of five on the subject, about the Invasion of England by Danish Vikings early in the 11th century. Links to the other four blog articles by the author on the invasion follow this first article . (Ed.)
By Eleanor Parker
Published Online on A Clerk of Oxford Blog (2013-14)
1013-1014 sees the 1000th anniversary of a successful invasion of England – and not many people seem to have noticed. The invader was the Danish king Svein Forkbeard, who in the closing days of July 1013 descended on England with a formidable fleet. Before the year was out, he had forced the English king Æthelred to flee the country, and was acknowledged as king by large parts of England. Although Svein did not live long to enjoy his victory, his success enabled his son Cnut to repeat the venture a few years later, resulting in a triumphant two-decade reign, during which England was part of a great pan-Scandinavian empire.

13th century depiction of Svein Forkbeard
This invasion changed the history of England. If Svein and Cnut hadn’t wreaked such chaos in Æthelred’s family early in the eleventh century, the kingdom would not have been up for grabs in 1066, when William of Normandy decided to put his oar in – and no Norman conquest means an entirely different England. But the story of Svein’s conquest is interesting for all kinds of other reasons beside this: what it tells us about England’s place in Europe (and Scandinavia), about ethnic and cultural identity among the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ people then and now, and about the north/south divide within England which persists to this day (literally). The millennial anniversary of this conquest deserves a little more fanfare, and over the next few months I’m going to do my bit to provide some.

14 August 2014

Isle of Man - Vikings

I recommend you click on the link following this paragraph of explanation for a fascinating tour of the Isle of Man, specifically that island's ancient history and connection to the Viking Age. The presentations, by several scholars, are contained within the 42-page pdf booklet.
For more on the Vikings, visit my website for information on my Axe of Iron books and their historical fiction treatment of the medieval Greenland Norse assimilation with the natives of Vinland. (ED.)


Languages, Myths and Finds

Translating Norse and Viking Cultures for the Twenty-First Century
The Languages, Myths and Finds project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, ran in the years 2013-14, coinciding with the British Museum’s international exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend. The aim of the project was to encourage conversations between specialist university academics and advanced
research students in Old Norse and Viking Studies, and local communities around Britain and Ireland who were interested in knowing more about their Viking heritage.
The communities chosen for the project were Cleveland, Dublin, Isle of Lewis, Isle of Man and Munster. Five small teams of academics and students were chosen to work with each community by developing and
researching topics most suited to that locality, as identified in dialogue with the community. These booklets are the products of the research done by those teams together with the local partners, especially during field trips to the localities in the spring of 2014.
The full set of five booklets can be viewed on the project website, http://languagesmythsfinds.ac.uk, where there is also further information about the project.

Professor Judith Jesch
Project Coordinator
Centre for the Study of the Viking Age
University of Nottingham

Click link for 42-page booklet: