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Subj: Millenium: recommended read for anyone interested in Viking history
Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 at 02:52:08 am EDT (Viewed 69 times)
I recently finished Millenium by the historian Tom Holland and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Viking history and how they fit in to the wider European history of their time.
The book traces the Franks, Saxons, Wends, Normans, Turks (to a degree), Saracens, Constantinople and the Vikings. It covers the period of roughly 950AD to 1050AD. The part which concentrates on the Vikings covers Harald Bluetooth and Harald Harada. The latter is particularly interesting as his story is against the backdrop of the Vikings expanding southward into what became known later as Russia. eventually they went far enough south to be employed as bodyguards in Constantinople. These men, referred to as housecarls in England, were fierce fierce fighters of Scandinavian extraction.
The author retips things from the recent politically correct interpretation that Vikings were benevolent settlers. He observes that just as we have tried to mistakenly judge the Caliphs of Cordoba through a modern lense with modern sensibilities, so we have done with the Vikings. They were a brutal race a product of the time and place they came from.
I think when you are looking at Bor in the recent 600 issue, it adds something if you imagine people like Harald Harada.
Finally, for anyone interested in Greek or Roman history, I would also recommend his 'Persian Fire' and 'Crossing the Rubicon' - he writes history in a very accessible narrative style rather than a dry, academic one.
Apologies for the length of post.
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