Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Vikings - A Very Short Introduction

One of the required reading for Yale's - The Early Middle Ages is the above book, but the only reason I read it is because it's the only one our central library had.

Ordinarily I'm not particularly fascinated by the Vikings, although I did some hard labour work once, with a legendary friend who urged me on by declaring that 'we're Vikings and we never quit', which always made me smile and power up for another exhausting climb up stairs with heavy furniture.

I was curious about the Vikings presence in North America and it is covered modestly at the end of this book, but what was really conveyed to me was how nebulous the notion of a fixed tribe really is when it comes to history.

It's a little bit like nobody called the industrial revolution that name till many decades later. Even the simplest of understandings gain complexity and unexpected textures as we begin to delve into them.

There's a great quote about the definition of culture in this book, though I won't repeat it as it's a gem that might be useful in the future. I was pleased to find out more about Harald Bluetooth (possibly the flakiest technology in the universe), but these colourful Viking characters convey some of the wider tribes' characteristics, although I hasten to add that they're not strictly speaking a tribe, as is amply laid out in the book.