Be­yond the North­lands

Timeless Travels Magazine - - BOOKS -

Eleanor Rosamund Bar­r­a­clough OUP Pub­lished: Novem­ber 2018 Price: £14.99 In the dy­ing days of the eighth cen­tury, the Vik­ings erupted onto the in­ter­na­tional stage with bru­tal raids and slaugh­ter. The me­dieval Norse­men may be best re­mem­bered as monk mur­der­ers and vil­lage pil­lagers, but this is far from the whole story. Through­out the Mid­dle Ages long-ships trans­ported hairy north­ern voy­agers far and wide, where they not only raided but also traded, ex­plored and set­tled new lands, en­coun­tered un­fa­mil­iar races, and em­barked on pil­grim­ages and cru­sades. Be­yond the North­lands ex­plores this world through the sto­ries that the Vik­ings told about them­selves in their sa­gas. Bar­r­a­clough il­lu­mi­nates the rich but of­ten con­fus­ing saga ac­counts with a range of other ev­i­dence: ar­chae­o­log­i­cal finds, me­dieval world maps, en­cy­clopaedic manuscript­s and texts from as far away as Bagh­dad.

By sit­u­at­ing the sa­gas against the re­veal­ing back­ground of the other ev­i­dence, we can be­gin to un­der­stand just how the world was ex­pe­ri­enced, re­mem­bered, and imag­ined by this unique cul­ture from the out­er­most edge of Europe so many cen­turies ago.

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