Beyond the Northlands
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.