Despite a wealth of archaeological evidence on this subject, there has been no major study in English since the nineteenth century. Ian Stephenson examines the types and range of weapons and armor found, and considers other aspects in order to build a complete picture of the warfare of the period.
The Viking Age began and ended in England. Its first act in AD 789 was a murder on a beach in Dorset; its last, some two and a half centuries later, was the crowning of a Dane in London as king of a united England. In between, the Vikings waged war on four continents; they besieged London, Paris and Constantinople, founded Russia and the Duchy of Normandy and very nearly snuffed out Anglo-Saxon England. Yet these days they are seen more as traders and explorers than as warriors. This groundbreaking new work seeks to return the Vikings to their former position as the scourge of Christendom by providing the first comprehensive survey of Viking warfare in all of its forms. As a result of the quality of the primary source material, England is used as the lens through which to view the Viking art of war, although the impact of Eastern and Byzantine influences is not ignored. In the process, traditional beliefs regarding the Icelandic sagas and the role of berserkirs are challenged. Thus alongside arms and armour this study looks at tactics, formations and all aspects of combat from raiding and siege warfare, to pitched battles on land and at sea. Ian Stephenson is a specialist in Roman and Early Medieval warfare. He has lectured and published widely on these topics, most recently in the forthcoming Blackwell Encyclopaedia of the Roman Army.
Ian Stephenson is a lecturer in archaeology at the School of Continuing Education at the University of Reading. He has previously written two illustrated books on the history of the Vikings with Amberley. He lives in Reading.
Viking Warfare by I. P. Stephenson
I. P. Stephenson
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