Vikings at War
Vikings at War
"It's a magnificent piece of work…Although this is pitched as a book about the ‘Vikings at War' it's much more than that and provides a very excellent introduction to the Viking age as a whole…In short it's a book I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the Viking period and I'm sure I shall be using it on set for Vikings.” -- Justin Pollard, Historical Consultant for the Amazon television series 'Vikings'
Vikings at War presents a sumptuous depiction of how the Vikings waged war; their weapons technology, offensive and defensive warfare, military traditions and tactics, their fortifications, ships and command structure. It also portrays the Viking raids and conquest campaigns that brought the Vikings to virtually every corner of Europe and even to America. Viking ships landed on almost every shore in the Western world during the 350 years that followed the introduction of the sail into the region, from the 9th to the 11th century. Viking ravages united the Spanish kingdoms and stopped Charlemagne and the Franks' advance in Europe. Wherever Viking ships roamed, enormous suffering followed in their wake, but the encounter between cultures changed both European and Nordic societies.
Employing unorthodox and unpredictable strategies, which were hard for more organized forces to respond to, the most crucial element of the Viking's success was their basic strategy of evading the enemy by arriving by sea, then attacking quickly and with great force before withdrawing quickly. The warrior class dominated in a militarized society. Honor was everything, and breaking promises and ruining one's posthumous reputation was considered worse than death itself. If a man offended another man's honor, the only way out was blood revenge.
Never before have the Viking art of war, weapons and the history of their conquests been presented together in such detail. With over 380 color illustrations including beautiful reconstruction drawings, maps, cross-section drawings of ships, line-drawings of fortifications, battle plan reconstructions and photos of surviving artifacts including weapons and jewelry,
Vikings at War provides a vivid account of one of Europe's most exciting epochs. Vikings at War was awarded the Norwegian literary prize ‘Saga Prize' in 2012; currently in its fourth printing in Norwegian, the translation presented here makes it available for the first time in English.
Kim Hjardar holds a MPhil in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture from the University of Oslo and works as a lecturer in history at St Hallvard College. He has been involved in Viking and Medieval studies for more than fifteen years, both as a professional and through living history re-enactment. He is head of Norway’s biggest and oldest Viking re-enactment association.
Vegard Vike is archaeological conservator at the Museum of Cultural History, Oslo. He has researched Viking handicraft technologies extensively. He works on a daily basis with X-rays and microscopes and the meticulous surface-cleaning of weapons from exhumed graves, something that has given him a deep and thorough knowledge of the subject. He has also trained in martial arts using the different weapons of the era, as well as carrying out actual weapons production based on historical weaponsmith techniques.
"It's a magnificent piece of work…Although this is pitched as a book about the ‘Vikings at War' it's much more than that and provides a very excellent introduction to the Viking age as a whole…In short it's a book I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the Viking period and I'm sure I shall be using it on set for Vikings.”
- Justin Pollard, Historical Consultant for the Amazon television series Vikings, October 2016
Superb account of a race we're all familiar with...This is comprehensive, beautiful and readable, and brings to life the people we know as the Vikings.”
- Books Monthly , December 2016
"Well illustrated with excellent maps, drawings and photos, it deserves a place on the bookshelf of any Viking enthusiast.”
- Current World Archaeology , January 2017