Vikings At War, by Kim Hjardar & Vegard Vike
As a particularly prolific reader for the De Re Militari , I have almost single-handedly emptied out the society of its books for review at present. As someone who is fond of reading about the history of Norway, this book appealed to me. As it happens, this book was written by a couple of Norwegian scholars and is available for the first time in English in this volume. It even won an award in Norway, so this book will join some of the previous books I have read and enjoyed about the history of Norway and its neighboring countries . Suffice it to say, I am pretty enthusiastic about reading this book, especially as the book’s accompanying materials promise that it deals with Viking tactics and gives sumptuous presentation of Viking history, which is always something to appreciate even if the history of the era was pretty bloody and brutal, to put it somewhat mildly.
A perusal of the book, which is about 400 pages long, shows that the book contains a lot of maps showing the operations of various Viking forces as well as some drawings, photographs of artifacts from discovered hoards, drawings of the Viking military formations, and so on. Again, from first appearance the authors’ goal of showing a complete picture of Viking military operations appears to be met. In terms of the content, a look at the table of contents shows that the book is divided into six parts. The first deals with the identity of the Vikings in terms of ethnicity, society, and religion. The second part deals with the Viking art of war, including military techniques. The third, fourth, and fifth parts of the book deal with Viking fortifications, ships, and weapons respectively. Finally, the sixth part of the book (which looks like the longest, taking up nearly half of the book in total, gives a detailed treatment of Viking invasions of Ireland, England, France, the Iberian peninsula, lands in the East, Byzantium, as well as Greenland and Vinland. From the looks of this book, I will be reading a comprehensive account of Viking military operations, including some obscure Viking invasions that are little known in the English-speaking world. Consider this book one that moves high on my own priority list of books to read.
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