As of this week, here in the UK we are now apparently allowed to resume outdoor group exercise: not something I am personally very excited about, but no doubt good news for many. Risk of infectious diseases notwithstanding, however, physical activity has always had its downsides – what with torn rotator cuffs and hamstring injuriesContinue reading “Viking Fun”
The earliest raids in Ireland fell in 795 on Rathlin Island, Co.Antrim. This was followed by attacks on St Patrick’s Isle (Co. Dublin) in 798 and at Inishmurray (Co. Sligo) in 798 and 807. By the 820s and 830s, this predation had become epidemic: In 821 came the ‘plundering of Etar by heathens’ and ‘fromContinue reading “Viking Ireland”
Hollow Places (William Collins 2019) is both the piercing dissection of a folktale and a thrilling rummage through the thickets of the English imagination. Christopher Hadley’s debut work of book-length non-fiction ostensibly concerns the story of how Piers Shonks slew a dragon, how that dragon dwelt in a cavern beneath a yew tree, and howContinue reading “Hollow Places”
Like so many others, I found the murder of George Floyd – and many of the events that followed – intensely distressing. As well as sadness, I have felt an anger that is difficult to express and a demoralizing sense of impotence. As a medievalist, however, I have also felt a sense of responsibility.
On page 95 of the hardback edition of Viking London, I gave the following description of a group of Normans: …their hair long in the back, but shaved from crown to hairline -hardcore mullets, haircuts that led the historian Simon Schama to call the Normans ‘the scary half-skinheads of the early feudal world.’ Striking thoughtContinue reading “Norman haircuts and ‘Celtic’ tonsures”