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”
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.
According to the Old Norse Landnámabók – ‘the book of settlements’ – the first Scandinavian settlers to make their home in Iceland were Ingólfr Arnarson, his wife Hallveig Fróðadóttr and his brother Hjörleifr. According to the legend, they left Norway in 874 after a violent feud, sailing west towards a land of which they hadContinue reading “Iceland: legends of the north”
Silver and gold, weapons and slaves, shields and long-ships: these, we might imagine, are the proper accoutrements of the sea-borne rover… knitwear not so much. But unless we are foolish enough to believe in the sword & sorcery stereotype of the barbarian-in-naught-but-furry-loin-cloth, a hard life on the north-sea margins demanded proper clothes. And, whilst fursContinue reading “Silver, swords and wool”