Book length - 377 pages
Available on - www.amazon.com | www.amazon.co.uk
In the dying days of the eighth century, the Vikings erupted onto the international stage with brutal raids and slaughter. The medieval Norsemen may be best remembered as monk murderers and village pillagers, but this is far from the whole story. Throughout the Middle Ages, long-ships transported hairy northern voyagers far and wide, where they not only raided but also traded, explored and settled new lands, encountered unfamiliar races, and embarked on pilgrimages and crusades.
The Norsemen travelled to all corners of the medieval world and beyond; north to the wastelands of arctic Scandinavia, south to the politically turbulent heartlands of medieval Christendom, west across the wild seas to Greenland and the fringes of the North American continent, and east down the Russian waterways trading silver, skins, and slaves. Beyond the Northlands explores this world through the stories that the Vikings told about themselves in their sagas.
But the depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders, and kings.
To explore the sagas and the world that produced them, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough now takes her own trip through the dramatic landscapes that they describe. Along the way, she illuminates the rich but often confusing saga accounts with a range of other evidence: archaeological finds, rune-stones, medieval world maps, encyclopedic manuscripts, and texts from as far away as Byzantium and Baghdad. As her journey across the Old Norse world shows, by situating the sagas against the revealing background of this other evidence, we can begin at least to understand just how the world was experienced, remembered, and imagined by this unique culture from the outermost edge of Europe so many centuries ago.
Ever since my days of school I have always found the topic of Vikings fascinating, so when I got the opportunity to review this non-fiction book I was delighted, and BEYOND THE NORTHLANDS by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough definitely does not disappoint. From geography to history, ecology to archaeology, this book opens up the sagas and Viking world for everyone to behold. You do not have to be a history buff to delight in this book - with a straightforward layout, and written in an informal style, this well-researched narrative is an easy and enjoyable read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the Vikings.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖 4
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is Lecturer in Medieval History and Literature at Durham University. She studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge before taking up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Oxford. In 2013 she was chosen as one of ten BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers, in a competition to find young academics with the potential to turn their research into programmes for broadcast. Since then, she has presented BBC radio documentaries on subjects including the supernatural north, fire in Scandinavian culture, apocalypses, and Nordic identity.
Eleanor’s research often takes her to chilly Nordic climes. Whilst researching 'Beyond the Northlands' she had many far-flung adventures of her own: bumping along on the back of an Icelandic horse whilst exploring Norse ruins in Greenland, sailing ice fjords under the midnight sun with a caribou hunter, and searching for runestones in Sweden. She also made it further south to warm up, following in the footsteps of Norse pilgrims in Rome and imperial bodyguards in Istanbul. Her proudest moment came when travelling across Arctic Norway, where she was knighted with a walrus penis bone in Hammerfest and became a member of the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society. For more information:
Website - www.dur.ac.uk/directory/profile/?id=11906
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley.com
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger from Ireland. Oh and also a wife and mother!
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