Blood and Honour: The Viking Age in the West - 30 credits (HS1723)
Module Tutor: David Wyatt
Wales and Ireland have frequently been regarded by historians as marginal frontier regions on the fringes of medieval Europe. This course will take a very different perspective and examine how the Irish Sea region was at the heart of a dynamic maritime network linking communities around the North Atlantic. During the ninth century pagan Scandinavian war bands began conducting brutal raids around the coastal regions of Britain. However, within a few generations these Viking raiders had settled in communities around the Irish Sea region and established vibrant towns and trading networks. These settlers maintained a distinct identity but they did not remain aloof from the indigenous Celtic populations. Indeed, they interacted, influenced and were influenced by the native communities at almost every level.
Taking a comparative approach this course will examine the similarities, differences and interplay between Celtic and Viking society in this period. Employing an interdisciplinary perspective, which encompasses history, literature, archaeology and anthropology, it will explore issues such a social structure, warfare, trade, travel, kinship, gender construction, ethnicity and religious beliefs. Moreover, it will seek to highlight how nationalistic sentiments and modern mentalities have helped to shape the historical discourse of the region.
Dr David Wyatt is an expert on slavery in the societies of medieval Britain (c. 800-1200 a.d.), Viking settlement and society in the Irish Sea region, and Wales and the Irish Sea region, and his recent book explores Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800-1200 (Brill, Leiden, 2009).
Preliminary reading for this module:
Adams, J et al (eds) Scandinavia and Europe 800-1350 (Turnhout, 2004)
Bitel, Lisa Women in Early Medieval Europe 400-1100 (Cambridge, 2002)
Brink, S (ed.) The Viking World (London, 2008)
Clarke, H B. et al. (eds) Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age (Dublin, 1998)
Clunies Ross, M. Old Norse Myths, Literature and Society. (Odense, 2003)
Davies, W Wales in the Early Middle Ages (Leicester 1982)
Davies, W (ed) From the Vikings to the Normans (Oxford, 2003)
Downham, Claire, Viking kings of Britain and Ireland (Edinburgh, 2007)
Geary, P J The Myth of Nations (Princeton, 2002)
Helle, K The Cambridge History of Scandinavia vol I, (Cambridge, 2003)
Jochens, J., Women in Old Norse Society, (Ithaca and New York, 1998)
Larsen, A C (ed) The Vikings in Ireland (Roskilde, 2002)
Ó Croínín, D. Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200, (Longman, 1995)
Valante, M The Vikings in Ireland : settlement, trade and urbanization (Dublin, 2008)
Wyatt, D. Slaves and Warriors in Medieval Britain and Ireland 800-1200 (Leiden; Boston, 2009)