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The Viking Diaspora

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Chapter 1. Vikings and their Ages: Definitions and Evidence Chapter 2. The Viking World: Geography and Environment Chapter 3. The Viking Diaspora Chapter 4. Gender and Family Chapter 5. Cults, Beliefs and Myths Chapter 6. Networks and Identities Bibliography Index

About the Author

Judith Jesch is Professor of Viking Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her previous publications include Women in the Viking Age (1991), Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age. The Vocabulary of Runic Inscriptions and Skaldic Verse (2001) and The Scandinavians from the Vendel Period to the Tenth Century: an ethnographic perspective (2002).


"Many histories have been written of the Viking Age, which saw the explosion of Norse speakers out of Scandinavia, to spread over most of the then-known world (and then some); practically all such histories are cast in precisely the same mould. The concept of `diaspora' offers an innovative and powerful tool for recasting this story in a new form: laying emphasis on the interconnectedness and long duration of far-flung Norse communities, on their sense of shared (even if mythical) heritage and their sometimes competitive fraternity, it challenges us to see complexity in place of uniformity, hybridity and contingency in place of continuity, and feedback loops in place of linear development. In this book, Judith Jesch, one of the foremost scholars of the Viking Age in our generation, opens the door and invites us in to the diasporic theatre; a virtuoso linguistic, archaeological, epigraphic and literary performance ensues. Readers of this book will emerge with some new answers to old puzzles, but, more importantly, with a slew of entirely new questions on their minds." Oren Falk, Cornell University, USA "Judith Jesch's The Viking Diaspora is a fresh look at an significant aspect of the Viking Age. Students and established scholars alike will learn much from this widely-ranging examination of settlement and cultural cohesion. With a narrative that is complimented by case studies of specific topics such as steatite or Valkyries, Jesch takes her readers beyond the popular perception of the Vikings and gives an important assessment of their community." Benjamin Hudson, Pennsylvania State University, USA "An excellent study not just of the Viking diaspora per se, but also of the relevance of this term to the period of Viking expansion and its aftermath. A genuinely interdisciplinary text, it avoids pedestrian historical narrative in favour of an approach that combines natural, artefactual and linguistic evidence to explore themes such as gender and family, religion, networks and identity. A fresh approach to Viking migration, settlement and diaspora." Stephen H. Harrison, University of Glasgow, UK This is an enormously inspiring book and should be recommended as obligatory reading among students of Viking archaeology, Norse language and literature and Viking history. The strength is that it takes a wide variety of evidence serious and demonstrates how the interweaving as seen through the diasporic lens, presents us with a much more rounded picture than we usually get from overviews of the Viking age as written from the perspective of these different scientific disciplines involved in the field. Karen Schousboe, Medieval Histories

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