Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age

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9780500019825: Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age
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Reveals not only how the Vikings successfully and brutally conquered vast areas of eastern and western Europe, but also how they dressed, spent their leisure time, farmed and cooked, and buried and celebrated their dead.

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About the Author:

John Haywood is an Honorary Teaching Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Lancaster and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain. He is the author of several books, including The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings.

From Booklist:

Haywood's attractive encyclopedia on the Vikings is that rarity--a satisfying reference source done right. The book is modestly sized and priced but packed with information. From the preface and introduction to the source list at the back, Haywood, who also wrote The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings (1995), is a master of his subject. His prose is ample, at times challenging, but never pedantic. He anticipates the needs of the student, historian, teacher, librarian, traveler, and researcher with three superb gray-and-white maps of voyages, ports, and boundaries minus fussy cartographic extras that get in the way. A handy addition is a prefatory subject list offering such enticing topics as Dwarves, Khazars, Ladby ship burial, Midgard Serpent, and Slave trade. At back, the reader finds more useful study aids: a two-page historical chronology and three pages of Viking kings and rulers spanning the years 700 to 1100.The body of the encyclopedia assigns more than a third of each page to crisp, captioned black-and-white photographs and drawings. These illustrations span the top of each page and connect solidly to topics below. For example, an aerial photo showing the layout of a ninth-century ring-fort in the center of the modern Dutch village of Oost-Souburg complements the entry Ring-forts, Frankish; and a sketch of the Kanhave showing how engineers separated water and land accompanies the entry for this major eighth-century Danish engineering project. Unlike volumes that focus on Viking he-men, Haywood surveys all of Scandinavian life from the period, offering two intricate line drawings of an upright loom; entries on Jewelry, Life expectancy, and Weights and measures; and details concerning courtship, marriage, children, and divorce. Dotting each topic are cross-references in small caps that entice the reader to go beyond succinct data to a full understanding of the bold, inventive Vikings. Rich details on ship settings, road building, and Offa's dyke stress the geographic remains of their civilization. Balancing temporal exploits are the lasting intellectual and artistic monuments--rune-edged steles, filigreed carvings, bronze artifacts, illuminated documents, laws, and the wealth of sagas, riddles, and skaldic verse that set Scandinavia apart from the more genteel Europeans to the south and west.In terms of size, layout, cost, and ease of use, Haywood's encyclopedia is a worthy challenger to Peter Sawyer's The Age of Vikings (St. Martin's, 1962) and The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings (1997). Its one weakness is limited access to subtopics. Alphabetized cross-references are scanty. Without a back index, the book deprives the user of quick retrieval of details on such minor figures as Freydis, the female voyager of the Eriksson family; and Snorri, child of Gudrid and Thorfinn Karlsefni and the first European born in the Americas. This concern aside, the volume should prove useful in public and academic libraries. REVWR
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9780500282281: Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age

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