Why did the Vikings sail to England? Were they indiscriminate
raiders, motivated solely by bloodlust and plunder? One narrative,
the stereotypical one, might have it so. But locked away in the
buried history of the British Isles are other, far richer and more
nuanced, stories; and these hidden tales paint a picture very
different from the ferocious pillagers of popular repute. Eleanor
Parker here unlocks secrets that point to more complex motivations
within the marauding army that in the late ninth century voyaged to
the shores of eastern England in its sleek, dragon-prowed
longships. Exploring legends from forgotten medieval texts, and
across the varied Anglo-Saxon regions, she depicts Vikings who came
not just to raid but also to settle personal feuds, intervene in
English politics and find a place to call home. Native tales reveal
the links to famous Vikings like Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons;
Cnut; and Havelok the Dane. Each myth shows how the legacy of the
newcomers can still be traced in landscape, place-names and local
history. This book uncovers the remarkable degree to which England
is Viking to its core.
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