Although the Vikings are the big draw here, the focus of the book is wider than that. The subtitle – Warfare in Northern Europe 750-1100 – is more accurate. There are very few sources for the Vikings that were actually produced by them during their pagan heyday, so we have a choice of contemporary documents produced by their enemies or documents produced after the event in Scandinavia. As the author points out Viking land warfare was fairly similar to that conducted by their neighbours, apart from a general lack of cavalry outside Scandinavia, so an examination of the sources of Anglo-Saxon or Frankish infantry tactics is of value for understanding the Vikings. Likewise many of their activities (including the notorious plundering and taking of slaves) was a standard feature of Christian warfare in the period.
This background material is used to give more context to Viking warfare than would be available just from a study of the sources directly relating to the Vikings, but the focus always returns to the Vikings and their immediate enemies. A wide range of topics are covered, from the equipment and training of the individual warriors to the overall structure of their campaigns. There is also an interesting section on the world view of the Viking warriors and their contemporaries – an attempt to understand how they saw themselves and their actions.
1 - Viking-Age Warfare and History
2 - Equipment
3 - Military Organisation and Training
4 - Campaigning
5 - Battle
6 - Fortifications and Siegecraft
7 - The Way of the Warrior
8 - Concluding Words
Author: Philip Line
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military