Medieval Warfare Vol VII, Issue 1: Invasion of the Vikings - Warriors, sailors and heroes

Medieval Warfare Vol VII, Issue 1: Invasion of the Vikings - Warriors, sailors and heroes

Medieval Warfare Vol VII, Issue 1: Invasion of the Vikings - Warriors, sailors and heroes

This issue of Medieval Warfare magazine focuses on some of the less familiar aspects of the Viking world. We start with an examination of the various theories that attempt to explain why the Vikings actually began their raids, covering a wide range of reasons from the familiar lack of land to marriage practices (but missing out the point that other Medieval societies were no less prone to raiding - the Vikings were just better at it - the Anglo-Saxons who complained so much about Viking raids had after all invaded Britain themselves not that long before).

The first article looks at the possibility that there were female Viking warriors, something that is potentially supported by a number of grave finds, but as the author says, putting a sword in a grave doesn't make that person a warrior, and weapons have been found in children's graves.

Two articles look at the Vikings in France (West Francia at the time), one covering their overall campaigns and the second looking at the two sieges of Paris. This takes a different approach to many accounts of the sieges, which often see the second siege as a Viking defeat because they didn't take the city. Here it is seen as a victory because they were paid off and were allowed to raid elsewhere. Further afield there is a look at the limited Viking raids into Muslim Spain, focusing on an attack on Seville that was eventually fought off, showing that the Vikings could be defeated by the right approach.

The physical remains left by the Vikings are the topics on the last two articles on the theme - the first looking at the winter camps that turned damaging raiding parties into a real threat to the kingdoms they were attacking, the second on the literature on the Viking axe supported by a look at the surviving examples.

Away from the main theme there is an interesting look at an eyewitness account of Korea written in 1123 by a Chinese diplomatic, with particular attention paid to his descriptions of the Korean army of the period - this really couldn't be further away from the Vikings. Close to home is a look at the use of mining in the siege of Edessa, the first major Muslim success in the counterattack against the Crusader Kingdoms. We finish with a look at the appearance of armies of the dead in medieval literature, where unsurprisingly they tended to have a moral purpose, normally to instruct someone in their religious failings.

Why did the Vikings attack?
Amazons of the Viking world
Laying waste to everything - Viking tactics in West Francia
Ships and ship of the Majus - A Viking raid on Seville in 844
The Viking Sieges of Paris
Viking winter camps
The Viking axe
Bravery, and valour florish here: Reporting on Korea in 1123
The siege of Edessa - Mining as a Medieval Siege Tactic
Medieval Armies of the Dead

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