Books and Resources

The Viking Age: A Reader, Second Edition

Author: Angus A. Somerville & R. Andrew McDonald

Time Period: 793-1066

About The Book

In assembling, translating, and arranging over a hundred primary source readings, Somerville and McDonald successfully illuminate the Vikings and their world for twenty-first-century students and instructors. The diversity of the Viking Age is brought to life through the range of sources presented, and the geographical and chronological coverage of these readings. The Norse translations, many of them new to this collection, are straightforward and easily accessible, and the chapter introductions contextualize the readings while allowing the sources to speak for themselves.

The second edition of this popular reader has been revised and reorganized into fourteen chapters. Nearly twenty sources have been added, including material on children, games and entertainment, and runic inscriptions, as well as new readings on the martyrdom of Alfeah, the life of Saint Findan, and the martyrdom of Saint Edmund.

The reader can be paired for classroom use with its companion volume, The Vikings and Their Age, authored by Somerville and McDonald. Together, these books provide comprehensive coverage for a course on the Vikings.

About The Author

Angus A. Somerville is Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University. R. Andrew McDonald is Professor, Department of History, Brock University, and former Director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Brock University. His previous titles include Manx kingship in its Irish Sea setting, 1187-1229: King Rognvaldr and the Crovan dynasty (Four Courts Press, 2007) and Outlaws of Medieval Scotland: Challenges to the Canmore Kings 1058-1266 (Tuckwell Press, 2003).

There is a voluminous literature on the Vikings and the Viking Age. This bibliography cannot be comprehensive, though it strives to be both wide-ranging and detailed, including standard works on the subject suitable for the general reader as well as more specialized works suitable for undergraduate and graduate students. Emphasis is on recent works in English, mostly books. A few important articles in journals are also included.

The Viking Society for Northern Research
“The Viking Society for Northern Research is dedicated to furthering and promoting the study of the medieval North through publications, meetings, and financial support.” For more information, please see

The Viking Society publishes an annual journal, Saga-Book, as well as many editions, translations, and studies of medieval Scandinavian texts. Most of these materials are now conveniently accessible online through the Society-™s website:

The Viking Congress
The Viking Congresses are multinational, interdisciplinary conferences in Viking studies, held every three to four years in Scandinavia and the British Isles. “The objective of the conference is to create a common forum for the most current research and theories within Viking Age studies, and to enhance communication and collaboration between leading scholars within the field, crossing geographical and disciplinary borders.” ( The 16th Viking Congress was held in Iceland in 2009 and the 17th Viking Congress was held in Shetland in 2013.

Proceedings of the congresses are published and are vital resources for Viking Studies. Information on publications is available at:

The most recent publication is:

Sigmundsson, S., ed. 2011. Viking Settlements & Viking Society: Papers from the Proceedings of the Sixteenth Viking Congress, Reykjavík and Reykholt, 16th-23rd August 2009. Reykjavík: University of Iceland Press.

The best one-volume works on the Vikings:

Brink, S., and N. Price, eds. 2008. The Viking World. New York: Routledge.

Richards, J.D. 2005. The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [for a very brief overview]

General works on the Vikings:

Arnold, M. 2006. The Vikings: Culture and Conquest. London: Hambledon Continuum.
Christiansen, E. 2006. The Norsemen in the Viking Age. Oxford: Blackwell.

Farrell, R.T., ed. 1982. The Vikings. London: Phillimore.

Foote, P., and D. Wilson. 1970. The Viking Achievement. London: Sidgwick & Jackson.

Forte, A., R. Oram, & F. Pederson. 2005. Viking Empires. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Graham-Campbell, J. 1980. The Viking World. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields.

Graham-Campbell, J., and D. Kidd. 1980. The Vikings. New York: W. Morrow.

Hall, R. 2007. The World of the Vikings. New York: Thames & Hudson.

Helle, K., ed. 2003. Cambridge History of Scandinavia Volume 1: Prehistory to 1520. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jones, G. 1984. History of the Vikings. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Logan, F. D. 1991. The Vikings in History. 2nd ed. London & New York: Routledge.

Merroy, M. 2004. The Vikings: Conquerors, Traders and Pirates. London: Periplus.

Oliver, N. 2012. Vikings: A History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Roesdahl, E., and D.M. Wilson, eds. 1992. From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe, 800-1200. New York: Rizzoli.

Roesdahl, E. 1998. The Vikings. Translated by S.M. Margeson & K. Williams. Revised edition. London: Penguin.

Sawyer, P. 1962. The Age of the Vikings. London: Arnold.

Sawyer, P. 1982. Kings and Vikings: Scandinavia and Europe AD 700-1100. London: Methuen.

Sawyer, B., and P. Sawyer. 1993. Medieval Scandinavia: From Conversion to Reformation circa 800-1500. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Sawyer, P., ed. 1997. Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, D. 1970. The Vikings and their Origins: Scandinavia in the First Millennium. New York: McGraw Hill.

Wolf, K. 2004. Daily Life of the Vikings. Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press.


Graham-Campbell, J., C. Batey, H. Clarke, R.I. Page, & N.S. Price, eds. 1994. Cultural Atlas of the Viking World. Oxford: Andromeda.

Haywood, J. 1995. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin.

Reference works with significant Viking Age content:

Crabtree, P., ed. 2001. Medieval Archaeology: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland.

Friedman, J.B., and K.M. Figg, eds. 2000. Trade, Travel and Exploration in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland.

Hattendorf, J.B., ed. 2007. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.

Holman, K. 2003. Historical Dictionary of the Vikings. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

McKitterick, R., ed. 1995. The New Cambridge Medieval History Volume 2: c.700-c.900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pulsiano, P., and K. Wolf, eds. 1993. Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland.

Reuter, T., ed. 1999. The New Cambridge Medieval History Volume 3: c. 900-c.1024. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


The following periodicals regularly publish material relating to the Vikings and the Viking Age:

Acta Archaeologica [vol. 61 (1990) on the Norse of the North Atlantic; 71 (2000) entirely given over to Viking topics]
Anglo-Norman Studies
Anglo-Saxon England
Archaeologia Íslandica
English Historical Review
European Journal of Archaeology
Journal of English and Germanic Philology
Journal of the North Atlantic [JONA]
Medieval Archaeology
Mediaeval Scandinavia
Northern Studies
Norwegian Archaeological Review
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Scandinavian Journal of History
Saga Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research [see above]
Scandinavian Journal of History
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
Viking and Medieval Scandinavia

Old Norse:

Barnes, M., and A. Faulkes. 1999. A New Introduction to Old Norse. 3 vols. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Gordon, E.V. 1956. An Introduction to Old Norse. 2nd ed. Revised by A.R. Taylor. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Cleasby, R., and G. Vigfusson. 1957. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd ed. Supplement by W.A. Craigie. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zoëga, G. T. A. 2004. Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. 2nd edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [shorter version of Cleasby-Vigfusson]

Collections of essays:

Adams, J., and K. Holman, eds. 2004. Scandinavia and Europe 800-1350: Contact, Conflict and Coexistence. Turnhout: Brepols.

Ballin Smith, B., S. Taylor, & G. Williams, eds. 2007. West Over Sea: Studies in Scandinavian Sea-borne Expansion and Settlement before 1300. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Faulkes, A., and R. Perkins, eds. 1993. Viking Revaluations. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Hines, J., A. Lane, and M. Redknap, eds. 2004. Land Sea and Home. Leeds: Maney.

Jesch, J., ed. 2002. The Scandinavians from the Vendel Period to the Tenth Century. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Lewis-Simpson, S., ed. 2003. Vínland Revisited: The Norse World at the Turn of the First Millennium. St. John-™s, NL: Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. [Contributions cover much more than just Vinland]

McTurk, R., ed. 2005. Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. [wide-ranging, covering more than literature]


Fagan, B. 2008. The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Fagan, B. 2000. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. New York: Basic Books.

Ogilvie, A.E.J. 1990. “Climatic changes in Iceland AD c.865 to 1598.” Acta Archaeologica 61: 233-51.

Scandinavia (general):

Hedeager, L. 2011. Iron Age Myth and Materiality: An archaeology of Scandinavia, AD 400-1000. London & New York: Routledge.

Hedeager, L. 1992. Iron Age Societies: From Tribe to State in Northern Europe, 500 BC to AD 700. Translated by John Hines. Oxford & Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Poulson, B., and S.M. Sindbaek, eds. 2011. Settlement and Lordship in Viking and Early Medieval Scandinavia. Turnhout: Brepols.

Steinsland, G., ed. 2011. Ideology and Power in the Viking and Middle Ages: Scandinavia, Iceland, Ireland, Orkney, and the Faeroes. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Iron Age/Viking Age in Denmark:

Christensen, A.E. 1975. “The Jelling Monuments.” Mediaeval Scandinavia 8: 7-21.

Näsman, U. 2000. “Raids, Migrations and Kingdoms: The Danish Case.” Acta Archaeologica 71: 1-7.

Randsborg, K. 2008. “Kings-™ Jelling: Gorm & Thyra-™s Palace, Harald-™s Monument & Grave -“ Svend-™s Cathedral.” Acta Archaeologica 79: 1-23.

Randsborg, K. 1980. The Viking Age in Denmark: The Formation of a State. London: Duckworth.

Roesdahl, E. 1982. Viking Age Denmark. Translated by S. Margeson, and K. Williams. London: British Museum Publications Ltd.

Schmidt, H. 1994. Building Customs in Viking Age Denmark. Translated by J. Olsen. Bergiafonden: Poul Kristensen.


Bagge, S. 2010. From Viking Stronghold to Christian Kingdom: State Formation in Norway, 900-1300. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.

Imsen, S., ed. 2010. The Norwegian Domination and the Norse World, c.1100-c.1400. Trondheim: Tapir Academic Press.

Marsden, J. 2007. Harald Hardrada: The Warrior-™s Way. Stroud: Sutton.

Munch, G.S., O.S. Johansen, & E. Roesdahl, eds. 2003. Borg in Lofoten: A Chieftain-™s Farm in North Norway. Trondheim: Tapir Academic Press.

Myhre, B. 1998. “The Archaeology of the Early Viking Age in Norway.” In Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age, eds. H. Clarke, M. Ní Mhaonaigh, & R. Ó Floinn, 3-36. Dublin: Four Courts Press.


Sawyer, P. 1988. The Making of Sweden. AlingsÃ¥s, Sweden: Viktoria Bokförlag, in cooperation with The Department of History, Gothenburg University.

Moberg, V. 2005. A History of the Swedish People, Volume One: From Prehistory to the Renaissance. Translated by P.B. Austin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

The Baltic:

Ambrosiani, B., and H. Clarke, eds. 1994. Developments Around the Baltic and the North Sea in the Viking Age. Stockholm: Birka Project.

Ambrosiani, B., ed. 2004. Eastern Connections Part 2: Numismatics and Metrology. Stockholm: Birka Project.

Englert, A., and A. Trakadas, eds. 2009. Wulfstan-™s Voyage: The Baltic Sea Region in the Early Viking Age as seen from Shipboard. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Towns, trade, and commerce:

Clarke, H., and B. Ambrosiani. Towns in the Viking Age. New York: St. Martin-™s Press, 1991. [a second edition was published in 1995 by Pinter Pub Ltd]

Graham-Campbell, J., S.M. Sindbaek, & G. Williams, eds. 2011. Silver Economies, Monetisation and Society in Scandinavia, AD 800-1100. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Graham-Campbell, J., and G. Williams, eds. 2007. Silver Economy in the Viking Age. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Hall, R.A., ed. 2004. Aspects of Anglo-Scandinavian York. York: York Archaeological Trust.

Hall, R. 1994. English Heritage Book of Viking Age York. London: B.T. Batsford/English Heritage.

Skre, D., ed. 2007. Kaupang in Skiringssal. Oslo: Museum of Cultural History.

Skre, D., ed. 2008. Means of Exchange: Dealing with silver in the Viking Age. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.


Holm, P. 1986. “The Slave Trade of Dublin, ninth to twelfth centuries.” Pertitia 5: 317-45.

Karas, R. M. 1988. Slavery and Society in Medieval Scandinavia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Randsborg, K. 1984. “The Study of Slavery in Northern Europe: An Archaeological Approach.” Acta Archaeologica 55: 155-60.

Ships, sailing, and navigation:

Brøgger, A.W., and H. Shetelig. 1951. The Viking Ships: Their Ancestry and Evolution. Translated by K. John. Oslo: Dreyers.

Crumlin-Pedersen, O. 2002. The Skuldelev ships I: topography, archaeology, history, conservation and display. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Crumlin-Pedersen, O., and B. Thye, eds. 1995. Ship as Symbol in Prehistoric and Medieval Scandinavia. Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet.

Crumlin-Pedersen, O., with contributions by C. Hirte, K. Jensen, & S. Möller-Wiering. 1997. Viking Age Ships and Shipbuilding in Hedeby/Haithabu and Schleswig. Schleswig: Archäologisches Landesmuseum der Christian-Albrechts-Universität; Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Haywood, J. 1991. Dark Age Naval Power: A Reassessment of Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Activity. London & New York: Routledge.

Jesch, J. 2001. Ships and Men in the Late Viking Age. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Sjøvold, T. 1963. The Oseberg find and the other Viking ship finds. Oslo: Universitetes Oldsaksamling.

Sørensen, A. 2001. Ladby: A Danish Ship-grave from the Viking Age. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Thirslund, S. 2007. Viking Navigation. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Weapons and warfare:

Davidson, H.R.E. 1962. The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England: Its Archaeology and Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press. [republished in 1994 by Boydell, this source contains much Viking material]

Griffiths, P. 1995. The Viking Art of War. London: Greenhill Books.

Peirce, I. 2002. Swords of the Viking age. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Viking violence:

Dumville, D. 1997. The Churches of North Britain in the First Viking Age. Whithorn: Friends of the Whithorn Trust.

Einarsson, B. 1988. “De Normanorum Atrocitate, or on the execution by the Aquiline method.” Saga-Book 22: 79-82.

Foot, S. 1991. “Violence against Christians? The Vikings and the Church in Ninth-Century England.” Medieval History 1 (3): 3-16.

Frank, R. 1984. “Viking Atrocity and Skaldic Verse: The Rite of the Blood-Eagle.” English Historical Review 99 (391): 332-43.

Halsall, G. 1992. “Playing By Whose Rules? A Further Look at Viking Atrocity in the Ninth Century.” Medieval History 2 (2): 2-12.

Halsall, G., ed. 1998. Violence and Society in the Early Medieval West. Rochester: Boydell. [useful for contextualization]

Lucas, A.T. 1967. “The Plundering and Burning of Churches in Ireland, 7th to 16th centuries.” In North Munster Studies: Essays in commemoration of Monsignor Michael Moloney, ed. E. Rynne, 172-215. Limerick: Thomond Archaeological Society.

Lund, N. 1989. “Allies of God or Man? The Viking expansion in a European Perspective.” Viator 20: 45-60.

Reuter, T. 1985. “Plunder and tribute in the Carolingian Empire.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 35 (5): 75-94.

Sawyer, P. 1962. The Age of the Vikings. London: Arnold.

Smyth, A.P. 1999. “The Effect of Scandinavian Raiders on the English and Irish Churches: A Preliminary Reassessment.” In Britain and Ireland 900-1300: Insular Responses to Medieval European Change, ed. B. Smith, 1-38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

British Isles and Ireland (general):

Downham, C. 2007. Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic.

Holman, K. 2007. The Northern Conquest: Vikings in Britain and Ireland. Oxford: Signal Books.

Loyn, H.R. 1977. The Vikings in Britain. London: Batsford.

Richards, J. 2001. Blood of the Vikings. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Smyth, A.P. 1977. Scandinavian Kings in the British Isles, 850-880. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sykes, B. 2006. Saxons Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Scotland (including the Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland):

Bäcklund, J. 2001. “War or Peace? The relations between the Picts and the Norse in Orkney.” Northern Studies 36: 33-47.

Barrett, J. 2012. The Long Viking Age of Atlantic Scotland, 750-1500. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Batey, C.E., J. Jesch, & C.D. Morris, eds. 1995. The Viking Age in Caithness Orkney and the North Atlantic. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Crawford, B. 1987. Scandinavian Scotland. Leicester: Leicester University Press.

Goodacre, S. et al. 2005. “Genetic evidence for a family-based Scandinavian settlement of Shetland and Orkney during the Viking periods.” Heredity 95 (2): 129-35.

Graham-Campbell, J., and C. Batey. 1995. Vikings in Scotland: An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Jennings, A. 1998. “Iona and the Vikings: Survival and Continuity.” Northern Studies 33: 37-54.

Morris, C. 1985. “Viking Orkney: A Survey.” In The Prehistory of Orkney, BC 4000-1000 AD, ed. C. Renfrew, 210-42. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Owen, O., and M. Dalland. 1999. Scar: A Viking Boat Burial on Sanday Orkney. East Linton: Tuckwell Press/ Historic Scotland.

Owen, O., ed. 2005. The World of Orkneyinga Saga. Hatston, Orkney: The Orcadian Limited.

Ritchie, A. 1993. Viking Scotland. London: B.T. Batsford/Historic Scotland.

Sharples, N., and M. Parker Pearson. 1999. “Norse Settlement in the Outer Hebrides.” Norwegian Archaeological Review 32: 41-62.

Smyth, A.P. 1984. Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Smith, B. 2001. “The Picts and the martyrs, or did the Vikings kill the native population of Orkney and Shetland.” Northern Studies 36: 7-32.

Stummann Hansen, S. 2000. “Viking Settlement in Shetland: Chronological and Regional Contexts.” Acta Archaeologica 71: 87-103.

Thomson W.P. 2001. New History of Orkney. Revised ed. Edinburgh: Mercat Press.

Wainwright, W.T., ed. 1962. The Northern Isles. Edinburgh: Nelson.


Clarke, H., M. Ní Mhaonaigh, & R. Ó Floinn, eds. 1998. Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Duffy, S., ed. 1999-2010. Medieval Dublin Volumes I-X. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Etchingham, C. 1996. Viking Raids on Irish Church Settlements in the Ninth Century: A Reconsideration of the Annals. Maynooth: The Department of Old and Middle Irish, St. Patrick-™s College, Maynooth.

Johnson, R. 2004. Viking Age Dublin. Dublin: Town House.

Larson, A. C., ed. 2001. Vikings in Ireland. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Ó Cróinín, D. 1995. Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200. Harlow: Longman.

Ó Corráin, D. 1972. Ireland before the Normans. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan Ltd.

Ó Cróinín, D., ed. 2005. A New History of Ireland Vol. 1: Prehistoric and Early Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smyth, A.P. 1987. Scandinavian York and Dublin: The History and Archaeology of Two Related Viking Kingdoms. 2 vols. in 1. Dublin: Irish Academic Press.

Valante, M. 2008. The Vikings in Ireland: Settlement, Trade and Urbanization. Dublin: Four Courts Press.


Davies, W. 1982. Wales in the Early Middle Ages. Leicester: Leicester University Press.

Loyn, H.R. 1976. The Vikings in Wales. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Redknap, M. 2000. Vikings in Wales: An Archaeological Quest. Cardiff: National Museums & Galleries of Wales.


Graham-Campbell, J., R. Hall, J. Jesch, & D.N. Parsons, eds. 2001. Vikings and the Danelaw. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

DeVries, K. 1999. The Norwegian Invasion of England in 1066. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Hadley, D.M. 2006. The Vikings in England: Settlement, Society and Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Hadley, D.M., and J.D. Richards, eds. 2000. Cultures in Contact: Scandinavian Settlement in England in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. Turnhout: Brepols.

Harding, S., M. Jobling, and T.K. Harding. 2010. Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project. Merseyside: Countyvise Limited, co-published with Nottingham University Press.

Howard, I. 2003. Swein Forkbeard-™s Invasions and the Danish Conquest of England, 991-1017. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Lavelle, R. 2010. Alfred-™s Wars: Sources and Interpretations of Anglo-Saxon Warfare in the Viking Age. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Lawson, M. 1993. Cnut: The Danes in England in the Early Eleventh Century. Harlow: Longman.

Richards, J. D. 1991. English Heritage Book of Viking Age England. London: Batsford/English Heritage. [Reprinted in 2000 and 2004 as Viking Age England, published by Tempus Publishing]

Rumble, A.R., ed. 1994. The Reign of Cnut: King of England, Denmark and Norway. London: Leicester University Press, in association with Manchester Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies.

Scragg, D. 2006. The Return of the Vikings: The Battle of Maldon 991. Stroud: Tempus.

Wainwright, F.T. 1975. Scandinavian England: Collected Essays. Chichester: Phillimore.

Isle of Man:

Bersu, G., and D. Wilson. 1966. Three Viking Graves in the Isle of Man. London: Society for Medieval Archaeology.

Fell, C. et al, eds. 1983. The Viking Age in the Isle of Man. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Kermode, P.M.C. 1994. Manx Crosses. Introduction by D. M. Wilson. Balgavies, Scotland: Pinkfoot Press.

Wilson, D. 2008. Vikings in the Isle of Man. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Irish Sea region:

Graham-Campbell, J., ed. 1992. Viking Treasure from the North West: The Cuerdale Hoard in its Context. Liverpool: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside.

Griffiths, D. 2010. Vikings of the Irish Sea: Conflict and Assimilation AD 790-1050. Stroud: History Press.

Hudson, B.T. 2006. Irish Sea Studies 900-1200. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Hudson, B.T. 2005. Viking Pirates and Christian Princes: Dynasty, Religion and Empire in the North Atlantic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The Continent:

Bates, D. 1982. Normandy Before 1066. London & New York: Longman.

Chibnall, M. 2000. The Normans. Oxford: Blackwell.

Coupland, S. 1998. “From Poachers to Gamekeepers: Scandinavian Warlords and Carolingian Kings.” Early Medieval Europe 7 (1): 85-114.

Coupland, S. 2003. “The Vikings on the Continent in Myth and History.” History 88 (290): 186-203.

Gilmour, C. 1988. “War on the Rivers: Viking Numbers and Mobility on the Seine and Loire, 841-886.” Viator 19: 79-109.

Jaubert, A. N. 2001. “Some aspects of Viking research in France.” Acta Archaeologica 71: 159-69.

Klaesøe, I.S., ed. 2010. Viking Trade and Settlement in Continental Western Europe. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen.

Price, N. 1989. The Vikings in Brittany. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Renaud, J. 2000. Les Vikings en France. Rennes: Editions Ouest-France.

Simek, R., and U. Engel, eds. 2004. Vikings on the Rhine: Recent Research on Early Medieval Relations between the Rhinelands and Scandinavia. Wien: Fassbaender.

Stefánsson, J. 1909. “The Vikings in Spain. From Arabic (Moorish) and Spanish Sources.” Saga Book of the Viking Club 6 (1): 31-46.

Wallace-Hadrill, J.M. 1975. The Vikings in Francia. Reading: University of Reading.

Willemsen, A., ed. 2004. Vikings! Raids in the Rhine/Meuse Region 800-1000. Utrecht: Centraal Museum.

Russia, Byzantium, and Islam:

Blondal, S. 1979. The Varangians of Byzantium: An Aspect of Byzantine Military History. Revised and rewritten by B. Benedikt. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Davidson, H.R.E. 1976. The Viking Road to Byzantium. London: G. Allen & Unwin.

Duczko, W. 2004. Viking Rus: Studies on the Presence of Scandinavians in Eastern Europe. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Franklin, S., and J. Shepherd. 1996. The Emergence of Rus 750-1200. London & New York: Longman.

Hannestad, K., ed. 1970. Varangian Problems. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

Montgomery, J.E. 2000. “Ibn Fadlan and the Rusiyyah.” Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 3: 1-25.

Noonan, T. 1998. The Islamic World, Russia and the Vikings 750-900: The Numismatic Evidence. Aldershot & Brookfield, VT: Ashgate.

Noonan, T. 1986. “Why the Vikings First Came to Russia.” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, Neue Folge 34: 321-348.

Perrie, M., ed. 2006. Cambridge History of Russia Volume 1: From Early Rus’ to 1689. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Piltz, E., ed. 1998. Byzantium and Islam in Scandinavia: Acts of a symposium at Uppsala University June 15-16 1996. Jonsered: P. Ã…ströms förlag.

Pritsak, O. 1981. The Origin of Rus-™. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

Pons-Sanz, S.M. 2004. “Whom did al-Ghazal meet? An exchange of embassies between the Arabs from al-Andalus and the Vikings.” Saga-Book 28: 5-28.

North Atlantic-”general studies and collections of essays:

Amorosi, T. et al. 1997. “Raiding the Landscape: Human Impact in the Scandinavian North Atlantic.” Human Ecology 25: 491-518.

Barrett, J.H., ed. 2003. Contact Continuity and Collapse: The Norse Colonization of the North Atlantic. Turnhout: Brepols.

Crawford, B., ed. 2002. The Papar in the North Atlantic: Environment and History. St. Andrews: University of St. Andrews.

Dugmore, A. et al. 2007. “Norse Greenland Settlement: Reflections on climate change, trade, and the contrasting fates of human settlements in the North Atlantic islands.” Arctic Anthropology 44 (1): 12-36.

Dugmore, A. et al. 2005. “The Norse landnám on the North Atlantic islands: An environmental impact assessment.” Polar Record 41 (216): 21-37.

FitzHugh, W., and E. Ward, eds. 2000. Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga. Washington: Smithsonian.

Helgason, A. et al. 2001. “mtDNA and the Islands of the North Atlantic: Estimating the proportions of Norse and Gaelic ancestry.” American Journal of Human Genetics 68: 723-37.

Jones, G. 1964. The Norse Atlantic Saga: Being the Norse Voyages of Discovery and Settlement to Iceland, Greenland and North America. London: Oxford University Press.

Kristjánsson, J. 2005. The First Settler of the New World: The Vinland Exploration of Thorfinn Karlesefni. Reykjavík: University of Iceland Press.

McGovern, T. 1980-81. “The Vinland Adventure: A North Atlantic Perspective.” North American Archaeologist 2 (4): 285-308.

Mortensen, A., and S.V. Arge, eds. 2005. Viking and Norse in the North Atlantic. Tórshavn: Foroya Fródskaparfelag (The Faroese Academy of Sciences) in collaboration with Foroya Fornminnissavn (Historical Museum of the Faroe Islands).

Seaver, K. 2010. The Last Vikings: The Epic Story of the Great Norse Voyagers. London & New York: I.B. Tauris.

Faeroe Islands:

Arge, S.V. 1991. “The landnám in the Faroes.” Arctic Anthropology 28 (2): 101-20.

Arge, S.V. et al. 2005. “Viking and Medieval Settlement in the Faroes: People, Place & Environment.” Human Ecology 33 (5): 597-620. [the entire issue is given over to Historical Human Ecology of the Faroe Islands]

Matras, A.K. 2005. “The Viking settlement -˜Niðri á Toft-™, Kvívík, Faroe Islands, a reanalysis.” In Viking and Norse in the North Atlantic: Select Papers from the Proceedings of the Fourteenth Viking Congress, Tórshavn, 19-30 July 2001, eds. A. Mortensen and S.V. Arge, 99-108. Tórshavn: Føroya Fróðskaparfelag.

Stummann Hansen, S. 1990. “Toftanes: A Faroese Viking Farmstead from the 9th-10th centuries.” Acta Archaeologica 61: 44-53.


Byock, J. 2001. Viking Age Iceland. London: Penguin.

Dugmore, A.J. et al. 2000. “Tephrochronology, Environmental Change, and the Norse Settlement of Iceland.” Environmental Archaeology 5: 21-34.

Gelsinger, B.E. 1981. Icelandic Enterprise: Commerce and Economy in the Middle Ages. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Hermannsson, H. 1966. Icelandic Manuscripts. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation.

Johannesson, J. 1974. A History of the Old Icelandic Commonwealth. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Karlsson, G. 2000. History of Iceland. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Kristjánsson, J. 1996. Icelandic Manuscripts. Translated by J. Cosser. Reykjavík: Icelandic Literary Society.

Lucas, G., ed. 2009. Hofstaðir: Excavations of a Viking Age Feasting Hall in North-Eastern Iceland. Reykjavik: Institute of Archaeology.

Magnusson, M. 2005. Iceland Saga. Stroud: Tempus.

Short, W.R. 2010. Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas. Jefferson, N.C. & London: McFarland and Co.

Sigurðsson, G. 2000. Gaelic Influence in Iceland: Historical and Literary Contacts, A Survey of Research. Reykjavík: University of Iceland Press.

Sigurðsson, G., and V. Ólasson. 2004. The Manuscripts of Iceland. Reykjavík: Ární Magnússon Institute.

Smith, K. P. 1995. “The Settlement of Iceland in Archaeological and Historical Perspective.” World Archaeology 26 (3): 319-47.

Vésteinsson, O. 1998. “Patterns of Settlement in Iceland: A study in Prehistory.” Saga-Book 25: 1-29.

Vésteinsson, O., and T. McGovern. 2012. “The Peopling of Iceland.” Norwegian Archaeological Review 45 (2): 206-218.


Arneborg, J. 1990. “The Roman Church in Norse Greenland.” Acta Archaeologica 61: 142-51.

Arneborg, J., and H.C. Gulløv, eds. 1998. Man, Culture and Environment in Ancient Greenland. Copenhagen: Danish National Museum and Danish Polar Centre.

Berglund, J. 1986. “The Decline of the Norse Settlements in Greenland.” Arctic Archaeology 23 (1/2):109-35.

Gad, F. 1982. History of Greenland: Volume 1. Copenhagen: A. Busck.

Krogh, K. 1967. Viking Greenland. Translated by H. Fogh, and G. Jones. Copenhagen: The National Museum.

Lynnerup, N. 1998. The Greenland Norse: A Biological-Anthropological Study, Meddelelser om Grønland: Man and Society Volume 24 of Meddelelser om Grønland. Copenhagen: Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland.

Marcus, G.J. 1954. “The Greenland Trade Route.” Economic History Review 7 (1): 71-80.

ØstergÃ¥rd, E. 2004. Woven into the Earth: Textiles from Norse Greenland. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Roussell, A. 1941. Farms and Churches in the Mediaeval Norse Settlements of Greenland. København: I kommission hos C.A. Reitzel.

Seaver, K. 1996. The Frozen Echo: Greenland and the Exploration of North America ca. A.D. 1000-1500. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Vínland/North America:

Barnes, G., ed. 2001. Viking America: The First Millennium. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer.

Clausen, B.L., ed. 1993. Viking Voyages to North America. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Ingstad, H. 1969. Westward to Vinland: The Discovery of Pre-Columbian Norse House-Sites in North America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

McGhee, R. 1984. “Contact between Native Americans and the Medieval Norse: A Review of the Evidence.” American Antiquity 49 (1): 4-26.

Seaver, K. 2004. Maps, Myths and Men: The Story of the Vínland Map. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Sutherland, P.D. 2009. “The question of contact between Dorset Paleo-Eskimos and early Europeans in the Eastern Arctic.” In The Northern World AD 900-1400, eds. H. Maschner, O. Mason, and R. McGhee, 279-99. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

Wallace, B.L. 2006. Westward Vikings: The Saga of L-™Anse aux Meadows. St. John’s, NL: Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Wawn, A., and Þ. Sigurðardöttir, eds. 2001. Approaches to Vínland. Reykjavík: Sigurðar Nordal Institute.

Viking expansion Northwards:

Hofstra, T., and K. Samplonius. 1995. “Viking Expansion Northwards: Mediaeval Sources.” Arctic 48 (3): 235-247.

Odner, K. 1985. “Saamis (Lapps), Finns and Scandinavians in History and Prehistory.” Norwegian Archaeological Review 18 (1/2): 1-12.

Vaughan, R. 1982. “The Arctic in the middle ages.” Journal of Medieval History 8: 313-42.

Whitaker, I. 1981. “Ohthere-™s Account Reconsidered.” Arctic Anthropology 18 (1): 1-11.

Pre-Christian religion and myth:

Abram, C. 2011. Myths of the Pagan North: The Gods of the Norsemen. London: Continuum.

Acker, P., and C. Larrington, eds. 2002. The Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Mythology. New York: Routledge.

Andrén, A., K. Jennbert, and C. Raudvere, eds. 2006. Old Norse Religion in Long-term Perspectives: Origins, Changes, and Interactions. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Clunies-Ross, M. 1994-98. Prolonged Echoes: Old Norse Myths in Northern Society. 2 vols. Odense: Odense University Press.

Davidson, H.R.E. 1964. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Davidson, H.R.E. 1967. Pagan Scandinavia. New York: F. A. Praeger.

Davidson, H.R.E. 1968. The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature. New York: Greenwood Press.

Davidson, H.R.E. 1969. Scandinavian Mythology. London: P. Hamlyn.

Larrington, C., trans. 1996. The Poetic Edda. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lindow, J. 2002. Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lucas, G., and T. McGovern. 2007. “Bloody Slaughter: Ritual Decapitation and Display at the Viking Settlement of Hofstaðir, Iceland.” European Journal of Archaeology 10 (1): 7-30.

Mitchell, S.A. 2011. Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Orchard, A. 1997. Cassell-™s Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. London: Cassell.

Page, R.I. 1990. Norse Myths. London: British Museum Publications.

Polomé, J. 1969. Old Norse Literature and Mythology. Austin: Published for the Dept. of Germanic Languages of the University of Texas at Austin by the University of Texas Press.

Price, N. 2002. The Viking Way: Religion and War in Late Iron Age Scandinavia. Uppsala: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.

Simek, R. 1993. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by A. Hall. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer.

Christianity and conversion:

Aðalsteinsson, J.H. 1999. Under the Cloak: A Pagan Ritual Turning Point in the Conversion of Iceland. Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan, Félagsvísindastofnun.

Antonsson, H. 2007. St Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-Cult in Context. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Antonsson, H. 2010. “Traditions of Conversion in Medieval Scandinavia: A Synthesis.” Saga Book 34: 25-74.

Berend, N., ed. 2007. Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus’ c. 900-1200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Carver, M., ed. 2003. The Cross Goes North: Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe AD 300-1300. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Cusak, C. 1998. The Rise of Christianity in Northern Europe, 300-1000. London & New York: Cassell.

Demidoff, Lene. 1973. “The Poppo Legend.” Mediaeval Scandinavia 6: 39- 67.

DuBois, T., ed. 2008. Sanctity in the North: Saints, Lives and Cults in Medieval Scandinavia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Fletcher, R. 1998. The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity. New York: H. Holt and Co.

Jochens, J. 1999. “Late and Peaceful: Iceland-™s Conversion through Arbitration in 1000.” Speculum 74 (3): 621-55.

Lund, N. 2012. “The Baptism of Harald Bluetooth.” In The Viking Age: Ireland and the West, eds. J. Sheehan & D. Ó Corráin, 234-39. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Noble, T. F. X., and  J. M. H. Smith, eds. 2008. Cambridge History of Christianity Volume 3: Early Medieval Christianities, c.600-“c.1100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nordeide, S.W. 2011. The Viking Age as a Period of Religious Transformation: The Christianization of Norway from AD 560 To 1150/1200. Turnhout: Brepols.

Palmer, J.T. 2004. “Rimbert-™s Vita Anskarii and Scandinavian Mission in the Ninth Century.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 55 (2): 235-56.

Phelpsted, C. 2007. Holy Vikings: Saints-™ Lives in the Old Icelandic Kings-™ Sagas. Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Sawyer, B., P. Sawyer, and I. Wood, eds. 1987. The Christianization of Scandinavia: Report of a symposium held at Kungälv, Sweden, 4-9 August 1985. AlingsÃ¥s, Sweden: Viktoria Borkförlag.

Skre, D. 1998. “Missionary Activity in Early Medieval Norway: Organization and the Course of Events.” Scandinavian Journal of History 23: 1-19.

Solli, B. 1996. “Narratives of Encountering Religions: On the Christianization of the Norse around AD 900-1000.” Norwegian Archaeological Review 29: 91-114.

Strömback, D. 1975. The Conversion of Iceland. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Vésteinsson, O. 2000. The Christianization of Iceland: Priests, Power, and Social Change, 1000-1300. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Winwroth, A. 2012. The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.


Andersson, T.M. 2012. The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (1180-“1280). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Andersson, T.M. 1967. The Icelandic Family Saga: An Analytic Reading. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Andersson, T.M. 1964. The Problem of Icelandic Saga Origins: A Historical Survey. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Clover, C., and J. Lindow, eds. 2005. Old Norse Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide. Toronto: University of Toronto Press in association with the Medieval Academy of America.

Clunies-Ross, M. 2010. The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hines, J., and D. Slay, eds. 1992. Introductory Essays on Egils saga and Njals saga. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Kristjánsson, J. 1997. Eddas and Sagas: Iceland-™s Medieval Literature. Translated by Peter Foote. 3rd ed. Reykjavík: Hið íslenska bókmenntafélag.

McTurk, R., ed. 2005. A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Miller, W.I. 2008. Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

North, R., and J. Allard. 2007. Beowulf and Other Stories: A New Introduction to Old English, Old Icelandic, and Anglo-Norman Languages. Harlow & New York: Pearson Longman. [wide-ranging essays on topics including religion, myth, and northern influences on Tolkien]

O-™Donoghue, H. 2004. Old Norse Icelandic Literature: A Short Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sigurdsson, G. 2004. The Medieval Icelandic Saga and Oral Tradition: A Discourse on Method. Translated by Nicholas Jones. Cambridge, MA: Center for Hellenic Studies.

Tulinius, T. 2002. The Matter of the North: The Rise of Literary Fiction in Thirteenth-century Iceland. Odense: Odense University Press.

Whaley, D. 1991. Heimskringla: An Introduction. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Poets and poetry:

Frank, R. 1978. Old Norse Court Poetry. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Nordal, G. 2001. Tools of Literacy: The Role of Skaldic Verse in Icelandic Textual Culture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Poole, R.G. 1991. Viking Poems on War and Peace. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1968. Haraldr the Hard Ruler and his Poets. London: Published for the College by H. K. Lewis.

Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1976. Scaldic Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Eddic poetry:

Glendinning, R.J., and H. Bessason, eds. 1983. Edda: A Collection of Essays. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Kristjánsson, J. 1997. Eddas and Sagas: Iceland-™s Medieval Literature. Translated by Peter Foote. 3rd ed. Reykjavík: Hið íslenska bókmenntafélag.

Larrington, C., trans. 1996. The Poetic Edda. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Larrington, C. 1993. A Store of Common Sense: Gnomic Theme and Style in Old Icelandic and Old English Wisdom Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Skaldic poetry:

Hollander, L.M., ed. & trans. 1968. The Skalds: A selection of their poems. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

Skaldic Poetry Project

The Norse-Icelandic Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages project aims to produce a new edition of the known corpus of skaldic verse, including runic inscriptions in metrical form. Please visit for more information.

Clunies-Ross, M., ed. 2008. Poetry on Christian Subjects: Part I and II. Turnhout: Brepols.

Gade, K.E., ed. 2009. Poetry from the Kings-™ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Turnhout: Brepols.

Whaley, D., ed. 2013. Poetry from the Kings-™ Sagas 1: From mythical times to c. 1035. Turnhout: Brepols.

Runes and runic inscriptions:

Barnes, M. 2012. Runes: A Handbook. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Barnes, M. 1994. The Runic Inscriptions of Maeshowe, Orkney. Uppsala: Institutionen för nordiska sprÃ¥k, Uppsala universitet.

Holman, K. 1996. Scandinavian Runic Inscriptions in the British Isles: Their Historical Context. Trondheim: Tapir.

Jansson, S. 1962. The Runes of Sweden. Translated by P.G. Foote. London: Phoenix House.

MacLeod, M., and B. Mees. 2006. Runic Amulets and Magic Objects. Woodbridge: Boydell.

McKinnell, J., R. Simek, and K. Düwel, eds. 2004. Runes, Magic and Religion: A Sourcebook. Wien: Fassbaender.

Moltke, E. 1985. Runes and Their Origin: Denmark and Elsewhere. Copenhagen: Nationalmuseets Forlag.

Sawyer, B. 2003. The Viking Age Rune Stones: Custom and Commemoration in Early Medieval Scandinavia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spurklund, T. 2005. Norse Runes and Runic Inscriptions. Translated by B. van der Hoek. Woodbridge: Boydell.


Bailey, R. 1980. Viking Age Sculpture in Northern England. London: Collins.

Graham-Campbell, J. 2013. Viking Art. London: Thames and Hudson.

Kendrick, T.D. 1974. Late Saxon and Viking Art. London: Methuen.

Kermode, P.M.C. 1994. Manx Crosses. Introduction by D. M. Wilson. Balgavies, Scotland: Pinkfoot Press.

Wilson, D.M., and O. Klindt-Jensen. 1966. Viking Art. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.


Anderson, S.M., ed. 2002. Cold Counsel: Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology: A Collection of Essays. New York: Routledge.

Jesch, J. 1991. Women in the Viking Age. Woodbridge, England: Boydell Press.

Jochens, J. 1995. Women in Old Norse Society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Northern influences on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien:

Bowman, Mary R. 2010. “Refining the Gold: Tolkien, The Battle of Maldon, and the Northern Theory of Courage.” Tolkien Studies 7: 91-115.

Burns, Marjorie. 2005. Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien-™s Middle-earth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Carpenter, H., ed. 1995. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: a selection. London: Harper Collins.

Carpenter, H. 2000. J.R.R. Tolkien: a biography. Philadelphia: Chelsea House.

Chance, J. 1979. Tolkien-™s Art: a mythology for England. London: MacMillan. Rev. 1979. Lexington: University of Kentucky.

Chance, J., ed. 2003. Tolkien the Medievalist. London & New York: Routledge.

Chance, J., ed. 2004. Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader. Lexington: University of Kentucky. [especially the essays in Part III: Tolkien and Old Norse]

Clark, G., and D. Timmons, eds. 2000. J.R.R. Tolkien and his literary resonances: views of Middle-Earth. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. [includes essay by J. Evan on “The dragon-lore of Middle-earth”]

Flieger, V., and C.F. Hostetter, eds. 2000. Tolkien-™s Legendarium: Essays on the History of Middle-Earth. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Hammond, Wayne G., and Christina Scull. 2005. The Lord of the Rings: A Reader-™s Companion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Lee, S.D., and E. Solopova. 2005. The keys of Middle-earth: Discovering medieval literature through the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. [with an excellent bibliography]

Jones, L.E. 2002. Myth & Middle Earth. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Press.

Reynolds, P., and G.H. Goodnight, eds. 1995. Proceedings of the J.R.R. Tolkien Centenary Conference, Keble College, Oxford, 1992. Milton Keynes and Altadena: Tolkien Society/Mythopoeic Press. [many valuable essays, including G. St. Clair, “An Overview of the Northern Influences on Tolkien-™s works”]

Shippey, T. 1982. The Road to Middle-earth. London: Allen and Unwin. Rep. 1992. London: Harper Collins.

Shippey, T. 2001. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. London: Harper Collins.

Tolkien, J. R. R. 1936. “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” Proceedings of the British Academy 22: 245-95. [frequently reprinted in anthologies, including the collection The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays]

Whetter, K.S. and R.A. McDonald. 2006. “Resonances of Medieval Swords and Sword-lore in J.R.R. Tolkien-™s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature 25 no. 1/2: 5-28.

Vikings on film:

Harty, K.J. 2011. The Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages. London: McFarland.

The lighter side:

Browne, D. 1985. Hagar the Horrible-™s Very Nearly Complete Viking Handbook. New York: Workman.

Dreary, T. 1994. Horrible Histories: The Vicious Vikings. London: Scholastic.

Fleming, F. 1997. The Viking Invader. London: Usborne.


Ganeri, A. 2001. Raiders and Traders. Chicago: Peter Bedrick Books. [originally published 1997. Great Britain: David West Children-™s Books]

Macdonald, F. 2003. 100 facts on Vikings. Thaxted, Essex: Miles Kelley.

Steele, P. 1998. Find out about the Vikings: what life was like for the ancient seafarers of the north. London: Southwater.

Wilson, David M. 1987. The Vikings Activity Book. London: British Museum Press.

Some important sources in translation

The list is not comprehensive, but rather provides wide geographical and chronological coverage as well as a wide range of different types of source material for the study of the Vikings and the Viking Age.


Page, R.I., ed. & trans. 1995. Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials and Myths. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Somerville, A.A., and R. A. McDonald, eds. 2010. The Viking Age: A Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Translations of texts:

Abbo of St. Germain-des-Prés. 2007. Viking Attacks on Paris: The Bella Parisiacae Urbis of Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Edited & translated by N. Dass. Paris: Peeters.

Adam of Bremen. 2002. History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen. Translated by F. Tschan. New York: Columbia University Press. [Contains a new introduction and selected bibliography by Timothy Reuter]

Anderson, A.O., ed. & trans. 1990. Early Sources of Scottish History A.D. 500-1286. Stamford, England: Paul Watkins Publishing. [originally printed in 1922 by Oliver & Boyd in Edinburgh, this source includes translations of material relating to Viking activities in and around Scotland]

Anderssen, T., and K.E. Gade, trans. 2000. Morkinskinna: The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norwegian Kings. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Bately, J., and A. Englert, eds. 2007. Ohthere-™s Voyages: A late 9th- century account of voyages along the coasts of Norway and Denmark and its cultural context. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum.

Cross, S.H., trans. 1953. Russian Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Text. Cambridge, MA: Medieval Academy of America.

Dennis, A., P. Foote, and R. Perkins, trans. 1980. Laws of Early Iceland: Grágás. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Driscoll, M.J. 1995. Ãgrip af Nóregskongasögum: A Twelfth-century Synoptic History of the Kings of Norway. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Dudo of St. Quentin. 1998. History of the Normans. Trans. E. Woodbridge: Boydell.

Dutton, P.E., ed. 2004. Carolingian Civilization: A Reader. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [has many translated primary documents relating to Viking activities on the Continent]

Ekrem, I., and L.B. Mortensen, eds. 2003. Historia Norwegie. Translated by P. Fisher. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.

Frye, R.N., trans. 2005. Ibn Fadlan-™s Journey to Russia: A Tenth-century Traveler from Baghad to the Volga River. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers.

Grønlie, S., trans. 2006. Ãslendingabók/Kristni Saga: The Book of the Icelanders/The Story of the Conversion. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Hollander, L.M., eds. & trans. 1968. The Skalds: A Selection of their Poems. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

Hreinsson, V., ed. 1997. The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, including 49 tales. Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson. [excellent new edition of all of the major sagas of Icelanders]

Larrington, C., trans. 1996. The Poetic Edda. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Larson, L.M., trans. 1917. The King-™s Mirror. New York: Twayne/The American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Lunde, P., and C. Stone, trans. 2012. Ibn Fadlan and the land of darkness: Arab travellers in the far north. London: Penguin.

Mac Airt, S., and G. Mac Niocaill, eds. 1983. The Annals of Ulster (to A.D. 1131). Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. [also available electronically through Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT):]

Mango, C., trans. 1958. The Homilies of Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Mathers, D. 2009. “A Fourteenth-Century Description of Greenland.” Saga-Book 33: 67-94. [translation of Ívar Bárðarson-™s “Description of Greenland”]

Moravesik, G. 1967. De Administrando Imperio. Revised ed. Washington: Dumbarton Oaks.

Nelson, J.L., trans. 1991. The Annals of St. Bertin. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Pálsson, H. and P. Edwards, trans. 1972. The Book of Settlements, Landnámabók. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Pálsson. H., and P. Edwards, trans. Knytlinga Saga: The History of the Kings of Denmark. Odense: Odense University Press, 1986.

Pálsson, H., and P. Edwards. 1978. Orkneyinga Saga. London: Penguin.

Robinson, C.H., trans. 1921. Anskar: The Apostle of the North, 801-865, translated from the Vita Anskarii by Bishop Rimbert his fellow missionary and successor. London: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

Saxo Grammaticus. 1998. The History of the Danes Books I-IX. Edited by H.R.E. Davidson and translated by P. Fisher. Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer.

Scholz, B.W., and B. Rogers, trans. 1970. Carolingian Chronicles: Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard-™s Histories. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Snorri Sturluson. 1995. Edda. Translated by A. Faulkes. London: J.M. Dent.

Snorri Sturluson. 1964. Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. Translated by L.M. Hollander. Austin: University of Texas Press/American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Swanton, M. 2000. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. London: Phoenix.

Theodoricus Monachus. 1998. Historia De Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium: An account of the ancient history of the Norwegian kings. Translated D. & I. MacDougall. London: Viking Society for Northern Research.

Tierney, J.J., ed. & trans. 1967. Dicuili Liber de mensura orbis terrae. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. [an important source attesting to the presence of Irish monks on the North Atlantic islands before the Vikings]

Todd, J.H., ed & trans. 1867. The War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, or, The invasions of Ireland by the Danes and other Norsemen. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer.

Whaley, D., trans. 2002. Sagas of Warrior Poets. London: Penguin.

Whitelock, D., ed. 1955. English Historical Documents vol. 1 500-1042. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.

Translating Old Norse Skaldic Poetry

The poetry of the skalds appeared during the ninth and tenth centuries and continued to be produced until the fourteenth century. Skaldic poetry was first composed in Norway in the ninth century and reached its maturity in Iceland from the early tenth century onwards. Skaldic poets were chiefly court poets and, from the late tenth century, most were Icelanders. Much of their poetry was praise poetry and may be found incorporated in kings-™ sagas, such as those written by Snorri Sturluson in Heimskringla, as well as in histories such as MorkinskinnaFagrskinna, and Ãgrip. Snorri and other writers of kings-™ sagas used skaldic poetry as corroboration of their historical narratives. Another view is that the prose could be regarded as an amplification of the verse around which it is arranged.

Skaldic poetry challenges all students of Old Norse, no matter how experienced they may be. Since this poetry plays an important role in many of the sagas likely to be read by students new to Old Norse, we should take up the challenges of translation as early as possible. Initially, the activity is more like exploration than rendering the poetry into coherent modern English, but our exploration will lead us into fascinating areas of Old Norse language and culture. The comprehension of the poetry involves acquiring a good knowledge of Norse mythology and Viking age history.

The following remarks provide the briefest of introductions to the vocabulary and metres of skaldic poetry. A couple of poems are translated; you should regard these translations as being no more than suggestions on which you can surely improve. Finally, there is a short list of the most useful texts for the beginner (and the expert) in skaldic poetry.

1. Dróttkvætt, court measure was the favorite measure of the skalds. The basic unit of Dróttkvætt is a stanza of eight lines with a complex meter and vocabulary.

Snorri Sturluson on Skaldic Poetry

The Prose Edda is Snorri Sturluson-™s art of skaldic poetry. The first part (Gylfaginning/The Tricking of Gylfi) narrates many of the pagan myths that provide the substance of skaldic diction. The second and third parts (Skáldskaparmál/On Poetic Diction and Háttatal/List of Metres) are invaluable for their treatment of poetic diction and metre. This account uses his work to illustrate important features of vocabulary and metre.

2. Vocabulary of Dróttkvætt

The language of dróttkvætt contains circumlocutions known as kennings and a wide array of near synonyms or heiti. The semantic and lexical richness of kennings and heiti provides the large number of synonyms and alternative expressions required by alliterative poetry (see Alliteration below).

a) A kenning is a circumlocution, a roundabout way of describing or naming some object or person. For example, instead of using the word “battle” or a synonym, the skaldic poet might say “sword storm” where “storm” is the base word and “sword” the determiner.

Snorri Sturluson on Kenning

  • from Skáldskaparmál, chapter 46:
    “Some kennings for gold are: fire of the hand [or arm], fire of the joint, or fire of the arm, because it is red; silver is snow, ice, or frost because it is white. Similarly, gold and silver should be described in terms of the purse, or crucible, or smelter. Both silver and gold may be stones of the arm-¦.”
  • from Háttatal, chapter 2:
    “Kennings are divided into three classes. First are [basic] kennings; second are double kennings; third are enlarged kennings. To call battle ‘the crashing of spears’ is a kenning; to call a sword ‘the fire of the crashing of spears’ is a double kenning. If it is any longer, it is an enlarged kenning.”

b) Snorri Sturluson on Heiti (or substitution of one name for another)

Skáldskaparmál contains several lists [þulur] of names which may be substituted for other terms. For example, Snorri provides the following as substitutes for serpent, from chapter 10: “dreki, Fáfnir, Jörmungandr, naðr, Níðhöggr, linnr, naðra, Góinn, Móinn, Grafvitnir, Grábakr, Ófnir, Sváfnir, grímr.”

3. Metre, Rhyme, Assonance, and Alliteration in Dróttkvætt

The eight-line dróttkvætt stanza is complex in its metrical structure and patterns of rhyme and assonance. Paradoxically, these complexities may improve the chances of accurate oral transmission of the poetry in the generations before it was first written down, sometimes two or more centuries from the date of composition. The complex structures of dróttkvætt help to ensure that inaccuracies in transmission are easily noticed.

a) The Dróttkvætt stanza has two helmings (helmingar, sing. helming) of four lines each. Each line has six syllables, three of which are usually stressed. Each line usually ends with a trochee (a stressed followed by an unstressed syllable). The end of the first helming often coincides with a major grammatical break or with a shift in the direction of the sense of the stanza.

b) Internal Rhyme and Assonance

In the odd lines, we find internal half-rhyme, or assonance; that is, two syllables end with the same consonant preceded by a different vowel [e.g. dead and mud]. In the even lines, there is interna full-rhyme; that is, two syllables rhyme in both vowel and consonant [e.g. dead and wed].

c) Alliteration

Alliteration occurs when two or more stressed syllables begin with the same sound, as in the blatant beast. In dróttkvætt, one or two stressed syllables of each odd line will alliterate with the first stressed syllable of the immediately following even line.

4. Two Translations

Example One

A poem consisting of a single stanza is known as a lausavísa (pl. lausavísur). This example was composed by Þórhallr Veiðimaðr (Thorhall the Huntsman). Þórhallr accompanied Leifr Eiríksson on his exploration of Vínland (Wineland, part of north eastern North America). If this poem is of the date and origin claimed for it, it is probably the first European poem composed in North America.

In this example, alliteration is bold, half-rhyme is italic, full-rhyme is bold italic.

Hafa kvaðmik meiðar                   I-™d get (they guaranteed it,
malmþings, es komk hingat,         the men of the iron-clash), if I came here
(mér samir land fyr lýðum               – I should curse this coast –
lasta) drykk inn bazta:                    the best of booze;
Bílds hattar verðr byttu                   Tyr-™s man [the poet] bears a bucket,
beiði-Týr at stýra;                             not the hooded god-™s helmet;
heldr-™s svát krýpk at keldu -“          I creep to the creek,
komat vín Ã¡ grön mína.                   find only water in Wineland.

Source: Þórhallr Veiðimaðr (Thorhall the Huntsman), ca 1006
(Trans. A.A.Somerville, from Eirik the Red-™s Saga/Eiríks saga Rauða)

a) Vocabulary

Some kennings and heiti in Thorhall the Huntsman-™s poem on Vinland:

meiðar malmþings = trees of the meeting of iron = warriors
meiðar = trees; often used in poetry to equal man
malmþings = of the meeting of iron = of battle
beiði-Týr  bílds hattar is a complex periphrasis for warrior
bilds = lit., of a spear, often used as an attribute of Odin
hattar = of a hood: thus, of Odin-™s hood = helmet.
Týr bílds hattar = Tyr of the hood of the spear:
Tyr, the name of another god, is used with attributes of Odin and the phrase would be translated as: God of the hood of the spear (helmet) = Odin
beiði-Týr = one who prays to Tyr/Odin

b) Syntax

The syntax of this stanza is contorted and, at first glance, hard to construe. Nonetheless, there is method in the seeming confusion as this analysis of the first helming shows:

  • The subject of the verb kvaðu [said, declared] follows almost immediately, a frequent structure in Norse texts.
  • The object of the dependent verb hafa [have, get] in the first line is placed at the end of the last line of the helming (half stanza).
  • This arrangement of subject, verb, and object is frequent in skaldic poetry and gives the hearer or reader clues to understanding the passage.
  • This structure of subject, verb, and object encloses the remaining lines like the filling of a sandwich. Here, too, there is order. Many helmings are interrupted by an aside or apostrophe.
  • The passage in parentheses here is such an aside. Most editions indicate these asides by dashes, parentheses, or commas.
  • The remaining element of the helming is often (as here) a dependent clause. Sometimes a descriptive phrase will appear instead of a clause. Skaldic verse utilizes a considerable array of structural signals of which this helming illustrates only a couple.

This translation aims at clarity and idiomatic English diction, achieved in part by ignoring internal rhyme and assonance. Compare with the next example which preserves these elements.

Example Two

This stanza is part of Ãžorfinnsdrápa by Arnórr jarlaskáld [poet of earls] Þórðarson, ca 1012 -“ ca 1075. A drápa (pl. drápur) is a praise-poem of some length, usually in three parts with refrains. Ãžorfinnsdrápa celebrates the exploits of Thorfinnr the Mighty Sigurðarson, earl of Orkney (1009?-“c. 1064?).

The following stanza is translated to preserve internal assonance and rhyme and the initial alliteration in even lines. [alliteration is bold, half-rhyme is italic, full-rhyme is bold italic].

24. Björt verðr sól at svartri,            The cleasun will darken,
søkkr fold í mar døkkvan,                sink must the land into the ink-black
brestr erfiði Austra,                           sea, Austri’s effort be wasted,
allr glymr sær á fjöllum,                  waves must drown earth’s havens,
áðr at Eyjum fríðri                             before a prince that’s finer
(inndróttar) Þórfinni                         – Father in heaven, help forever –
(þeim hjalpi goð geymi)                   than Thorfinn – the host’s guardian –
gœðingr myni fœðask.                    Gain the Isles and reign there.

Source: Whaley, Diana: The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Trans. A.A. Somerville. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols, 1998.

c) Allusions

While the reference to “Father in heaven” is clearly Christian, Arnórr-™s verse echoes stanza 57.1-“2 of the pre-Christian prophetic poem Völuspá (The Seeress-™s Prophecy); this echo is the earliest known reference to Völuspá. In the passage, Ragnarök (the Doom of the Gods) is prophecied:

Sól tér sortna,     The sun will darken,
sígr fold í mar      the earth sink into the sea

Another allusion to pre-Christian mythology is the reference to Austri [East] which recalls a version of the Norse creation myth in which Odin and his brothers create the world out of the body parts of the giant, Ymir. Snorri Sturluson (Gylfaginning) tells us that four dwarves [North, East, South, and West] were charged with the duty of supporting the corners of Ymir-™s skull, which formed the sky. With the Doom of the Gods, the efforts of Austri and the others come to nothing.

5. Excellent Introductions to Skaldic Poetry

Frank, R. W. 1978. Old Norse Court Poetry: The Dróttkvætt Stanza. Islandica 42. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Snorri Sturluson. 1995. The Prose Edda. Translated by Antony Faulkes. London: Everyman Paperback.

Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1976. Scaldic Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Whaley, D. 1998. The Poetry of Arnórr jarlaskáld: An Edition and Study. Westfield Publications in Medieval Studies 8. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers. [Superb edition of Arnórr jarlaskáld Þórðarson]