Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Vikings

My interest is shifting and just to give you a clue, here's the opening passage from a book whose title I will not reveal until the end of the post. 
"As Rome fought great battles along the Rhine and lost whole legions in the darkling Teutoberg forest, a people-group made their way into a sparsely settled land. Cold, inhospitable and with a short growing season, it seemed an unlikely place to generate sufficient spare resources to enable a few generations of men to develop an ocean-going ship from a curious assembly of planks and rope in which you or I would not cross a boating lake. Yet that is what happened: as continental influences and migrations from the east caused the cultural changes that led from the Vendal culture to the people we have come to call the Vikings and the inter-reaction of cultures seems to have accelerated developments in boat technology....From this unlikely beginning developed a particular line of sailing vessels which could attempt ocean voyages across the Atlantic and - at the other extreme - light craft which could deal with shallow, fast flowing rivers and were capable of being moved across land to another river or lake."
So says J Kim Siddorn in his book Vikings, Weapons and Warfare.

I agree with him that there is much to admire in the Viking culture and from 793 onwards right up to and including the Norman invasion, Viking genes were planted across the lands that currently make up the UK. Few areas escaped attention. Given the small population then, and the widespread infiltration by Vikings, it isn't surprising that so many of us carry traces of them. No doubt it also explains our fascination with them. Race memory opens one eye when it hears the name...


No comments: