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.
In this book, Eleanor Parker unlocks secrets that point to more complex motivations within the marauding army that in the late-9th 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. Meticulously researched and elegantly argued, Dragon Lords uncovers the remarkable degree to which England is Viking to its core.
Country of Publication:
01 September 2020
List of Illustrations Timeline of Key Texts and Events Acknowledgements A Note on Names Map of Anglo-Saxon England Introduction 1. 'From the north comes all that is evil': Vikings, Kings and Saints, c. 985-1100 2. The Sons of Ragnar Lothbrok 3. The Story of Siward 4. Danish Sovereignty and the Right to Rule 5. 'Over the salt sea to England': Havelok and the Danes Epilogue: The Danes in English Folklore Notes Bibliography Index
Eleanor Parker is Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Oxford, UK. Her DPhil, obtained in 2013 from the University of Oxford, addressed the subject of Anglo-Scandinavian literature in post-Conquest England. Dr Parker writes an acclaimed blog in her guise as 'A Clerk of Oxford', described as 'an orchard of golden apples' by Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph. In 2015 her blog won the Longman-History Today Award for Digital History, and she now writes a regular column for History Today.
Reviews for Dragon Lords: The History and Legends of Viking England
Meticulously researched, impressively informative, thoughtfully insightful, and an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, Dragon Lords: The History and Legends of Viking England is an extraordinary work of scholarship that is exceptionally accessible for both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. * Midwest Book Review * Summing Up: Recommended. -- D.J. Shepherd, independent scholar * CHOICE * An absorbing and authoritative account of the survival of Scandinavian legends and history in post-Conquest England. This beautifully written book succeeds in casting Viking invaders and settlers in an unexpected new light. -- Carolyne Larrington, University of Oxford, UK Dragon Lords tells the fascinating and hitherto unknown story of how the Viking invasions of England were turned into myth and legend by those whom the Scandinavians raided and later ruled. -- Heather O'Donoghue, University of Oxford, UK Part literary study, part historical investigation and part folkloric inquiry, it makes a riveting and rewarding read. -- Levi Roach, University of Exeter, UK