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NESP Reviews


Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age

by John Haywood

Reviewed by Alfta Svanni Lothursdottir

        Have you ever had trouble remembering the difference between Harald Hardrada and Harald Fairhair? Was it Olaf Haraldsson or Olaf Tryggvason who was also called St. Olaf? Get the Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age and you'll know which is which. As the name suggests this volume deals more with actual Viking History than Viking lore. This book is illustrated throughout with maps, archaeological finds and manuscripts. Together with Simek's Dictionary of Northern Mythology and/or the Cassell Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend you'll have a great reference library concerning Norse lore, and history. This book is especially useful when reading the sagas as it helps give an accurate backdrop for the time in which the sagas and histories, such as Heimskringla were written. The book also has a chronology of the Viking Age and a chronology of Viking rulers and kings. Also very useful is the list of further reading that has been translated into English. This is a very valuable resource especially in finding English translations of such hard to find works as Landnámabók, Adam of Bremen's History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen and The Russian Primary Chronicle. This book definitely belongs in the library of any serious student of Northern lore, history and culture.

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