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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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