Know Thine Enemy: Scandinavian identity in the Viking Age

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First paragraph: In speaking of Viking attacks and settlements, the primary historical records often employ national identities like Dane, Northman and Swede to identify their foe. Unsurprisingly such terminology has also often been used by scholars examining these events. Yet such a notion has been questioned, and it is argued that the enemies of the Vikings were not in a position to know how Vikings identified themselves, and that it was not to kingdoms but smaller regional identities that the Vikings related. This paper will examine the notion of Viking Age identity in the few primary written sources by Scandinavians of the ninth to eleventh centuries, to see if the terminology used by outsiders was also employed within Scandinavia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVikings and their Enemies
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a symposium held in Melbourne, 24 November 2007
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Viking Age
  • Viking History
  • Scandinavia
  • Runic inscriptions
  • identity


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