As raiders and explorers, the Vikings played a decisive role in the formation of Latin Christendom, and particularly of western Europe.
Now, in a series of 36 vivid lectures by an honored teacher and classical scholar, you have the opportunity to understand this remarkable race as never before, studying the Vikings not only as warriors, but in all of the other roles in which they were equally extraordinary - merchants, artists, kings, raiders, seafarers, shipbuilders, and creators of a remarkable literature of myths and sagas. Professor Harl draws insights from an astonishing array of sources: The Russian Primary Chronicle (a Slavic text from medieval Kiev), 13th-century Icelandic poems and sagas, Byzantine accounts, Arab geographies, annals of Irish monks who faced Viking raids, Roman reports, and scores of other firsthand contemporary documents.
Among the topics you'll explore are the profound influence of the Norse gods and heroes on Viking culture and the Vikings' extraordinary accomplishments as explorers and settlers in Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. And with the help of archaeological findings, you'll learn to analyze Viking ship burials, rune stones and runic inscriptions, Viking wood carving, jewelry, sculpture, and metalwork. By the end of the series, you'll have a new understanding of what it meant to be a Viking and a richer appreciation of this remarkable race - a people who truly defined the history of Europe, and whose brave, adventurous, and creative spirit still survives today.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Savage and violent aggressors, looters, slave traders, the Vikings do indeed make the perfect mindless "heroes" in video games! And it's very hard to picture them in the guise of the meek, mild, socialistic Scandinavians of today.
Professor Harl presents us with the real story, and, in some ways, it matches our preconceptions of the massive, feared raiders of movies and TV. Did you know, for instance, that there was a Viking king called "Bluetooth?" And, sadly, that the Vikings did not wear those cool horned helmets? What they did was learn from the cultures they dominated; they intermarried and absorbed much of the culture of their conquests.
In fact, they had an enormous influence on Britain, Germany, Iceland, Eastern Europe, even Russia. Yet that relentless warrior ethic sort of melded into the cultures of all these places and leaves little trace at home.
This course is very long, and some of the details may be most interesting only to specialists and/or those of Scandinavian descent, but there is much here for the listener with a more casual interest in history. The Professor presents a full range of Viking legacies - financial, military, artistic and literary - with enthusiasm and full command of his subject.
Once again, the Great Courses comes through with a fascinating presentation.
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I liked it. I enjoy history, and with this book, history is what you get. The narration is obviously a bit different, since it is a compilation of lectures. College style. I know this might bore some listeners, but I enjoyed it. It is, what it is, no more, no less, an informative lesson on Norse history, a bit of Norse mythology, and what seems to be a true account, and a timeline, of the Scandinavian people, and their culture, their customs, and their history. If you enjoy history, and nonfiction, I think you should give it a shot. Especially if your of Norwegian heritage.
Artist | Foodie | Dog Lover | Motorcyclist | Beer Drinker | Music Lover
I highly recommend this lecture series. Professor Harl is a fantastic presenter thus making an interesting subject even more so given his depth of knowledgeable and dynamic coverage of Viking History.
I took a risk in choosing a lecture series for the first time on a subject I was only mildly interested in. The risk paid in spades. I honestly expected an arduous churn up a deep information stream and yet found I was shooting the rapids with a fascinating guy: great voice, dynamic spirit, excellent depth, intriguing side bars. I found myself consumed by the lectures and now seeking out more about the lore and history of Vikings.
This the first time I've listened to the work of Professor Kenneth W. Harl and he presents the subject in such a fantastic way, I'm already trying to pick the next lecture from this man.
18 hours worth of material is too much for one sitting (IMO) but I'll be damned if I didn't churn through it within just a few days once I cracked it open. So well presented and logically divided by topic that I found myself absorbed by the work, focused on the subject and listening pretty much non-stop.
The overall narrative was very in depth and divided up by region. This made it easy for someone who has some Viking knowledge like me to focus on things I didn't know.
I got this audiobook because I was getting eye surgery and needed something to occupy me for about a week while I couldn't see. It was a good decision. I've always liked Viking history and mythology and I enjoyed the lectures provided. The lecturer obviously knows alot about the time period and uses Norse words effectively. He also knows random anecdotes about most of the figures which makes it very interesting. The one thing I didn't like was that Prof Harl sounds like he needs a drink of water about half way through each lecture and it only gets worse by the end. The classical music and fake applause don't bother me as much as other reviewers.
Love audio books! Hate cruddy narration.
Yes. Harl makes it very interesting and his delivery is very engaging.
Learning how the vikings became the Norman French and the power they came to have over French and English history.
His delivery and obvious love and deep knowledge of the subject.
This was my first Great Course, purchased before a trip to Denmark including the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. It made it so much more meaningful. I'm currently on my third Great Course because this one was so good.
This is one of my favorites of The Great Courses, and not only because my ancestors would have been characters in its stories. Few are done as effectively and succinctly while introducing you to the wider depth of its base in the sagas and serious historical study.
Simply a well researched, organized and delivered lecture. Prof. Harl's delivery was engaging and clear. I never realized how ignorant my perception of the of the vikings was until this lecture. Good fun
A driver that likes to listen to books instead of the radio.
I am traveling to Ireland in the near future and the Vikings have made major influences on the Isle, like the cities are all Viking trading posts. The history of Ireland goes with this well.
The presenter is easy to listen to and being broken into 30 to 40 minutes breaks things up pretty well.
These lectures gave me fresh insights into the nature of the Viking culture. Being from Iceland, I found the manner in which he told the story of that frontier society particularly insightful.
It certainly broadened my view on the vikings, especially on the norman and slavic fronts. I think the author maybe devaluated the Icelandic achievement of making land fall in Newfoundland, but maybe this was purposley done to put more emphasis on the importance the vikings had on Carolingian empire and the birth of the russian identity? Very good story line I was never bored! Recommended! I might listen to it again!
Not as much on mythology as I would had liked. Aside from that very good, learnt a lot.
"Comprehensive and fascinating"
When I approached this course I had really expected something that focussed mostly on Viking raids on Western European and the voyages of discovery. In fact it is a much broader and richer subject than that which Professor Harl really brings to life.
My primary interest is political and military history but the cultural life of the Vikings was so important and is so entertainingly and clearly explained here that I found those lectures probably the best of the course.
Professor Harl is an engaging and enthusiastic lecturer, always inserting his personal takes on the subjects but honest in how he presents these pet theories or preferences. My only quibble with him would be his pronunciation. I don't speak and Nordic languages so I can't vouch for those Scandinavian places and names but his pronunciation of British and Irish place names is appalling to the point where it is often distracting. I realise Americans pronounce places that end in -burgh or -borough differently but I would expect an academic who has studied the field to know how Scotland's capital is pronounced. Similarly it is close run thing between Leinster and Connacht to be the worst pronounced Irish province!
Definitely. This contains so many surprises when one understands the influence of the Vikings on England and the rest of the British Isles, and just how far flung their influence and contacts were in other parts of the world.
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