Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., October 9, 16, 23, 30 and November 6, 13
“Since tonight the wind is high, the sea’s white mane a fury, I need not fear the hordes of Hell Coursing the Irish Channel.” These words, penned by a medieval Irish monk, offer a sense of the terror inspired by the Vikings from the late eighth to the eleventh centuries. Famous mostly for their ferocity, the Norse were also merchants, farmers, craftsmen, colonizers and explorers. This course will explore cultural, social, and political aspects of the Viking Age. Danes, Norwegians and Swedes left their homelands not only to raid and pillage, but also to trade and settle. They interacted and assimilated with other cultures from as far east as present-day Russia westward through the Middle East and Europe, across the Atlantic to the northeastern shores of North America. Students will engage with historical documents, literary texts and material culture from the Viking period to explore themes such as religion, honor culture, gender roles, commercial penetration, political expeditions and colonizing ventures.