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Description de l’éditeur
Over the centuries, the West has become fascinated by the Vikings, one of the most mysterious and interesting European civilizations. In addition to being perceived as a remarkably unique culture among its European counterparts, what’s known and not known about the Vikings’ accomplishments has added an intriguing aura to the historical narrative. Were they fierce and fearsome warriors? Were they the first Europeans to visit North America? It seems some of the legends are true, and some are just that, legend.
Like many civilizations of past millennia, the Vikings are remembered in popular culture more for the fantastical accounts of their history than for reality. The written records of the history of the Viking period, consisting mostly of Norse sagas, metaphoric poems called skalds and monastic chronicles, were written down well after the events they described and tended to be lurid accounts rife with hyperbole. Furthermore, the most scathing tales of Viking raids are contained in the histories of monastic communities, which were targets of Norse rapacity. These chronicles speak of the heathen Viking depredations of monastic treasuries and the ferocious torture and killing of Christian monks. The colorful bloody tales were certainly based on more than grains of truth, but they were also purposefully augmented to inject drama into history. Similarly Norse sagas written down in the post-Viking Age fixed what had hitherto been flexible oral tradition. They were often slanted to legitimize a clan or leader's authority by emphasizing an ancestor's bravery and skill in pillaging opponent's communities.