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Viking artefacts discovered across a vast geographical range, from Russia and modern-day Turkey to Greenland and North America, bear witness to an artistic legacy that astonishes by its beauty, wealth and diversity. This richly illustrated introduction to an extraordinary people presents an art of immense sophistication, ranging from exquisite gold jewellery to superbly decorated weapons of war, breathtakingly intricate woodcarvings, and vividly incised and painted runestones. This north European civilisation has always had a special place in the popular imagination.
"The Vikings" reflects favourite themes, including: the restless spirit of these warrior-explorers and their extraordinary voyages in quest of trade as well as adventure, booty, conquest and glory; the mighty pantheon of gods and goddesses such as Odin, Freyja, Thor and the mischief-making trickster Loki; the mysteries of the afterlife, including Valhalla (land of dead warriors) and the Underworld domain of the goddess Hel; the warrior cult, which produced the terrifying Berserks (fighters who believed themselves to be possessed by wolves or bears in battle); and, the ceremonies and sacrifices that accompanied the magnificent longship burials of the Viking chieftains. A superb addition to any library of art and the imagination, "The Vikings" sets new standards in capturing the achievements of an ancient civilisation through the marriage of word and image.
Tony Allan served as Series Editor of the Time-Life History of the World and worked as author and consultant on their Myth and Mankind series. His books include Ancient Rome, The Archaeology of the Afterlife, The Symbol Detective and The Mythic Bestiary (all published by DBP).