The Viking Way
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- Title: The Viking Way
- Sub-title: Magic and Mind in Late Iron Age Scandinavia
- 2nd edition - fully revised and expanded
- By (author): Neil Price
- Pages: 432
- Language: English
- Format: Hardcover
- Size: 213 x 30 x 284 mm (8.4 x 1.2 x 11.2 inches)
- Illustrations: Several photos and illustrations.
- Published: Oxbow Books; 2nd edition (December 31, 2013)
- Books cannot be returned.
One of our favorite books, the Viking Way is considered by many as one of the most important contributions to Viking studies. Written by Professor Neil Price, it focuses on pre-Christian Norse religion and magic based on both literary and archaeological studies. It's a big and heavy book with lots of content.
Magic, sorcery and witchcraft are among the most common themes of the great medieval Icelandic sagas and poems, the problematic yet vital sources that provide our primary textual evidence for the Viking Age that they claim to describe. Yet despite the consistency of this picture, surprisingly little archaeological or historical research has been done to explore what this may really have meant to the men and women of the time. This book examines the evidence for Old Norse sorcery, looking at its meaning and function, practice and practitioners, and the complicated constructions of gender and sexual identity with which these were underpinned.
Combining strong elements of eroticism and aggression, sorcery appears as a fundamental domain of women's power, linking them with the gods, the dead and the future. Their battle spells and combat rituals complement the men's physical acts of fighting, in a supernatural empowerment of the Viking way of life. What emerges is a fundamentally new image of the world in which the Vikings understood themselves to move, in which magic and its implications permeated every aspect of a society permanently geared for war.
In this fully revised and expanded second edition, Neil Price takes us with him on a tour through the sights and sounds of this undiscovered country, meeting its human and otherworldly inhabitants, including the Sámi with whom the Norse partly shared this mental landscape. On the way we explore Viking notions of the mind and soul, the fluidity of the boundaries that they drew between humans and animals, and the immense variety of their spiritual beliefs. We find magic in the Vikings' bedrooms and on their battlefields, and we meet the sorcerers themselves through their remarkable burials and the tools of their trade. Combining archaeology, history and literary scholarship with extensive studies of Germanic and circumpolar religion, this multi-award-winning book shows us the Vikings as we have never seen them before.
The book's Wikipedia page: The Viking Way
About the author: Neil Price is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and formerly held the Sixth Century Chair in Archaeology at Aberdeen. A leading specialist in the Viking Age and the pre-Christian religions of the North, with additional interests in the historical archaeology of the Asia-Pacific region, his researches have taken him to more than 40 countries. From 2016-2025, Neil is directing a major Swedish Research Council project on The Viking Phenomenon, leading an international team to explore the origins of this critical period in world history.