In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Vikings

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Reference Works

Medieval Studies Vikings
Nancy L. Wicker
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 January 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 July 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0079


The Viking Age spans the period from approximately 750 to 1100 CE in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The name “Viking” is used to refer to the inhabitants of Scandinavia and its colonies during the early medieval period, even though the name originally most likely referred only to sea-pirates from Scandinavia. Much of the research on the Vikings has focused on three great narratives of the Viking Age: expansion through raids, trade, and settlement; the beginnings of political unification of the three Scandinavian nations; and the Christianization of these kingdoms. The Viking incursions into the British Isles began late in the 8th century, and in the 9th century, Vikings pushed farther west to the North Atlantic and North America, south along the coast of the European continent, and east to Russia and the East and beyond, even into Central Asia. By the 12th century, Scandinavia is Christianized and the Viking Age is over. This list of works focuses on Material Culture and the Historical Sources—Western Europe of the Viking Age rather than the medieval literature (12th and 13th centuries) of Scandinavia and Iceland, except for brief mention of Eddic literature that may contain information from earlier times and has been influential for the study of the Vikings.

General Overviews

Numerous overviews of the Viking Age have been written for general and scholarly readers, including a large number by journalists and amateur enthusiasts. Works about the Viking world written in English are abundant, although much of the anglophone literature has a Western bent, focusing on Viking raids and settlement in the British Isles. Many books have the same or very similar titles (e.g., The Viking, The Vikings, The Viking World, The World of the Vikings, A History of the Vikings), which can become confusing.

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