Blood, violence, terror, raids, pirates, rape and pillage are just some of the words associated with the Vikings in both the medieval and modern imagination. Their fearsome reputation is underlined by nicknames such as ‘Blood Axe' and ‘Skull-splitter', but violence is only one part of Viking history. The Vikings also formed extensive trade networks across Europe and into Asia, founded new countries, developed new technologies, created beautiful objects and left behind a literary tradition that influenced European culture for many centuries. In this module, by studying historical, literary and archaeological sources, you will examine both the reality of Viking society and how Viking identity was perceived over the course of the middle ages. Topics will include: Viking migration and settlements (for example, the foundation of Iceland), the mechanics of exchange (trade and gift-giving), kingship and kinship, travel and technology, the saga tradition and its influence, the material culture of the Vikings, religious beliefs and mission, perceptions of the Vikings and the formation of the Viking ‘myth'.