The Vikings In Western Christendom
Charles Francis Keary (29 March 1848 – 25 October 1917) was an English scholar and historian.
The present volume is concerned with that period in the history of the Scandinavian peoples when they were growing. . The Viking Age of the Northern Folk differs from the corresponding epochs in the history of other nations in this – that it is illuminated by a faint ray of real history lent from the pages of contemporary but alien chroniclers, the chroniclers, I mean, of Christian Europe. Were it not for this faint gleam, the earliest age of the Vikings would have remained for us as a mere tradition, something known to have been, but not presentable in any realizable form ; much, in fact, what the Dorian Migration is in the history of Greece. As it is, by the aid of the contemporary records I have spoken of, we can present the northern migration in a clearer guise.
For all that, a distinction must be drawn between the earliest and, as I would call it, true Viking Age, and the actual history of the Scandinavian Folk as recorded by themselves. Viking expeditions continued to be made during the later historical period. But they took a different character from those of the earlier age, and they no longer absorbed so large a part of the activity of the people ; at any rate they no longer constituted, as they do for our period, the only phase of national activity whereof the records remain. Thus, though the expression Viking Age is often employed with a much wider significance, it would, I think, be an advantage, could its use be confined to just this epoch in the life of the Northern people and to no other ; to their age of Storm and Stress, the age of their formation.
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