The Way of the Warrior

Tom Shippey

Vikings are here again, thanks to the British Museum’s Vikings: Life and Legend (until 22 June). The problem for the exhibition’s organisers – and for Philip Parker, whose book The Northmen’s Fury seems designed to tie in with it – is that we know too much about Vikings already. We know what they looked like: big, hairy, threatening, wearing horned helmets as like as not. We know what they did: rape and pillage. Along with the Crusaders, King Arthur and Robin Hood, they form a major part of our medieval imaginary.

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[*] Tom Shippey wrote about the Repton find in the LRB of 22 July 2010.