We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $36.99

512 pp.
numerous halftones, line drawings and maps, 129 mm x 196 mm


Publication date:
May 2001

Imprint: OUP UK

A History of the Vikings

Second Edition

Gwyn Jones

'An utterly splendid book, quite the most brilliantly written, balanced, and explanative general work on the Vikings ever to appear in English or in any language.' Scandinavian Studies

The subject of this book is the Viking realms, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, their civilization and culture, and their many sided achievements at home and abroad.

A highly readable narrative follows the development of these Northern peoples - the Nordmenn - from their origins and the legendary pre-history to the military triumphs of Canute and the defeat of Harald Hardrádi at Stamford Bridge in 1066, which symbolically ended the Viking age.

The book recounts the Vikings' exploits in war, trade, and colonization: the assault on Western Christendom; the trading and military ventures to the Slav and Muslim worlds and to Byzantium; and the western voyages of discovery and settlement to Greenland, Iceland, and America.

Numerous photographs, maps, and drawings contribute to Gwyn Jones's rounded portrait of Viking civilization and vividly evoke the importance in their culture of religion, art, and seafaring.

Readership : Students of European and British History, Scandanavian Studies and the Viking era. Visitors to Viking exhibitions and those whose imagination has been captured by programmes/films on the Vikings


  • `What a superb book this is! Wise, well-informed, judicious and infinitely readable.'
    Magnus Magnusson, Scotsman
  • `an utterly splendid book, quite the most brilliantly written, balanced and explanative general work on the Vikings ever to appear in English or...in any language.'
    Erik Wahlgren, Scandinavian Studies
  • `A highly readable history.'
    Oxford Time
  • `no better book on the Vikings has ever been written, and it is one which every educated person with any interest in history should know about ... Readers will be delighted to discover the eloquent and sparkling prose of a natural Welsh bard and storyteller who was one of the shining lights of University College, Cardiff. The man writes beautifully. There are not many history books one can pick up and start reading anywhere just for the sheer enjoyment of literary craftsmanship and even fewer as authoritative as this.'
    Lloyds List 13/04/1994

Part 1 - The Northern Peoples to AD 700
1. From Beginnings to the Age of Migrations
2. The Legendary History of the Swedes and the Danes
Part 2 - The Viking Kingdoms to the Close of the Tenth Century1. The Scandinavian Community, I: Diversity and Unity
2. The Historical Traditions of Norway to 950
3. Denmark to the Death of Gorm the Old
4. Denmark and Norway from the Accession of Harald Bluetooth to the Death of Olaf Tryggvason
Part 3 - The Viking Movement Overseas
1. The Scandinavian Community, II: Aspects of Society
2. Causes of the Viking Movement Overseas
3. The Movement South and South-West to 954: the British Isles, the Frankish Empire, the Mediterranean
4. The Movement East: The Baltic Lands, Russia, Byzantium
5. The Movement West: Iceland, Greenland, America
Part 4 - The Viking Age Ends
1. The Scandinavian Community III: Culture and Image
2. Svein Forkbeard, Saint Olaf, Knut the Great
3. The Viking Kingdoms to the Death of Harald Hardradi, 1066

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Gwyn Jones is Emeritus Professor of English Language and Literature, University College, Cardiff

There are no related titles available at this time.

Special Features

  • This book is justifiably considered THE study of the Vikings' history and culture
  • Viking civilization is one of the most frequently studied early civilizations - it also exerts a strong fascination for non-scientists.
  • Jones's study is wide-ranging, covering all major aspects of Viking life