Our impressions of the Vikings continue to be dominated by contemporary Anglo Saxon accounts, conceived in terror and distrust. Yet as Professor Loyn demonstrates in this balanced and wide-ranging analysis, the Viking invaders were more than rampaging warriors and despoilers. As well as their destructive impact on the communities they encountered, the Scandinavians conferred a constructive and more permanent legacy on the political institutions and daily life of medieval Britain.Drawing from recent archaeological and linguistic evidence, as well as more traditional literary and narrative sources, the author distinguishes between the initial phase of migrations in the ninth and tenth centuries, and the secondary period of settlement up to c.1100 AD. He emphasizes, too, the differences in nature and intensity of the Viking impact on the societies that were slowly developing into the historic kingdoms of England and Scotland, and the more complex political structures of Wales and Ireland. Throughout the book, the effects of the Scandinavian invasions on Britain are set within the wider European context.
The Vikings in Britain marks the culmination of Professor Loyn's distinguished work in this field, and provides a clear and authoritative discussion indispensable to all students interested in the medieval history of Britain and Europe.
Henry Loyn studied at the University College of Cardiff, where he became Professor of Medieval History. He then taught at Westfield College, at the University of London, where he is now Emeritus Professor. He was formerly President of the Historical Association, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.