Monday, March 3, 2014

Resources for Understanding the Vikings and the Anglo Saxons and maybe even gaming the period !

One day Ill have room like this for war-gaming in just you watch !

I had allot of great feedback from the blog post I put up about English civil war resources so  I have sat down and put together a list of books that I have read so far on the topic as well as few documentaries I would suggest you watch.

As in all of these things when you put a list together you may find that not everyone agrees with the books your choose and since history can and has been influenced by the socioeconomic and political climate in which the author wrote the book, it is always worthwhile cultivating a range of sources.

Also this is no means an exhaustive list and I find myself always finding new books to look over and read and I find myself extending the library - even now I'm looking at two new books to get and read through......


So as primers I think watching History of Ancient Britain and Vikings by Niel Oliver is a must, and I would also recommend getting the books as well as there is a heap more in there to work through.  Ive read Vikings and Im about to get the History of Ancient Britain.

I would stay well away from Francis Pryor's Britain AD series as I find it rubbish in its arguments and suggestions that there was no anglo-saxon race etc - I sat through it and at the end felt I had watched a Black Adder show without the laugh track.


On the Vikings I would suggest the following books:

Vikings by Niel Oliver
Viking Age England by Julian D Richards
The Viking Art of War by Paddy Griffith
Norse Warfare- Unconventional Battle Strategies of the Ancient Vikings by Martina Sprague
Viking Warfare by I.P Stephenson
The Northern Conquest - Vikings in Britain and Ireland by Katherine Holman

And for Cultural background and generally getting to grips on who these crazy men where

The Saga of the Icelanders published by Penguin Books
Saga of the Volsung also published by Penguin Books
The Viking World by James Graham-Campbell
Exploring the world of the Vikings by Richard Hall

For the Anglo Saxons

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle - there a multiple versions out there
Assers Life of Alfred the Great - again multiple versions
The Age of Athelstan - Britains Forgotten History by Paul Hill
Alfred's Wars - Sources and Interpretations of Anglo Saxon Warfare in the Viking Age compiled by Ryan Lavelle
Anglo Saxons At War 800 -1066   by Paul Hill 

I'm still reading allot about them and have a bit more to do get my head around these guys -  But I would strongly reconmend that you also check out  It has a massive amount of links to university papers on the viking and the anglo saxon's as well a heap on other topics concerning the middle ages all the way from rights of woman to games played in the street and is a constant source of new and interesting reads.

Finally for the Wargamer while out of print if you can get your hand on a copy of Warhammer Historical's Shield Wall it well worth a read as well as Age of Arthur - both can still be found on ebay and other legitimate back up sites :P  they have and continue to be invaluable   sources of inspiration and ideas.

Also the Ospreys " Anglo-Saxon Theng 449-1066 AD" by Mark Harrison and Gerry Embleton as well as "Viking Hersir 793-1066" also by the same authors is well worth the read.

Anyway Its by no means and extensive list and I will add more to it over time for sure but I have found the above books entertaining  reads and very useful for getting into the period - If you even picked up a few of the titles you would get a good grounding in the period.