Militaryfocus.com on osprey books. When Norwegian Vikings first raided the European coast in the 8th century AD, their leaders were not kings, princes or jarls, but a middle rank of warrior known as the hersir. At this time Osprey Trade Editions : Viking Warrior
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Osprey Trade Editions : Viking Warrior

When Norwegian Vikings first raided the European coast in the 8th century AD, their leaders were not kings, princes or jarls, but a middle rank of warrior known as the hersir. At this time the hersir was typically an independent landowner or local chieftain. His equipment was usually superior to that of his followers. By the end of the 10th century, the independence of the hersir was gone, and he was now typically a regional servant of the Norwegian king. Mark Harrison investigates these brutal, mobile warriors, and looks at the way in which they lived, fought and changed between 793 and 1066. The structure of Viking organisation is investigated, and the author points out the increasing centralisation of kingdoms in Scandinavia and explaining how this effected the Viking hersirs and their campaigns. Training is examined as are logistics and the limited range of tactics open to Viking armies, namely the skjaldborg or 'shield-wall' and the offensive svinfylka or 'swine-array'. The three important battles of Hafrsjord (c.872), Brunanburh (c.937) and Maldon (991) are all studied, thus showing Vikings in battle and giving an insight into their warrior psychology. This is further expanded later in the book by an in-depth examination of Viking motivation and beliefs, in which it is shown that Norsemen were not the bloodthirsty savages that popular legend attributes them to be. Sections on their appearance, equipment and the sophistication with which they manufactured their weapons also support this view, and the author is thus successful not only in producing a clear and interesting account of the Viking hersir but also in dispelling any image of these men as simply uncouth killing machines. Text by Mark Harrison with illustrations by Gerry Embleton.

 

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