Middle Ages Bibliography

Scandinavia and Iceland


copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

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Adigard des Gautries, Jean

Les noms de personnes scandinaves en Normandie de 911 a 1066 ***
Lund, 1954
Can act as a pick-list for Norse and Normans. T3

Benidictow, Ole Jorgen

"The Milky Way in History: Breast Feeding, Antagonism Between the Sexes, and Infant Mortality in Medieval Norway" ****
Scandinavian Journal of History. 10 (1985): 19-53.

Byock, Jesse L.

Medieval Iceland ***
UC Press, Berkley; 254 pgs

Crockett, Candace

Card Weaving ****
Find out how the weaving tablets found threaded in the Oseberg ship-burial were used. A deceptively simple skill, but patterns beyond the most basic require intricate mental manipulation through three dimensions and time in order to plan the rotation of the cards. T3

Frank, Roberta

"Marriage in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Iceland." ****
Viator 4 (1973): 473-484
[Discusses the marriage laws of Gragas <an Icelandic law code> as well as the portrait of marriage presented by the sagas. An excellent paper on women and marriage in medieval Iceland.]

"Why Skalds Address Women,"
Poetry in the Scandinavian Middle Ages
Atti del 12 Congresso Internationale di Studi sull'alto medioevo. Spoleto: Centro Italiano di Studi sull'alto medioevo. 1990. pp. 67-83.

Graham-Campbell, James, ed.

Cultural Atlas of the Viking World *****!
Facts on File
Uses more contributors than most, but the usual excellent production from the Cultural Atlas series: maps, history, mores, culture, dress, technology. Maps especially useful for these wanderers! T1

Holand, Hjalmar

Norse Discoveries and Explorations in North America, 982-1362 ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Good basic book on the subject, without getting silly about Phoenicians being the Anasazi as so many "pre-Columbian Europeans in America" books do. T3

Jacobsen, Grethe

"Sexual Irregularities in Medieval Scandinavia." ****
Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church. eds. Vern L. Bullough and James Brundage. Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY; 1982; pg. 72-85.
[A survey of the attitudes of medieval Scandinavians toward non-marital sex, with good discussions of how those attitudes reflect the role of women in Scandinavian society.]

Jochens, Jenny M.

"The Church and Sexuality in Medieval Iceland."
Journal of Medieval History 6 (1980): pg 377-392.
[Particularly focused on the concept of clerical marriages, also provides insights into the status of women and non-marital sex.]

"Consent in Marriage: Old Norse Law, Life, and Literature."
Scandinavian Studies 58 (1986): pg 142-176.

"Gender and Drinking in the World of the Icelandic Sagas,"
A Special Brew: Essays in Honor of Kristof Glamann. Odense: Odense Univ. Press. 1993. pg. 155-181

"The Illicit Love Visit: An Archaeology of Old Norse Sexuality,"
JHS 1 (1991): pg 357-392

"The Medieval Icelandic Heroine: Fact or Fiction?"
Viator 17 (1986): pg 35-50
[A revealing examination of the "Germanic-Nordic model of strong, independent womanhood" via a comparison of the heroines of the sagas and evidence drawn from Scandinavian law codes, with special attention to women and marriage.]

"Men, Women, and Beasts: Old Norse Sexuality."
Handbook in Sexuality. ed. Vern Bullough. New York: Garland Press; 1995

Old Norse Images of Women
Philadelphia. Univ of Philadelphia Press. 1996

"Old Norse Magic and Gender: Thattr Thorvalds ens Vidforla,"
Scandinavian Studies 63 (1991): 305-317

"Voluspa: Matrix of Norse Womanhood,"
Journal of English and Germanic Philology 88 (1989): 344-362

Women in Old Norse Society *****!
Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. 1995
[A fascinating wealth of detail of the lives of women in Viking Age Iceland and Norway, including work, sexual behavior, marriage customs, reproductive practices, familial relations, leisure activities, religious practices, and legal matters relating to women. An outstanding book.]

Sawyer, P. H.

Kings and Vikings: Scandinavia and Europe, 700 AD-1100 AD <sic> ****
Barnes & Noble, 1994; 182 pg, index, bibliography
This book is injured by a chronologically inverted approach, starting in the 12th century, then jumping back. The author's purpose is to show how late sources distorted history to suit their current attitudes (like lots of present historians and historical novelists!), but unless you already know the history of the era, it's confusing. So read in your second or third tier of research. Some of the detail of how archeaologists determine things is fascinating, like reading coroner's reports. Simple maps, often without enough detail to orient the unfamiliar. T2

Swenson, Karen and Saray May Anderson, ed.

Cold Counsel: the Women of Old Norse Literature and Myth
New York: Garland Press. 1995


Discovering Norway ***

Reader's Digest; also available from Traveloguer as The Wonders of Norway; VHS; 56 minutes
Includes the Viking ships in Oslo, (Victorian) country rides, a steamer to the Lofotens, isolated farmsteads, Trondheim, the Lapps in the far north. Remember how new and modern "centuries-old buildings" are, built far forward of this period, and pay attention to the wilder parts of the countryside. T3

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The Viking Answer Lady ****


Mistress Gunnora of the SCA has some superb articles here, on everything from amber and dress to marriage and being gay. While the SCA finally limited itself to "anything before 1650" she reflects its primarily medieval focus. She often cites the books she used for reference.

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