Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Swein Forkbeard's Invasions and the Danish Conquest of England, 991-1017

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Swein Forkbeard's Invasions and the Danish Conquest of England, 991-1017

Article excerpt

Ian Howard, Sivein Forkbeard's Invasions and the Danish Conquest of England, 901-1017 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2003). xiv + 188 pp. ISBN 0-85115-928-1. £45.00. Just as medieval kings were subject to the turns of Fortune's Wheel in life, so in death their reputations wax and wane at the whim of historiographical fashion. The stock of AEthelred Unraed is currently increasing, and despite the title of Ian Howard's book, it is as much about Aithelred as about Swein Forkbeard. Indeed, this is perhaps inevitable, for the surviving sources are predominantly English, which rather undermines Howard's attempt to approach the subject from the Danish perspective. He does make extensive - and perhaps overly optimistic - use of sagas such as Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla; however, Howard's account rests primarily on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in its various recensions (which are here subjected to a somewhat convoluted analysis). …

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