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Vikings: Fear And Faith [Paperback]

By Paul Cavill (Author)
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Item description for Vikings: Fear And Faith by Paul Cavill...

An engaging and popular history of a mysterious era of English history--the conquest of the Vikings. Its mixture of "Dark Age" fear and its emphasis on the fighting faith of kings, country, and monasteries is sure to fascinate and delight.

Publishers Description

An engaging and popular account of the mysterious Dark Age of English history when Vikings and Anglo-Saxons collided--and faith won out At the turn of the first millennium, Viking raiders devastated Anglo-Saxon England, looting monasteries and cathedrals and destroying much of the fragile culture. Yet pressure from the invaders caused the Anglo-Saxon nations to unite and grow strong under King Alfred, resulting in the conversion of many Viking marauders. Learning flourished and, even when fully conquered, Anglo-Saxons found themselves protected as part of a Christian Viking empire. Author and historian Paul Cavill tells the enthralling story of how King Alfred and his successors tamed and integrated the Vikings into the Anglo-Saxon way of life.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.84" Width: 5.26" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 7, 2002
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0007104022  
ISBN13  9780007104024  
UPC  025986104023  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Cavill

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Cavill is a lecturer in English and research fellow for the English Place-Name Society for School of English Studies at the University of Nottingham. He is also the author of Anglo-Saxon Christianity and Vikings. He resides in Leicester, England, with his wife and their two children.

Paul Cavill was born in 1956 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Leeds.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Vikings: Fear And Faith?

Good, but could be better  Jan 9, 2004
Cavill assumes that you know the English history of this period and basic English geography. I do not. This book could be improved with a table of kings (Edward, Edmund, etc. all become a jumble) and maps to separate Mercia from Northumbria. Admittedly a British reader would know all this. You should know the book is about the Anglo Saxon response to Viking invasion. It is a fascinating period and the book well worth your time.
Beautiful account of how a pagan warrior culture was changed  Jul 28, 2002
"Vikings: Fear and Faith" is an often eloquent history book in the hard-to-put-down page-turner category.

The Viking invasions of England extended over more than 200 years, provoking generations of despair and fear among the English people. The fragility of their Christian civilization and culture was exposed as it repeatedly hung by a thread in the face of great brutality. This inspired agonized examinations of why God would allow such things to be done to his people.

Yet with a dogged and determined faith, the end result was the uniting of England and the conversion of the Viking conquerors to Christianity, along with all of Scandinavia. Barely remembered acts of courage and faith (and no few unremembered ones) made England (thus the world) what it is.

How a savage and materialistic people such as the Vikings came to be monks, missionaries and church builders when exposed to the Christians they conquered is the subject of this book.

The volume differs from others (or at least the 2 I have read) on the Viking period in that it focuses on how the two peoples understood the world. It is this understanding that shapes historical events. Thus, one learns more about those years in the first 30 pages of this book than in all of Gwyn Jones classic "A History of the Vikings".

For example, where Jones might describe Viking family histories with "... the superstructure is often shaped by arbitrary assumptions on the nature of history itself" (very illuminating, no?), Cavill instead focuses on the role of ideas: how people understood what was happening to them and their nation in a context defined by their Christian faith.

Perhaps the majority of modern historians, being secular, lack the inclinationto pursue this line of study, or more probably the discernment to see it as important, but faith appears in sermons of the time, the lives of saints, in seemingly secular accounts of battles, in the prose of chronicles and in other sources shaped by a Christianity deeply shocked by the Viking violation. Virtually every expression from that time revolves around fear of the Vikings and its intersection with Christian faith. To instead focus on descriptions of grave contents or speculate about variations in layout of Viking villages is to drain history of what's important.

Thus, I was excited to read this volume by about page 4 of the introduction, as I think others will be, in that it illuminates what happened to the Vikings. It seems to me such knowledge is relevant to the present.

Let the lament of monks evacuating to Ireland as the world crumbled around them, only to have their hand-made gospel book washed overboard in a raging storm, speak across the centuries:

'What shall we do?', they said. 'Where shall we go carrying the relics of the father? For seven years we have travelled across the entire province fleeing from the barbarians, and there is no place of refuge left in the entire country ... In addition to all this we are weighed down by a cruel hunger which forces us to seek relief for our lives, but the sword of the Danes ravaging everywhere will not allow us to travel with this treasure. But if we abandon it, and look after ourselves, what shall we answer Cuthbert's people when they afterward ask us where their pastor and patron is?'

"Vikings: Fear and Faith" looks at a large number of literary sources, recognizing even possible exagerrations (ship counts, etc.) can provide information as to what people were thinking. It considers King Alfred and King Canut as well as other people and institutions. The book has 100 pages of appendices containing original texts translated by the author:

1. The Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum
2. The Battle of Brunanburh
3. The Charter of St. Frideswide's Monastery, Oxford
4. The Loss and Recovery of the Lindisfarne Gospels
5. Archbishop Wulfstan's Address to the English
6. A Letter from Boniface and the Anglo-Saxin Mission in Germany to King Aethelbald of Mercia
7. Swedish Rune-Stones
8. King Alfred's Dedicatory Letter to his Translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care
9. Cynewuld and Cyneheard
10. The Voyage of Ohthere
11. The Voyage of Wulfstan
12. The Battle of Maldon
13. Wyrdwriteras
14. Aethelwold Ousts the Clerics from the Old Minster
15. The Blacksmith's
16. Bede's Concerns About False Monasteries
17. The Old English Beatitudes
18. A Prayer of Confession
19. The Martyrdom of Aelfheah
20. Aelfric's Life of St. Oswald
21. The Martrydom of King Edmund
22. Selections from Abbo's Account of St. Edmund
23. Roger of Wendover's Version of the St. Edmund Legend
24. Lines from the Dream of the Rood


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