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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 1:33 pm    Post subject: Medieval Scandanavian History         Reply with quote

Lately I have been collecting books about medieval history specific to various regions throughout Europe. However, I'm having a difficult time locating books about general Scandanavian history. Not surprisingly, there's a plethora of information out there on the Viking era, and one can fairly easily obtain books that cover up to the 11th century, but I have found very little in my (admittedly limited) search for books covering the next few centuries. Any book suggestions will be welcome, though ideally I'd like a book covering general Scandanavian history from the 11th through 14th centuries.
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Ville Vinje




Location: Uppsala
Joined: 20 Apr 2006

Posts: 142

PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out this site.

http://www.historiska.se/histvarld/forum/

These guys can most likely answer most of your questions. Most of the swedish reenactment elite use this forum. It is in swedish but they have a section called "English forum" where you can ask your questions.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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Posts: 782

PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Craig,
I'm not sure about general history books, but what about some military history books about Scandinavia?

Have you tried the two Osprey volumes that cover Scandinavia? There are two Men-at-Arms volumes, Medieval Scandinavian Armies (1) 1100-1300 and Medieval Scandinavian Armies (2) 1300-1500, both by David Lindholm and David Nicolle, with colour plates by Angus McBride. They seem to have some decent information, and a few good photos. I especially liked the photos of a Visby coat-of-plates with protection for only the front of the body (different from the standard Visby coat-of-plates depicted in almost every arms and armour book), some interesting Scandinavian swords, three different Visby gauntlets, and two views of an interesting Danish effigy of the 14th century (all in Medieval Scandinavian Armies (2) 1300-1500.

If you already have these two Osprey books, you might want to try David Nicolle's Medieval Warfare Source Book Volume 1: Warfare in Western Christendom. This covers all regions of western Europe, and each chapter has sections regarding Scandinavia. Nicolle's Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350 Western Europe and the Crusader States has a chapter about Scandinavia. The text is short, but informative about the general military history trends. This book also contains a plethora of line drawings by the author, based on period art and existing examples of arms and armour.

Even if these books aren't quite what you're looking for, they might give you an idea where to look. I know both Osprey books contain a "Further Reading" list. The lists do contain some general histories as well as military histories, but some of the books may be old, out-of-print, and hard to find (or in languages other than English).

I hoped this helped a bit, even if it wasn't exactly what you were looking for! The Osprey books could be good "primers" that might steer you in the right direction.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
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Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 562

PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicolles books on 'Scandinavian' armies are filled with flaws and errors that make them poor as historical sources. Unfortunately Osprey and Nicolle ignored most of David Lindholm's attempts to correct existing errors and add new & correct information lacking in the books. I recomend staying away from them unless one knows enough of the subject to separated the actual facts from the many misconceptions and errnous information.
The same goes for Nicolles sections in the other mentioned books which are good examples of what happens when you write history with out being able to read the proper sources due to the language barrier.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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Posts: 782

PostPosted: Tue 07 Nov, 2006 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Daniel Staberg wrote:

Nicolles books on 'Scandinavian' armies are filled with flaws and errors that make them poor as historical sources.

Daniel,
Thanks for the word of warning about the Osprey books. I wasn't aware of the problems with these works. It is unfortunate that Nicolle didn't listen to Lindholm, but that's what happens when you have an "established expert" as your collaborator. I personally worked in science long enough to know about "expert egos" and the narrow-mindedness certain persons with Ph.D.s. may display. Still, the photos are nice. I only really get most Osprey books for the pictures anyway. (Being an artist, I even appreciate the colour plates.)

Do you know specifically what mistakes and flaws the Osprey books contain, so others who have them can determine what's right and what's wrong? I'm asking in part for myself, so I can read them with a more critical eye. Again, some of us don't have access to sources in other languages (I took two years of French in high school, but my daughter knows more French than I do), so it's hard knowing the subject well enough to discriminate fact from garbage. Any help correcting the errors in these books would be greatly appreciated. (After all, isn't sharing information one of the purposes of this forum?)

So, are you aware of any decent English-language resources regarding Scandinavian history? Or, are we back to the same quandary we were in with regard to the landesknecht?

Thanks again for any help you can give correcting the errors!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Max von Bargen




Location: Stanford, CA
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 07 Nov, 2006 6:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like to second Richard's request. I'm operating with somewhat limited sources, and one of Nicolle's books is my only source for some information, so it'd be helpful to know exactly where he falls short.

Max
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 4:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since I'm a native, I dont have much info on english literature on the subject. they SHOULD be around, however...

I'll have a look at the Scandinavian Armies book, and see what I know to be wrong...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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Posts: 782

PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Thanks, Elling!
Any correct information you can come up with would be greatly appreciated!
Never stop learning!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 14 Nov, 2006 8:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any other suggestions for book sources? I am interested in military history, but I am looking primarily for general history to fill out my book collection.
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Risto Rautiainen




Location: Kontiolahti, Finland
Joined: 23 Feb 2004
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 176

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Though it's not 14th century, one of the best period accounts about the northern people is made by Olaus Magnus in the 16th century. You should find his works translated to english. Sorry I can't help you with any other english titles as I usually read them in finnish.
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