12. Reinventing the Vikings
- Julian D. Richards
Our modern image of the Vikings owes more to recent appropriation of the term than to historical-based reality. ‘Reinventing the Vikings’ examines recent interpretations of the Vikings. In the 16th century, there was scant knowledge of the Viking Age and scholarly interest was limited. It wasn't until the late 18th century onwards that the Vikings became fashionable; they were considered barbarians and gave an example of Rousseau's ‘Noble Savage’. In Germany, under the Nazis, a more sinister interpretation of the Vikings developed and they became racial forebears and role models. What can be learnt by all these interpretations and re-interpretations? Identity is not an immutable concept.