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5. Towns and tradelocked

  • Julian D. Richards


Knowledge about the growth of towns in the Viking Age has changed the popular image of Vikings, emphasizing their identity as traders and manufacturers. ‘Towns and trade’ looks at the connection between the forming of urban markets and trading ports to the growth of royal power and the establishment of early Scandinavian states, and its importance to the Viking identity. One of the earliest Scandinavian towns was founded at Ribe in southern Jutland, c.704–10. What were these early Scandinavian towns like? How important was the role of royal authority in providing the circumstances in which they grew? These towns were crucial because they facilitated overseas trade and a thirst for expansionism.

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