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During the Middle Ages, seafaring Scandinavian marauders wrought havoc in lands both near and far—from Iceland to Finland, and Córdoba to Constantinople. These were warriors who belonged to an altogether violent society. They are known to us today as Vikings. 

One may read about their military exploits in Old Norse sagas and the chronicles of Christian monks; walk across the remains of warships and ring fortresses, or behold their carefully preserved weapons in some of Europe’s finest museums. 

Yet, it has always been unclear to me how the Vikings fought. Did they use battle tactics? Were young warriors formally trained for battle? How should we understand warfare as it relates to the Viking way of life? 

Today on the podcast, we’ll be addressing all of this and more in an exciting episode about Viking combat. 

Joining me to discuss this topic is William R. Short, manager and lead researcher of Hurstwic, a New England-based organization devoted to Viking culture. In addition to co-authoring his latest book, William wrote Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques along with Icelanders in the Viking Age

I’m also joined today by Reynir A. Óskarson, an Icelandic martial arts instructor and combat researcher at Hurstwic. Reynir has been recognized by the Wrestling Association of Iceland for his study of glíma, the Viking-age empty-hand combat that evolved into Iceland's national sport.

William and Reynir authored a book entitled Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat.

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Music: Danheim – Framganga & Folkvangr

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