Friday 13 March 2009

Spotlight on the cuddly side of the Vikings

Academics gathering for a three-day conference on Vikings starting today at Cambridge University will celebrate the gentle side of the invaders: the town planners, ship builders, farmers, coin minters and stone carvers who were forever swapping songs, stories or a better way to rig a mainsail with their Gaelic neighbours.

"The rehabilitation of the Vikings is nothing new to academics, but it is surprising how enduring the myths are," conference organiser Maire Ni Mhaonaigh said. "Of course, initially there were extremely destructive raids, but over the four centuries covered by our conference they became completely integrated, even identifying themselves as the Gall-Gael, the Irish Scandinavians."

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