Vikings: History and mindset

This course looks at the forces that made the Vikings, their adaptive responses to changing circumstances, and most of all, their successful mindset. It asks the hard questions: What got them started? What gave them their edge? How did they manage to terrorize Europe for three centuries, from Ireland to Ukraine? What tactics did successful kings use against them?

Lessons follow the careers of famous Vikings, like Ivar the Boneless and Egil Skallagrímsson, and some not so famous, like Haesten, “the Vikings’ Viking.” Lessons also cover the Viking assaults on Ireland, England, Spain, Russia, and the Muslim world. Most of all, the course looks at the Viking response to death and the Viking sense of humor, with its characteristic mean streak as shown in many famous scenes.

   349 students completed this course

   88% recommend it to other students

   Teacher: Tom Shippey


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88% of students recommend

  “Wonderfully told and packed with info. I like the variety of links shared, and have only begun to dip in. Talk about going down the rabbit hole! Thanks for a great course!”

  “I love everything “Viking”! I learned quite a bit in this class!”

  “Appreciated that the facts were presented in a lively and interesting manner!”


Course plan

Lesson 1. The Viking Mindset: What Caused It?
Lesson 2. Disasters and the Mean Streak
Lesson 3. Probing Attacks: England, Scotland, and Ireland
Lesson 4. Ivar the Boneless
Lesson 5. A Big Score, But New Tactics
Lesson 6. Egil the Skald and the Power of Poetry
Lesson 7. Greeks and Arabs, Furs and Death
Lesson 8. Viking Honor, Viking Humor
Lesson 9. A Tale of Two Olafs
Lesson 10. End of the Viking Age
+ Quiz



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  • Format
    One lesson delivered via email daily
  • Duration
    10 days
  • Time
    5 minutes reading a day

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