Delve into the captivating world of Viking Age culture!

Study period: 2024-01-29 – 2024-04-14
Eligibility: General eligibility and 60 ECTS credits in completed courses in the humanities or social sciences or equivalent (read more about documents for application here)


What was life in the "Viking Age" really like? How do we know? How has the image of the Vikings changed over time? Explore the historical sources and interpretations as well as the cultural significance of Vikings in art, film, and literature during the last two centuries, both in the Scandinavian countries and in the world at large. Join our online course and gain a comprehensive understanding of the enduring legacy of Viking culture.



Viking culture then

When did the Viking Age actually begin? Wood, turf, stone and daub – how did people live, and how were families organised? Power struggle, curiosity or greed? What were the incentives for Scandinavian expansion? What impact did the Scandinavians have on the Anglo-Saxon and Frankish kingdoms? These are some of the questions we will ask throughout the course, and you'll develop important skills in interpreting, comprehending, and discussing various types of contemporary sources in trying to answer them. This includes studying written materials like Old Norse literature, runic inscriptions, and chronicles, as well as examining archaeological evidence.

Vikings in modern culture

The course will also study how Viking culture has been portrayed in later forms of art and entertainment, such as literature, films, media, monuments, and cultural policies. Perceptions of "noble savagery", egalitarianism, and mindless barbarism in the Viking world will be contextualised and challenged. We'll pay special attention to its connection with the Romantic tradition and discuss works like Swedish author Esaias Tegnérs epic poem Frithiof's Saga (1825) but also more contemporary works like The Long Ships (Frans G. Bengtsson, 1941) and the film The Northman (Robert Eggers, 2022) as well recent TV-series featuring Viking topics. It's also worth noting that the modern understanding and spread of Viking culture have been subject to academic and political debates, and we'll explore these controversies as well.

By the end of the course, you'll have a comprehensive grasp of Viking culture and its significance throughout history and today.

Course format

This is a distance learning course using the learning platform Canvas, with online lectures over Zoom. You need access to a computer with internet connection, webcam, and a headset throughout the semester. The course will be conducted through online-based introductions, lectures, exercises, and approximately ten discussion seminars. It is mandatory to actively participate in more than half of the discussion seminars.


Contact our academic advisor


Photo of Anders Mortensen
Anders Mortensen is Director of Centre for Scandinavian Studies, Lund university.
Photo of Alan Macniven
Alan Macniven is Senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Photo of Mats Roslund
Mats Roslund is professor in historical archaeology, material culture and social identity studies in the Iron Age and Middle Ages.
Photo of Lars Gunnar Andersson
Lars Gustaf Andersson is Professor in Film Studies, Lund University, co-author of Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Cinema.
Sidansvarig: paul.tenngartlitt.luse | 2023-11-30