The very word ‘Viking’ conjures up images of fearsome longships, merciless invasions, and slaughtered victims. But were the Vikings unique in their savagery, or were they instead products of an era in which all those who wished to conquer did so without taking any prisoners?
The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was not only a seminal event in British history, it is also widely regarded as a turning point in military history: the moment when a ‘Dark Age’ way of war based on heavy infantry gave way to a ‘medieval’ way of war based on armoured cavalry. But was this really so? Shift the focus from Hastings, and events take on a new aspect.