The past couple of decades have seen a spike in portrayals of Vikings in a variety of media from television and movies to comic books, manga, and video games. But who were the Vikings? Do the images of the Vikings in your head match up with the facts, and is their portrayal in popular culture at all rooted in reality? This course is designed to answer these and other questions regarding the history, literature, language, and culture of the Vikings. The sagas serve as the primary source and perhaps most important tool in answering these questions. In addition to reading three to four full sagas from The Sagas of the Icelanders (Kellogg et al: 2001), we will look at some excerpts from other sagas and turn to historical data and archeological evidence to fill in the gaps, corroborate the tales, and debunk myths, but we will also delve into the world of popular culture to see how these stories and ideas have been adapted over time. The Vikings (Roesdahl: 1999) and multiple scholarly articles, provided on Canvas, will serve in this regard as the secondary literature. There is no mid-term or final examination, but you will be expected to make regular contributions regarding both the primary and secondary literature to in-class and Canvas discussions, present on one or more scholarly articles, and complete a final project in which you have the choice to write a research paper or craft your very own saga befitting the style and format of the sagas you read in this course. In the end, you will be able to wield the tools to separate fact from fiction and sail your way to a more rigorous understanding of Vikings and the sagas that keep their stories alive.
Catalog Information: COLL-S 103 FRESHMAN SEMINAR IN A & H