Nordmenn inir vidförlu: motivations for long distance travel by Scandinavians c. 1000 – 1200

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2023-08
Advisor
Thornton, David E.
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Bilkent University
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English
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Embedded within Scandinavian history, the theme of extensive long-distance journey stands as a defining motif. Predominantly embodied by the Viking Age, spanning approximately two and a half centuries, this proclivity saw Scandinavians emerge as conquerors, raiders and traders across Europe and the British Isles – effecting considerable spatial traversals. As the Viking Age started to wane, the motif of long-distance journey persisted, yet transformed in character. Evolving from roles as marauders and settlers, a shift occured toward mercenary engagements under Russian princes, Varangian Guards service, and pilgrimages signifying a nuanced metamorphosis. This research focalises on three prominent elevent-century figures: Yngvarr víðförli, Haraldr Sigurðarson, and Eiríkr inn góði. Each emblematic of distinct categories of extensive peripatetic undertakings, their selection ensures a comprehensive portrayal of medieval Scandinavia, culled from the Icelandic sagas about Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Scrutinizing these sags, this thesis aims to excavate main motivations propelling these individuals on their remarkable journeys across substantial geographic expanses.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)