Vikings! On And Off Screen

Reimagining the Vikings, where history meets drama.

From the new History channel series "Vikings"

From the new History channel series “Vikings”

Picture the Vikings, and you’re instantly riding a lot of poetry and imagination.  They didn’t leave texts behind.  Anthropologists didn’t visit.  Their runes are a riddle.

But that didn’t stop balladeers and Wagner from painting the picture.  Bearded warriors from the North, in long ships and horned helmets.  Except they didn’t wear horned helmets, we’re told.

Pillagers and wayfarers, savages and tech innovators.  A new historical drama lets the Vikings sail again.

This hour, On Point:  the Vikings, in our imaginations and in history.

-Tom Ashbrook


Michael Hirst, creator and writer of the new History channel historical drama “Vikings”, which debuts on Sunday.

Anders Winroth, professor of medieval history at Yale University. Author of “The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “They are akin to NASA astronauts or the pioneers of Silicon Valley — except they lived 1,300 years ago, and it was the high seas that demanded navigation, not outer space or the Internet. The Vikings, who like those later explorers were driven by curiosity and armed with the latest innovations, also set out to conquer an uncharted world, the breadth and possibilities of which could not be entirely conceived.”

Los Angeles Times “Have the Vikings gotten a bum rap? At least according to popular imagination, they were fearsome barbarians in horned helmets who pillaged their way across Northern Europe during the Dark Ages. And while it’s true these seafaring Norsemen were hardly a bunch of peaceniks, the new History scripted series “Vikings” will attempt to bring some nuance to the caricature of the bearded brutes when it premieres Sunday.”

Trailer for the New “Vikings” Series

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