The Vikings in the West and the Icelandic Sagas with Dr. Teofilo Ruiz

The Vikings in the West and the Icelandic Sagas with Dr. Teofilo Ruiz


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This conversation follows the expansion of the Norsemen and Danes into the West, after their initial successful raids in the Baltic, into Russia, in England, Ireland, and France. We’ll also discuss their sagas (Viking prose stories and histories) as we learn more about Viking culture and social traditions.

After an initial period of fruitful expansion, the Vikings turned their eyes westward across the expanse of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This lecture will briefly detail the Viking settlements in Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, and beyond (probably as far south as Yucatan). We’ll learn how this was truly the first global age, as the Vikings joined in the travel and raids of every continent in the world except Australia. Unlike other regions in which they sought to settle, the Vikings turned Iceland, which was fairly uninhabited, into a Viking homeland. It was in Iceland where, almost two hundred years after its settlement, the sagas were composed, reflecting Viking culture and social traditions. The lecture explores some of these Sagas and what they tell us about Iceland, Greenland, and the New World. The Sagas also allow us for a window into Scandinavian religion.

Led by an expert in the history of the region of Scandinavia and beyond, Dr. Teo Ruiz, this seminar will deepen our knowledge of the Icelandic Sagas and the expansion of the Vikings into the West. Designed to inform curiosity and educate, this conversation will further our understanding of this intriguing era of history.

Teo F. Ruiz, PhD is a Cuban-American medieval historian and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. He is the author of 15 books.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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