27 November 2019 Start
30 November 2019 End
Greece Swedish Institute at Athens, Mitseon 9, Athens


Vikings and the Mediterranean

November 27-30, 2019

The “Viking Age,” roughly 750-1050 CE/​AD, is usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with the raids or whole­sale move­ment of peo­ple from Scan­di­navia along the coasts of west­ern and At­lantic Eu­rope. Few non-spe­cial­ists as­so­ci­ate the same Norse pop­u­la­tions with east­ern Eu­rope (the Rus), al­though they have had a com­pa­ra­bly sig­nif­i­cant role in the po­lit­i­cal his­tory of that part of the world. Fewer still, how­ever, are aware of the ro­bust Norse pres­ence in the Mediter­ranean. In­di­vid­u­ally or in groups, Scan­di­na­vians were raiders, mer­ce­nar­ies, mer­chants, and—in some cases—set­tlers in the lands sur­round­ing the “Mid­dle Sea” (Miðjarðarhav). Many traces of this pres­ence and the en­su­ing in­ter­ac­tion re­main to this day, seen in the ma­te­r­ial cul­ture and the flow of ob­jects be­tween south­ern and north­ern Eu­rope. More­over, these traces are also vis­i­ble in his­tor­i­cal ac­counts, lin­guis­tics, iconog­ra­phy, and to some ex­tent even in the so­cial changes within the com­mu­ni­ties that took part in this ex­change. This body of ev­i­dence has not gone un­no­ticed by schol­ars in­ter­ested in this pe­riod and it has been ad­dressed to some ex­tent in the past. Nev­er­the­less, this field of re­search has not hith­erto seen a fo­cused dis­cus­sion within the frame­work of a ded­i­cated sci­en­tific meet­ing, which could be of ben­e­fit to all con­cerned.

The in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence “Vikings in the Mediter­ranean,” co-or­ga­nized by the Nor­we­gian, Swedish, and Dan­ish In­sti­tutes at Athens in the year of the Nor­we­gian In­sti­tute’s 30th an­niver­sary, aims to change that by bring­ing to­gether schol­ars from var­i­ous dis­ci­plines in­ter­ested in the var­ied ways that the Norse have shaped the his­tor­i­cal events of the me­dieval Mediter­ranean, and vice versa. In ad­di­tion, our goal is to pro­vide a meet­ing op­por­tu­nity for schol­arly com­mu­ni­ties that do not usu­ally have open lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, e.g. be­tween col­leagues work­ing in the Mediter­ranean and those in Scan­di­navia. Fi­nally, we hope that this con­fer­ence will re­sult in the pub­li­ca­tion of a com­pre­hen­sive pro­ceed­ings vol­ume, which will ad­dress this topic in all its mul­ti­fac­eted as­pects.