'Kings on the Move: The Case of the Great Viking Army' with Dr Shane McLeod

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Dr Shane McLeod 2

Between 865 and 879 CE, the great Viking army campaigned extensively across England, eventually conquering three of the four Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. As different members of the army permanently settled these kingdoms, their leaders became its kings. Yet before this, the leaders of the army were sometimes named as kings in the written sources, suggesting that the great army was recognised by its adversaries as a mobile kingdom led by one or more kings. This paper explores the validity of this notion through an examination of the written sources, the use of client kings, the evidence for the non-combative aspects of the army’s activities, and the highly symbolic monumental burial at Repton. Despite acknowledging that scholars are correct in saying that the great army was made up of a collection of liðs, or military retinues, it is argued that these units operated under strong central command that worked towards a consistent goal by following consistent policies. 

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