The Viking: Ideal and Reality

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5AR775

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Archaeology A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 13 May 2019
Responsible department
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Learning outcomes

After passed examination of the course, students should be able to:

  • present and discuss the sources (archaeological, epigraphical, literary and scientific) available for understanding the Viking period in Scandinavia.
  • in a thematic fashion discuss the Vikings' lifeways, religions and world-views.
  • problematise the (ab)use of Vikings in the creation of Scandinavian identities from the 19th century until today.


The Viking Age is the most famous period in Scandinavian prehistory and references to it abound in popular culture. The course gives access to ideas and results in the most ambitious research project about Vikings ever launched in Sweden - the Viking Phenomenon. With a varied focus on issues such as identity, mobility, religion, violence, slavery and gender, and with the use of all available sources, the Viking-Age is peopled with individuals both familiar and disconcertingly different. A historiographical perspective is also used to dissect the Viking image, that has often been shaped to serve a variety of purposes through a mixing of reality and idealised reconstruction. The participant's knowledge and understanding of the Viking period enables a comparison between current research and its reflections in popular culture.


The teaching consists of seminars and lectures with written and oral assignments. All teaching is offered in English.


Assessment is ongoing through oral and written presentations, individually or in groups. Active participation in seminars and group presentations is included in the assessment. If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special circumstances might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.