GENTES – Genesis of Ethnicities and Nations in Textual Evidence for Scandinavia, c. 750–c. 1000


The period c. 750–c. 1100 (traditionally referred to as the Viking Age) is often presented as the time when enduring Danish and Norwegian states and identities were created. This project questions this premise, and examines the formation of the northern regna and gentes in the ninth and tenth centuries as political identities that not only speakers of northern Germanic languages participated in. As the Icelandic sagas date from a time (13th century) when the three Scandinavian kingdoms were already a reality, there is a tendency to project these backwards in time; in order to get away from these preconceptions, the emphasis is placed firmly on contemporary sources, such as Annals, Chronicles and Saints’ Lives.

The Vita Anskarii

Rimbert’s biography of his predecessor, Ansgar (ob. 865), Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and missionary to the Danes, Swedes and Slavs, is one of our most important sources for Scandinavian history in the ninth century. Dr. Gazzoli has produced a fully new edition of the text and is preparing an English translation and extensive commentary to accompany it.