Top positive review
126 people found this helpful
The tip of the iceberg...whets the appetite for more!
on August 24, 2006
Right from the beginning I must tell you that I am from Ireland and have studied the history of the Vikings for over 30 years - so naturally I have a slight bias on this subject. This programme is really an overview and introduction of the subject rather than any attempt at intrepreting the influence of the Vikings in the modern world. The evidence stressed is on the material culture and doesn't trace the vestiges of the influence of the Vikings in Europe in any detail - Although Iceland is well represented as being the last home of the Vikings. For instance the latest genetic studies showing present decendants of the Vikings were not even considered - there are such studies. The people of the Orkney and Shetland Islands were notintroduced although they have their own unique Norse language - Norn. The exploration of the Rus is well done and the route of the Vikings to Bagdad was eye-opening. I especially liked the modern attempt to trace the journey by serious historians and archaeologists using boats constructed in the fashion of the age depicted. The Viking influence in France and their transition to Normans is cosidered but again not well developed. From this documentary one would hardly realise that the Vikings had quite an influence on the Mediterranean...Sardinia, Sicily and North Africa are not mentioned. Northwest Scotland was profoundly impacted by the Vikings but again we hear little mention of this...Danelaw in England while mentioned is not accorded its colonial status. One gets the impression that Dublin was the only town in Ireland founded by the Vikings and that aside from the bare mention of discovery of the largest Viking ship found thus far having been built in Ireland of native timber...the largest and possibly the most important Viking settlement in the world - Wood Quay in Dublin is not covered. The documentary does not cover very significant recent finds in Ireland of Woodstown caves and in Cumbria (Northwest England) of possibly Britain's most important Viking burial site...in addition to which another find in the same county close to Cumwhitton village.
History, out of necessity, needs to be interpreted with the most recent evidence available. I understand that a programme like Nova needs quite a lot of editing but seriously...hopefully Nova will revisit the subject of the Vikings again and this time address it from a more regional context. The reenactments are sparce and we see some scenes repeated...This programme could have used more reenactments to bring the subject to life. This show is still worth the money! I thoroughly enjoyed the production!