I finished the lecture series. It was actually life-altering in a weird and nerdy way. I don't agree with part of his conclusion, but everything else was terrific.
The age of the Vikings came to end for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that by the twelfth century most of Scandinavia had gone Christian. And as the religion grew, the vikings were scolded and told that it's not a very good idea to go raiding on their Christian neighbors. That isn't a very Christ-like thing to do!
Another reason I kind of touched on in the last post. By this point, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are all independent kingdoms. The idea of raiding wasn't necessary anymore because they were all a part of the greater European economy. Trade was up. Cities were up and running. The art of ship building that made the vikings immortal had been lost. Times had changed and the viking raids were not essential or even intriguing any longer. Now it was the Christian monarch and killing each other for the throne and killing others for Christ. Also! In the 14th century, 2/3 of the population died from the black plague, so there really wasn't anyone left to raid.
This conclusion makes sense. But the Professor Harl goes on to say that the vikings were to blame for the Crusades. He doesn't say they forced anyone directly. But they did force Europe to organize. The vikings were experts at exploiting weaknesses. European kingdoms were seriously bashed by the vikings and had to figure out how to protect themselves. The feudal monarchs were a result. And they may have set the stage for the Crusades to happen. The violence they inflicted on Europe may have inspired the crusaders and the knights to turn the tables on their neighbors in the east. I do not, however, see any real connection between the vikings and the crusades that followed. Show me some evidence, Professor!!
As the lecture concludes, a new chapter of my life opens. My job at Weber is over in two weeks, which means there may be enough time to get one more audio book in before I quit. After that, I'm going Scandinavia. Last night I bought the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. Starting with the mythology and the legends seemed essential. I also picked up a collection of the Icelandic Sagas. I'm serious about this shit, dawg!
That means History Books will be downsizing to focus on the vikings and Scandivian history and anthropology. Hopefully you will enjoy what is going on here. I think Dave Orr is the only one who reads this, and I know that he is pumped.