Viking ‘otherness’ in Anglo-Norman chronicles

  • Paul Store

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis deals with the presentation of largely pre-conquest history in the works of five Anglo-Norman historians writing in the early twelfth century. The works of chroniclers have been used to interpret and analyse forms of ‘otherness’ descriptions used in their accounts of the history of England. The main purpose of this study is to discover what forms of ‘otherness’ were applied to the Vikings by the Anglo-Norman chroniclers and whether there was a common purpose which linked these ‘otherness’ descriptions together.
This thesis has revealed there were three main areas of ‘otherness’ descriptions over the period the Vikings were active in England. This period ran from their first recorded engagement with Wessex in 789 until Cnut IV’s abandoned invasion attempt of 1085. During the first of the three periods of ‘otherness’ from the first encounter until the time of King Cnut the area of ‘otherness’ most associated with the Vikings was that of monstrous behaviour. Although the Vikings were not represented as monsters, their behaviour was firmly linked to being monstrous. This monstrosity changed almost overnight when the former monstrous pirate Cnut became king of England and changed into a just and Christian king. In this second period of ‘otherness’ Cnut was reflected in terms of the ‘other’ as ‘self’ as he changed into a person the chroniclers could associate with. After the end of his short-lived dynasty, the third period of Viking ‘otherness’ appeared in the post-conquest period where the Vikings were perceived as a latent threat to England, even though their actual threat no longer existed after 1085.
This thesis takes its place in research literature as the first study to have investigated the treatment of the Vikings in terms of their ‘otherness’ profile by chroniclers who could be categorized as first-generation ‘English’ writers of English history.
Date of Award18 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorRyan Lavelle (Supervisor) & Katherine Weikert (Supervisor)


  • otherness
  • Vikings
  • Danes
  • Anglo-Norman
  • chroniclers
  • monster theory
  • Twelfth-Century

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