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Thread: Viking and native: re-thinking identity in the Danelaw, by D.M. Hadley

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    Viking and native: re-thinking identity in the Danelaw, by D.M. Hadley

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    Viking and native: re-thinking identity in the Danelaw

    D.M. Hadley

    This paper addresses the impact of the Scandinavian settlements in England in the ninth and tenth centuries, and the role that ethnic identity and affiliation played in the society of the so-called Danelaw. It is argued that ethnic identity was not a constant factor, but one that only became relevant, at least in the evidence available to us, at certain times. It is suggested that the key to understanding expressions of ethnicity lies in the absorption of new ruling elites in northern and eastern England, and in subsequent political manoeuvring, rather than in the scale of the Scandinavian settlement. Indeed, the scale of the settlement does not easily explain most of our evidence, with the exception of some of the linguistic data. This paper stresses the importance of discussing the Scandinavian settlements not simply by reference to ethnic factors, but within the social and political context of early medieval society

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