Edge of the World book

September 30, 2022
96 km northwest of Riyadh on

mapThere is no prouder monument to the history of Shetland than Lerwick Town Hall. An inimitably Victorian fusion of Gothic and Scots baronial, its true glory is its stained glass windows. Downstairs, emblazoned on one of them, appears a quotation from the Roman historian Tacitus: “Dispecta est et Thule” – “And even Thule was glimpsed”. The allusion is to the circumnavigation of Britain in AD84 by a Roman war fleet; and whether “Thule” does indeed refer to Shetland, or else to Fair Isle, or even to Faroe, it concisely conveys the sense of achievement felt by those who had sighted it. The northern Ocean, it seemed to the Romans, stood at a forbidding remove from everything that made life bearable: sunshine, wine, olive oil. Its slate-grey waters, icy and teeming with monsters, marked the boundaries of the world itself.

A thousand years on, though, and Shetland had come to serve navigators, not as a frontier, but as a crossroads. Climb the stairs of Lerwick Town Hall to the magnificent chamber hall on the first floor, and you will find, illustrated in best Victorian stained glass, a pantheon of Viking heroes. There bristles Olaf Tryggvasson, the pirate who brought Christianity to Norway, and Harald Hardrada, the Norwegian who perished in 1066 making a land grab on England, and a whole host of other pirates, explorers and sea kings. They serve as a reminder of Shetland’s role as a service station for Vikings travelling the sea lanes between Scandinavia and Iceland, and of how, throughout the middle ages, the island was ruled, not from Scotland, but from Norway. The North Sea, no longer the final frontier, had become a thoroughfare.

Michael Pye’s study of how this phenomenon came about, and of its momentous long-term consequences, rides the crest of a much broader historiographical wave. Ever since Fernand Braudel, in 1949, published his groundbreaking work The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, historians have been alert to the role played by seas in the development of civilisation. The past few years have witnessed a particular efflorescence. Monumental studies by David Abulafia and Cyprian Broodbank have continued the Braudelian tradition of tracing the longue durée in the Mediterranean, while Barry Cunliffe has been doing the same for Europe’s Atlantic seaboard. Now, in The Edge of the World, Pye turns the spotlight on to the life and traffic of the medieval North Sea. His justification for doing so is twofold: that hitherto it has been neglected by historians in favour of more glamorous stretches of water; and that its history matters. “This cold, grey sea in an obscure time, ” declares Pye in his introduction, “made the modern world possible.”

In that sense, the title of his book is ironic. The accomplishments of those who lived on the shores of the North Sea in the middle ages did indeed place them, not on the edge of the world, but in the very mainstream of European civilisation. Some of these are well-known: be it Bede, devising the calendar that we still use today, or the merchants of Antwerp and Amsterdam, preparing the way for modern capitalism in their bourses and counting houses. Others, though, are less obvious; and it is the measure of Pye’s achievement that he can breathe life into the traders of seventh-century Frisia or the beguines of late-medieval Flanders as well as into his more celebrated subjects. The Lowlands, in particular, emerge from his study as having as much claim to be the womb of modernity as anywhere in medieval Europe. From fashion to feminism, from money to marriage customs, Pye makes a convincing case that they pioneered them all.

Not, of course, that this is entirely what the book sets out to prove. Pye’s ambitions for it are altogether broader: for what he wishes to demonstrate is not merely that the various peoples bordering the North Sea contributed towards the forging of the modern, but that it was the North Sea itself which, in the words of his subtitle, “made us who we are”. Clearly, as the representation of Viking luminaries in the council chamber of Lerwick reminds us, there were times when the North Sea did indeed constitute a lake, and it can make sense to think of the various peoples along its shores as constituting a civilisation distinct from the rest of Europe. Throughout the early middle ages, there remained a self-sufficiency about them that not all the countervailing attractions of Latin Christendom could overcome. Even in England, where Northumbrians such as Bede and Wilfrid looked to Rome as the lodestar of their church, the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms defied absorption into Charlemagne’s empire, and spoke a language that aligned them more closely with the pagan Frisians and Danes than with the Latin-speakers of Christian Francia. To that extent, then, the Viking firestorm that swept over the British Isles in the ninth century marked less a rupture with what had gone before than an intensification of it. By the year 1000, it was not only the North Sea that shared a common culture, but Ireland, Iceland, and even a few precarious outposts in North America.

The apogee of this trend came in the reign of the Danish king Cnut, who dominated both Scandinavia and Great Britain, and all the shipping lanes in between. Remarkably, though, Pye does not even mention his sea empire; nor does he trace the twin processes which, over the course of the 11th century, saw the realms of the North Sea drawn decisively into the orbit of Latin Christendom. First, there was the conquest of England by the Normans: erstwhile Vikings who had evolved to become French-speaking chevaliers, and whose cultural loyalties were not to Norway or Denmark, but to France. Secondly, combined with the emergence of an increasingly assertive papacy, there was the final defeat of paganism in Scandinavia. By the 1070s, Gregory VII could seriously attempt to bully the Danish king into holding his realm as a fief from himself; in 1164, Alexander III confirmed the Norwegian warlord Olaf Haraldsson, who had died in battle against Cnut’s forces and been the half- brother of Harald Hardrada, as a saint of the Roman Church. The North Sea had turned decidedly Latin.

Pye, though, touches on none of this – and it severely unbalances his book. The focus on the North Sea that is such a feature of his early chapters becomes increasingly blurred. Descriptions of the Mongols, or the universities of Bologna and Paris, are all very interesting – but what they have to do with Pye’s theme is not immediately obvious. The problem he faces is as simple as it is unacknowledged: so successful was the process of conquest and evangelisation by which Latin Christendom expanded into its northern periphery that what had been distinctive about the North Sea in the early medieval period was increasingly lost. England ended up an imitation of France; Scotland an imitation of England; only in Orkney and Shetland did anyone give much thought any longer to the Norwegians across the waters.

How to restore messages on iphone? How to solve 3x3 rubik's cube What age to start teaching puppy tricks How to make rice pudding How to clear cookies on iphone? How to fix a herniated disc? How to cook bulgur How many tricks teach a day How to motiviate yourself to go to the gym tricks habit What is the cause tips of toes to be blue don't go away In rock climbing what is it called when you are holding on with just the tips of your What song is sampled mind playing tricks on me How to mario kart tricks is to hold an item like a shell or banana behind you to block shots How to replace shower faucet what does barter mean what does percolate mean what does f150 mean what does pcp stand for what does hiit workout mean How to draw grass? What hunter tips to use on sprinkler Spider man ps4 how to do ait tricks Tips for principals when parents don't believe child fight Tips to use when receiving prank calls what does adhd mean what does inhibition mean How to lose weight quickly? How to start a business tips How to get off acrylic tips How to make lip gloss? what does it mean to be legally blind what does moi mean what does icon mean what does an iud do How to watch house of gucci? How to wear a sweater vest? How to loop a youtube video? How to get rid of face fat? How to qualify for an apartment if you work for tips How to calibrate a scale How to make ice in little alchemy? what does the blue check mean on tinder How to use a diffuser When do you get your tips from postmates what does self sufficient mean what are opiods How to bake a chicken? what are the 5 signs of mental illness what does an appendix look like Self motivation tips how to motivate yourself Tricks how to stop hiccups what does inquire mean How to make a lava lamp When was tips introduced How to get good tips mover what does black diarrhea mean what are the starbucks sizes what time does black friday start How to be 100 sure you are not pregnant How to blanch tomatoes? what are examples of non renewable resources How to get a medical marijuana card? Skier who did no tricks Tricks how to not smash your sandwich while hiking How to train your dcat to do tricks How to do gross body tricks How to shave down there men? How to perform coin tricks what does meth do what does pineapple mean How to use nebulizer Assassins creed odyessy how to win battles tricks What are some good study tips Tricks to know who views your facebook page suggested pokes what does gabagool mean what do the numbers on the periodic table mean How to install fake exhaust tips what time does rust servers wipe what does vanilla extract do How to do tricks with the hula hoop gesture in blackout on pc what does variation mean what does a turbo charger do How to lower estrogen levels in female what does feminine mean How to download warzone on pc? How to become a nurse Finger tips swollen and sore from friction how to heal what does ign mean what does dark poop mean what does wps mean on my router what does gesticulations mean How to smoke what does crypto mean How to start a clothing brand? what does omae wa mou shindeiru mean How to get rid of a migraine? What parameters vary between the different size tips micropipetting How to start an airbnb? How to use bit tricks to store more than one value what do the symbols on clothing tags mean October 2015 residential security tip: tips to stay safe when you live alone How to park How to prevent arthritis in hands what months are flu season How to make a box plot? How does stephen fry do his magic tricks what does a lotus flower represent How to draw disney characters? what does oversold stock mean what does scorched mean How to become that girl tips How to report tips w2 tax allocated tips How to adjust cabinet hinges what does lie mean what does noah mean How to get thicker hair? How to find the scale factor? How to make potato cakes How long does it take for coffee to kick in? what does snazzy mean what are the ranks in the army lowest to highest? How to start a fire in a fireplace? what does conveyed mean How to hold guitar pick? 2007 lap.dancers get higher tips when what are the types of clouds Tips on how to get ahead early in rust How to remove polygel nails what does it mean to be reserved How to find your bra size what are the 7 habits of highly effective people what do the symbols mean on facebook messenger? what does heuristic mean How long to cook chicken? How to grow hair faster naturally in a week what does additive inverses mean How to have healthy hair? what does iso mean photography How do you complete tricks on a sparrow in destiny what does reality mean Tips on how to ride dick what are used car interest rates How to treat a hernia? what is simping mean what does a low p value mean what does gaited horse mean what does mammy mean Affiliate, when you add ssl to your site tips Important safety tips when driving what does jimmy kimmel's wife do How to apply dip powder with nail tips How to natural beauty tips what does fastidious mean How to write a thank you email after an interview How to apply highlighter How to can corn? How much are acrylic french tips Why are the tips of my bromeliad turning brown How to get rid of brown tips on spider plants How to make money tax tricks what does f1 mean 12 tricks to save money on groceries, from a woman who wiped out almost $24,000 in debt what does lonjas mean How to retrieve deleted texts on iphone what does desolation mean what does oily stool mean How to do hibachi tricks How to tell if your water is leaking slowly? what does 86'd mean How to play tft? How to deal with anxiety attacks How much tips for photographer what does do in python what does judicial mean what does jrpg mean What are some tips to make budgeting achievable what does queued mean in email What is the white stuff on roses and brown tips on pedals What color should i dye the tips of my hair of my hair is dark broen How to write an obituary How to cut a leek? what south park character are you what does a husky look like Tips on how to stop crushing on a coworker How do thunderstorms form and how to form safety tips Tips on how to remember label iv bags what does salty mean in slang How to apply for a job How to help constipation? How to calculate mean in excel? what does the parietal lobe do what does facilitator mean How many subscribers do you need to make money youtube Why do the tips on my nipples hurt and itch How to take melatonin what disease does jada have what does restricted mean on facebook Trainer tips what happened at go fest youtube what does dame mean what does cpl mean Tips how to jitter click Tips on how to turn a car what does roe v wade mean what are homologous structures what does a ripe papaya look like what does npo stand for in medical terms what is successful mean Longboarding tips when steezing out a flat spot what does dpm stand for what does muah mean what does inbox me mean How to clean a wool rug? How to get spray paint off skin? what does blind baking mean What are the tricks to get into wells fargo center parking lot what does check engine light mean what does rfp stand for Tips how to manage analyze and interpret survey data How long does it take to become an electrician What is cabal for microwave perfect with tricks How many hat tricks does bruno fernandes have How long does your tips certification last How can your eyes play tricks How to make cornstarch chunks How to make quinoa How to track airpods How to cite a lecture in apa what does cochina mean How to reduce back fat for female How long to cook sweet potato in oven How long does stockx take to deliver? what does cm look like in early pregnancy How to tell if you have an ear infection Why does my feather fairy plumose fern have rust colored tips How to make your metabolism fast? How to spell christmas Movie, young girl tricks older guy who is flirting with her what does fbla stand for How to update chrome what are clean rooms How long does it take to boil water How are matrix tricks done How much zinc to take daily How to get rid of no see ums? How to exit vim? what does pookie mean How to relieve cramps? How to log out of fortnite on switch what does alr mean text what do the color of hearts mean How to find margin of error? Helpful tips when trying to get scholarships How to make chamoy How to measure hips? How to produce more semen How to make a juicy deep fried turkey How to do magic tricks with balloons Decoupage tips for when piecing papers together Tips for working with a real estate agent when selling your home what channels does philo have what does being green mean what does blake mean what does air quality mean How to raise a boring girlfriend? Site:pinterest.com/pin/ how do mentalists tricks work How to become a notary? what are symptoms of low vitamin d
Source: www.theguardian.com
Part 2 - Over the Edge of the World Book Review
Part 2 - Over the Edge of the World Book Review
The House at the Edge of the World Free Download Book
The House at the Edge of the World Free Download Book
Share this Post