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This essay reviews the historiography of the Vikings, especially in England, from the nineteenth century onwards. Successive constructions of Vikings as ‘ancestors’ or ‘Others’ are shown to reveal more about quests for identity on the part of those who devised them than about ninth-century Scandinavians. In the rest of the essay, the interactions of Danish groups and individuals with Franks and Anglo-Saxons are examined in particular places and times. It is argued that these display contacts of multiple kinds, including much collaboration and some integration, often promoted by lordly and royal interests. It is suggested that these findings are explicable in terms of reshapings of individual and group identities in a broad context of cultural likeness and adaptability.
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