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Thinking about Scandinavian or even Anglo-Saxon armies in this period as ‘national armies’ strikes me as wrong. For starters, the words ‘national army’ imply a measure of organisation that simply did not exist. These armies in the 11th century were much more like medieval armies with each local lord bringing his retinue to join the army that he supported. This could result in Scandinavians fighting on both sides, as at Clontarf in 1014. It’s also part of why I don’t think that there would have been specific national characteristics evident in each army. Another reason for thinking this is that areas had their own subcultures and fashions. Scandinavia was not a monolithic entity at this time, and even breaking it down into Norway, Sweden and Denmark is too coarse a division, aside from the fact that it suggests that they existed as nation states in the modern sense of the term.

Now, yes it would be interesting to know what the scribes thought of Anglo-Saxon shields around 1066

It’s easily done, if you have the time. Many manuscripts are available online now, e.g. on the British Library website or linked from DMMapp. All it would take is a search for Anglo-Saxon manuscripts from the 11th century, then trawling through them to see which have images of shields.

The vikings made considerable use of the bow both on land at sea, not the saxons of Harold

I’m curious why you think that the Anglo-Saxons did not use bows as much. What’s the evidence for that? Or is it just that there is a lack of evidence for their use? What little evidence I am aware of suggests that they used the same type of bows as the Vikings, at least.

Finally, ‘Viking’ is a problematic word. It was a job back in the Viking Age, something you did. It is used much more sloppily these days as an ethnic identifier. I don’t intend to open that can of worms right now, but you can always read these pieces about it if you care enough:



#Viking is not a verb!

Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.