Uncovering the viking ‘Other’: An examination of the narrative discourse on vikings during the second half of the ninth century in the monastic community of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

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2023-08-31
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en
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In the early medieval period, the narrative strategy of ‘Othering’ was used by Carolingian authors in their portrayals of pagans. This research illuminates what the viking ‘Other’ entailed according to three understudied Frankish works made during the ninth century by members of the monastic community of Saint Germain-des-Prés: the Translatio sancti Germani Parisiensis (ca. 850), the De Miraculis sancti Germani (ca. 875), and the Bella Parisiacae Urbis (885-896). Innovatively, this research used monster theory to study the viking ‘Other’, determining in each work the degree of monstrosity of this ‘Other’. In all three sources, the vikings functioned as a quintessential ‘Other’, whose actions were altered by the writers of Saint-Germain-des-Prés to suit the respective political purposes. This study argues that the perceivable lowered degree of monstrosity also reflects the contemporary socio-political context; Franks gradually became acquainted with the vikings, and came to know that they were not always monstrous.
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