Talk:Great Heathen Army

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Separating fact from fiction[edit]

This article really needs a major rewrite, with proper references to the primary sources, in an attempt to separate the historical facts from the unreliable accounts of later chroniclers.

In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle the invaders are referred to as Danes, but Aethelweard Chronicon Fourth Book states clearly that the fleet arrived in East Anglia "from the north". If the leader of the army (Hingwar, Ingwar, Iguuar, Inwaer, depending on the source) is Ívarr, the son of Guðrøðr the King of Laithlind (a Viking kingdom in Scotland), then this would make sense. Is there really any compelling evidence to link the army with the raiders of northern France (845 ff.)? As for Ivar the Boneless, Halfdann Ragnarsson etc, these figures are taken from much later Norse sagas and are not mentioned in any contemporary sources. The historicity of their father Ragnar Lodbrok is highly dubious. Eroica (talk) 12:51, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Wrong Name, Great Heathen Army[edit]

Yes I know its been debated, but its the wrong title, its biased: Heathen is a POV term. Heathen comes from Old English hæðen ("not Christian or Jewish"); cf. Old Norse heiðinn and this to 'an irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized person'. Its subjective. Its the POV from the Christain view. Not objective. Its like calling Cromwells army that invades Ireland a local Irish slang name with a religious bias. To the Vikings the Christians were different as they had non Viking mythology beliefs. Sure mention what the invaded called the Great Viking Army, but it was a Great Viking Army. That should be the title. Lets face it the Vikings smashed England and such a name as Heathen is like some derogatory revenge. Blade-of-the-South (talk) 01:50, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I think that a nearer analogy would be the Nazis. Modern historians would say that the Nazis invaded Poland for example. So the Anglo-Saxon chronicle usually referred to Viking raiders as hæðen men. I believe that it is only the MS B ASC for 867 that actually calls it the micel hæðen here (Great Heathen Army). It is usually referred to as the hæðen here (heathen army) or the micel here (great army) or simply the here (army). However, although here is generally translated as meaning army a group of marauders or raiders would probably be more accurate. I agree with your points on the whole, although I am not convinced that the chroniclers used the term out of revenge, more as shorthand as we do with nazi. I would say that as most of the history books use the term Great Heathen Army, this is what anyone researching the subject would look for and we should stick with it on that basis.Wilfridselsey (talk) 08:01, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
History books can be an ass, even close history like WW2 is biased. Humans are by and large taken in easily. Blade-of-the-South (talk) 01:48, 3 September 2013 (UTC)