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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Conflicts: Forms and Descriptions in Old Norse Culture - ASK500382
Title: Conflicts: Forms and Descriptions in Old Norse Culture
Guaranteed by: Institute of Germanic Studies (21-UGS)
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Actual: from 2023
Semester: summer
Points: 0
E-Credits: 5
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:0/2, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unknown / unlimited (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
Key competences:  
State of the course: taught
Language: Czech
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: PhDr. Jiří Starý, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): PhDr. Jiří Starý, Ph.D.
Annotation - Czech
Last update: PhDr. Jiří Starý, Ph.D. (08.02.2024)
The eleventh annual joint conference of Institute of Germanic Studies (Charles University, Prague) and Institute of Norse Philology (Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München) will take place on 12-13.9.2024 in Munich and its subject will be "Conflicts: Forms and Descriptions in Old Norse Culture". Only active participance at the conference is allowed, the conference language is English. All interested students are cordialy invited to contact Jiří Starý (

If it is said that "human life is nothing but a series of conflicts", this is more than true about life in the Viking Age (800-1066) and the Scandinavian Middle Ages (1066-1397). The extant literature contains descriptions of wars, struggles and skirmishes, beginning with the fights of Viking marauders in Skaldic poetry and ending with the battles of large scale armies in the wave of the Scandinavian civil wars between the twelfth and the fourteenth century. The conflicts can be analysed in many ways: according to their scale (family and household conflicts, conflicts of neighbours, regional conflicts and international ones), according to their participants (parents and children, husbands and wives, masters and servants, aristocracy and farmers, kings and emperors, rulers and church dignitaries, christian missionaries and heathens), according to their historical importance (from historically unimportant pillow fights to full-blooded wars that changed the geography of the Northern world) and – not least – according to their position on the scale from history to fiction, as some of them can be read as true depictions of historical events (Kings' sagas), some of them if not real, then at least realistic Viking age battles (Sagas of Icelanders), while others can be read as fully fantastic (Icelandic Romance) or at least as describing fights in realms that hardly can be described as historical (fights of gods, monsters and heroes in mythic and heroic poetry and prose). No less diverse are the possibilities of research. Historically and sociologically we can ask what types of conflicts Old Norse society knew, what their typical stages and outcomes were and how they were embedded in the structure of the society. Literary, we can ask how the conflicts were depicted and what aesthetical means were used for their description in different genres of Old Norse literature. And not least, anthropologically, we can ask how they were given meaning and what attitude society had to them in general.
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