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2. Names for the Vikings in Irish Annals

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns with just one issue: the range of different names by which the Irish annals identify the Vikings. When Vikings first appear in the Irish annals of the mid-790s, they are described as heathens. Together with the standard designations of Vikings, first as 'pagans' and then as 'Foreigners', a number of other more specific terms occur in the annals. The chapter also presents the much-discussed problem of the distinction between two groups of Vikings, one termed finn 'white/bright/fair' and the other dub 'black/dark'. From 851 to 941, the Irish annals have seventeen instances of Dubgenti, or Dubgaill, juxtaposed six times with Finngenti, or Finngaill. In sum, there is a vocabulary shared by Irish and Welsh annalists of the mid-ninth century, in Latin and the two vernaculars, that designates one Viking element as 'black': Dubgenti, Dubgaill, Gentiles Nigri, Kenedloed Duon, Llu Du.

Keywords: Dubgaill; Dubgenti; Finngaill; Finngenti; Irish annals; pagans; Vikings; Welsh annalist



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