New genetic analysis and the Normandy debate

In the study of the Viking Age, there are a number of events and persons where there are ongoing debates between historians of the Scandinavian countries. One of these hotly contested questions is: Did the people who settled Normandy in France originate from Denmark or Norway? Make no mistake about the “national sibling rivalry”, in wanting to claim ancestry to the people who would go on to successful invade England in 1066 after the Battle of Hastings! However, it also influences for example the question of where King Gorm the Old came from.

The chroniclers Dudo of Saint-Quentin and William of Jumièges both tell of Rollo coming from Denmark, while the Norwegian and Icelandic sagas claim he originated from Norway. Now the results of a new genetic analysis of Britons’ ancestry published in an article in the magazine Nature and its finding reported in article by the New York Times, the conclusion is “Normans, who had previously emigrated from southern Denmark to Normandy”. The chroniclers and saga writers all had agendas and motives that influenced their writings, however these new genetic studies bring us a whole lot closer to answering the question of the Norman’s ancestry.


Tagged with: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *