Media Release: Lecture to dispel Viking myths

Professor Donna Heddle,Dept of Nordic Studies UHI Orkney

A FREE talk to be held in Inverness later this month will attempt to dispel perceptions that the Vikings were violent savages.

Leading Norse expert Donna Heddle will travel from Orkney to give the public lecture, the first she will make since being made a Professor by the University of the Highlands and Islands earlier this year. Professor Heddle is the director of the Centre for Nordic Studies, which has bases on the isles of Orkney and Shetland and delivers degrees and modules for the university and its partners.

The lecture, entitled ‘From the fury of the Norsemen, good Lord, deliver us?’, will explore the perceived and real effects Norse people had in Scotland.

Professor Heddle explains: “The question mark in the title of my lecture is very important as I will be talking about the perceived and actual legacy the Norse left here.

“Perceptions of the Norse as plundering, violent, alien savages who appeared out of the mist in their longships, ravaged the land and left to attack elsewhere are prevalent.

“However, the Norse were in fact settlers and traders who left their imprint on our legal system, boat building techniques, appearance (e.g. red hair), literature and placenames/ language – both Scots and Gaelic. I will be looking at history, language, literature, genetics and much more.

“The Norse are woven right through the tapestry (or tartan) of Scottish history and culture and it is time this was recognised!”

Donna Heddle’s inaugural Professorial lecture will take place at the University of the Highlands and Islands Executive Office, Ness Walk, Inverness, from 5.15pm to 7pm on Thursday 21 November 2013. All are welcome to attend.

To book your FREE place or to enquire about video conference facilities in your area, please contact the university’s events team on 01463 279344 or email


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