In defence of the Vikings: they wouldn’t have suffered Donald Trump

Keith Nicholas Ruiter

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


It has been suggested that Donald Trump “may get his assertive rather than passive manner from his alleged Viking ancestors”. Or so says Russian genealogist Aleksey Nilogov, who has been finding some traction for his beliefs on nationalistic eastern European news sites such as the Estonian World Review.

Leaving aside the issue of genetic predispositions, as a scholar of Viking-Age Scandinavia, I take issue with this claim. The Vikings were a product of their time and – in that context – were a much less objectionable bunch than these suggestions imply. Delving into the Old Norse language helps us to better understand some of the ways that medieval Scandinavians might have viewed the overbearing and isolationist rhetoric dominating the international stage of late. In fact, just such an analysis suggests that Trump would probably not have had a great time navigating the political intrigue presented in the Icelandic Sagas.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2017


  • Medieval
  • Iceland
  • Vikings
  • Donald Trump
  • Scandinavia
  • Medieval history
  • Icelandic sagas


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