Great works of art can be produced in barbarous societies in fact the very narrowness of primitive society gives their ornamental art a peculiar concentration and vitality. At some time in the ninth century one could have looked down the Seine and seen the prow of a Viking ship coming up the river. Looked at today in the British Museum, it is a powerful work of art; but to the mother of a family trying to settle down in her little hut, it would have seemed less agreeable as menacing to her civilisation as the periscope of a nuclear submarine.
Of course most people underestimate the warrior characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman peoples anyway. It takes a heap of piety to keep a Viking from wanting to go sack a city.jerry pournelle
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