Show 69 – Twilight of the Aesir Description: This show picks up where Dan’s Thor’s Angels show left off. In the early Middle Ages Pagan Germanic-language speakers like the Vikings are a dying breed. Many of their contemporaries wish they’d die faster.

In “Hardcore History” journalist and broadcaster Dan Carlin takes his “Martian”, unorthodox way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This isn’t academic history (and Carlin isn’t a historian) but the podcast’s unique blend of high drama, masterful narration and Twilight Zone-style twists has entertained millions of listeners.

Books Mentioned in Hardcore History Show 69 - Twilight of the Aesir:

Book Title: Charlemagne – Father Of A Continent

Author: Alessandro Barbero

Book Title: The Anglo-Saxon Missionaries in Germany

Author: C.H. Talbot

Books: A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century

Author: Sir Charles Oman

Book Title: Children of Ash and Elm

Author: Neil Price

Book Title: The Forge of Christendom – The End Of Days And The Epic Rise Of The West

Author: Tom Holland

Book Title: The Viking Wars

Author: Max Adams

Book: Vikings

Book: The Life of Charlemagne

Author: Einhard

Book: Powers and Thrones

Author: Dan Jones

Book Title: Western Apache Raising & Warfare

Author: Grenville Goodwin

Book: The Bright Ages

Author: Matthew Gabriele & David M. Perry

Book: River Kings

Author: Cat Jarman

Book: History of the Goths

Author: Herwig Wolfram

Book: Vikings at War

Author: Vegard Vike, Kim Hjardar

Book: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Book: A History of the Vikings

Author: Gwyn Jones

Book: A History of the English Speaking Peoples

Author: Winston Churchill

Book: The Age of Faith

Author: Will Durant

Hardcore History Show 69 – Twilight of the Aesir

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History 69 – Twilight of the Æsir delves deep into the Viking era, shedding light on the geopolitical shifts, the raids, and the cultural contexts of the time.

The Historical Context

The Viking era was marked by intricate power plays, where the tables turned in favor of the Vikings by the 830s. The once-intimidating Frankish state, which posed a significant threat during Charlemagne’s reign, saw its power wane, giving Vikings an opportunity to launch larger and more sustained attacks. While primary sources often paint the Vikings as mere raiders motivated by greed, a closer look suggests larger geopolitical motives.

Siege Warfare and the Vikings

The 830s ushered in a period of intense Viking activity, characterized by expansive raids and larger war endeavors. Notable among them was Gottfried’s significant campaign in 810 against Friesland’s coast. The frequency and scale of these attacks amplified after the death of Louis the Pious in 840 AD. France, in the 9th and 10th centuries, became a prime target, enduring 47 Norse attacks. Cities like Paris and Tours faced multiple sieges, reflecting the audacity and might of the Viking forces.

Character Profiles and Anecdotes

Throughout this tumultuous era, several key figures emerge. Whether it’s the Vikings themselves, the beleaguered city leaders, or the rulers of the day, each played a pivotal role in shaping the events of the time.


The Viking era, as portrayed in this episode, is a tapestry of conquests, sieges, and shifting power dynamics. While often romanticized or vilified in popular culture, a nuanced exploration reveals a period rich in complexity, where survival, ambition, and geopolitics intertwined.