Viking Age

Viking Age Context and Expansion
– The Viking Age lasted from 793-1066 CE.
– Vikings were Norsemen who engaged in raiding, colonizing, conquest, and trading.
– The Viking Age applied to Scandinavia and other places settled by Scandinavians.
– Vikings settled in various regions, including the British Isles, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Normandy, and Eastern Europe.
– They briefly settled in Newfoundland, becoming the first Europeans to reach North America.
– Vikings founded the city of Novgorod on the Volkhov River, leading to the establishment of the Kievan Rus state with Kiev as its capital.
– Varangians brought Byzantine silk, cowrie shells from the Red Sea, and coins from Samarkand to Viking York.
– The Danish Vikings were defeated by Frisian forces in the Battle of Norditi, resulting in their withdrawal from East Frisia.
– Saxons and Slavs developed successful strategies against Viking invaders, making it difficult for them to fight inland.
– The Viking Age in Scandinavia ended with the establishment of royal authority and the dominance of Christianity.

Causes and Perception of Viking Invasions
– The will to explore likely played a major role in Viking invasions.
England, Wales, and Ireland were vulnerable due to internal disarray.
– Overpopulation and technological advances, such as the use of iron, may have contributed.
– Tensions caused by Frankish expansion and attacks on Viking peoples played a role.
– Harald I of Norway’s actions displaced many peoples, leading to counter-raids.
– Vikings were portrayed as violent and bloodthirsty by their enemies.
– In the 17th century, challenges to anti-Viking images emerged, and scholarly works began to reassess their achievements.
– During the Enlightenment and Nordic Renaissance, historians developed a more rational approach to studying the Viking Age.
– By the 18th century, the Viking Age was seen as barbaric and uncivilized.
– In the 1890s, scholars recognized the artistry, technological skills, and seamanship of the Vikings.

Viking Attacks and Impact
– The Viking attack on Lindisfarne in 793 CE is often regarded as the beginning of the Viking Age.
– The earliest raids were small-scale but expanded during the 9th century.
– Monks were killed, treasures were stolen, and slaves were taken during Viking attacks.
– Vikings were notorious for their brutality in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and other parts of Europe.
– The Viking Age had a significant impact on the political and cultural landscape of Europe.
– Viking raids began in 789 with an attack on the Isle of Portland in Dorset.
– The Viking Age in the British Isles is often set at 793 with the raid on Lindisfarne.
– Vikings primarily targeted Ireland until 830, then had success against England and the Carolingian Empire.
– Disunity within the Carolingian Empire and pitting the English kingdoms against each other aided Viking expeditions.
– Scandinavian conquest and settlement of Normandy occurred in 911, leading to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Viking Settlements and Influence in Ireland
– Vikings began plundering monastic sites in Ireland in 795.
– Early Scandinavian settlements, such as Dublin, emerged in Ireland.
– The Norse-Gaels, a hybrid culture of Vikings and Gaelic people, played a significant role in Irish history.
– Irish resistance against Viking invasions is depicted in historical paintings.
– Vikings intermarried with the Irish and adopted elements of Irish culture.
– Viking kings of Dublin also ruled the kingdom of the Isles and York.
– Sigtrygg Silkbeard established Ireland’s first mint in Dublin.
– Máel Sechnaill Mór defeated the Dublin Vikings in 980.
– Brian Boru subdued the Viking territories and became High King of Ireland.

Viking Settlements and Influence in Scotland and England
– Vikings raided the holy island of Iona in 794.
– In 839, Vikings invaded and defeated Pictish and Scottish kings.
– Vikings attacked the fortress of Alt Clut in 870, leading to the fall of the kingdom.
– Viking presence in Scotland led to alliances among Gaelic, Pictish, British, and English kingdoms.
– Viking rule of England ended with the reign of Harold Harefoot after Cnut’s death.
– The Viking presence in England declined until the final battle with the English at Stamford Bridge in 1066, marking the end of the Viking Age.
– The Norman conquest of England followed shortly after, led by descendants of Norsemen.
– Several unsuccessful attempts by Scandinavian kings to regain control of England occurred, with the last one in 1086.Sources: