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|Mr. Giotto”s Online Textbook » The Middle Ages » Viking Invasions of Europe||Viking Invasions of Europe|
large viewViking attack on the monastery at Lindisfarne in AD 793
Just asChristian Europe had settled down after the barbarian invasions, followed by the onslaught of Islamic armies, a new wave of barbarian invaders came from the north in the form of the Vikings. These raiders came from the countries we now call Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The Norsemen (North Men) were skilled craftsmen, navigators and sailors. Viking longships were capable of sailing seas and oceans, as well asmaneuvering invery shallow rivers and streams. No place seemed safe from these raiders. The Norsemen believed in many gods and goddesses. Odin was their chief of the gods. Since the Vikings were not Christian, monasteries were favorite targets of these raiders for the loot thatcould be found within their walls.
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The Vikings launched an early attack on the monastery of Lindisfarne on a small island off the East coast of England. The monastery was plundered and burned, while monks were either killed or enslaved. Within ten years, the Vikings began attacks along the North coast of France. Charlemagne, king of the Franks, set up a series of defenses along the coast to ward off these Viking raids. In the late 700s, the Vikings invaded the British Isles, including areas of Ireland and Scotland. They established a settlement in Ireland, known as Dublin.
In 865 AD, a large army of Danish Vikings invaded England. Alfred the Great, King of England, defeated this Danish army in 878 and restricted the Danish Vikings to the eastern part of England, known as the Danelaw. Here people were subject to Danish law, rather than English law.
In 911 AD, then King of France, Charles the Simple, allowed the Vikings to settle in an areaof northern France. The Viking leader was named Rollo. As the story went, Charles allowed Rollo and the Vikings this land as long as they recognized Charles as their overlord. To seal the deal, Charles demanded that Rollo kiss his boot as an act of homage. As Rollo knelt down, he grabbed underneath the king's boot with both hands and flipped him to the ground. The Vikings apparently bowed to no one, including the king of France.
The Vikings successfully sailed into the land we now call Russia. Vikings took slaves from this land. People in Eastern Europe are called Slavs –where we get the word slaves–to this day. Sailing through Eastern European rivers, the Vikings made their way to the Mediterranean Sea. In 988 AD, Byzantine Emperor,Basil II, formed the Varangian Guard, an army of Vikings to serve as his personal bodyguards. Being emperor of the Byzantine Roman Empire was not easy, assassinations were common, many times by the very soldiers whose job it was to protect the emperor. There were no clear lines of succession from one emperor to the next. This problem in Byzantium was known as the “Malady of the Purple,” since emperors wore purple clothing. These common assassinations were thereason Basil preferred mercenary Vikingguards over Byzantine guards.
The Viking settlersin Northern France, who came with Rollo,eventually converted to Christianity and spoke French. These Vikings were called the Normans (derived from the word Norsemen). These Normans livedin anarea of France called Normandy. The Normans, along with their leader William, the Duke ofNormandy, would change history forever in the year1066.
Vikings in Kiev and Constantinople
(Here is the melodyto the song “Personal Jesus,” by Depeche Mode,the lyrics describe the Vikings. Amy Burvall, and Herb Mahelonaare two teachers from Hawaii who create short videos to help their students remember highlights of history topics.
Glossary for video
Pillaging – robbing, looting, plundering
Mead – an alcoholic drink made from honey, very important to Norse people
Expire – to die
A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine, Latin meaning, “From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord.”
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large viewDanelaw Detailed Map
large viewViking Ship
large viewViking Invasions
large viewViking settlement
large viewThe Varangian Guard protected in Emperor in Constantinople
Vikings Read aloud (MP3 5.55 MB)
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BBC Primary History – The VikingsLots of nice enrichment content here, but media will only play in the UK or with a VPN.Vikings Rags to Riches GameUses Adobe Flash, which is being discontinued in 2020, but you can select “Play HTML version”BBC Viking QuestRaid Lindisfarne with your Viking Longship(Unfortunately uses Adobe Flash, which is being discontinued in 2020)BBC Vikings Game(Unfortunately uses Adobe Flash, which is being discontinued in 2020)