Those Dreaded

Viking raids along the British and Irish coasts began around 790 AD when Danish Vikings landed at Lambey, Ireland in 793 AD. Two years later they landed near Lindisfarne, England.

Known as "Nordmanni", after 50 years of raiding England, by the year 841 AD the raiders were running into stiff and organized resistance along the coasts of Ireland and England.

Faced with mounting casualties, they turned away to raid softer targets in Europe.

Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire in 840 AD was a prime target for Viking Longboats because navigable rivers Somme, Loire, Garonne and Seine were easily traversed trails of commerce into the underbelly and vast resources of France.

The fierce Viking warriors found it easy to sail or row upriver to the cities of Rouen, Bordeaux, Amiens, Angers, Nantes and Paris. News of the approach of dragon-prowed long boats was enough to spread terror throughout the land.

Aiding the Vikings was the fact that Charlemagne’s Empire of 840 AD was in turmoil. He had passed his empire to his grandsons, young Lothair, Louis, and Charles. After his death, the brothers fought among themselves for control.

In 841 AD Viking Commander, Ragnar Lodbok rowed up the river Seine and sacked the rich city of Rouen. Then he boldly moved on Paris, set up camp on the Isle de France and from there threatened to burn Paris. Faced with an issue and catastrophe of epic proportions, the three Charlemagne brothers collected silver with which to bribe the Vikings to leave.

Meanwhile in Germany, Saxon leader, Emory, broken by many years of Viking raids, decided that the only way his people could be stronger was to steal from weaker neighbors.

To fight off Vikings, the need was strong for horses, cows, geese, chickens, seed to replant burned fields, young women to replenish the race, and food to feed his people.

It is historically evident that the Saxons in time rebuilt their country, build fortifications along the rivers and grew strong enough to drive the militant Vikings from the rivers. Some of those Vikings settled down in Normandy, became Christians, learned to speak French and blended into the Norman Culture.

In time the wild Vikings had drawn far too much attention to themselves. The Saxon leaders in Normandy signed a treaty with the King of England to deny use of the English Channel to the Vikings of Denmark. After that, the Vikings had to sail around England to service their trading posts in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Vikings of the old school read the handwriting on the wall, which told them to stop raiding and concentrate on trading. Some diehard Vikings still raided up Ireland rivers for awhile, but by the fifteenth century it was clear that survival dictated their commercial enterprises had to be limited to trade.

Viking trading posts continued doing business long after the defeat of the Vikings at Clontarf. In time those outposts grew to become modern Irish cities of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford and Wiclow.

by donkelly 1997

Coming soon is an article about Vikings of Scotland. (August 2007)


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