Helmet from Sutton Hoo burial site
The Vikings
A history of the
Norsemen in Britain
Click for full-screen image
  • 1. The Viking Age
  • 2. Viking Ships
  • 3. Vikings in Britain
  • 4. The Danelaw
  • 5. Viking Dublin
  • 6. The Lewis Chessmen
  • 7. Norse in English
  • 8. The Battle of Maldon
  • 9. Timeline
  • In 2000 the BBC conducted a genetic survey of the British Isles for a television program entitled "Blood of the Vikings". I entered to discover whether or not I was of Viking extraction. Thirteen years later I had my DNA tested and was not at all surprised to discover that I am of Viking ancestry.

    My interest in Vikings began in 1967 while producing a television commercial for the Sunday Sun, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. My background, born in Sheffield in the Danelaw; my name, "Wilson"; possibly from a sept of Clan Gunn with its Norse beginnings named after Gunni, son of Olaf the Black;, my love of the sea and sailing - all pointing to my Viking heritage.

    The etymology of the word 'Viking' is somewhat vague. One path might be from the Old Norse word, vík, meaning 'bay', 'creek', or 'inlet', and the suffix '-ing', meaning 'coming from' or 'belonging to'. Thus, Viking would be a 'person of the bay', or 'bayling' for lack of a better word. In Old Norse, this would be spelled víkingr. Later on, the term, 'viking', became synonymous with 'naval expedition' or 'naval raid', and a víkingr was a member of such expeditions. A second etymology suggested that the term is derived from Old English, wíc or 'trading city'.

    The word 'Viking' appears on several rune stones found in Scandinavia. In the Icelandic sagas 'víking' refers to an overseas expedition (fr. Old Norse farar i vikingr, 'to go on an expedition'), and víkingr, or a seaman or warrior taking part in such an expedition. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, Widsith, which probably dates from the 9th century. In Old English, and in the writings of Adam von Bremen, the term to a pirate, and is not a name for a people or a culture in general.

    "Viking" reappeared English language in the 18th century), used to describe the Norsemen, explorers, traders and warriors who originated in Norway, Denmark and Sweden and raided the coasts of the British Isles. This period of European history (generally dated to AD793–1066) is often referred to as the Viking Age. It may also be used to denote the entire populations of these countries and their settlements elsewhere. Famed for their navigation ability and long ships, in just a few hundred years Vikings colonized the coasts and rivers of Europe. In Britain they settled in the islands of Shetland, Orkney, the Faroe Islands, north of Scotland, north of England, and East Anglia. With the introduction of Christianity to Scandinavia in the late 10th and early 11th century, Viking voyages grew less frequent.

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    1. The Viking Age AD793 to 1066

    The earliest date given for a Viking raid in Britain is AD787 when, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a group of men from Norway sailed into Portland, in Dorset. There, they were mistaken for merchants by a royal official, and they murdered him when he tried to get them to accompany him to the king's manor to pay a trading tax on their goods.

    The next recorded attack on June 8, AD793, on the monastery at Lindisfarne – the "Holy Island" – on the north-east coast of England. There was situated the monastery of St. Cuthbert, one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage in Britain, and it was there that the Lindisfarne gospels had been copied and illuminated. For more than 150 years, Lindisfarne had been a sanctuary of learning and a repository for riches bequeathed by both the pious and the wicked for the repose of their souls. In its chapels and on its altars were golden crucifixes and crosiers, silver pyxes and ciboria, ivory reliquaries, tapestries, and illuminated manuscripts. All were plundered between c.AD789 and AD793 by Vikings from the fjords of Norway.

    These attacks were unprecedented and horrified the whole of Christendom.
    "In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky1. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January(?) (June) 8th the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God's church at Lindesfarne." The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
    Lindisfarne monastery, St Cedd in Essex

    "Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race....The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets." Alcuin, an English monk.

    Lindisfarne gospels
    Page from the Lindisfarne gospels
    "In the same year the pagans from the northern regions came with a naval force to Britain like stinging hornets and spread on all sides like fearful wolves, robbed, tore and slaughtered not only beasts of burden, sheep and oxen, but even priests and deacons, and companies of monks and nuns. And they came to the church of Lindisfarne, laid everything waste with grievous plundering, trampled the holy places with polluted steps, dug up the altars and seized all the treasures of the holy church. They killed some of the brothers, took some away with them in fetters, many they drove out, naked and loaded with insults, some they drowned in the sea." Anon.

    Thankfully the heathen Vikings spared the illuminated 7th century Latin manuscript of the Lindisfarne Gospels the work of Eadfrith, a monk who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in AD698. Further raids in AD875 led to the monks fleeing the island with the bones St Cuthbert.

    Aidan of Lindisfarne
    Aidan of Lindisfarne
    1. "dragons seen flying in the sky" are the carved prows of Viking Longships.
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    2. Viking Ships

    Viking Drakkar

    The Viking longship with its many features made this expansion possible. The flexible clinker-built, lap-strake hull; its long, straight keel and steering oar1; the square-rigged sail of linen or coarse wool could be trimmed fore-and-aft to sail into the wind. The main advantage however was the double bank of 20 oars to supplement the sail in the absence of favourable winds. In the eastern Baltic the Vikings were called Rods (men who row) by the Russians. The Viking langskip or drakkar was superior to all other vessels of the period. Viking trade routes from Scandinavia reached the Danube and Dnieper rivers down to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, onwards towards Constantinople, through the Straits of Giberltar around the Iberian peninsula into the Mediterranean sea to Spain, north Africa, Italy, Sicily, and across the Atlantic Ocean as far as Greenland and Newfoundland.

    1. The nautical term 'Starboard' is derived from the old Norse word 'Stêorbord' or steer-board (6 in the drawing (above left)), forerunner of the rudder.
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    3. Vikings in Britain

    To begin with, their chart was upside-down! Seen from a Scandinavian viewpoint where Norway, Sweden and Denmark were situated at the 'bottom' of the map. In ascending order the Faeroe Islands were next, with Britain upside-down at the 'top' of the chart - not at the north or 'top' as in a modern Mercator's atlas. After the Faeroes they settled the Orkney Islands then the Shetland Islands, finally settling the northern-most tip of Scotland.

    For seven decades the Vikings continued raiding the coast of Britain and it seemed inevitable that they would eventually launch a full-scale invasion of England. This is precisely what occurred in the year AD866, when a huge army of Danes invaded East Anglia from their well established bases in the Low Countries of the Continent. They arrived under the leadership of Ivar the Boneless (Norse: Ívarr inn beinlausi)1 and his brothers, Halfdene and Hubba and after camping the winter, turned their attention to Northumbria.

    The Danes were well aware of the civil war that had weakened the great northern kingdom and as warriors the Danes were extremely opportunistic. After crossing the Humber, they headed for York, a great defensive stronghold, still well protected by its Roman walls. On November 1st, the city was sacked and captured by the Danes, despite fierce Northumbrian resistance.

    "Ivar the Boneless", real name Ivar Ragnarsson, was a Danish Viking chieftain. In AD865 along with brothers Halfdan (Halfdene) and Ubbe (Hubba), led the invasion of East Anglia where he is attributed with the martydom of St. Edmund at at Hoxne (present-day Norfolk). An accommodation was quickly reached with the East Anglians. The Danes, well aware of the civil war that had weakened the great northern kingdom, attacked Northumbria ihe following year, Ivar leading his forces north on horseback. Despite his disability, Ivar captured Jórvík (York) from the Northumbrians (who at that time were engaged in a civil-war).

    1. Disabled eldest son of Ragnar Lodbrok and Kraka had only cartilage in his legs and was unable to walk, but had to be carried everywhere on a shield; fr. "Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok". Possibly suffered from spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda (SEDT) a genetic deficency. By all accounts, a berserker: a Norse warrior who fought with frenzy, totally out of control.
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    4. The Danelaw

    The Vikings, mainly Danes, established a kingdom and settlement in northern England. Their "capital city" was Jórvík (Saxon Eoferic, present-day York). The Danelaw (or Danelagh; fr. Old English: Dena lagu; Danish: Danelov), was created in a treaty between King, Alfred the Great, and the Danish warlord, Guthrum the Old, eight years after Guthrum's defeat at the Battle of Ethandun in AD878. A treaty drawn up a few years later defined the boundaries dividing English Mercia from Danish Mercia which together with Northumberland and East Anglia formed the Danelaw - roughly the area in England north of a line drawn between London and Chester. Five fortified towns became particularly important in the Danelaw: Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham, Stamford and Derby. These strongholds became known as the "Five Boroughs"1.


    Danish Viking ship

    From about AD800 onwards, waves of Danish assaults on the coastlines of the British Isles were gradually followed by a succession of settlers around AD865 when brothers Halfdan Ragnarsson and "Ivar the Boneless" wintered in East Anglia. They soon moved north and in AD867 captured Northumbria and its capital, Jórvík, defeating both the recently deposed King Osbert as well as the usurper Ælle. The Danes then placed a Saxon, Ecgberht, on the throne of Northumbria as a puppet king. In response, King Æthelred of Wessex and his brother, Alfred, led their army against the Danes at Nottingham, but the Danes refused to leave their fortifications. King Burgred of Mercia then negotiated peace with "Ivar the Boneless", with the Danes keeping Nottingham in exchange for leaving the remainder of Mercia unmolested.

    The settlers brought with them in their ships not only their armies but also wives, children, horses, poultry, pigs and cattle, artifacts and their religious rites. In the following 200 years they would become the Anglo-Saxon race of people. Perhaps the most significant discovery in 1940 was Sutton Hoo a burial-site on a small hill above the river Deben, Suffolk considered to be the grave of King Rædwald of the East Angles, who ruled c.AD599-c.AD6242.

    Shield
    The helmet of King Rædwald and shield

    During the later half of the 6th century, there were two great leaders; Ceawlin of Wessex, and Ethelbert of Kent. Each in turn held dominion over all rulers south of the River Humber. In AD597 a mission led by Saint Augustine arrived in Kent and began the first formal conversion of the English rulers and their people to Roman Christianity. Rædwald was baptized in Kent, and (as Ethelbert grew old) he built up the leadership for his own nation of East Angles.

    In c.AD616 King Rædwald was challenged by the Northumbrian ruler Æthelfrith, and defeated and slew him in a great battle. Rædwald then set Edwin to rule in Northumbria, and for the remainder of his life Rædwald held became supreme rule over the English. He was the first southern ruler to hold Northumbria under such allegiance. Rædwald did not establish unequivocal Christian rule, but at his death Edwin acquired even greater dominion than his father (except in Kent), and was baptized. Through further conversions with Bishop Paulinus in Northumbria, Lindsey and East Anglia under the rule of Eorpwald (Rædwald's son), by cementing Christian alliances with Sigeberht of East Anglia (ruled c.AD629–AD636), and by his own marriage to the sister of Eadbald of Kent (ruled c.AD616–AD640), Edwin (ruled c.AD616–AD632)became the first English ruler with dominion north and south of the Humber.

    The Epic of Beowulf

    The Epic of Beowulf is an ancient narrative heroic epic poem dating from between the 8th and the early 11th century. Set in the Viking homelands of the Frisians, Angles, Jutes, Danes, Geats Wulfings, and Swedes. One of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, 3,182 lines long, the poem provides readers with an insight into the Viking mind.

    In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three supernatural opponents: Grendel, a savage beast, "a tortured spirit of hell ...wanderer of the wasteland...demon, possessor of the moors", attacking the warriors of Heorot, a Danish mead hall, Grendel's mother, and a fearsome dragon. The last battle takes place later in Beowulf's life, after returning to Geatland3, where he becomes king. In the final battle, Beowulf is fatally wounded and following his death, he is buried in a tumulus, not unlike King Rædwald.

    It is thought that Beowulf may have been composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham, Suffolk. Sutton Hoo also shows close connections with Scandinavia, the East Anglian kings, the Wuffings, were descendants of the Geatish Wulfings. The author (or authors) is unknown but it was written down in Old English (West Saxon and some East Anglian). This online translation from the Old English is by Dr. David Breeden, Illustrations by Randy Grochoske.

    First page

    Under "Ivar the Boneless" the Danes continued their invasion in AD870 defeating King Edmund at Hoxne thereby conquering East Anglia. Once again, the brothers Æthelred and Alfred attempted to stop Ivar by attacking the Danes, this time at Reading. However, this time they were repulsed with heavy losses. The Danes pursued, and on 7th January AD871 Æthelred and Alfred defeated the Danes at Ashdown. The Danes retreated to Basing (Hampshire), where Æthelred attacked and was in turn defeated. Ivar was able to follow up this victory with another in March at Meretum (present-day Marton, Wiltshire).

    Shortly thereafter, on 23rd April AD871, King Æthelred died and Alfred succeeded him as King of Wessex. However, his army was weak and he was forced to pay danegeld to Ivar in order to make peace with the Danes. During this peace the Danes turned to the north and attacked Mercia, a campaign that would last until AD874. The Danish leader, Ivar, and the Mercian leader, Burgred, died during this campaign; Ivar being succeeded by Guthrum the Old. In 10 years the Danes had gained control over East Anglia, Northumbria and Mercia, leaving only Wessex to resist.

    Guthrum and the Danes brokered peace with Wessex in AD876 when they capture the fortresses of Wareham and Exeter the following year. Alfred laid siege to the Danes, who were forced to surrender after reinforcements were lost in a storm. Two years later Guthrum once again attacked Alfred, this time surprising him by attacking him while he wintered in Chippenham, Wiltshire. King Alfred was saved when the Danish army coming from his rear was miraculously destroyed by inferior forces at Countisbury Hill. Alfred was forced into hiding for a time, returning in the spring of 878 to gather an army and attack Guthrum at Edington. They were defeated and retreated to Chippenham, where King Alfred laid siege and soon forced the Danes to surrender. As a term of the surrender King Alfred demanded that Guthrum be baptized a Christian, which he did (King Alfred serving as his godfather).

    The Danelaw was an important factor in the establishment of a civilian peace in the neighbouring Anglo-Saxon and Viking communities. It established, for example, equivalences in areas of legal contentiousness, such as the amount of reparation that should be payable in weregild. Many of the legalistic concepts were very compatible; for example the Viking wapentake, the standard for land-division in the Danelaw, was effectively interchangeable with the Anglo-Saxon hundred.

    The prosperity of the Danelaw, especially Jórvík, led to further incursions by Viking raiders. These constant raids and war with Wessex and Mercia, led to the Danelaw seeking the protection of King Edward the Elder when it became part of England, and no longer a province of Denmark.

    However, Harald Hardråde (King Harald III of Norway) made one final attempt to wrest the Danelaw from the Saxons. In September 1066, Harald with Earl Tostig landed in Northern England with a force of 300 longships carrying 50 men in each boat. At the Battle of Fulford, two miles (3 km) south of York, on September 2oth, he defeated the armies of two northern earls, Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria. Believing that the Saxon King Harold was prepared to surrender and accept his claim to the throne, Harald took a small lightly armed force meet the Saxon king.

    The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, on 25th September 1066. After a lengthy forced march up to Stamford Bridge which took place in just four days, King Harold Godwinson caught Hardråde's force by surprise. After a stubborn battle, the majority of the Norwegians were killed including Harold's brother. Earl Tostig. Harald Hardråde was also killed by an arrow in his throat. Harald's body was transported from England north to Nidaros (Trondheim) to be buried in St. Mary's Church, which he had built.

    This battle can be considered as the end of the Viking Age in Britain.

    1. 'Borough' derived from the Old English word burg, meaning a fortified and walled enclosure containing several households — anything from a large stockade to a fortified town.
    2. The primary source for King Rædwald is the 'Historia Ecclesiastica', by the Venerable Bede, completed AD731.
    3. Västra Götalands Län in present-day southern Sweden.
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    4. Viking Dyflin (Dublin)

    AD837-873 began dramatically with two fleets of around 60 Viking ships sailing up the Rivers Boyne and Liffey. Each fleet was said to have comprised three score ships. There was no unified response from the Irish and soon afterwards two naval encampments were established by the Vikings, at Annagassan, Co. Louth and at Dublin.

    The Viking camp on the River Liffey, established in AD841, grew into a major trading base surviving until AD902 when the native Irish defeated and exiled the Vikings.

    The Dublin longphort was apparently established at the tidal pool in the River Poddle. Later references after AD843 are to a settlement at Áth Cliath and this is presumably a separate site close-by. There was an island - Usher's Island - in the river close by and this may have been the site of Dublin. (Islands are frequently used as settlements.)

    By AD917 the Vikings had returned re-establishing Dublin as an enclosed town. Sigtrygg II 'Silkbeard' Olafsson was a Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin (AD989–1036).

    Around AD1000 Dublin was a very important Viking trading town with many ocean-going and coastal traders, and of course Viking langskip or drakkars involved in piracy. Merchandise was transported in sacks and barrels. These boats also carried animals and sometimes slaves. Slaves from Dublin often ended-up in the Baltic or in North Africa. Goods consisting of woollens, hides, fleeces, furs, and personal items were traded with the Isle of Man; Chester and Bristol in England; Scotland, the Hebrides and Faero islands; and the Mediterranean Sea. Ships coming to Dublin carried wine, ceramics from England, soapstone from Shetland, silks from Bagdad, glass from Germany, Cornish tin, silver from the Middle East, and ivory - mainly walrus tusks from Iceland and Norway.

    Habitation and inhumation appears to have been scattered along the banks of the Liffey and its tributaries. After AD850 kings of Dublin begin to be mentioned. Amláib (Olaf the White) arrived in Dublin in AD853 ruling jointly with Ivar the Boneless (Norse: Ívarr inn beinlausi). Amhláib was a Norwegian but Imar may have been a Dane. They brought back an enormous number of captives from northern Britain in AD871. Ivar is mentioned as king of all the foreigners in Ireland at his death in AD873 by which time Amhláib appears to have returned to Norway.

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    5. The Lewis Chessmen

    Found on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, some time before 11 April 1831. The chess pieces, were probably made in Norway, c.1150-1200. They consist of elaborately worked walrus ivory and whale teeth in the form of seated kings and queens, mitred bishops, knights on their mounts, standing warders and pawns in the shape of obelisks. They were found in the vicinity of Uig on the Isle of Lewis in mysterious circumstances. Various stories evolved to explain why they were concealed there, and how they were discovered. The precise spot seems to have been a sand-dune where they may have been placed in a small, drystone chamber.

    Who owned the chess pieces? Why were they hidden? While there are no firm answers to these questions, it is possible that they belonged to a merchant travelling from Norway to Ireland. This seems likely since there are constituent pieces for no fewer than four chess-sets. By the end of the eleventh century, chess was a very popular game among the aristocracy throughout Europe. The Lewis chess pieces form the largest single surviving group of objects from the period that were made purely for recreational purposes.

    A board large enough to hold all the pieces arranged for a game played to modern rules would measure 82 cm across. Records state that when found, some of the Lewis chessmen were stained red. Consequently the chessboard may have been red and white, as opposed to the modern convention of black and white.

    Lewis chessmen
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    7. Norse in the English language

    The influence of this period of Scandinavian settlement can still be seen in the North of England and the East Midlands, most evidently in place names: name endings such as 'by' (as in Whitby) or 'thorp'(Scunthorpe). Old Norse and Old English were still mutually comprehensible, and the mixed language of the Danelaw caused the incorporation of many Norse words into the English language, as well as the third person plural pronouns they, them, and their. Many Old Norse words still survive in the dialects of Northeastern England.

    Our Viking inheritance includes the basis of the English legal and monetary systems including the word 'law' itself, and many words of Norse origin. The very word law is a Viking word. Old Norse names are found in six of the seven days of the week:

    • Sunday from Suuntaeg, the day of the sun,
    • Monday from Monantaeg, the day of the moon,
    • Tuesday from Tiwsdaeg after Tie the Norse god of war,
    • Wednesday from Othinsdaeg or Oðinsdagr after Odin the chief god in Norse mythology,
    • Thursday from Thorsdaeg after Thor the Norse god of thunder,
    • Friday from Friataeg after Freya, Norse goddess of married love, wife of Odin and mother of Thor.

    Berserkers were Norse warriors who had sworn allegiance to the sky god Odin and worked themselves into a frenzy before a battle. They had the habit to go into battle without armour, or often completely naked.

    A thing or ting (Old Norse and Icelandic)the governing assembly made up of the free men of the community and presided by lawspeakers. Today the term lives on in the official names of national legislatures, political and judicial institutions in the North-Germanic countries. The English word 'thing', meaning "object" is also derived from this word.

    Viking place names can still be found in many countries in Europe outside Scandinavia: In France (Normandy), Russia, Ireland but especially in Scotland and down the east coast of England. Some areas retained their Viking links longer than others. The old earldom of Orkney and Shetland remained distinctly Viking and did not become part of the Kingdom of Scotland until 1468.

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    8. The Battle of Maldon

    The Battle of Maldon took place on 10 August 991 near Maldon beside the River Blackwater in Essex, England, during the reign of Ethelred the Unready. The Anglo-Saxons, led by Byrhtnoth and his thegns (thanes), fought against a Viking invasion, a battle which ended in defeat for the Anglo- Saxons. An account of the battle, embellished with many speeches attributed to the warriors and with other details, is related in an Anglo-Saxon poem which is usually named The Battle of Maldon.

    The Viking fleet is said in one manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to have been led by a Olaf Trygvasson. The Viking force is estimated to have been between 2,000 and 4,000 fighting-men. A source from the 12th century, Liber Eliensis, written by the monks at Ely, suggests that Byrhtnoth had only a few men to command: "he was neither shaken by the small number of his men, nor fearful of the multitude of the enemy". Not all sources indicate such a disparity in numbers.

    The Vikings sailed up the Blackwater river (then called the Panta), and Byrhtnoth called out his levy. The poem begins with him ordering his men to stand and how to hold weapons. His men, except for his household guard, were peasants and householders from the area. He ordered them to "send steed away and stride forwards": they arrived on horses but fought on foot. The Vikings sailed up to a small island in the river. At ebb, the river leaves a land bridge from this island to the shore (this description matches Northey Island causeway). This places the site of the battle about two miles southeast of Maldon. Olaf addressed the Saxons, promising to sail away if he was paid with gold and armour from the lord. Byrhtnoth refused.

    1. A modern embroidery created for the millennium celebration in 1991 and, in part, depicting the battle can be seen at The Maeldune Centre in Maldon.
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    9. Viking Timeline

    The "Viking Age" in Britain is quite specific - between 8th June AD793 with the attack on Lindisfarne, ending 25th September 1066 with the battle of Stamford Bridge, when Saxon King Harold defeated and killed Norwegian King Harald Hardråde who came to reclaim the Danelaw.

    • c.AD624 Death of Rædwald, King of the East Angles.
    • AD787 According to Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Norwegians sail into Portland, Dorset and murder official.
    • AD793 Sacking of Lindisfarne.
    • AD806 Sacking of monastery of Iona, all the monks massacred.
    • AD839 Varangian mercenaries including Harald Hardråde hired by Byzantine Emperor Theophilus.
    • AD844 Vikings sail up the Rio Guadalquivir attacking Seville, Spain.
    • AD845 All three kingdoms of the former Carolingian empire of Charlemagne attacked.
    • c.AD850 Vikings raid and pillaging the northwest of Spain.
    • AD860 King of Pamplona, Spain captured and ransomed for 60,000 gold pieces.
    • AD865 Halfdan (Halfdene) and Ubbe (Hubba) lead the invasion of East Anglia.
    • AD858 Oleg of Kiev, Varangian prince and ruler of the Rus moves capital from Novgorod to Kiev.
    • AD859 Danish pirates raid Moroccan state of Nekor, Tunisia. Sultan's harem ransomed.
    • AD860 June. Varangians first attack on Constantinople.
    • AD869 20 November, King Edmund (the confessor) martyred at Hoxne, Norfolk.
    • cAD850 Yahya bin-Hakam el Bekri al Djayani, ambassador to the Emirs of Al Andalus, Spain, visit Turgeis, Norse ruler of Dyflin (Dublin).
    • AD871 7 January, King Æthelred and Alfred defeat the Danes at Ashdown.
    • AD878 Defeat of Guthrum at the Battle of Ethandun.
    • AD890 Death of Guthrum the Old (Æthelstan) King of the Danish Vikings.AD968 Bishop Sisnando of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, murdered.
    • AD982 Leifr Eiríksson sails to Greenland and Vinland (Newfoundland).
    • AD991 10 August, The Battle of Maldon.
    • c.1010 Thorfinn Karlsefni (Thorfinnr Thordarsson) attempts settlement of Vinland (Newfoundland).
    • 1016 20 April, Death of King Æthelred (the Unready) of Wessex, succession of Alfred as king.
    • 1043 Varangians final attack on Constantinople.
    • 1066 Death of Harald Hardråde, king of Norway at Stamford Bridge.
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    Continue the saga of the vikings in part two:
    • Vikings in Iberia
    • Viking Navigators
    • The Rus
    • The Varagian Guard
    • Icelandic Sagas
    • Rune Stones
    • Viking "Thing"
    • Famous Vikings
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    Part Two

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    Last edited February 2013. ©Terence Wilson MMIX