Danish horned helmet
The Vikings

A history of the
Norsemen in Europe
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  • 1. Vikings in Iberia
  • 2. Viking Navigators
  • 3. The Rus
  • 4. The Varagian Guard
  • 5. The Lombards
  • 6. The Northmen
  • 7. Icelandic sagas
  • 8. It's a Viking Thing
  • 9. Pirates of the past
  • 10. Famous Vikings
  • 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.

    Since emigrating to Spain five years ago I was surprised to learn that Vikings had a history here too as well as in Britain. Whether they had deliberately chosen Spain, or whether it was a storm that drove them out of their course, is now hard to say, but Spain it was where the viking fleet, 150 ships strong, next appeared. They made first for the northern coast landing near Gitjon, and plundering there and in the neighbourhood of La Coruña.

    In AD845 all three kingdoms of the former Carolingian empire of Charlemagne (AD742–814)1 were assailed by the vikings. Horik, the Danish king, despatched a fleet of no fewer than 600 ships up the Elbe seizing Hamburg. For two days the Danes remained, plundering and burning in the town, and though ultimately repulsed, they had struck Christendom a cruel blow, not only materially by their wanton destruction and slaughter, but morally by driving Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, into exile. Frisia also suffered from Danish piracy that year.

    At this time there is evidence of trade between Britain and the continent. During the reign of Offa, King of Mercia (AD757-796), gold coins were minted. Called the mancus2, these coins probably from Iberia bear the inscription "Offa Rex" on one side and an inscription in arabic on the reverse. During the 9th, to the 11th centuries the famous dragon prows of Viking longships were seen throughout Europe from Scandinavia to the Black Sea and across the Atlantic as far as Greenland and north America in search of plunder and new lands.

    1. Carolingian Empire; refers to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty. The Empire can also mean "Frankish Kingdoms" or "Frankish Realm" parts of today's Germany and France from the 5th to the 9th centuries.
    2. From the arab man-kuss meaning 'stamped with a die'.

    1. Vikings in Iberia

    Spain was the objective when a fleet of 150 ships sailed c.AD850 attacking and pillaging the northwest corner of the peninsula, calling at Gitjon and La Carruña. But they were repulsed by a small army assembled in the kingdom of Asturias and about 70 prisoners were captured and burned to death. Fleeing south round Cape Finisterre, the fleet then sailed south down the coast pillaging as they went.

    In AD860 a band of Vikings captured the King of Pamplona whom they ransomed for 60,000 gold pieces. With further Viking raids on the coastal kingdom, by the time of the reign of Alfonso III, King of León, Galicia and Asturias (AD866-910), Vikings were stifling the already tenuous threads of sea communications connecting Galicia to the rest of Europe. Concern over Viking raids on the Galician coastline around AD858: led to this reaction:

    "Alfonso III (c. 848–20 December 910) was sufficiently worried by the threat of Viking attack to establish fortified strongpoints near his coastline" (Richard Fletcher).

    Despite the fighting, in the middle of the 9th century of some kind of diplomatic relations established temporarily between the Arab Emir of Spain and the chief of the Majus. The Emir is known to have sent an ambassador to the court of the viking chief. In Spain the Moors called the Vikings 'Majus'.

    Bishop Sisnando of Compostela was killed in AD968 when the monastery of Curtis was sacked, and measures were ordered for the defence of the inland town of Lugo. After Tuy was sacked early in the 11th century, its bishopric remained vacant for the next half-century. Ransom was a motive for abductions: Fletcher instances Amarelo Mestáliz, who was forced to raise money on the security of his land in order to ransom his daughters who had been captured by the Vikings in 1015. Bishop Cresconio of Compostela (ca. 1036–66) repulsed a Viking foray and built the fortress at Torres del Oeste (Council of Catoira) to protect Compostela from the Atlantic approaches.

    Meanwhile, in the Islamic southern province of Al Andaluz in AD859, Danish pirates raided the tiny Moroccan state of Nekor where the sultan's harem had to be ransomed back by the Emir of Cordoba. Part of the fleet visited Arzilla on the North African coast, but the main body sailed to Cadiz then up the wide estuary of the Rio Guadalquivir to Seville in AD844. Except for the garrison in the citadel, Seville fell to the Vikings and they held the town as their base ravaging far inland towards Constantina, Cordoba, and Moron. After several weeks the Vikings ventured east sailing through the straits of Gibraltar. The Moors were tested in repulsing Vikings once again in AD859. Following these humiliating defeats, a Moorish navy was formed by the Emirate. The dockyards at Seville were extended and under Caliphs Abd al-Rahman III (AD899-AD961) and Al-Hakam II (AD915-AD976) the navy was employed to patrol the Iberian coastline. By the 10th century, Ben Yussef's Saracen corsairs from Africa superseded the Viking scourge.

    The Emirs attempted negotiations with the Vikings and emissaries were sent to meet the Viking chieftain (See Viking Britain). Around AD850 Ghazâl Yahya bin-Hakam el Bekri al Djayani, ambassador to the Emirs of Al Andalus, visited Turgeis, (Turgesius or Thorgest) Norse ruler of Dyflin (Dublin) which by now was a major port trading throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.


    2. Vikings Navigators

    During the sacking of Saville the marauders may have stolen something more valuable than gold! In addition to being marauding vandals of folklore, the Vikings were skilled navigators venturing far and wide. (See map) It is significant that within the next 100 years, Norsemen were sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Vikings possessed a primitive technology with which to navigate, they may even have had a simple compass - a lodestone1, a piece of magnetite (iron oxide) that has been magnetized dangled from a thread or floating in a dish of mercury.

    Mercury, in the form of red cinnabar (mercury sulfide) was mined at Almaden, Spain by the Romans who used cinnabar for vermillion pigment. During the Moorish occupation of Spain, mining activity continued between the 8th and 13th centuries with mercury used mostly in medicine and in alchemy.

    The first magnetic compass was probably first made in China during the Qin dynasty (221-206BC). Chinese fortune tellers were the first to use lodestones aligning in a north-south direction. They designed the compass on a square base engraved with markings for the cardinal points and the constellations. The 'needle' or pointer a spoon-shape lodestone, the handle pointing south. Magnetized needles appeared in the 8th century. between AD850 and by 1050 they became in common usage as navigational devices on Chinese junks.

    Arab scholars translated texts from Greek and Persian into Arabic and they probably translated Chinese too. These texts formed the basis of Islamic scientific understanding of astronomy which had an important religious significance - determination of latitude and longitude. Using the stars, particularly the pole star, as guides, tables were compiled which calculated the position of important cities in the Islamic world. Using this information, the Arabs knew they were praying towards Mecca, as specified in the Koran. Islamic astronomers also accepted the Ptolemaic solar-centric model of the solar system.

    Model Han Dynasty compass
    Reproduction of Han Dynasty compass2

    One arab scientist who had an impact on Western science was al-Farghani3 writing in the 9th century on the motion of celestial bodies. Aside from religious uses, astronomy was used as a tool for navigation. The astrolabe, an instrument used to calculated the positions of certain stars in order to determine direction, was invented by the Greeks and adopted and perfected by the Arabs.

    The Vikings may have used a simple spy-glass or telescope hundreds of years before Dutch spectacle-makers supposedly invented the modern device in the late 16th century. (This evidence emerged from a study of lenses from a Viking site on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Ground from rock-crystal, these lenses4 are almost perfect ellipsoids. The Gotland crystals provide the first evidence that sophisticated lens-making techniques were being used by craftsmen over a 1,000 years ago.

    1. Polaris, the Pole Star is also called 'the lodestar'.
    2. Reconstructed in the 20th century on the basis of writings of Lounen-heng(c.80CE).
    3. Real name, Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Farghani.
    4. Some of these lenses can be seen at Gotland's Fornsal, the historical museum, Visby. Some are in the Swedish National Museum, Stockholm.)

    3. The Rus

    The Normanist Theory

    Great Gate of Kiev
    The Great Gate of Kiev

    Whether you believe the Vikings founded modern Russia or not depends on your point-of-view. The Normanist Theory suggests that 'Kievan Rus' may have been named after its Scandinavian overlords (See also Normandy)). According to the 'Primary Chronicle', an historical compilation attributed to the 12th century, the Rus were a group of Varangians who lived on the other side of the Baltic sea, in Scandinavia. The Varangians were first expelled, then invited to rule the warring Slavic and Finnic tribes of Novgorod.

    This theory claims that the name 'Rus', like the Finnish name for Sweden, is derived from an Old Norse term for 'the men who row' (rods) as rowing was the main method of navigating the Russian rivers, and that it is linked to the Swedish province of Roslagen (Rus-law) or Roden, from which most Varangians came.

    The Anti-normanist theories

    Based mainly on etymoligical evidence of Slavic place-names, they suggested the Rus were an indigenous people.

    "Four Slavic tribes who had been forced to pay tribute to the Varangians - Chuds, Slavs, Merians, and Krivichs - drove the Varangians back beyond the sea, refusing to pay them further tribute, and set out to govern themselves. But there was no law among them, and tribe rose against tribe. Discord thus ensued among them, and they began to fight one another. They then put forward the idea to find a prince to rule over them. Thus they went over The Baltic Sea to the Varangians, to the Rus. These particular Varangians were known as Rus1, just as some are called Swedes, and others Normans, Angles, or Gotlanders. Three brothers, with their kinfolk, were selected. They brought with them all the Rus and migrated (The Primary Chronicle, AD859-AD862). Later, the 'Primary Chronicle' says, 'Rus,...they conquered Kiev and created Kievan Rus'." The territory they conquered was named after them as were, eventually, the local people.
    "As for the Rus, they live on an island ...that takes three days to walk round and is covered with thick undergrowth and forests; it is most unhealthy....They harry the Slavs, using ships to reach them; they carry them off as slaves and...sell them.
    They have no fields but simply live on what they get from the Slav's lands....When a son is born, the father will go up to the newborn baby, sword in hand; throwing it down, he says, 'I shall not leave you with any property: You have only what you can provide with this weapon'."
    Ibn Rustah

    The annals of Saint Bertan relate that Emperor Louis II's court in Ingelheim, AD8392, was visited by a delegation from the Byzantine emperor. In this delegation there were two men who called themselves 'Rhos' Rhos vocari dicebant. Louis enquired about their origins and learned that they were Swedes. Fearing that they were spying for their brothers, the Danes, he incarcerated them. Contemporary Scandinavian sources suggest Eastern Europe was ocasionally called 'Greater Sweden' or 'Sweden the Cold' beside a much popular name, Gardarike (land of cities).

    The Varangians began to raid throughout the Baltic, establishing rule over the Slavs. Oleg of Kiev, a Varangian prince or konung, ruler of the Rus (AD882-912) moved his capital from Novgorod in AD852 to Kiev six years later, in doing so, he laid the foundation of 'Kievan Rus' modern Russia. The Varangians attack on Constantinople in June AD860 took the Greeks by surprise; "like a thunderbolt from heaven," (Patriarch Photius). They attacked again in AD860, 907, 911, 941, 945, 971, and finally 1043. These raids only caused the Byzantines to re-arrange their trading arrangements. Militarily, the Varangians were always defeated by the superior Byzantine forces, especially by the use of Greek fire3.

    1. The name 'Rus' has the same origin as the Finnish and Estonian names for Sweden: Ruotsi and Rootsi.
    2. AD839 the same year as the first appearance of Varangians in Constantinople.
    3. Greek fire: an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire including naphtha, quicklime, sulphur, and niter.

    4. The Varagian Guard

    Varangians first appear in the Byzantine Empire in AD839 as mercenaries hired by the emperor Theophilus who negotiated with the Varangians, whom he called Rhos, (see Rus) to provide mercenaries for his army. Basil II (AD958–1025)1, was a Byzantine emperor who reigned from AD976 to 1025. At the time of his death, his Empire stretched from Southern Italy to the Caucasus and from the Danube to the borders of Palestine, its greatest territorial extent since the Muslim conquests, four centuries earlier. His native Byzantine guardsmen were untrustworthy and the proven loyalty and courage of the Viking Varangians, led him to employ them as his personal bodyguards. This new force became known as the Varangian Guard. Over the years, new recruits came from Sweden 1, Denmark, and Norway kept a predominantly Scandinavian cast to the organization until the late 11th century.

    A prominent member of the Varangian Guard was Harald Hardråde2, real name Harald Sigurdsson (1015-1066). Harald and his men reached the land of the Kievan Rus, where they served the armies of Yaroslav I the Wise, Grand Prince of the Rus, whose wife Ingigerd was a distant relative of Harald. He took part in Prince Yaroslav's campaign against the Poles being appointed joint commander of defense forces. Sometime later, Harald and his retinue of 500 warriors moved on to Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, where there had been an elite royal guard composed of Scandinavian Rus called the Varangian Guard. Harald fought in Sicily in the recapture of Enna, from the arabs. Harald served in the Varangian Guard until 1042 when he returned to his native land as King Harald III of Norway.

    There is a story that Harald Hardråde escaped from Constantinople in two Viking longships. They were prevented from leaving the city by chains laid across the narrow mouth of the Galata inlet leading to the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. To escape, Harald ordered his Varangian oarsmen to steal out under the cover of darkness and drive the shallow- drafted langskips or drakkars over the chain. At the last moment the men in the front-half of the ships ran to the stern while the oarsmen in the stern rowed furiously causing them to rear-up over the chain. Then the crew changed places running to the bows, the ships crashed down into the water over the chain. Unfortunately, one vessel broke its back and the crew drowned, the other, with Harald aboard, escaped up the Bosphorus with its ferocious currents rowing all the way into the Black Sea and thence along the Danube, Dniester or Dnieper rivers through Russia to Norway (see map).

    1. Later named the Bulgar-slayer, Basileios II, Boulgaroktonos.
    2. So many Scandinavians left to enlist in the Varangian Guard that a Swedish law was made stating that "no one could inherit while staying in 'Greece'" (a Scandinavian term for the Byzantine empire).
    3. Called Haraldr harðráði (Old Norse). Meaning "stern counsel" or "hard ruler".

    5. The Lombards

    Originally the Lombards were a small tribe called the Winnili who lived on the boundary of Gaul and present-day Germany. A small group of them led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara left their native land to settle either on the Baltic coast or on the banks of the rivers Elbe or Danube.

    The Scoringa who lived in those lands were ruled by Vandals, and their chieftains, brothers Ambri and Assi, granted the Winnili a choice between paying tribute or war. The Winnili chose war. Although outnumbered Gambara sought help from Frea (Frig), Odin's wife who told Gambara that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like their mens' beards and march into batttle. From that moment onwards, the Winnili were known as the Langobards (Latinised and Italianised as Lombards).

    In AD568 the Lombards rowed down the Elbe invading Byzantine Italy establishing a kingdom which lasted until AD774, when it was conquered by the Franks. (Their enduring influence on Italian political geography is apparent in the regional appellation "Lombardy".)

    Probably the most famous norseman in Italy was Roger I (1031–1101), called Bosso, the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy. Roger was the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville by his second wife Fredisenda and arrived in Southern Italy soon after 1055.

    Castello di Lombardia, Enna
    Castello di Lombardia, Enna

    It was in Enna, during the course of the Islamic conquest of Sicily (July 15, AD827 to 1091), that the city was taken by Saracen troops after a long seige. Following the taking of the city the Arabs massacred 8,000 inhabitants in the name of Islam. In 1038 the Varangian Guard Lombards from Byzantine-held Apulia joined forces in the partial reconquest of Sicily from the Saracens fighting alongside Normans (Norsemen) recently arrived in Italy. However, when the Lombards' leader, Arduin was publicly humiliated, the Lombards deserted and the Normans and Varangians followed.

    (A prominent member of the Varangian Guard at this time was Harald Hardråda


    6. Icelandic Sagas & Rune Stones

    In Norse mythology, Norse sagas and Old Norse literature tell us about their religion through tales of heroic and mythological heroes. However, the transmission of this information was primarily oral, and we are reliant upon the writings of (later) Christian scholars, such as the Icelanders Snorri Sturluson and Sæmundr fróði, for much of this. An overwhelming amount of these sagas were written in Iceland by Harald Finehair.

    Vikings in those sagas are described as if they often struck at accessible and poorly defended targets, usually with impunity. The sagas state that the Vikings built settlements and were skilled craftsmen and traders.

    Runes are an ancient Germanic alphabet, used for writing, divination and magic. They were used throughout northern Europe, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Iceland from about AD100 to AD1600. Runic inscriptions of great age have even been found in North America, supporting stories that the Vikings arrived in America long before Columbus. Many rune stones in Scandinavia record the names of participants in Viking expeditions. Other rune stones mention men who died on Viking expeditions, among them the around 25 Ingvar stones in the Mälardalen district of Sweden erected to commemorate members of a disastrous expedition into present-day Russia in the early 11th century.

    The Ramsund carving in Sweden (below) depicts 1. how Sigurd is sitting naked in front of the fire preparing the dragon-heart, from Fafnir, for his foster-father Regin, who is Fafnir's brother. The heart is not yet finished and when Sigurd touches it, he burns himself and sticks his finger into his mouth. As he has tasted dragon-blood, he starts to understand the birds' song. 2. The birds say that Regin will not keep his promise of reconciliation and will try to kill Sigurd, which causes Sigurd to cut-off Regin's head. 3. Regin is dead beside his own head, his smithing tools with which he re-forged Sigurd's sword 'Gram' are scattered around him, and 4) Regin's horse is laden will the dragon's treasure. 5. is the previous event when Sigurd killed Fafnir, and 6) shows Otr from the saga's beginning.

    Viking stones at Ledbergsstenen
    The Ramsund carving Sweden


    7. The Northmen

    The name "Normans" is derived from "Northmen" or "Norsemen", after the Vikings from Scandinavia who founded Normandy. The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French king, was one of the great large fiefs of medieval France. Playing a major political, military, and cultural role in medieval Europe and the Near East, they became well-known for their fighting abiliiy and Christian piety. They adopted the Romance language of the land in which they settled, their Nordic dialect become known as Norman, and important literary language. Famous, both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture, and their musical traditions, as well as for the military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers established a kingdom in southern Italy and Sicily by conquest, and a Norman expedition on behalf of Duke William of Normandy led to the Norman Conquest of England. And so the Nordic settlement of Britain was finally and achieved and new race of people created, "The English".

    Norman influence spread from these new centres to the Crusader States in the Near East, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, and to Ireland.


    8. It's a Viking Thing

    A "thing" or "ting" (Old Norse and Icelandic: þing; or other modern Scandinavian: ting) was the governing assembly in Germanic societies, made up of freemen 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 an object is derived from this Norse word. The German word, Tag ('day', as in Bundestag the German parliament or Tagung) is so-called because tings were held at daylight often lasting all day. The Scandinavian equivalent is Dag (day) and Riksdag, (Parliament).


    9. Pirates of the Past

    If you want to learn more about Vikings, here's an excellent website from the U.S.A.

    Pirate Storm: Death or Glory

    It includes among other things:

    • Viking Lifestyle
    • Viking Culture
    • Viking Appearance and Dress
    • Viking Food and Drink
    • What Are Vikings Famous For?
    • Why did the Viking Period End?

    and a dramatic video from History.com and many more pictures.


    10. Famous Vikings

    • Erik "Blood Axe" real name Haraldsson (Erik, anglicised form of Old Norse: Eiríkr) (d. 954). 10th-century Scandinavian ruler thought to have had short-lived terms as the second King of Norway and as the last ruler of Northumbria (c.AD947 and AD952–955).
    • Erik the Red Thjodhild. son an outlaw, Þorvaldr Ásvaldsson. Founded two Norse colonies in Greenland, the Western Settlement and the Eastern Settlement (as he named them). Said to have met and married Leif's mother Þjóðhildur in Iceland; father of three sons, Leif Ericson, Thorvald and Thorsteinn, and one daughter, Freydís by another woman.
    • Guthrum a.k.a. Guthrum the Old, baptised 'Æthelstan'. (died c. AD890). King of the Danish Vikings in the Danelaw. Famous for his conflict with Alfred the Great of Wessex.
    • Harald Bloodaxe (last king of Jorvik). Son of Harald Finehair, who was credited by the Viking sagas with the unification of Norway, he became king of western Norway after his father. However, when his younger brother Hakon claimed the kingship with the support of Aethelstan of Wessex, Eric moved to Jorvik.
    • Harald Finehair Father of Harald Bloodaxe and writer of a large number of Icelandic sagas.
    • Snorri Thorfinnsson (Snorri Guðriðsson) son of Thorfinn Karlsefni and Guðríðr Þorbjarnardóttir (c.1010-c.1090), born in Vinland (Newfoundland) and first European born in the New World. Snorri built the first church of Glaumbae, Iceland (Grœnlendinga saga), and ancestor of many Icelandic bishops.
    • Harald Hardråde real name Sigurdsson (b.1015 d. Sept 25, 1066), King Harald III of Norway (1047-1066, later called in Old Norse: Haraldr harðráði, roughly translated as "stern counsel" or "hard ruler", He was also claimed to be the King of Denmark until 1064, often defeating King Sweyn's army forcing him to leave the country. Many details of his life were chronicled in the Heimskringla. Prominent member of the Varangian Guard serving in the recapture of Enna, Sicily from the arabs (AD859). Died at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in a force led by Saxon king, Harold Godwinson (Harold II 1066). Often seen as the end of the Viking Age. Many details of his life were chronicled in the Heimskringla
    • Ivar the Boneless real name Ivar Ragnarsson, Danish Viking chieftain and berserker. Disabled eldest son of Ragnar Lodbrok and Kraka. He had only cartilage in his legs (SEDT [spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda]?) he was unable to walk, but had to be carried on a shield. However, he was said to be fair, big, strong, and very wise. 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 Suffolk). 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 the following year, Ivar leading his forces north on horseback. Despite his disability, Ivar captured Jórvík (York)in AD866.
    • Leif Ericson (Old Norse: Leifr Eiríksson)(b.cAD970 – c.1020) Sailed to Greenland and Vinland (Newfoundland) (AD982). Born in Iceland, the son of Erik the Red. Married a woman called Thorgunna, and they had one son, Thorkell Leifsson.
    • Ingólfur Arnarson the first permanent Nordic settler of Iceland following Irish monks and hermits. According to Landnáma he built a homestead in Reykjavík in AD874.
    • Oleg of Kiev Varangian prince (konung), ruler of the Rus (AD882-912). Moved the capital of Rus from Novgorod to Kiev, in doing so, laid the foundation of 'Kievan Rus'. Attacked Constantinople in June AD860.
    • Thorfinn Karlsefni (Thorfinnr Thordarsson) Icelandic explorer, led an attempt to settle Vinland c.1010 with three ships and 160 settlers. Among the settlers was Freydís Eiríksdóttir sister of Leif Eriksson (Grœnlendinga saga).
    • Turgeis a.k.a Turgesius, Old Norse Thurgestr or Thorgísl. (d.AD845) Viking chief active in Ireland said to have conquered Dyflin (present day Dublin. The main island on Lough Lene is named after him. In AD844 attacked the church at Clonmacnoise. The following year was captured by Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid of Clann Turgeis may be the Norse ruler that Ghazâl (Yahya bin-Hakam el Bekri al Djayani) visited as ambassador to the Emirs of Al Andalus.

    Last edited February 2013 ©Terence Wilson MMIX