Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Viking Age

The Viking Age is the name of the period between 793 A.D and 1066 A.D in Scandinavia. This reflects to the latter half of the early Iron Age. During this period, Scandinavian warriors and traders -- called Vikings -- traded, raided, plundered and explored large parts of Europe the Middle East, northern Africa and according to some sources also America.

The exact beginning of the Viking Age is commonly set at at 793 when Vikings attacked the British island Lindisfarne and its end is marked by the failed invasion attempt on England by Harald Hårdråde in 1066.

The Viking longboats were uniquely suited to both deep and shallow waters, thus extending the reach of Viking raiders not only along coastlines, but also to areas along the banks of major rivers. Rurik founded the first Russian state with a capital at Novgorod. Vikings continued south on rivers to the Black Sea and then on to Constantinople. France was particularly hard-hit by these raiders, who could sail down the Seine with near impunity. The region now known as Normandy was rendered practically uninhabitable by the depradations of these recurring raids. Eventually, the French king Charles the Simple was able to make an agreement with Hrolf Ganger, later named Rollo. Charles gave Hrolf the title of Duke and granted him and his followers possession of the ravaged land of Normandy. In return, Hrolf swore fealty to Charles, converted to Christianity, and undertook to defend the northern region of France against the incursions of other Vikings. The results were, in a historical sense, rather ironic; several generations later, the Norman descendants of these Viking settlers not only identified themselves as French, but carried the French language and culture into England during the Norman Conquest.

See also