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"When did the Vikings start raiding England?" Topic


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609 hits since 19 Jun 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 11:03 a.m. PST

" fresh examination of written records from Anglo-Saxon England suggests that the Vikings were raiding the country even before their infamous attack on Lindisfarne in the year 793.

In the new article "The Earliest Viking Activity in England?" Clare Downham analyzes a wide range of evidence, including chronicles, letters and charters, to look at what else can be learned about attacks by Norse raiders in the late-eighth and early-ninth centuries. Once taken together, these sources suggest "a pattern of viking activity and defensive reaction along the southern margins of the North Sea leading into the English channel."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that in the year 793 "on 8 January the raiding of heathen men miserably devastated God's church in Lindisfarne island by looting and slaughter. After this event, which is commonly viewed as the beginning of the Viking era in England, no other raids are reported by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle until 835. Downham, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, wanted to better understand what the Vikings might have been doing in England during this period…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 11:09 a.m. PST

The way things were back then, it didn't become an issue to get worked up about until it threatened the Church or some nobles.

Dan

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 11:17 a.m. PST

I think the east coast of Britain, then England, was being raided by people from southern Denmark and northern Germany from late Roman times to after 1066. I doubt there's much difference between any of them.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

I was always under the impression that the Roman Saxon Shore forts were set up to watch for more than just Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

Danes and other Scandinavians may have joined those groups or may have even made their own raids. The Romans would have just lumped them all together as "Saxons".

And, if Danish raids were successful, they might have returned to their homelands, just like the "Saxons" did, and then continued a raiding tradition that was left undocumented until their kin hit Lindisfarne in 793.

Dan
PS. These are the kind of seagoing "boats" that were in use by Danish sea raiders at the end of the Roman Empire. So they might have also made it to the British Isles during that time:
https://www.abc.se/~pa/uwa/nydam-e.htm

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Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

I remember reading that it is not clear why the Saxon Shore is so called. The most common theory is that it was called that because the defences were built to protect against raids by Saxons.

However, it is possible that it was called the Saxon Shore because it was defended BY Saxons, on behalf of the Romans, against whatever raiders turned up!

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 12:44 p.m. PST

I think historians may have their work cut out telling us at what point the Jutes and Angles became Danish Vikings. I should imagine it's more like the difference between the Elizabethans and Stuarts, exactly the same people just different fashions in weapons and slightly different speech.

rvandusen19 Jun 2017 5:08 p.m. PST

I have this excellent oldish book called, "Dark Ages Naval Power," by John Haywood. The author discusses many of these issues at length and provides evidence for sea-going ships in the Baltic and along the North Sea coast prior to the Viking Age. I recall that he starts way back in the 1st Century CE and finishes with the Vikings.

Henry Martini19 Jun 2017 7:09 p.m. PST

Jutland is in modern Denmark, so surely those Jutish raiders of the post-Roman period were merely proto-Vikings, and their descendants would have been fighting the descendants of that portion of their people who stayed behind in Jutland.

Bindon Blood20 Jun 2017 5:15 a.m. PST

rvanusen, I read that book about this time last year. It was probably the most gripping and best read of the year.

I remember a reference to Saxon raids down the west coast of Gaul, with the Franks at the same time raiding the coast of Spain.

HM is right, which always amuses me when you see these programes on the telly looking into the DNA of the UK, saying that this area has a population descended from Vikings and this area one of Saxons. Er, how do you tell one lot of blond blue eyed 'barbarians' from another, especially when they come from the same area!!!!

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2017 1:49 p.m. PST

Any day now.

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