Posted in Unit 13 (Final Major Project)

Unit 13 – Secondary Research – Viking History/Anglo-Saxon

The attack on Lindisfarne was a devastating one and was recorded as the first Viking raid; false, as this website suggests. It was, however the most impacting and was recorded as the worse attack on England. Lindisfarne was named the “The Holy Island” due to the practice of Christianity. People say Lindisfarne was the place that introduced Christianity to England, therefore making England a Christian country.

The Northmen have been depicted in modern media as people who travelled to The Holy Island with one motive: to kill and destroy everything in sight. Yes, the Vikings did inflict slaughter and injury on the island’s people, but it would be unjustified if we just state that and make it fact. There have been many possibilities of what could of happened on the day the Vikings raided Lindisfarne: the Vikings already knew of this island and its wealth and organised an articulate plan of action; the Vikings may have launched from further North along with coast, gathering as much information about Lindisfarne as they could before inforcing a plan of action; simply the Vikings travelled from Denmark/Norway and came across the island by accident (as it’s shown in History’s programme Vikings) we simply do not know. Even though my book is historically accurate, I do not have enough evidence to determine what happened on this tragic day in 793 A.D

The Vikings did loot the small island, leaving some loot for a return visit, which happened later on. What the Vikings also did was kidnap humans from this island – most likely priests as it was The Holy Island, but the same as the loot, they left some people to kidnap on a return visit. Not only would this suggest that they saw people as nothing but loot, the Vikings saw them as things that could be used.

Getting information about Lindisfarne – the first major attack by the Vikings – is very important for my project. I stated in my proposal and statement of intent that I am going to look up key events that happened when the Vikings were thriving; this is the most important information I have gathered. It was the raid that sent England into fear of their northmen invaders. I am going to use this information of what I found out about Lindisfarne and make it my Viking enforcing the attack – how my jarl became the trusted member of his clan and of Koge, Denmark.

Several decades after Lindisfarne, the Vikings began to travel to Normandy. The Viking who first arrived at Normandy, France was in fact Ragnar Lodbrok (Lothbrok), the king of Denmark. It has been estimated that Ragnar arrived in 845, but he had his eyes on a bigger prize: Paris. He sailed from Normandy, cutting through the town Rouen and then arriving in the vast city Paris. However, Charles The Bald was waiting for him and decided to challenge Ragnar; a mistake. Charles decided to split his army up, putting them on either side of Seine. Unfortunately for Charles, Ragnar saw his strategy and began to attack the smaller force first. As the second army was on the other bank they could not help fight, only stood witness to the slaughter the Vikings inflicted onto the French soliders. Ragnar, with the remaining captives, hung them up in show of the other army, which caused them to flee.

On Easter Sunday – meaning this event happened at the start of Spring – Ragnar attacked the French capital with his soliders, destroying everything in his wake. Charles, mostly out of fear gave Ragnar a sum of 7000 silver if they left him to his treasures, which Ragnar took happily. This only gave him six years of peace as the Vikings saw this as an opportunity to come back if they ever needed more loot from paris – a good tactic for infinite loot off their rich puppet. But it seems as if son is like father as Bjorn Ironside decided to return to this rich city his father raided and raided it himself – the French soliders were caught off guard.

Ragnar didn’t only raid France, he also came to England, but in an unfortunate accident where he and his crew got shipwrecked. There have been many stories of what happened when Ragnar hit Northumbria. It has been said that the Northumbrians went into battle with Ragnar – the Vikings getting a vicious blow from their enemies. Ragnar Lodbrok got captured by Northumbrian’s king Alle, who ordered the Viking to be murdered by throwing him into a pit of vipers; we are not sure this event happened but it is definitely the most documented and most used in media when depicting the fall of Ragnar Lodbrok. It has been said in sagas that during his death Ragnar was singing his death song, in which he song with pride and almost sounded happy about entering Valhalla. An excerpt from the song reads as follows;

“Death comes without lamenting. Eager am I to depart. The Disir summon me home, those whom Odin sends for me Valkyries from the halls of the Lord Of Hosts…I laugh as I die”

As we see from reading this that Ragnar was very happy about his death, as he saw himself as the son of Odin – he talks about how he is essentially going home, reuniting with where he is meant to be. When he was singing his death song it has been said that was talking about the revenge his sons will bring onto him – that would terrify anyone.

My Viking leader will be as narcissistic as Ragnar, thinking he was an embodiment of a God, which is why he changed his name to a God’s name. When I document my Viking’s death in my book I want to make it as heroic as Ragnar, laughing in the face of death as he thinks he will be returning to the place he belongs: Valhalla.

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