HI127 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Harald Fairhair, Longship, Danegeld

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29 Jul 2016
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Sea Wolves and Heathen Fire-Warlocks
The Vikings
Who or what is a Viking?
- Long distance sea warrior
Nationalism and history
- The history is usually written by those who are being raided. Mostly by people in the
Traditional vs. revisionist narratives (traders not raiders) they are not mutually exclusive
They are not all that unusual in the level of violence they used.
The Dragonships
Scandinavia as a shipbuilder’s lab.
- They are much more highly developed.
- They are not the only ones building ships but they are the best.
- The Viking war ships were long and narrow. This makes Frank cites easily accessible
Different ship types:
- Drekar
- Skeid
- Snekkja
Increase in size = ability to move larger numbers of men = larger military operations
Why Raid?
- Minimal farming land. Not true across all Scandinavia
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Seeking Wealth
- In the 8th C new trading centers are emerging
- Timber, fur, iron (swords), whale products, alrus ivory, amber, and fish.
- Through trading they could gather intelligence
- Political Determinism (push and pull factors). The push factors are a lot more
convincing. Harald Fairhair, King of Norway
The text suggests that the Vikings were not pirates but sea raiders.
Hosts of the Heathen: England
They used the islands surrounding England as sort of stepping stones.
Attack on Lindisfarne (793), it is seen as the first raid but it is not. It is just the one that
hurt the most.
Attacks on Iona (801,802). Many thought that Iona was the first place to be made and
would be the last to be destroyed; they thought it was the Apocalypse.
- They attempt to rebuild the monastery out of stone but they do not finish in time.
Great Army (865)
- Danegeld: The Scandinavians told them to pay them a certain amount for protection
Alfred the Great
Slaves and Ship Camps: Ireland
Slave raids.
- Dublin and Lind Duachaill. Ireland does not have towns until the Vikings begin to
Turgeis, Viking whom the Irish hated. Although he is given credit for founding Dublin
- Sacks of Armagh and Clonmacnoise
- He allowed his wife Ota to perform as an oracle.
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- Maelsechnaill is the one who catches and kills Turgeis.
Life of Saint Findan (850)
The idea that the Vikings play different roles in Irish society.
Integraation and intermarriage l
Marauders on the Seine: Francia
Attack on Noirmoutier (799)
Dorestad, there is a very rich potential for raiding this place
Louis the Pious
- Gets into an argument on how the land will be divided between him and his brothers.
Pippin, King of Aquitaine (848). Actually helped the Vikings raid. And not the only
leader that joined the Vikings
Danegeld and the priorities
- No one likes the extra tax
- You might buy off one fleet but another may come soon who you have no deal with.
There are many Viking fleets
This is not an invasion of France, they are roaming gangs.
855- group of commoners, form a group to defend against the Vikings, the Kings, not the
Vikings, killed them.
Charles the Bald tried a range of strategies to defend against the Vikings. They could
build good ships. He could build fortified bridges. This tactic is picked up by other
leaders as well. When he dies though the raids pick up again.
Louis III, has one great victory against the Vikings
Siege of Paris (885-886)
- An enormous Viking fleet that arrives in Paris
- Odo of Paris, Counts office-war leader, he leaves Paris to try and get the emperor to
come and fight
- The Vikings actually wanted to go past Paris but they were not allowed.
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