Darkness Falls (again)? VikingAge
What made Francia vulnerable to the viiking raids?
Why did the Viking raids begin?
Why was it so difficult for the Frankish kings to respond to the problem?
What consequences did the raids have for Frankish society?
Background: fragmentation and decline in the Carolingian empire
Louis the Pious
Preserving the empire for at least one generation under Charlagmane
BUT, not the case after Louis because he had SEVERAL sons
Who is emperor? How do you divide lands?
Treaty of Verdun (843)
When the title is in dispute, popes deal with it differently, dispute in empire
Tries to give largest share to eldest son; sons put him in monastery at one time
Wars after he dies
Louis’eldest son finally gets it
After this treaty never again a single emperor over Francia
In 877 several kings, Francia permanently broken up
Charles the Fat (d.888)
Kings after Charles the fat are local leaders (chosen to be king)
Chosen because good militarily
Delegation of power to local power base
Incapacity of central authority
Background prehistoric Scandinavia
Pre-literature culture to 11 century
Warlords that reward subjects with bounty/plunder
But did have trade with west and east
Importance of trade
Quentovic, Dorestad (major archeological sites)
Slave Trade – Also in east, because creating slave armies
Traders, not raiders?
Similar to Germanic peoples who didn’t want to see their ancestors as creating fall of
Vikings portrayed in a nuanced way
ULTIMATELY, truth between raiding and trading.
Vikingr – Sea raider OR Madjus – heathen fire warlock (in arab sources)
OR nordmanni – north people
THESE are names given to Vikings by others
Reasons for raiding
Believed in inheriting father’s land
Gets smaller and smaller
Why not raid?
Could test longships because they had deep water shortly from shore
Occasionally had animal heads on the front
Charlemagne Historians say tampered with balance of power in north
His Slavic allies fought other slavs
ULTIMATELY, could have been a few of these things, all of these things, or none.
Cannot make generalizations, but not a pagan war against Christian Rome for sure.
TheAge of Raiding
Litany of woe
Playing it up, half the people who wrote thought they were: