Friday, June 11, 2010


On the 28 of June I am leaving to go on a 10-day trip to Israel. Needless to say, I am very excited and because of that it seems I’ve gotten my dates mixed up.

Last Friday I posted about Henry VIII and his first Queen Catherine of Aragon. They were married on June 11, and I thought last Friday was the 11. But instead, my post was a week early, so I find myself in a bit of a predicament about what to post on for the real this week.

So I decided since history is looking at things in retrospect anyway, I would post something interesting that happened on Tuesday of this week, Tuesday June 8 in 793 A.D.

In 793 the Vikings raided Lindisfarne in North Umbria and this event is commonly accepted as the beginning of the Scandinavian invasion of England. Lindisfarne Priory was one of the most important centers of early Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England.

The monastery was founded in 635A.D. and since it was located on an island along the coast it was an easy target for Vikings. The Vikings began to travel to other countries because of the cooling climate in Scandinavia, and many began to settle in Greenland, Iceland and even England. The people who settled on land were not known as Vikings, but rather as Norse. It was only those who went on raiding parties to gain wealth to sell who were known as Vikings.

During this time the Monastery’s were some of the richest places in Anglo-Saxon England. The Anglo Saxon chronicle was kept every year about activities in the country, and for 793 I found this entry:
"AD. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter."

After 793 more Viking raids would come, and North Umbria would continue to be the destination of the raids. The Monastery’s continued to offer wealth to those who raided them, and the Vikings would not be dispelled until after Albert the Great came to power in 871, uniting all seven of the states in England (North Umbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Sussex, Wessex, Essex, Kent) into one united country.

The Vikings continue to be romanticized today, and they are definitely a cooler part of history, I must admit. I would to take the opportunity to say the horns of the helmet were not really historically accurate; they began as a costume for an opera in the 1800’s.

Next week I will have a time accurate post. Until then, leave comments and happy history!

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