Norse activity in the British Isles
Norse activity in the British Isles occurred during the Early Medieval period when members of the Norse populations of Scandinavia travelled to Britain and Ireland to settle, trade or raid. These trade links extended westward into Ireland and the British Isles, the following year they sacked the nearby Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey, and in 795 they attacked again, this time raiding Iona Abbey on Scotlands west coast. During the Early Medieval period and Britain were culturally and religiously divided into various peoples, the languages of the Celtic Britons and Gaels were descended from the Celtic languages spoken by those of Iron Age Europe. In Ireland, parts of western Scotland, as well as the Isle of Man, in Western Britain, which includes, Cumbria and Southwest Scotland, the Celtic Brythonic languages were spoken, with modern descendants such as Welsh and Cornish still being used. In Northern Britain, past the Forth and Clyde rivers which constitutes a portion of modern-day Scotland. However, most inscriptions and place names hint towards the Picts being Celtic in language, most peoples of Britain and Ireland had already predominantly converted to Christianity from their older, pre-Christian polytheistic religions.
By the time of the Viking incursions though, Anglo-Saxon England had too become mostly Christian, the Isle of Man had supported its own agrarian population, but it is widely believed that it was Brythonic-speaking before Old Irish spread there. Gaelicisation could have taken place before the Viking age or perhaps during it, in northern Britain, in the area roughly the same of modern-day Scotland, lived three distinct ethnic groups in their own respective kingdoms, the Picts and Britons. The Pictish cultural group dominated the majority of Scotland, with populations concentrated between the Firth of Forth and the River Dee, as well as in Sutherland, Caithness. The Scots were, according to sources, a tribal group which had crossed to Britain from Dalriada in the north of Ireland during the late 5th century. Archaeologists have not been able to anything that was unique to the kingdom of the Scots. Between half a million and a million lived in England at this time. This class system had a king and his ealdormen at the top, under whom were the thegns, or landholders, beneath all of these was a class of slaves, who may have made up as much as a quarter of the population.
The majority of the lived in the countryside, although a few large towns had developed, namely London and York. There was a number of trading ports, such as Hamwic and Ipswich, society in 8th century Scandinavia was, unlike parts of the British Isles, still pre-literate, existing in the final stages of European prehistory, known to archaeologists as the Iron Age. At the start of the Early Mediaeval period, the Norse populations saw themselves primarily as inhabitants of specific locations, such as Jutland and Hordaland. It would only be in the centuries that the national identities would develop amongst the Scandinavians, dividing them into such national groups as the Danes, Swedes. Scandinavian society was dependent on fishing herring, and when that failed
The Vikings extended their journeys all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, and on the way they raided Galicia. In contemporary texts, the Vikings are often referred to as normandos or lordimani and our knowledge of Vikings in Spain is mainly based on written accounts. There are archeological findings of anchors of Viking ships, and some shapes of mounds by riversides look similar to the Norse longphorts in Ireland and these were ports or docks for Viking longships. After plundering a number of villages they were ultimately repulsed in the vicinity of Farum Brecantium i. e. the Tower of Hercules. Ramiro I of Asturias who was king of Asturias at the time, after the Asturian victory, the Vikings continued their voyage in direction of Lisbon. A major storm was unleashed, sinking most of the fleet, Vikings returned to Galicia in 859, during the reign of Ordoño I of Asturias. It was a contingent of a hundred ships from looting expeditions by the French coast that was now directed toward the Arousa estuary, after looting Iria Flavia they continued to Santiago de Compostela, where they laid siege.
Their neighbours had paid tribute to avoid looting, but in spite of this and they were faced with an army led by Don Pedro who dispersed them and destroyed thirty eight of their ships, after which the surviving Vikings went south. As a result of this expedition the episcopal see of Iria relocated to Santiago de Compostela, in 951, the Vikings reappeared and attacked the Galician coast. Galician cities would strengthen their defenses over the following years, in 964, the Vikings arrived again in Galicia, because the own bishop of Mondonedo, Rosendo of Celanova, they had to face. The expedition of 1015 was led by Olaf Haraldsson, who became king Olaf II of Norway. He destroyed four settlements, Betanzos, Rivas de Sil and Tui
History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory and it is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, collection, organization and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians and their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In Asia, a chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts survived. Ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries, the modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, the word history comes ultimately from Ancient Greek ἱστορία, meaning inquiry, knowledge from inquiry, or judge.
It was in that sense that Aristotle used the word in his Περὶ Τὰ Ζῷα Ἱστορίαι, the ancestor word ἵστωρ is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, the Athenian ephebes oath, and in Boiotic inscriptions. History was borrowed from Latin into Old English as stær, and it was from Anglo-Norman that history was borrowed into Middle English, and this time the loan stuck. In Middle English, the meaning of history was story in general, the restriction to the meaning the branch of knowledge that deals with past events, the formal record or study of past events, esp. human affairs arose in the mid-fifteenth century. With the Renaissance, older senses of the word were revived, and it was in the Greek sense that Francis Bacon used the term in the sixteenth century. For him, historia was the knowledge of objects determined by space and time, in an expression of the linguistic synthetic vs. analytic/isolating dichotomy, English like Chinese now designates separate words for human history and storytelling in general.
In modern German and most Germanic and Romance languages, which are synthetic and highly inflected. The adjective historical is attested from 1661, and historic from 1669, Historian in the sense of a researcher of history is attested from 1531. Historians write in the context of their own time, and with due regard to the current dominant ideas of how to interpret the past, in the words of Benedetto Croce, All history is contemporary history. History is facilitated by the formation of a discourse of past through the production of narrative. The modern discipline of history is dedicated to the production of this discourse. All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record, the task of historical discourse is to identify the sources which can most usefully contribute to the production of accurate accounts of past. Therefore, the constitution of the archive is a result of circumscribing a more general archive by invalidating the usage of certain texts and documents
Norsemen are the group of people who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language between the 8th and 11th centuries. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages, Norseman means man from the North and applied primarily to Old Norse-speaking tribes living in southern and central Scandinavia. In history, Norse or Norseman could be any person from Scandinavia, even though Norway, Denmark, in some other historical references, the term may refer to the East Norse, meaning mainly Danes and Swedes, for instance, Cnuts Empire and Swedes adventures East. In the early Medieval period, as today, Vikings was a term for attacking Norsemen, especially in connection with raids and monastic plundering by Norsemen in the British Isles. The Norse were known as Ascomanni, ashmen, by the Germans, Lochlanach by the Gaels, the Gaelic terms Finn-Gall, Dubh-Gall and Gall Goidel were used for the people of Norse descent in Ireland and Scotland, who assimilated into the Gaelic culture.
Dubliners called them Ostmen, or East-people, and the name Oxmanstown comes from one of their settlements, they were known as Lochlannaigh. However, British conceptions of the Vikings origins were not quite correct and those who plundered Britain lived in what is today Denmark, the western coast of Sweden and Norway and along the Swedish Baltic coast up to around the 60th latitude and Lake Mälaren. They settled on the island of Gotland, the border between the Norsemen and more southerly Germanic tribes, the Danevirke, today is located about 50 kilometres south of the Danish-German border. The southernmost living Vikings lived no further north than Newcastle upon Tyne and historians of today believe that these Scandinavian settlements in the Slavic lands formed the names of the countries of Russia and Belarus. The Slavs and the Byzantines called them Varangians, and the Scandinavian bodyguards of the Byzantine emperors were known as the Varangian Guard. In the Old Norse language, the term norrœnir menn, was used correspondingly to the modern English name Norsemen, referring to Swedes, Norwegians, Faroe Islanders, etc.
The modern people of Norway and Denmark never identify themselves as skandinaver, as they are Norwegians, the Vikings were simply people partaking in the raid. On occasions Finland is mentioned as a Scandinavian country, Iceland and the Faroe Islands are geographically separate from the Scandinavian peninsula. The term Nordic countries is used to encompass the Scandinavian countries, Greenland
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts, Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. In North America, archaeology is considered a sub-field of anthropology, archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology as a field is distinct from the discipline of palaeontology, Archaeology is particularly important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world, Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and eventually analysis of data collected to learn more about the past, in broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, the science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts. Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, in Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Antiquarians, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, one of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England.
John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other monuments in southern England. He was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings and he attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and even human shapes, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard, the importance of concepts such as stratification and context were overlooked. The father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington and he undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798, funded by Sir Richard Colt Hoare. Cunnington made meticulous recordings of neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, one of the major achievements of 19th century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy.
The idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton, the application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites
The Anglo-Saxons are a people who have inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including government of shires. During this period, Christianity was re-established and there was a flowering of literature and law were established. The term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England, in scholarly use, it is more commonly called Old English. The history of the Anglo-Saxons is the history of a cultural identity and it developed from divergent groups in association with the peoples adoption of Christianity, and was integral to the establishment of various kingdoms. Threatened by extended Danish invasions and occupation of eastern England, this identity was re-established, the visible Anglo-Saxon culture can be seen in the material culture of buildings, dress styles, illuminated texts and grave goods.
Behind the symbolic nature of these emblems, there are strong elements of tribal. The elite declared themselves as kings who developed burhs, and identified their roles and peoples in Biblical terms, above all, as Helena Hamerow has observed and extended kin groups remained. the essential unit of production throughout the Anglo-Saxon period. Use of the term Anglo-Saxon assumes that the words Angles, Saxons or Anglo-Saxon have the meaning in all the sources. Assigning ethnic labels such as Anglo-Saxon is fraught with difficulties and this term began to be used only in the 8th century to distinguish the Germanic groups in Britain from those on the continent. The Old English ethnonym Angul-Seaxan comes from the Latin Angli-Saxones and became the name of the peoples Bede calls Anglorum, Anglo-Saxon is a term that was rarely used by Anglo-Saxons themselves, it is not an autonym. It is likely they identified as ængli, Seaxe or, more probably, the use of Anglo-Saxon disguises the extent to which people identified as Anglo-Scandinavian after the Viking age or the conquest of 1016, or as Anglo-Norman after the Norman conquest.
The earliest historical references using this term are from outside Britain, referring to piratical Germanic raiders, Saxones who attacked the shores of Britain, procopius states that Britain was settled by three races, the Angiloi and Britons. The term Angli Saxones seems to have first been used in writing of the 8th century. The name therefore seemed to mean English Saxons, the Christian church seems to have used the word Angli, for example in the story of Pope Gregory I and his remark, Non Angli sed angeli. The terms ænglisc and Angelcynn were used by West Saxon King Alfred to refer to the people, at other times he uses the term rex Anglorum, which presumably meant both Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Alfred the Great used Anglosaxonum Rex, the term Engla cyningc is used by Æthelred
The British Isles are a group of islands off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain and over six thousand smaller isles. Situated in the North Atlantic, the islands have an area of approximately 315,159 km2. Two sovereign states are located on the islands and the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the oldest rocks in the group are in the north west of Scotland and North Wales and are 2,700 million years old. During the Silurian period the north-western regions collided with the south-east, the topography of the islands is modest in scale by global standards. Ben Nevis rises to an elevation of only 1,344 metres, and Lough Neagh, the climate is temperate marine, with mild winters and warm summers. The North Atlantic Drift brings significant moisture and raises temperatures 11 °C above the average for the latitude. This led to a landscape which was dominated by temperate rainforest. The region was re-inhabited after the last glacial period of Quaternary glaciation, which became an island by 12,000 BC, was not inhabited until after 8000 BC.
Great Britain became an island by 5600 BC, Hiberni and Britons tribes, all speaking Insular Celtic, inhabited the islands at the beginning of the 1st millennium AD. Much of Brittonic-controlled Britain was conquered by the Roman Empire from AD43, the first Anglo-Saxons arrived as Roman power waned in the 5th century and eventually dominated the bulk of what is now England. Viking invasions began in the 9th century, followed by permanent settlements. Most of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom after the Irish War of Independence, the term British Isles is controversial in Ireland, where there are objections to its usage due to the association of the word British with Ireland. The Government of Ireland does not recognise or use the term, as a result and Ireland is used as an alternative description, and Atlantic Archipelago has had limited use among a minority in academia, while British Isles is still commonly employed. Within them, they are sometimes referred to as these islands. The earliest known references to the islands as a group appeared in the writings of sea-farers from the ancient Greek colony of Massalia.
The original records have been lost, writings, e. g. Avienuss Ora maritima, in the 1st century BC, Diodorus Siculus has Prettanikē nēsos, the British Island, and Prettanoi, the Britons. Strabo used Βρεττανική, and Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, historians today, though not in absolute agreement, largely agree that these Greek and Latin names were probably drawn from native Celtic-language names for the archipelago. Along these lines, the inhabitants of the islands were called the Πρεττανοί, the shift from the P of Pretannia to the B of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar
The term is commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Viking home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age. Facilitated by advanced seafaring skills, and characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. A romanticized picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century, current popular representations of the Vikings are typically based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy. One etymology derives víking from the feminine vík, meaning creek, various theories have been offered that the word viking may be derived from the name of the historical Norwegian district of Viken, meaning a person from Viken. According to this theory, the word simply described persons from this area, there are a few major problems with this theory. People from the Viken area were not called Viking in Old Norse manuscripts, in addition, that explanation could only explain the masculine and ignore the feminine, which is a serious problem because the masculine is easily derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa.
The form occurs as a name on some Swedish rune stones. There is little indication of any negative connotation in the term before the end of the Viking Age and this is found in the Proto-Nordic verb *wikan, ‘to turn’, similar to Old Icelandic víkja ‘to move, to turn’, with well-attested nautical usages. In that case, the idea behind it seems to be that the rower moves aside for the rested rower on the thwart when he relieves him. A víkingr would originally have been a participant on a sea journey characterized by the shifting of rowers, in that case, the word Viking was not originally connected to Scandinavian seafarers but assumed this meaning when the Scandinavians begun to dominate the seas. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, Widsith, in Old English, and in the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070, the term generally referred to Scandinavian pirates or raiders. As in the Old Norse usages, the term is not employed as a name for any people or culture in general, the word does not occur in any preserved Middle English texts.
The Vikings were known as Ascomanni ashmen by the Germans for the ash wood of their boats, Lochlannach by the Gaels, the modern day name for Sweden in several neighbouring countries is possibly derived from rōþs-, Ruotsi in Finnish and Rootsi in Estonian. The Slavs and the Byzantines called them Varangians, Scandinavian bodyguards of the Byzantine emperors were known as the Varangian Guard. The Franks normally called them Northmen or Danes, while for the English they were known as Danes or heathen. It is used in distinction from Anglo-Saxon, similar terms exist for other areas, such as Hiberno-Norse for Ireland and Scotland. The period from the earliest recorded raids in the 790s until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 is commonly known as the Viking Age of Scandinavian history, Vikings used the Norwegian Sea and Baltic Sea for sea routes to the south. The Normans were descended from Vikings who were given feudal overlordship of areas in northern France—the Duchy of Normandy—in the 10th century, in that respect, descendants of the Vikings continued to have an influence in northern Europe
The Viking Age is the period from the late 8th century to the mid-11th century in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, following the Germanic Iron Age. It is the period of history when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. Three Viking ships had beached in Weymouth Bay four years earlier, the Viking devastation of Northumbrias Holy Island was reported by the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin of York, who wrote, Never before in Britain has such a terror appeared. Vikings were portrayed as violent and bloodthirsty by their enemies. The chronicles of medieval England portrayed them as rapacious wolves among sheep, the first challenges to the many anti-Viking images in Britain emerged in the 17th century. Pioneering scholarly works on the Viking Age reached a readership in Britain. Archaeologists began to dig up Britains Viking past, linguistics traced the Viking-Age origins of rural idioms and proverbs. New dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled more Victorians to read the Icelandic Sagas, the Vikings who invaded western and eastern Europe were chiefly pagans from Denmark and Sweden.
They settled in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, peripheral Scotland and their North Germanic language, Old Norse, became the mother-tongue of present-day Scandinavian languages. By 801, a central authority appears to have been established in Jutland. In Norway, mountainous terrain and fjords formed strong natural boundaries, communities there remained independent of each other, unlike the situation in Denmark which is lowland. By 800, some 30 small kingdoms existed in Norway, the sea was the easiest way of communication between the Norwegian kingdoms and the outside world. It was in the 8th century that Scandinavians began to build ships of war, the North Sea rovers were traders and explorers as well as plunderers. There are various theories concerning the causes of the Viking invasions, for people living along the coast, it would seem natural to seek new land by the sea. Another reason was that during this period England and Ireland, the Franks, had well-defended coasts and heavily fortified ports and harbours.
Pure thirst for adventure may have been a factor, a reason for the raids is believed by some to be over-population caused by technological advances, such as the use of iron, or a shortage of women due to selective female infanticide. Although another cause could well have been caused by the Frankish expansion to the south of Scandinavia. Consequently, these Vikings became raiders, in search of subsistence, There is ongoing debate among scholars as to why the Scandinavians began to expand during the 8th through 11th centuries
North Sea Empire
The North Sea Empire, known as the Anglo-Scandinavian Empire, was the domain ruled by Cnut the Great as king of England, Denmark and parts of what is now Sweden between 1016 and 1035. As one historian put it, When the 11th century began its fourth decade, Canute was, with the exception of the Emperor. E was lord of four important realms and the overlord of other kingdoms, though technically Canute was counted among the kings, his position among his fellow-monarchs was truly imperial. Apparently he held in his hands the destinies of two regions, the British Isles and the Scandinavian peninsulas. His fleet all but controlled two important seas, the North and the Baltic, Cnut was the younger son of the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard. Cnuts brother Harald became king of Denmark, but with help from Eric Haakonsson of Norway, Cnut raised a new fleet of his own. Before the decisive battle for London could be fought, Æthelred died on 23 April 1016, the Londoners chose his son Edmund as their king, while most of the nobles met at Southampton and swore fealty to Cnut.
He and Cnut struck an agreement under which Edmund would retain Wessex, but on 30 November 1016, Edmund in turn died, leaving Cnut king of England. In summer 1017 he cemented his power by marrying Æthelreds widow, although he had married an English noblewoman. In 1018 he paid off his fleet and was recognised as King of England. King Harald died childless in 1018 or 1019, leaving the country without a king, Cnut was his brothers heir and went to Denmark in 1019 to claim it. While there he sent his subjects in England a letter saying he was abroad to avert an unspecified danger, Cnut took Olafs fleet by surprise and took the battle to the Swedish fleet at the Battle of the Helgeå. The precise outcome is disputed, but Cnut came out best, Olaf fled, Olaf II had extended his power throughout Norway while Jarl Erik was with Cnut in England. Cnuts enmity with him extended further back, Æthelred had returned to England in a provided by Olaf. In 1024 Cnut had offered to let Olaf govern Norway as his vassal, but after Helgeå, he set about undermining his rule with bribes.
Finally at Nidaros, now Trondheim, he was acclaimed king at the Eyrathing, in 1030, Olaf attempted to return, but the people of the Trondheim area did not want him back and he was defeated and killed at the Battle of Stiklestad. After Helgeå, Cnut claimed to rule part of Sweden together with England, Denmark and he had coins minted either in the capital, Sigtuna, or in Lund, part of Denmark, with the inscription CNVT REX SW. Western Götaland or Blekinge have been suggested, most England runestones are in Uppland