Professional warriors formed into a formal organization.
First established by Harald Bluetooth in 980 who built a fortress near the mouth of the ODER River – Jomsborg.
Icelandic records list laws underpinning the Jomsviking military society.
-Warriors are between ages 16 and 40
-No man was to run from an inferior opponent
-Jomsvikings avenge on another as brothers
-No man is to indicate fear
-Plunder is held in common
-No one is to still dissension in the ranks
-No spreading of rumors
-No women in fortress
-Leader to settle disputes
Tells of the King Magnus the Good who was co-king with Harald Hardrade and the son of St. Olaf.
He destroyed Jomsborg around 1043. By then however, most of the warriors there were absorbed into the Danish army of Sven Forkbeard and Knud the Great. Many of these soldiers were probably part of the invasion armies attacking England in the 11th century.
Swedish Soldier’s Weapons and Tools
Spear, sword, shield, iron hat, coat-of-mail, bow and 36 arrows
Norwegian Soldier’s Weapons and Tools
Sword or axe, shield, spear, one bow, 24 arrows
Denmark Soldier’s Weapons and Tools
Axe, sword, iron hat, spear, shield
Steerman of the ship was to provide a horse, coat-of-mail, bows and arrows
Collection of laws compiled in 1270 by King Magnus VI in Norway.
Expert viking ship builder who built Olaf Tryvasson’s Long Serpent ship which was about 100 feet long and was around the year 1,000.
Icelandic expert builder of the first cathedral at Holar in north Iceland (around 1106)
Torpo Stave Church
Norwegian church that has the words, “Torolf made this church”. Important because it says who built the church.
Important Viking Tools
Axes, Adzys, Saws, Rasps, Draw Knife (two handed knife for shaving wood)
400 BC Denmark. Bronze Age type boat and was clinker built.
Sutton Hoo Ship
Iron Age: 625 AD East Anglia was a rich grave find with mostly the ship impression left in the soil. Was 88 feet long and clinker built with no mast.
Iron Age: 700 AD Western Norway was a ship found with a complete keel, rudder, tiller and was 60 feet long clinker built.
Various sized rowing boats or boats in tow. May have had as many as 20 oars but generally less.
Independent sailing vessel which also has oars.
Types of Skips:
-Ferja – cargo carrier
-Knorr – all purpose vessel, bulky hull large cargo carrier
-Skuta – Sleek, all purpose vessel
-Skeid / Drekar (Dragon) – Sleek, fast, war ships. Sometimes decorated with carvings and varied in length from 60 – 100+ feet.
A type of Skip (Viking Ship) that carried cargo.
A type of Skip (Viking Ship) that was an all purpose vessel, bulky hull large cargo carrier.
A type of Skip (Viking Ship) that was sleek, and all purpose.
Skeid / Drekar (Dragon)
A type of Skip (Viking Ship) that was a sleek and fast warship. Sometimes decorated with carvings and varied in length from 60-100+ feet.
A viking ship that was excavated in 1867 in Southeast Norway. Clinker built and was thought to be 70 feet long.
Fragmentary – incomplete skeleton of the ship.
A viking ship that was excavated in 1880 in Southeast Norway. Sleek war ship that was clinker built. Dated from 875 AD and had an oak tent on the ship. The tent contained a 60 year old male skeleton who was probably a powerful chieftan.
16 pairs of oars (32 total)
A viking ship that was excavated in 1904-05 in Southeast Norway.
Likely a ceremonial ship that was dated from 834 AD. Had somewhat of a flat hull and contained two women skeletons on board. Aged 50 and 80 with the older woman appearing to have had cancer.
Contained numerous items.
Six ships that were found in Denmark’s Roskilde Fjord that date from the middle years of the 11th century.
They were war ships, trade ships, and cargo ships.
Flows through modern day St. Petersburg and was an important river for Viking travel.
An upland region of northwest Russia between St. Petersburg and Moscow.
The major Russian rivers have their headwaters here such as the Volga, Daugava, Lovat, and Dneiper.
Went to Gnezdova, Kiev, the Black Sea, and Constantinople.
Went to Staraja Ladoga, Novgorod.
Went to Bulgar, Itil, Caspian Sea, and even on to Arabia.
Seven Cataracts (Rapids) of the Dneiper River
1. Essoupi – “not sleeping”
2. Oulvorsi – “island falls”
3. Gelandri – “yelling”
4. Aelfors – “sprout, shoot falls”
5. Varoufors – “lookout falls”
6. Leanti – “laughing”
7. Stroukoun – “little falls”
Sourced from Constantine Porphyrogenitus in his Administration of the Empire.
Elite unit of the Byzantine army from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Bodyguards of the East Roman Emperors.
Consisted of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic Vikings. But after the Norman invasion of England it also included Anglo-Saxons.
The Rus (Swedish) Vikings were the earliest recruits.
Mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus in 954 in his Administration of the Empire.
Swedish law stating that no one may inherit land in Sweden while they were staying in “Greece” – a common term for the Byzantine empire.
Name for Scandinavia / Iceland by Byzantines
King Harald Hardrade
King of Norway (1045-1066) and was a prominent member of the Varangian Guard. Was named in Byzantine sources as “Araltes”.
Sweden Varagian Guard References
Runestone in Sweden reference Varangians in Gardariki (Russia) and Miklagard (Constantinople) and memorialize soldiers who found and/or died there. The stones date from 1015-1130 AD.
One runestone in Sweden has inscribed the Byzantine cross which today is the coat of arms of the town, Taby in Sweden.
Treaty of Verdun
In 840 Louis the Pious, Holy Roman Emperor died and a sibling rivalry between his three sons broke out.
In 843 this treaty divided the Holy Roman Empire into distinct areas of rule by:
Charles the Bald who was King of the East Franks (France)
Lothar who was the Emperor and controlled the middle area of Europe.
Ludvig the German who was the King of the West Franks (Germany)
843 Captured and controlled by the vikings (future Normans) as part of the treaty of verdun.
Vikings Raiding the West Frankish Lands
799 – 840s there were coastal raids from the Danish border south. Including: Utrecht, Walcheren, Ghent, Boulogne, Antwerp, Quentovic, and Dorestad (sacked four times in 830s).
860s – 870s were quiet as the Vikings turned their attention to England during this time. However, the vikings came back to France in the 880s.
Viking leader who attacked Paris in 845 AD with 100 ships. Charles the Bald paid a DANEGELD of 7,000 lbs of silver in order to get the vikings to leave.
Essentially a bribe or paying someone off.
Abbo’s Wars of Count Odo
885 tells of a massive attack on Paris by 700 viking ships and was led by Rollo.
The defense of the city was led by Count Odo (gentry of the area) and Bishop Guazelin (an old powerful religious guy) because Charles the Fat was in Rome at the time.
Charles the Fat came back and negotiated a deal that involved the vikings continuing up river and attacking everyone else as long as they didn’t attack Paris. Ultimately was removed from his seat of power because of this.
Hrolf the Walker – Was noted in sources as being a legendary viking who made a treaty with Charles the Simple. Pledged to keep Paris safe, converted to Christianity, and essentially established Normandy in 911.
Mentioned in the Heimskringla by Snorre Sturlasson and is the main character of sagas in France during this time.
Snorre referred to him as Hrolf the Walker.
Rouen was the Norman capital.
Pre-Viking England petty kingdoms
By 800 AD most of England was Christian.
Pre-Viking England peoples
Synod of Whitby
664 AD. The King of Northumbria ruled that their kingdom would observe Easter and convert to Christianity.
The 7th and 8th centuries was an intellectual blossoming for England.
Intellectual center was the Archbishop School of York which produced Alcuin, a scholar in the court of Charlemagne.
The most noted figure of this time was “The Venerable Bede (673 – 735) who was a theologian and historian.
The most noted figure of the Northumbrian Renaissance (7th and 8th centuries) was “The Venerable Bede (673 – 735) who was a theologian and historian.
757 – 796 was King of Mercia and the first to use the title “Rex Anglorum” or King of England.
Ireland in 700s-800s
Was outside of the Roman Empire’s influence. Had a different religious structure that was decentralized, whereas the Roman Catholic church was centralized in Rome (Pope).
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 793
Said there were dreadful signs over the land of Northumbria. There was a great famine and on the 8th of June vikings attacked Lindisfarne Monastary on Holy Isle.
This monastary was established in 634 AD by an Irish monk Aidan. St. Cuthbert is the bishop who is mostly identified with the monastary however.
Alfred the Great
King of Wessex 871-899 and had a biography written by Bishop Asser in 908.
Had 3 different eras of reign.
Alfred the Great first reign
871 – 878
The struggle against raiding Vikings throughout Wessex almost forced him from his throne. But in the Battle of Edington he made a truce with Guthrum, leader of the local Viking army in the Treaty of Wedmore to divide England into the Viking North (DANELAW) and the Anglo-Saxon South.
Treaty of Wedmore
Was the result of a truce between Alfred the Great and Guthrum (chieftan leading the vikings in Wessex) that divided England into the Viking North (DANELAW) and Anglo-Saxon South.
Geographical area of England that was mostly Viking controlled and under the law of the Danes.
Consisted of Northumbria, Mercia, and East Anglia.
Alfred the Great second reign
878 – 891
Consolidation and settlement by the Viking armies in the Danelaw. Alfred does the same with his army. Fortifications are built by both sides.
This time period allowed Alfred the Great to build his army in order to rid the Danelaw of vikings in the future.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is started and the Viking city of York reaches a population of 10,000.
Alfred the Great third reign
891 – 899
Beginning of the Anglo-Saxon reconquest of the Danelaw.
Children Edward the Elder and Aethelflaed (girl) lead this reconquest.
Athelstan (grandson of Alfred) wins the Battle of Brununburh in 937.
York falls in 954 with the defeat of Erik Blood-Axe.
English Shires in the Danelaw
Northampton, Huntigdon, Cambridge, Bedford, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and for a time London.
The 5 Boroughs in England
Derby, Lincoln, Stamford, Leicester, Nottingham.
Chessmen of Lewis
Dating from the late 12th century were 93 chess pieces found on a sandbank in 1831.
A norse dialect spoken in the Orkney Islands until the 18th century.
Orkney and Shetland Islands
Were politically under control of Norway and Denmark until 1468.
Orkney Islands had an Earldom of Orkney in the 9th century until the 11th century because of the trade and migration in the area.
These islands including Herbrides and the Isle of Man were heavily influenced by Vikings.
Orkney Island Viking Finds
34 Silver Hoards – dating from 930s to 1060s
130 Viking/Pagan graves – dating from 850 – 950
Several Norse house sites were found as well.
Texts about Vikings in Scotland
Orkneyinga Saga – 1200AD
Historia Norwegia – 1220AD Norwegian, Latin text
Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles – 1261AD
First permanent settler in Iceland in the 870s.
Most of the settlers came from Norway in order to escape the Monarchy that Harald Finehair was setting up.
They left because their local traditions were being violated in order for the King to consolidate power. Snorri Sturlason talks about this in his “History of the Norse Kings” Heimskringla.
Was established in 930 AD at the THINGVELLR in order to have a national Icelandic law because the local systems of things and godi (chieftans) was breaking down.
Did not enforce law however because Iceland had no army, police, or anything like that. Led to a system of Feuds in Iceland. Family members were responsible for any reparation that was to be made against them.
Converted Iceland to Christianity in 1,000 AD
The natural place of assembly by the Althing. Consisted of volcanic rock that made for a great amphitheater.
Was chosen as the first lawspeaker of the Althing for a period of 3 years.
He was chosen because he went back to Norway in order to study the GULATHING (Norse Law where most of the Icelandic settlers came from).
The law of Western Norway that Icelandic law was based off of.
Thorgeir the Priest
An Icelandic Pagan Lawspeaker that decreed the change of Icelandic religion to Christianity in 1000AD to the Althing. First Icelandic church leaders were from Iceland.
Althing agreed and converted in 1000AD.
The change of religion was so that it would not be attacked by the other Christian nations in the area, such as Norway as they did not want to fall under Monarch rule.
Pagan religion was still allowed during a period of transition but in private, allowing the exposure of infants, eating of horsemeat, and worship of pagan gods.
Was the first native Icelandic Bishop in 1030. Friend of Adam of Bremen who wrote that he had “unlimited authority”. He was seen as a king in his residence of SKALAHOLT.
1042 – 1118
The son of Isleif Gissursson and established the family residence of Skalaholt as the official seat of the Icelandic Bishop. Wrote down Iceland’s laws for the first time – called the Haflidi’s Scroll in 1118.
Iceland’s laws codified for the first time in 1118 by Gissur Isleifsson.
Son of Erik the Red. He sailed west from Battahlid in 1000 AD to establish a colony on Vinland.
Ethelred the Unready
Anglo-Saxon forced out of England by Svein Forkbeard and Knud the Great in 1013.
King of Norway from 1047-1066.
Before being King he was in exile in Constantinople and was the captain of the Varangian Guard. He split the throne with his nephew, Magnus.
He died in 1066 at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in England and is considered the end of the Viking age.
King of Denmark; son of Harald Bluetooth; father of Knud the Great; conquered England in 1013 forcing exile of Anglo-Saxon Ethered the Unready.
An island off Scotland; raided by Vikings starting in late 9th century; started to become under Norse control but wasn’t formally given control to Norway until 1098 where King Edgar of Scotland gave it to Magnus III.
Distinguished men and chieftans in Iceland.
Charles the Simple
Frankish king who signed the treaty with Rollo in 911 giving him land at the mouth of the Seine River and Rollo becomes first Duke of Normandy.
Rollo served to protect Paris from future Viking raids; Rollo converts to Christianity and marries Charles’ daughter.
Dneiper Trade Route
River that ran through territory of Kievan, Rus, political entity from the 9th to 13th centuries; major trade route to Constantinople and the Byzantine empire.
Volga Trade Route
Major trade route to Baghdad and the Muslim empire.
Danish king who ruled 958-986; forced Christianity on Danes; built series of forts in kingdom to secure authority; Made Jelling Stone which tells Bluetooth’s conquest for Christianity.
Location of first Viking settlement when raiders attacked monastery in 799; decided to stay because of salt industry
Norman conquest of England led by William the Conqueror; Harald Hardrada killed by Harald Godwinson in Battle of Stamford Bridge, ending Viking era; Harald Godwinson defeated by William of Normandy at Battle of Hastings.
Icelandic historian, poet and politician, twice elected lawspeaker of Althing.
Main Viking city in Russia; called Halmgard in Viking tongue; center for trading.
Olaf Haraldson; converted Norway to Christianity; established national church; conquered Norway 1015; driven out by Knud the Great and died; death acted as a semi-martyr which promoted Christianity and eventually the return of his half brother Harald Hardrada to conquer Norway.
Is compared to Thor for the next 4-500 years for the Scandinavians.
Name for York in Viking tongue in Nothumbria; first captured in November 866 by Ivar the Boneless, leading a large army of Danish Vikings called the Great Heathen army; ruled by Norse 875-954.
Established by Leif Eriksson dating 1000 AD; probably in Newfoundland; discovered by Helge Ingstad of Norway in late 1950s; probably lasted no more than a generation; conflicts with natives called “Skraelings”; found grapes at settlement.
Knud the Great
national armies from Denmark beginning in 990s; with help from father, Svein Forkbeard, conquered England by 1013 and exiled Anglo-Saxon Ethered the Unready; 1028 takes 50 ships to Norway to defeat Olaf Haraldson; reigns as Christian king until death in 1035 when succeeded by Edward the Confessor in England; Norwegians did not like him as ruler, promoted the return of Harald Hardrada.
East Sweden in early 800s; built in archipelago; big center for slave trade and huge winter markets.
William of Normandy
Direct descendent of Rollo; led invasion of England in 1066, claiming rightful successor of Edward; defeat English and Harald Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
English Earl and King of England following King Edward; defeated Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge but this allowed William the Conquer to invade and defeat Godwinson at Battle of Hastings.
Hardrada leads Norse army to fight Godwinson for English crown but Godwinson is victorious.
Earls of Orkney
Originally a Norse Jarl ruling Orkney; first Earl was Ragnvald Esysteinsson.
Frankish king who conquered much of Europe and spread Christianity; possibly angered Vikings by attacking the giant pillar Irmensul which was a Pagan icon.
Was very effective against the vikings.
First King of Norway, unified kingdoms; tried to convert people to Christianity through torture and bloody ways; made many flee to Iceland thought to be one of the reasons Iceland was so anti-monarch.
Erik the Red
Outlawed in Norway for killing a man then went to Iceland for exile, sailed from Iceland to explore Greenland for three years before returning to market and encourage settlement; two daughter colonies from Iceland set up Eastern and Western Settlement in Greenland; Erik made his home at Brattahlid; father of Leif Eriksson.
King of Norway from 995 to 1000; great-grandson to Harald Fairhair (first king of Norway); played important role in converstion of the Norse to Christianity; built first church in Norway.
Important trade center established in Denmark; founded by Godfred in 810; was sacked in 1050 by Harald Hardrada using fire ships.
Capital of Iceland; about 45km west of Althing; first permanent settlement.
King Harald (Bluetooth) ordered this stone to be erected in memory of his father Gorm and his mother Thyra.
St. Brice’s Day Massacre
November 13th, 1002 was when Ethelraed the Unready ordered all of the Danes in England to be killed.
Might be related to the grave of 58 men that was found in england who were beheaded and possibly….RAPED?!?! No they weren’t raped but it was a gnarly grave to say the least.
John Wallingford wrote about this in the 11th century in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles 1002 AD.
Torn down by vikings led by St. Olaf in 1010.
Battle of Stiklestad
July 29th 1030 Olaf loses the battle and becomes a saint of the Church and symbol of the Norwegian nation.
Olaf’s brother Harald Hardrade survives and exiles to Constantinople.
The end of the world for Norse Mythology. Gods are destroyed by their enemies and thus the gods are not immortal.
What the Norse called the indigenous people of North America when they were trying to settle.
Contained the bodies of 51 beheaded Viking soldiers. Linked to St. Brice’s Massacre.
3 Phases of Viking Age
1. 793 – 850 Pirate hit and run raids.
2. 850 – 1000 Vikings settled and migrated to parts of France and England.
3. 1000 – 1066 The establishment of national armies by the Vikings. Battle of Stamford Bridge signaled the end of the Vikings in England.
Was not a law but is a manuscript that describes regulations about organizing the Hird.
Hird was the private army of the king or chieftan. The same kind of army that the Jomsvikings would have been.
Written in 1270 AD. Says that a weapon in war is trust and protection, in peace it is honor and distinction, weapons represent a good capital investment.
Most important viking weapon
Sword. It is celebrate in poetry, praised in sagas, and there are a huge number of kennings that mention swords.
Most common weapon for vikings was a spear however. Which were associated with Odin because Gunhir was his magical spear that was given to him by dwarfs.
Most Valued Items in Viking Culture
Louis the Pious
Son of Charlemagne who was not successful against the Vikings.
In 839 he suspected the Varangians of being spies.
The main arterial river that runs through Paris and was heavily used by the Vikings to tear shit up.
Sources of Information for raids on Paris
St. Vasst Monastary Annals
St. Germain des Pres Annals
Annals of St. Bertan
Dudo of San Quentin
Wrote in the 11th century of the raid on Paris in 845 from the Viking perspective because he was from Normandy.
Also wrote of Ragnar Lothbrok.
Church of Ireland
Totally decentralized compared to the Roman Catholic Church.
Hermits were apart of this who believed that the farther they got away from people, the closer they got to god.