The first recorded Viking raids in Great Britain were in the year 789 AD when the Saxons of northern England were attacked by three longboats from Denmark. It was just the start of continued raids, raids that spread fear into the lives of all who lived there. Nobody was safe from these marauders from Scandinavia. Monasteries were burned to the ground, precious books and religious treasures were stolen, men were put to the axe and women were raped or carried off to awaiting longboats. King Alfred, Saxon king of Wessex fought a brave war against them, although his army was conquered and they took over most the northern and eastern parts of England.
Imagine being around at the time, mighty, puffy-sailed longboats cutting through the swooning waves, heading your way, the savages from afar returning to rape and to pillage once more. It must have been a frightening sight to behold. I was brought up believing the Vikings had horns on their helmets, although I have since learned this was not the case. It was in fact the English, terrified by the very thought of them who created the image we think of today. That isn’t to say they were not frightening. Imagine these longboats touching the English shoreline, hordes of Vikings marching forward with battle shields and razor-edges battleaxes.
I think we have to remember though that they were far more than seafaring savages, hell-bent on death and destruction. They were also traders and farmers. They were master ship builders and intrepid explorers. They left their mark east, south and west of Scandinavia .
Until next time with more Sweet Conclusions and the continuation of the Vikings …
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