The Viking Age

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The Viking Age

Alfred the Great was born in 849 ca. in Wantage. In 871 he became king of Wessex, the only kingdom still indipendent.Alfred became famous because he managed to counter-attack the Danes, besieging their stronghold, Chippenham. The Vinking leader of East Anglia, Guthrum had to convert to Christianity.Alfred and Guthrum signed a Treaty (878-890), written probably in OE.In the first part, the political boundary between the two population (Wessex and Danelaw) is agreed.First concerning our boundaries: up on the Thames, and then up on the Lea, and along the Lea unto its source, then straight to Bedford, then up on the Ouse to Watling Street.In 886 Alfred occupied London and set out to make it habitable again.The following 4 years are known as the "London restoration".After the final victory against the Danes in 897, Alfred died in 899.

Norsemen in Normandy

793- Lindisfarne Abbey is raided by a Viking ship. This is the first reported attack.865-896: After a phase of intense raids, Vikings attacks changed to a permanent colonization plan. Only Wessex remained intact.878-890: Alfred and the Viking leader of East Anglia, Guthrum, reached an agreement: England is divided between Danelaw (capital York) and Wessex (capital Winchester).1014: King Sveinn of Denmark occupied Wessex. His son, Canute, was the leader of a large kingdom, including England, Denmark and Norway.1042: The old House of Wessex returned to power.1066: William, duke of Normandy, defeats Harold at Hastings.

In 911, the Carolingian king of France, Charles the Simple, gave Gengu-Hròlfr (or Rolf the Walker. Because of his incredible stature, he had to walk because no horse could carry him) the title of Duke of Normandy. He was a Norse nobleman who came to an agreement to Charles, tired of Norse invasions. Despite this, Rolf kept attacking FlandersIn 1066, one of his successors, William II the Conqueror, defeated the English king Harold. It was the end of Old English era and the beginning of Middle English era.

Language Impact

About 1000 words in modern English are correlated to Old Norse, expecially in northern England and Scotland.The borrowings belong to the language of every day and social live."An Englishman can't thrive or be ill or die without Scandinavian words; they are to the language what bread and eggs are to the daily fare" (Otto Jespersen).Other examples are the verbs get and take, the noun leg and skin, the adjectives low and ugly and the III plural personal pronouns (they, them, their). This last aspect shows how contacts between Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were close.

The VikingAge

Alfred the Great


A Drakkar, the typical viking ship.By their unusual form, they were called "Dragonheads".

Dragons were thought to preserve from mythological sea monsters and to scare enemies.

Rolf the Walker (on the left) and William the Conqueror (on the right). Their statues can be found in Falaise (France)


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