TIMELINE: BUILD-UP TO THE VIKING AGE

This post is not an article, but consists only of quotes from two important historical written sources, contemporary to the events described: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (ASC) and The Royal Frankish Annals (RFA)

The Saxon Wars

775 (RFA): «While the king spent the winter at the villa of Quierzy, he decided to attack the treachereous and treaty-breaking tribe of the Saxons and to persist in this war until they were either defeated and forced to accept the Christian religion or entirely terminated

776 (RFA): «In great terror all the Saxons came to the source of the River Lippe, converging there from every point they surrendered their land to the Franks, put up security, promised to become Christians, and submitted to the rule of the Lord King Charles and the Franks (…) The Saxons came there with wives and children, a countless number, and were baptized and gave as many hostages as the Lord King demanded.»

777 (RFA): «All the Franks gathered there and from every part of Saxony came the Saxons, with the exception of Widukind, who was in revolt along with a few others. He fled with his companions into Nordmannia (…) Many Saxons were baptised and according to their custom pledged to the king their whole freedom and property if they should change their minds again in that detestable manner of theirs and not keep the Christian faith and their fealty to the Lord King Charles…»

778 (RFA): «When the Saxons heard that the Lord King Charles and the Franks were so far away in Spain, they followed their detestable custom and again revolted, spurred on by Widukind and his compaions (…) With the help of God the Fraks had the victory. A great number of Saxons were slain, and those who escaped returned to Saxony in utter disgrace.

779 (RFA): «…a campaign was launched into Saxony.»

782 (RFA): (THE MASSACRE AT VERDEN): «As soon as he (Charlemagne) returned (to Francia), the Saxons, persuaded by Widukind, promptly rebelled as usual (…) Then all the Saxons came together again, submitted to the authority of the Lord King, and surrendered the evildoers who were chiefly responsible for this revolt to be put to death – four thousand five hundred of them. This sentence was carried out. Widukind was not among them since he had fled into Nordmannia.»

783 (RFA): «Since the Saxons had revolted again, the Lord King Charles conducted a campaign into Saxony (…) An immense number of Saxons were slain at this place so that only a few escaped from flight.»

784 (RFA): «The Saxons rebelled as usual and some Frisians along with them (…) (Charlemagne) entered Saxony and went here and there devastating the countryside (…)»

785 (RFA): «(Charlemagne) routed the Saxons who had rebelled, captured their castles, broke through their fortifications, and held the roads open until the right hour struck. Then he (…) marched through all of Saxony wherever he wished, on open roads and with nobody putting up any resistance (…) he sent for Widukind and Abbi and had both brought before him (…)There Widukind and Abbi were baptized with their companions. The whole of Saxony was then subjugated

*

 FIRST VIKING AGGRESSION

A.D. 787 (ASC): This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to wife.  And in his days came first three ships of the Northmen from the land of robbers.  The reve then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king’s town; for he knew not what they were; and there was he slain.  These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the land of the English nation.

*

A.D. 793 (ASC): (LINDISFARNE) 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.  Siga died on the eighth day before the calends of March.

793 (RFA): «At that point a messenger brought the news that the Saxos had again broken faith»

*

VIKING INVASION IN ENGLAND

A.D. 794 (ASC): This year died Pope Adrian; and also Offa, King of Mercia, on the fourth day before the ides of August, after he had reigned forty winters.  Ethelred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by his own people, on the thirteenth day before the calends of May; in consequence of which, Bishops Ceolwulf and Eadbald retired from the land.  Everth took to the government of Mercia, and died the same year.  Eadbert, whose other name was Pryn, obtained the kingdom of Kent; and Alderman Ethelherd died on the calends of August.  In the meantime, the heathen armies spread devastation among the Northumbrians, and plundered the monastery of King Everth at the mouth of the Wear. There, however, some of their leaders were slain; and some of their ships also were shattered to pieces by the violence of the weather; many of the crew were drowned; and some, who escaped alive to the shore, were soon dispatched at the mouth of the river.

794 (RFA): «The Saxons gathered in the plain called Sindfeld and prepared for battle. But when they heard that they were surrounded on both sides, God frustrated their intentions, and they promised, with no such thing in mind, to become Christians and be loyal to the Lord King.»

*

More Saxon Rebellions

A.D. 795 (ASC): This year was the moon eclipsed, between cock-crowing and dawn, on the fifth day before the calends of April….

795 (RFA): «The Saxons gave hostages in the preceding summer and swore oaths, as they were ordered to, but the king did not forget their treachery (…) When (Charlemagne) heard that the Saxons had, as usual, broken their promise to accept Christianity and keep faith with the king, he entered Saxony with an army (…) Once the Saxons had been soundly beaten, their country laid waste, and their hostages received, the king returned to Gaul…»

*

796 (RFA): «The Lord King marched through Saxony with his entire host and then returned to Gaul»

797 (RFA): «A campaign was launched into Saxony and pursued beyond swamps and pathless places as far as the ocean (…) the king accepted the submission of the whole Saxon people….»

A.D. 797 (ASC): This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as he was before.  Eanbald also received the pall on the sixth day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the third before the calends of November.

FIRST MENTION OF CONTACT WITH NORSE KINGS

798 (RFA): «….at the very time of Easter the Nordliudi («Northern Tribes» of Saxons) who live beyond the Elbe rose in rebellion and took prisoner the royal envoys who had gone to obtain satisfaction from them. They executed some of the Franks on the spot and held the others for ransom…. With the others they also put to death Godescal, the king´s envoy, whom the king (Charlemagne) a few days before had sent to Sigifrid, king of the Danes (Sigurd Ring, Ragnar Lódbrok´s father). (…) (Charlemagne) laid waste the whole of Saxony (…) I this year the star called Mars could not be seen anywhere in the entire sky from July of the preceding year to July of this year.»

800 (RFA): «(Charlemagne) built a fleet on this sea, which was then infested with pirates» (Vikings and Saracens)

804 (RFA): «At the same time Godofrid, king of the Danes (Gudröd the Hunter King), came with his fleet and the entire cavalry of his kingdom to Schleswig on the border of his kingdom and Saxony. He promised to show up for a conference with the emperor (Charlemagne was now Holy Roman Emperor), but was made wary by the counsel of his men and did not venture any closer. Instead, he communicated through his envoys whatever he wanted to say. The emperor (…) sent an embassy to Godofrid to discuss the return of fugitives» (Saxon refugees had found asylum in Denmark along with sympathy and displays of support, such as the rising aggression of Danes and Viking fleets).

*

A.D. 807 (ASC): This year was the sun eclipsed, precisely at eleven in the morning, on the seventeenth day before the calends of August.

808 (RFA): «…Godofrid, the king of the Dabes, with his army had crossed into the land of the Obodrites, he (Charlemagne) sent his son Charles with a strong host of Franks and Saxons to the Elbe, with orders to resist the mad king if he should attempt to attack the borders of Saxony.

Godofrid set up quarters on the shore for some days and attacked….

809 (RFA): «A conference was held with Danish nobles beyound the Elbe…»

*

A.D. 812 (ASC):  This year died the Emperor Charlemagne, after a reign of five and forty winters; and Archbishop Wulfred, accompanied by Wigbert, Bishop of Wessex, undertook a journey to Rome

*

A.D. 832 (ASC): This year heathen men overran the Isle of Shepey.

A.D. 833 (ASC): This year fought King Egbert with thirty-five pirates at Charmouth, where a great slaughter was made, and the Danes remained masters of the field.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s