The Vikings: The Norman Settlement

        A.D. 870

        MORE, NORWAY:

        The son of the Jarl of More was born this year. The only opportunity for the disinherited Swede in those days was as a warrior, to go aviking for booty and land or die trying. If this newborn boy was lucky, he may one day join the ranks of the young men who sailed into the setting sun and came back rich.
        The vikings raided across the sea. They attacked Pictland, England, and Eireland.
        In Pictland, the viking raids precipitated a revolution. The small settlement of immigrant Irishmen who called themselves Scotti, were led by Kenneth MacAlpin. Taking advantage of the viking destruction of the pictish strongholds, the Scotti conquered the Picts by ambushing their chieftains during a congress held under false truce. Under the rule of Kenneth MacAlpin, Pictland became Scotland.
        The vikings also destroyed the Irish church at Iona in the western isles, which had been the seat of scottish christianity. The scottish chieftains reestablished their church at Dunkeld in the east, and appointed a member of their royal family as the abbot of Dunkeld. At the close of the tenth century, the abbot was Duncan, (grandfather of abbot Crinan, the grandfather of Gospatrick).

        And now for something completely interesting...

        Click here to view Julian Richards discussing the
        Blood of the Vikings.
        Julian Richards investigates Viking Britain using archaeological evidence.

        A.D. 911
        Hrolfe, the son of the Jarl of More in Norway, grew up to be a norse giant, so large that the smaller horses of the tenth century could not carry him. This earned him the nickname of Hrolfe the Walker ("Rollo" in the tenth century text, Gesta Normannorum).
        His father had been in rebellion against the Dacian king, and for a time, had a stronger army than the king. However, when he died and his sons Hrolfe and Gurim remained in rebellion, the king's army prevailed at last, and Hrolfe sailed with the remnant of his loyal army away into exile in Scandia.
        From Scandia they sailed for Jutland, where they attacked and overcame the king of the Angles and his army. The Angles sued for peace by crowning Hrolfe co-regent.
        As he came to trust his hosts, Hrolfe confided in them that he had been disturbed by a prophetic dream which he could not interpret. Typical of a man of extreme violence and insecurity, Hrolfe was a deeply disturbed man, and sought help from the priests of the Angles. They knew a golden opportunity when they saw one, and carefully constructed a convincing interpretation for his dream, in which they had Hrolfe fulfilling his destiny by leaving poor Angleland and invading rich France to carve out a kingdom for himself there, instead.
        Inclined as he was to believe them, and following his natural tendency to suppose that the grass is greener on the other side, Hrolfe packed up his army and invaded France. It was not easy going, and when the king of the Angles got word that Hrolfe might be driven off by the defenders, he sent ships full of troops and supplies to assist Hrolfe, and keep him well away. This tactic succeeded, as Hrolfe eventually prevailed against the French king, Charles the Simple, the last descendant of Charlemagne's royal lineage.
        Hrolfe the Walker forced king Charles to hand over title to the coastland of the northern Franks. This territory became known as the Norseman duchy, or Nor'man d'y.
        These norsemen of France adopted the frankish feudal law and the french language, as well as the catholic religion.
        However, they retained the viking warrior cult, which set them apart from other christian governors in a unique way, inasmuch as they were never actually christian.  This secret pagan worship obliged them to live for war, and gave them licence from conscience on account of it.
        The fruit of this was their talent for power.


        And now for something completely interesting...

        Click here to view Julian Richards discussing the
        Viking Loot.
        Julian Richards investigates Viking Britain using archaeological evidence.

        Meanwhile, back in England:
        King Alfred the Great, first king of England, was succeeded by his son, Edward, and then by his grandson, Edmund.
        In the tenth century, the kings of England included Edmund's son Edgar, and grandson Aethelraed, who lost the throne to Danish relatives.
        Aethelraed's son Edmund Ironside briefly regained the throne, but his son, Edward the Exile, was replaced by yet another Dane, the very capable King Cnut.
        There is an old english legend deriding the pride of the Danish conqueror that goes like this:

          Cnut, overcome with pride, believed that he could command even the sea, and so he went out onto the beach at low tide and ordered the sea to stay out. Of course, the king was slowly inundated by the rising tide, and, in a bad temper, waded back to shore with the knowledge that his power was rather less than he had imagined.

        While king Edward was outlawed by the Danes, his daughter, Margaret, was permitted to marry Malcolm Kenmore, king of the Scots. Their daughter, Edith, would marry Henry, the son of Duke William of Normandy.

        And now for something completely interesting...

        Click here to view Julian Richards discussing the
        Evidence of Viking settlement in England.
        Julian Richards investigates Viking Britain using archaeological evidence and the latest genetics research.

        in the middle of the eleventh century

        Hrolfe's great great great grandson was William, the Duke of Normandy. Even when William was a youth, his ambition exceeded his apparent inheritance, which was the duchy of Normandy. As it happened, the middle aged english prince Edward was in exile then, as his guest, while their scandinavian relatives held the throne of England.
        In an amazingly prescient coup, the young William got the future king Edward the Confessor to promise him the english succession, should there be no heir apparent. Then, thirty years on, king Edward the Confessor of England did indeed die without progeny.
        Not getting any younger, the now middle aged William immediately claimed the throne of England, and he had the greedy and total support of all the Barons of the Nor'men.


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