The Norsemen and the Carolingian Collapse • The Vikings • Fury from the North • Influence of the • 8th 9th & 10th centuries • Pagan Scandinavians • Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes Introduction • Beginning in 8th century—Scandinavians spanned out in conquest and foraging Raids; establishing new trade routes and markets; also formed settlements; • And Violent attacks against others. • These raids stretched from Newfoundland to Russia. Vikings • Viking attacks against the British Isles were fierce and deadly from the beginning (started 789 AD); • Didn’t reach real critical violent mass on the continent or America until around the 840s AD; • Still unclear as to why these expansions and/or raids took place; • No written records. Vikings • By 9th century the Viking raids were very destructive and terrifying; • The Carolingian empire had no choice but to deal with these ferocious warriors from the North; • Vikings left indelible mark and influence on Europe from Ireland to Russia. Vikings • The word Viking was used sparingly in the 9th and 10th centuries; • Sometimes the Northmen referred to themselves as Vikings; • No one really knew what it meant then or now; • Did bring fear and foreboding with the name. Vikings • The Carolingians referred to them simply as the “Northmen” because they came from the North. • Their raids were extensive; there has been found tens of thousands of Arab silver coins and even a Buddhist statue; • They were warlike, fierce, and nautical experts; • But they were also a conundrum. Vikings • Many theories exist why they turned from traders to raiders and settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries; • It could be because Scandinavia became over populated, Kings grew powerful displacing many aristocrats seeking their fortune elsewhere; • Maybe because there were Civil Wars going on in Baghdad trade was interrupted so they resorted to raiding to support themselves; maybe they settled elsewhere for land, trade routes, or because they could. Vikings • What we do know is the Viking diasporas was part of a much larger expansion; • It went further than the Anglo-Saxons and the Carolingians—it traveled to America, Newfoundland Greenland and Iceland; • They would also attack Baghdad and what is today the Ukraine and Russia; • Russ is a Viking word meaning inhabitants of Russia. Vikings • The first Russians were actually Scandinavian; • Europe shocked at the severity of the Viking attacks; early Viking leaders named: • Erik Bloodaxe and Thorfin Skullsplitter; • Grabs ones attention. Vikings • In fact in the Orkney Islands Northeast Great Britain, there is still an Ale named “Skullsplitter” It has an 8.5% alcohol content. Vikings • Most famous attack (1st) was Lindisfarne Monastery; • They were easy prey; they were not combatants; • They possessed much silver and booty Vikings • Other Monasteries would also suffer the fate of Lindisfarne; • The Vikings would raid Ion and Columba and again Lindisfarne; • They would ever so often repeat these vicious raids Vikings • First recorded raid on the Carolingians (France) was in 799 AD; Ireland raided in 795AD • And from 799 through 840 AD ever so often they would raid the continent; • In the 830s AD the Vikings stopped their hit and run tactics; they actually would settle in the area designated for pillage—winter there, and then in the spring pillage etc . . .,in fact between 841 and 892 there was non-stop raiding and pillaging of the Carolingian Empire. Vikings • Because of their technological advantage and their nautical expertise, no empire or part of western or eastern Europe was safe from the marauding Vikings. • The Long Boat, shallow draft, easy to portage and carry; easy to navigate shallow rivers, as well as Ocean—also carry it around obstacles. Vikings • In fact, during the 9th century, no Western European city escaped the wrath of the Vikings at least once. • They would take as much moveable wealth and slaves as they could carry; it was a cruel march or journey for slaves—they would drag them from Europe to the markets of Baghdad—a huge Islamic slave center—one reason why the word slave came about—originally referred to the slav people who were enslaved by Vikings and Muslims. Vikings • Vikings were not all Warriors; • Many were Farmers who moonlighted as warriors on the side; • Plant crops early spring; go raiding and pillaging during the Summer; • Return in fall to harvest; and essentially party all winter until the cycle began again. Vikings • Though seen a s a vicious cycle, it did offer respite for Europe during the winter months; • Changed in 840AD; Vikings began to winter in the area they wished to raid in spring—to get an earlier start before other Vikings could beat them to the intended target; • Dublin Ireland was a Viking settlement—or staging point for Viking raids. Vikings • One tactic used; was to create a winter base on an island at the mouth of a river; • Europe full of these little tributaries leading to large rivers such as the seine etc . . . • They were nautical experts— made sense to do this— protected from village retaliation and created easy attack routes and escape routes if necessary. Vikings • The raids were now more than a nuisance—they were deadly and constant; • Charles the bald decided that one must negotiate with the Vikings; • Idea was to pay tribute if necessary to not raid Paris, etc … • Flawed strategy: Viking raiding parties were independent of each other—the deal with one didn’t equate to a deal or guarantee from other raiding parties; tribute became known as the Danegeld or “money paid to the Danes.” Vikings • The Danegeld became a form of Viking extortion; • The terms always favored the Vikings; • They or another raiding party could always return and demand the Danegeld or the village suffered the consequences Extortion was the game and the Vikings were good at it. Vikings • Though the Danegeld may save Paris, it benefited the Vikings. • They could collect the ransom and still plunder other parts of the Carolingian Empire; • Best of both worlds—as stated earlier their fierce behavior and nautical advantage gave them this privilege. Vikings • The Long Boat itself was the greatest advantage other than their crazy brave attitude; • It carried about 100 people, all armed and dangerous; • Nautical skills still seen in French and Gaelic languages—Harbor, Creek,(French) and boat, rudder and ship (Gaelic); • It could be carried over land and navigate shallow river bottoms. Continental Europe—Carolingian Empire One reason for Viking success: Though Charlemagne did a good job of keeping intruders out; By the time of 846AD, Louis the Pious, the Arabs began to probe and attack the eastern part of the Carolingian empire; They too forced kings and Mayors of the palaces to pay tribute and ransom—also a group of peoples called the Magyars (Hungarians) much like the Huns, they were central Asian nomads—900AD Carolingian Issues Cont’d • Arabs and Magyars were good at extracting tribute learned from the Vikings; The rarely if ever attacked a town or big settlement; • The Vikings, however, were very good at sacking towns and destroying large settlements; • Carolingian empire attacked from every corner Vikings • Viking Merchants and Traders; • Not all Vikings or Norsemen were warriors and farmers; • Many were traders and were very good at economics. They remained in an area such as a trade crossroad as Constantinople, Paris, Ukraine, the Balkans wherever and established businesses that remain very influential today Viking Traders and Merchants • One of the first Peoples to establish and maintain true Global trade routes and markets; • Many surely failed, but many also succeeded. • Markets reached all of eastern and Western Europe, The Americas and even into China and Asia proper Vikings • For some unknown reasons as quick as they started, they seemed to subside, the Viking attacks; • By the early 10th century (930AD) Viking Raids are essentially over; still do not know why they began and certainly are curious as why they ended so abruptly—the Europeans certainly did not conquer them or sign a peace treaty with them?? • Speculation: nothing left to rob—cupboard was bare; Vikings • All Monasteries had moved to far inland or were left with nothing; • Maybe the Vikings were enjoying so much success and influence in Anglo-Saxon England they decided to ignore the Continent; • Or maybe the Carolingians finally figured out how to stop the Raids—by pitting Vikings against Vikings. Vikings • Vikings did not settle in large numbers on the European continent; • Unlike the Germanic migrations of the 4th and 5th centuries where the Merovingian's and the Carolingians settled in great numbers; • One exception—Normandy, which derives its name from the Northmen—very much settled by Norsemen or many children were born to Norsemen in this area. Vikings • 911 AD a Carolingian ruler—Charles the Simple managed to defeat the Viking ruler of Normandy; • Viking rulers name: Hrolfe or Rollo—he agreed to become a Carolingian Count and was allowed to maintain rule over Normandy—maintain allegiance to the Carolingian Empire; • Defended Paris and France from further Viking Raids—Christianized his name to Robert—lineage to William the Conqueror. Collapse of Carolingian Empire • Between the three centuries of Viking Raids and destruction on the Continent and the peripheral attacks and raids of the Arabs and the Magyars, the Carolingian Empire became weak and fragmented; • Difficult to maintain a large empire without security; difficult to manage the political, social, or economic structure; • Became embroiled in many Civil Wars and by the middle and especially the end of the 9th century there was no more Carolingian empire—remember it was the isolated Holy Roman Emperor title that would survive 1000 yrs. Collapse of Carolingian Empire • As all dynasties and Empires, if found by the sword, usually die by the sword—success was rooted in military conquests—this allowed large rewards and the buying of loyalty; • This where the rule of Knights and Honorable prestige began to appear—Knights of the Round Table etc … Franks did use Knights as Army. • Features of the Knightly fighting technique was use a lance to unhorse ones opponent … Carolingian Collapse • Two inventions established this Knightly combat: • Stirrup and High-backed saddle; made them a little more formidable in combat; Unfortunately could use Knights against Vikings and water. • Dynastic luck in that lands were divided equally—no one ruler could dominate the other—had to form security and economic alliances for survival Carolingian Collapse • Recall Pepin was the first Carolingian ruler; • Charlemagne's brother died— no contention; • Charlemagne ruled for a long time; • Also two of the three sons died, so everything went to Louis the Pious—no contention here—happened at Louis the Pious’ death—three sons all wanted power Carolingian Collapse • Secure alliances avoided civil wars; • Unfortunately due to Viking beat downs during the 8th and 9th centuries, various Carolingian rulers assumed independence as other rulers made deals with the Vikings, others tried to defeat them— created a lack of trust and much bellicosity; • They began to also war against one another. It began with the break down between familial relations concerning Louis the Pious’ three sons. Carolingian Collapse • Three sons, Lothar, Pippin and Louis the German; • Lothar crowned co-emperor in 823AD; based on the Ordinatio Imperii (oldest son to receive imperial title) also to become overlord to the other two sons. • Louis the Pious’ wife died; he remarried –son Charles the bald—resented their brother Lothar—as co-emperor he had imperial title and power over them as mere Kings Carolingian Collapse • Lothar had Louis the Pious imprisoned three times before his death—assuming Imperial duties—each time, however, Pippin and Louis the German recanted and freed their father— • Lothar could not trust them so he waged war against his brothers—and against Charles the Bald when his share of the lands were given him when Pippin died; • Perpetual Civil War, now—this Civil war ended in 843 with the treaty of Verdun—divided empire equal parts. Treaty of Verdun • It is called the “Birth certificate of Europe.” Europe divided into three (3) equal parts” • Modern day France, Modern day Germany, and what would become modern day Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Romania, Czechoslovakia etc … • Basically emasculated the title of Holy Roman Emperor—no true authority over the others—needed permission to travel through their lands and they need not pay tribute … prestigious title but nothing more … Carolingian Collapse • Important: Lothar retained Holy Roman Emperor title; • Unfortunately for the empire, Charles the bald and Louis the German were essentially independent principalities; • No allegiance or deference to Lothar or the moniker of Holy Roman Emperor. Carolingian Collapse • Brief period in 880s AD, Charles the fat reunited various parts of the Old Kingdom trying to restore the Carolingian dynasty; • Unfortunately the Vikings besieged Paris 885AD, Charles the Fat merely paid them danegeld; despite the brave resistance of Count Odo of Paris—he was deposed because of his mental and physical collapse in 887AD. Carolingian Collapse • Now because of the successive Civil Wars and the attacking of each other; • The Carolingian armies once formidable could not protect the population against the Viking raids—or against one another—lost all respect and credibility with the people; • Empire collapses, no authority, or credible dynastic succession.