Monday 12 June 2023

The cruelty of the Vikings was legendary. However, the reality was different

[Photo by DAMIANUM CASTRUM from Pexels]

They were famous for their violent nature, sudden attacks and barbarism. But to what extent is the cruelty of the Vikings a fact confirmed by historians?

In June 793, Vikings invaded a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England. The center, which had existed for 150 years, was the spiritual and intellectual center of the region. However, to the pagan aggressors it was nothing more than an undefended object full of riches. Thus began in the history of Europe an era of Vikings that lasted more than 250 years, until the decisive battle of Hastings fought in 1066.

“Never before had there been such a terror in Britain as that which has now arisen through the heathen race. These barbarians poured the blood of the saints around the altar [in St. Cuthbert’s Church] and trampled on the bodies of the saints in the temple of God like dung in the streets.”

These words, still breathing terror today, were written by Alcuin of York in a letter to King Ethelred of Northumbria. This was the name of the land on the coast of which the profaned and devastated monastery and church were located.

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