The Vikings in England
793-1066
As the Saxon kingdoms of England grew settled,
new invasions occurred.

Vikings from Scandinavia begin as “hit and run”
ra...
The shallow draft of Viking long-ships allowed the
Vikings to navigate Europe’s many rivers, and
penetrate far deeper than...
Vikings were pirates and pagans.
• The most powerful Nordic god was Odin.
• Odin ruled Valhalla, the hall of slain heroes....
In the 790s, Viking raiders began to target
monasteries located along the English coast.
By the 860s, England faced major invasions by the
Viking “Great Heathen Army” led by Ivar the
Boneless.
• This Viking army...
Saxon King Alfred (the Great) created fyrd
rotation system: half of Saxon males on active
duty/half stay home and harvest ...
Alfred guaranteed peace by building fortified
villages called burhs, which hemmed the Vikings
into Danelaw while protectin...
Alfred’s descendants built on his military success,
and gradually took back much Saxon land from the
Vikings.
• Viking rul...
For the next 35 years (954-980) the Saxons were
free of Viking raids.
• Then, in 968, “Ethelred the Unready”
became boy-ki...
In 991, a large band of Vikings began raiding the
coast of England.

• A Saxon army, led by the Earl
Byrhtnoth, marched to...
As the tide fell the Viking force attempted to cross
the causeway but a small band of Saxons held them
back.
• Needing to ...
The Saxons formed up in a shield wall and the
battle began.
• The Vikings advanced and let fly spears, then the
two sides ...
The battle turned against the Saxons when
Byrhtnoth was killed.
• Once they realized their
commander was dead
some of the ...
The Viking victory at Maldon (991), triggered
another series of invasions of Saxon England.
• In 1016, a Viking became kin...
Saxons regained control of England in 1042, but
they would lose power to another group of Vikings
attacking from Normandy ...
1066: Saxon king of England died without leaving
an heir.
At the Battle of
Hastings Duke
William of
Normandy defeats
Saxon...
Reasons for Norman victory:
• Lack of diversity of
Saxon forces and
tactics (only
infantry using
“shield wall”
tactic.)
• ...
After his conquest of England, William consolidated
power by granting large fiefs (estates) to trusted
Normans lords.

• T...
Saxon kings next created a professional force of 3,000
warriors called housecarls, whose main weapon was the
two-handed ba...
The Vikings and England
The Vikings and England
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The Vikings and England

  1. 1. The Vikings in England 793-1066
  2. 2. As the Saxon kingdoms of England grew settled, new invasions occurred. Vikings from Scandinavia begin as “hit and run” raiders, but will end as settlers throughout Europe.
  3. 3. The shallow draft of Viking long-ships allowed the Vikings to navigate Europe’s many rivers, and penetrate far deeper than just coastal areas.
  4. 4. Vikings were pirates and pagans. • The most powerful Nordic god was Odin. • Odin ruled Valhalla, the hall of slain heroes. • Thor, god of thunder, was most popular amongst Vikings.
  5. 5. In the 790s, Viking raiders began to target monasteries located along the English coast.
  6. 6. By the 860s, England faced major invasions by the Viking “Great Heathen Army” led by Ivar the Boneless. • This Viking army conquered most of eastern England. Their territory was called the Danelaw. • Wessex was the last of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to remain independent. • Wessex survived because of its willingness to pay danegeld (extortion money).
  7. 7. Saxon King Alfred (the Great) created fyrd rotation system: half of Saxon males on active duty/half stay home and harvest crops. • Alfred defeats Vikings at Battle of Edington (878) • After this victory the Vikings agreed to convert to Christianity.
  8. 8. Alfred guaranteed peace by building fortified villages called burhs, which hemmed the Vikings into Danelaw while protecting coastal areas.
  9. 9. Alfred’s descendants built on his military success, and gradually took back much Saxon land from the Vikings. • Viking rule of the Danelaw ended in 954.
  10. 10. For the next 35 years (954-980) the Saxons were free of Viking raids. • Then, in 968, “Ethelred the Unready” became boy-king of the Saxons. • In 980, when Ethelred was 14 years old, Vikings began to raids again.
  11. 11. In 991, a large band of Vikings began raiding the coast of England. • A Saxon army, led by the Earl Byrhtnoth, marched to challenge the Viking forces as they advanced on Maldon. • The Viking boats landed on Northey Island to the east of Maldon, but it was high tide and so there was a shouted negotiation where Byrhtnoth refused to pay the invaders to depart but rather challenged them to battle.
  12. 12. As the tide fell the Viking force attempted to cross the causeway but a small band of Saxons held them back. • Needing to bring the enemy to battle and defeat them, if he was to protect England from further destruction, Byrhtnoth withdrew and allowed the Vikings to cross to the narrow causeway to the mainland.
  13. 13. The Saxons formed up in a shield wall and the battle began. • The Vikings advanced and let fly spears, then the two sides locked into hand to hand fighting, thrusting with spears and slashing with swords.
  14. 14. The battle turned against the Saxons when Byrhtnoth was killed. • Once they realized their commander was dead some of the Saxons fled to the woods behind them. • But Byrhtnoth’s own bodyguard fought on to revenge his death, killing large numbers of the enemy before they too were cut down.
  15. 15. The Viking victory at Maldon (991), triggered another series of invasions of Saxon England. • In 1016, a Viking became king of all of Saxon England. He and his family would rule for 26 years.
  16. 16. Saxons regained control of England in 1042, but they would lose power to another group of Vikings attacking from Normandy France (Nor-man-dy = land of Northmen).
  17. 17. 1066: Saxon king of England died without leaving an heir. At the Battle of Hastings Duke William of Normandy defeats Saxons and takes control of England.
  18. 18. Reasons for Norman victory: • Lack of diversity of Saxon forces and tactics (only infantry using “shield wall” tactic.) • William’s use of combined arms (mounted knights, archers, infantry). • William’s use of fake retreat as a tactic.
  19. 19. After his conquest of England, William consolidated power by granting large fiefs (estates) to trusted Normans lords. • This led to the development of a political system called feudalism based on land (called a fief) given by monarchs or nobles in exchange for the loyalty of followers (vassals). King ------------Nobles/Lords ----------------------Knights -----------------------------------Townsfolk/Artisans/Skilled Workers ---------------------------------------------------Serfs
  20. 20. Saxon kings next created a professional force of 3,000 warriors called housecarls, whose main weapon was the two-handed battle axe.

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