Viking Era

Viking warfare – violence wasn’t limited to the Vikings – 6/

Alert Viking warrior armed with axe and shield.  Same weaponry used by most soldiers in the era. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

No doubt the Vikings were more violent than we can imagine. The book Norse Warfare: A Portrayal of Combat, Raids, and Plunder in the Viking Age by Martina Sprague explains they weren’t the only violent ones around at the time.

It was a violent time

Legend and popular stories claim the Vikings were particularly brutal and ruthless. If you listen to those reports you will think that they were unique in their time.

Not so, the book points out.

During the Viking age, kings all across Europe were frequently fighting each other.

Centuries before the Viking Age kicked off, the book points out that each of the various kingdoms in England (Wessex, East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia) was at war with someone else every few years.

During those wars between the kingdoms in England, churches were raided and monasteries in Ireland were burned. The Vikings didn’t think that strategy up on their own.

And then there’s King Charlemagne, a devout Christian and the role model for all of us.

In 782 he reportedly chopped off the heads of 4,500 Saxons in one day.

Why?

They refuse to convert to Christianity and insisted they would continue their pagan ways.

A loyal servant to Charlemagne said that right after the mass executions Charlemagne celebrated Mass.

Book also points out that Charlemagne was frequently at war with someone, particularly the Saxons.

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