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Vikings were a group of Norse people from Scandinavia, who from the late 8th century to the early 11th century, raided, pillaged and traded with their neighboring countries during the Early and High Middle Ages. This period of time (793–1066), eventually became known as the Viking Age.

History

In 793, during the Lindisfarne raid, a Viking raider fought against and defeated an Anglo-Saxon warrior, whom he then offered the chance to join his clan. However, the Anglo-Saxon was overcome by grief, crying out that God had abandoned his people and that nothing remained but chaos. Feeling pity for him, the Viking raider killed him without a second thought.[1]

Nearly a century later in 873, the Vikings returned to Great Britain to expand. One such Viking was Eivor Varinsdottir, a shieldmaiden of the Raven Clan and ally of the Hidden Ones. They were met with opposition from King Alfred of Wessex, the Grand Maegester of the Order of the Ancients. During this period, the Anglo-Saxons referred to the Viking invaders as Danes.[2]

Another century later in around 984, the Viking Hidden One and skald Þórvaldr Hjaltason participated in the Battle of Fýrisvellir against Styrbjörn the Strong.[3] In 986,[4], the Vikings sailed west of Greenland to further expeditions for food, and trade opportunities with the Inuit tribes. The decreasing temperatures however brought these ventures to a halt.[5]

Other Vikings settled eastwards, establishing the Kievan Rus, laying the foundations of modern Russia, and sailing down the Dnieper River to raid Constantinople, only to be driven back by the Byzantines. Despite the Vikings’ losses, the Byzantines allowed the Rus Vikings to trade in the city. In 911 CE, the Byzantine Emperor, Basil II, received a force of 8,000 Rus Viking mercenaries to serve as his bodyguards.[6] These warriors became known as the Varangian Guard, and were active well after the Fall of Constantinople. In the early 16th century, the mentor of the Italian Assassins, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, encountered several Varangians employed by the Byzantine Templars during his search for the Masyaf Keys in both Constantinople and Derinkuyu.[7]

Appearances

References

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