Viking Siege of Paris (Part 1)

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Viking Siege of Paris (Part 1)

By far, the historians have agreed that one of the most famous Viking attacks must be the Siege of Paris. The reason why this attack became famous was related to Ragnar Lothbrok and damage caused by this territorial attack. 

In the Latin Frankish source, the Viking leader mentioned was Reginheri who was a famous Viking leader in the 8th century. Scholars assumed that this Reginheri was the core historical figure of Ragnar Lothbrok. In case you miss any piece of information about Ragnar Lothbrok, he was a Viking great hero fathering Bjorn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, to name but a few. Ragnar sons' were allegedly the leaders of Viking Great Heathen Army that attacked Anglo-Saxon.

The Very First Viking Attack on Paris

The year was 845 as the first milestone of Viking steps on Paris. The city of Paris at this point located on a small island Île de la Cité was terrified by the city bell sounds. For the past four years, the city had been continuously attacked by the Vikings who were considered to be among the fiercest warriors at that time. 

Reginheri (or Ragnar Lothbrok) followed the river bringing his fleets of 120 ships and 5000 warriors entering the Seine. Before knocking at the gate of Seine, Reginheri and his warriors had attacked the city of Roune. 

Map of Paris in the 9th century. Viking Siege of Paris

Map of Paris in the 9th century

Not so long ago, Reginheri was gifted with lands and Turnholt where he built some settlements. But the Viking leader lost his control and power over the site very soon. 

The reigning Frankish king at that time was Charles the Bald was afraid of losing the Abbey of Saint-Denis decided to gather his army. 

The Frankish king assembled his men dividing them into two major groups. He ordered them to followed the river to protect two shores of the Seine river. But this military tactics ended up nowhere as the Viking warriors easily destroyed one garrisons and took some prisoners. 

The Vikings took 111 prisoners for their religious sacrifice. 

Final days of March 845 witnessed Viking takeover of Paris. The Frankish prisoners who were captured earlier were sacrificed to the might of the Viking almighty god, Odin. The Vikings hang up all prisoners. 

Viking attack on Paris in 845

Vikings attacked Paris after following the Seine river 

Money for Peace 

Even though this Viking attack was considered to be a large territorial attack, they only aimed at gold and silver. 

The Frankish king Charles the Bald paid 7,000 livres of silver and gold for the peace of Paris. But this amount of fortune seemed to prevent the Vikings temporarily. The Vikings carried on attacking the holy Abbey of Saint-Denis which the Frankish king wanted to protect the most. 

In the same year, Viking King Horik attacked the archbishopric city of Hamburg. But this attack quickly ended with a peace treaty among the Viking king and the King of East Frankia. 

Raginheri and King Horik met up to talk about the attacks. The Vikings had entered the city with ease but they lost many warriors because of plague at Saint Germain in Paris. King Horik was afraid as he believed the plague was the curse for the Vikings because they attacked the holy Abbey. King Horik sentenced the surviving raiders to death and freed all alive Christian captives. 

During 860s, the Vikings continued to raid around Paris. The city of Paris suffered terrible loss because of the Vikings. Frankish King of West Frankia, Charles, died in 877 leaving behind him the turbulent city in war. Many rulers attempted to reign but their periods only lasted for a short time. In 884, King of Germany and Italy Charles the Fat took over the throne of Frankia. 

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