When Did the Viking Age Actually Start?

Posted by Ms Elly on

When Did the Viking Age Actually Start?

They who wield axe to bend the world to their will travelled across the high water. Anywhere they went, suffering and loss followed. The Vikings made their names with voyages, raiding, and wars. But what did the Viking Age actually start? What was the Viking Age birthday which posed a great danger to many tribes of the Medieval time?

First Raid on 8 June 793 AD

If you are a Viking enthusiast, you are likely to hear about the first raid of the Vikings. As time progresses, this day becomes the Viking Age birthday. 

On that day, the Vikings set out their first raid on the church of St Cuthbert on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. This shocked the community of Christian and England as well. 

According to the Annals of Lindisfarne, the exact date was 8 June 793. When the sun still hid from the skyline, the Vikings landed and sneaked into the island under the dusk. And people gradually believe that 8 June was the day the Viking Age actually started. 

Holy Island on Lindisfarne was the first destination for Viking raids in 793 AD

Holy Island on Lindisfarne was the first destination for Viking raids in 793 AD

But was that day actually the day the Viking Age started? No, it wasn't. It was just a milestone marking a new era of the Vikings. Meanwhile, it presented the potential danger to the other people from other tribes. They were always afraid that they would be next. 

Many English and European kings failed to protect their people under the attack of the Vikings. Even the class like priests and monks faced the brutal raiders. 

But the Viking Age Started Long Before

The first raid on Holy Island was the first and most impressive raid of the Vikings. But their age started long before that raid. 

They had been developing keels and sails. Until one day, their effort paid off and their ship could cross the North Sea and other oceans. 

Gokstad ship is a golden example for the Viking shipbuilding skills. After being excavated, Gokstad ship inspired the Norwegian to create a ship based on the Gokstad ship. They called her "Viking" the first Viking ship replica ever built in the modern age. 

First Viking ship replica. Her name was "Viking", not ravens or something

This "Viking" ship replica based on the construction of Gokstad. This attested to the talent of shipbuilding in the Viking age. 

"Viking" the Replica could easily cross the Atlantic Ocean. This attested to the power of the Viking ship in the medieval age. 

What happened on the Viking first raid?

Three ships of the Northmen landed at Portland Bay. A reeve who was a senior officer mistook these guests with the merchants and wanted to direct them to the royal estate. But the Vikings slew him.

They targeted the monastery on Holy Island off the northeast coast of England. According to written text, the Viking raiders slew some local monks and threw them into the ocean. They kept some alive as the slaves. 

The church of St Cuthbert which was the raiding destination for the Vikings was covered with the blood of the priests. The raiders took all of the valuable furnishings. And the Englishmen knew they had to say farewell to their peace. So 8 June became a landmark of dark days for many Medieval tribes. 

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