Why Is Lindisfarne Attack Important?

Posted by Ms Elly on

Why Is Lindisfarne Attack Important?

If we do some quick research about the Viking Age, we probably come across the Lindisfarne attack that is believed to be the start of the Viking Age. 

The truth is, it was not the first attack by the Vikings. It was neither the start of the Viking Age which started decades before the attack. But Lindisfarne is still one of the most important events not only in the Viking history but also in Anglo-Saxon. 

The year of 793 witnessed an incredible event - the attack of Lindisfarne by the Vikings. Like many other Viking attacks, this one followed the hit-and-run techniques, approaching from the shore, raiding quickly, and leaving. But what made this an important event was the location and the religious significance of Lindisfarne.

Viking attack on Lindisfarne the Holy Island of Northumbria in the 8th century

Viking attack on Lindisfarne in 793

At that time, Lindisfarne was a part of the Northumbria Kingdom. It was known as the Holy Land. On the island stood a monastery which as the name indicated, was the center of Christianity in Northumbria. As many Christians at that time believed that no one could lay a finger on the holy land or else they would receive the punishment from their god. That's why Lindisfarne island stood alone with hardly any defense. But they didn't think of the Vikings who worshipped their own gods and followed the mighty ancient path. A literal text from Anglo-Saxon Chronicle said that:

Here were dreadful forewarnings come over the land of Northumbria, and woefully terrified the people: these were amazing sheets of lightning and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. A great famine soon followed these signs, and shortly after in the same year, on the sixth day before the ides of January, the woeful inroads of heathen men destroyed God’s church in Lindisfarne island by fierce robbery and slaughter.

The fiery dragons must have been the Viking ship that carried the Vikings all the way to Northumbria. And the whole picture of the attack was vividly described. 

Viking attack on Lindisfarne in 793

A scene from "Vikings" TV series when the Viking warriors attacked Lindisfarne island

Many scholars believed that one of the reasons why this attack was important was that it was a Viking counter-attack to the Christianization propaganda. And the Vikings made use of the time when Anglo-Saxon and other European parts were in conflict. They attacked to declare their might and left with all the treasure they took from the holy island. 

This sent waves of terror and shock to the Northumbria and the whole Christian Europe in general. 

Older Post Newer Post

Recent Articles


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published