HIST 203 Lecture Outline (Fall 2020 – Week 8)

HIST 203


Week 8: Tuesday


Video on Viking ships (6:28):

Smithsonian Channel video on Viking longship design (3:49 min.)

793 Vikings attack England
9th-10th C. Carolingian empire divided, and besieged by Vikings from N., Magyars (Hungarians) from E., and Muslims (or “Saracens”) from S.
814-840 Louis the Pious
842 Oaths of Strasbourg sworn by Louis the German and Charles the Bald against Lothar

Treaty of Verdun divides empire among the 3 sons of Louis the Pious (Charlemagne’s grandsons):

Lothar (d. 855) becomes emperor and takes Middle Kingdom (Lotharingia, or Lorraine)

Louis the German (d. 876) takes East Frankish kingdom (Germany)

Charles the Bald (d. 877) takes West Frankish kingdom (France)


Viking leader Rolf (Rollo) is given Normandy (alternative map: Normandy) in return for peace and conversion to Christianity.

Click here for some examples of Viking place-names in Normandy.

955 Battle of Lechfeld: Hungarian (Magyar) army annihilated by Otto I (“the Great”) of Germany


Tripartite society:

jarls (earls; = nobles)

karls (churls; = free farmers)

thralls (= slaves)

Map of Viking conquests

Swedish vikings: go east to Baltics, S. Russia, Ukraine, and Byzantine Empire
Danish vikings: go south and west to Francia, S. Europe, and British Isles
Norse vikings: go west to British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland

Intact Viking boat-burial found October 2011 at Ardnamurchan (western Scotland)

Another Viking boat-burial found October 2018 at Halden in Norway, by radar


Week 8: Thursday

Excavation and analysis of about 50 decapitated Viking skeletons from Weymouth, Dorset, 2009:

(2:20 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iBGV3IJbLk
(4:40 min.): http://videosift.com/video/Weymouth-ridgeway-skeletons-Scandinavian-Vikings

Excavation of Viking boat-burial at Ardnamurchan (western Scotland):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WxjKV42HS8 (1:59 min.)

Map of Scandinavia, Iceland, and Greenland

Map of Iceland with location of Althing

Additional primary sources on the Vikings include:

Additional terms include:

  • Berserk (or berserker)
  • Thing; All-Thing
  • Wer(e)gild

Click on the following Viking artifacts:

Picture stone from Tängelgårda, Gotland 8th cent., showing Viking scenes (identified in caption as from Lårbro)

Viking swords

Viking axes and their uses

Ranvaig’s casket Looted by the Vikings from a Scottish church and acquired by a woman from Norway who carved on the bottom in runes “Ranvaig owns this.”

Grave of Viking woman from Cnip, on the isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides: skeleton, and her ornaments

Viking grave from Birka, with weapons, gaming pieces, and 2 horses, excavated in 1889, discovered in 2017 to be of a woman. Click here for a recent reconstruction of the grave.

Gospel-book redeemed from Vikings  in England in the mid 9th cent. by Ealdorman Aelfred and his wife Werburg, who gave it to Canterbury Cathedral priory. [“Canterbury Codex Aureus,” now Stockholm, Kungliga Biblioteket, MS A. 135]

Mass grave of about 50 decapitated Viking skeletons from Weymouth, Dorsetshire (all male, almost all were in late teens to early 20s; C14 date: 970 x 1025 CE; identifiable as Scandinavians from the high-protein diet revealed by the isotopes in their tooth enamel) Another account of the same excavation, and another, and additional photos and a video

Viking hoard found in Scotland in 2014