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3. History of Civilization (3.12.1-3.12.6)
Written by Messiah   
Thursday, 06 July 2006

3.12.1    Viking raids

The earliest recorded interception with Vikings were in 787, in Portland, were they were mistaken as merchants by a Royal officer. As he tried to convince them to pay the royal trade tax fees, they killed him. For the next 200 years, European history is filled with tales of Vikings and their conquests.

Vikings exerted influence throughout the coastal areas of Ireland and Scotland, and conquered and colonized large parts of England. They traveled up the rivers of France and Spain, and gained control of areas in Russia and along the Baltic coast. Stories tell of raids in the Mediterranean and as Far East as the Caspian Sea.

3.12.2    The Varangian Rus

The “Vikings” were those Scandinavians who traveled westward while those who traveled eastward were called “Varangians” meaning "sworn men". This meaning will encounter interesting context later in this dossier. The Varangians were generally Swedes, also called the “Rus”, and they accomplished quit extraordinary quests. For example “Oleg” conquered Kiev, founded Kievan Rus and attacked Constantinople and “Rurik” founded the Rus rule in Eastern Europe, which later became Russian Empire.

An interesting story regarding the Kievan Rus, from the year 862, tells us that there was no law among the tribes around Kiev and they said to themselves: "Let us seek a prince who may rule over us, and judge us according to custom." The Chuds, the Slavs, the Krivichs and the Ves then went overseas to the Varangian Rus (The Swedes) and said, "Our land is great and rich, but there is no order in it. Come reign as princes, rule over us". Three brothers took with them all the Rus and came.

3.12.3    The Varangian guard

Varangians first appear in the Byzantine world in 839, there they did both trade and raid the Byzantines for a century. In year 988 the relation with the Byzantines was enhanced thru a marriage between Kievan Prince Vladimir the Great (Varangian) and Basil II's (ruler of Constantinople) sister Anna. In exchange Vladimir gave 6000 Varangian soldiers to Basil to use as his own personal bodyguard. The most famous member of them was Harald Hardrada, who before he joined the guard had campaigned in North Africa and Jerusalem. Harald returned to Scandinavia year 1043 and later became King Harald III of Norway. Harald died in the early parts of the naval invasion of Hastings, England in year 1066, but yet managed to prepare for the Norman victory.

Another famous member of the guard was Halfdans, who may be the world first successful graffiti painter, as he has “tagged” the inside of church Hagia Sofia Church in Constantinople with runes that still today is readable. The Varangian guard was the only element of the Byzantine army to successfully defend Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.

3.12.4    A New World exists

Viking, Erik the Red sailed west and discovered Iceland and Greenland in about year 980, were he created settlements. Erik’s son, Leif Erikson, later reached North America and settled in what he named “Vinland” or the “land of the grapes. Archaeologists have found Viking weapons and tools in the regions of Newfoundland, Canada. The Vikings abandoned their settlements after about 35 years.

3.12.5    The North Men

One group of Vikings from Norway settled and founded Normandy in northwest France. England was invaded in 1066 by the Norman ruler, William the Conqueror. This initiated a three hundred year period were England would be ruled by kings who did not speak English. The Norman kings imported many French traditions, adopted the French language and completely destroyed the English rule. They created a French military state, seized English land and destroyed and English opposition.

William also ordered the Tower of London to be built to protect the Capital and to remind the English people that the Normans were the rulers. The Tower remains standing today. Norman conquests also resulted in centuries of conflicts between England and France. The two nations fought the “Hundred Years War” between 1336 and 1453, a war which included the colonization race of America. England became a target of Napoleon who was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The two nations did not truly become allies until the 20th century, when they as allied forces defeated Germany in two World Wars.

3.12.6    The end of the Viking age

As Christianity was introduced into Scandinavia in the 11th century, the Norse people (Today called Vikings) were converted to Christianity. Their gods and structures of leadership were by time replaced with new Christian ideals. As new trade routes were created, contacts with foreign settlements by time died out. Those who were knows as Vikings by time became the European knights, Nobles, and even Kings who merged into general public or died at one of many battlefields of the Middle Ages. Those who didn’t coupe with Christianity continued to battle against the Church and formed early Protestantism, which I will talk more about later in this dossier.



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