Viking Raiders, Explorers and Traders

The reach of the Vikings was incredible. Their longships sailed to all corners of the European continent, as well as across the Atlantic to Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. The sagas tell of journeys to the Caspian Sea, of Constantinople, of the sorcerers of the White Sea, and of trade along the Silk Road to China. The peoples of Scandinavia established a reputation as mighty warriors who were to be feared.

In Britain, the Vikings achieved infamy on 8 June 793 when they launched a vicious attack on the priory on Lindisfarne in Northumberland. This was a renown centre of Christian learning and the site where the Lindisfarne Gospels had been produced with great care. The event sent a shockwave across the local kingdoms as well as at royal courts overseas. There followed decades of fear and anxiety lest the sea-warriors be sighted offshore, coming to raise hell in communities up and down the country. The Vikings knew about the unease of the English and exploited it to their advantage.

In 866, the Vikings had assembled the ‘Great Heathen Army’ that sailed from Denmark and landed on England’s east coast. It had reached the gates of York by 867 and began to lay siege. The town soon succumbed to the crushing force and was taken as the capital of what was to become the Danelaw, an English territory under the jurisdiction of the Vikings. The newcomers re-named the town as Jórvík.

As with all violence, energies lulled and warrior became ruler or landowner, more eager now to make some coin and seek prosperity. Trade mostly requires peace. And it is peace that King Canute brought to England under his North Sea Empire. Knutti arrives in Jórvík at this time, at the height of Viking rule in England!

Come along to visit The Knutti Store before or after you head for the Jorvik Viking Centre in York.

Back to blog