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Go Viking. Go Lindisfarne!

 

Being a viking is not about where you come from, but where you go.

To go viking.

 

 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles produced the Lindisfarne Raid myth for its own purpose. Winters were considered safe periods from viking attacks. Danish and Norwegian vikings would not cross the North Sea mid-winter for obvious reasons. If there was a raid on Lindisfarne in January it could have happened from hibernating vikings at Berwick. That way they would have appeared to come from across the sea, not the North Sea.  The raiders could even have been anglo-saxon pirates jollying in the absence of the real vikings. It was all about local anglo-saxon politics in other words. Some historians have tried to change the Chronicles’ date to a summer date to suit their love of warm weather and beliefs.

What happened with the raid story in literature is just that; literature.

 

 

The anglo-saxon chroniclers who condemned the attack on Lindisfarne as an attack of Norse cruelty may well have stood behind the literary attacks themselves representing the roman church, itself a colonising force at that time. This could also have been a tactical part of a roman church strategy to go beyond Hadrian’s Wall. «There are cruel marauders out there on the ocean, in the winter storms. You never know when they will strike from the wrath of the storms. Only we, the God people can protect you».

This theory is academically better than stating that the attack on Lindisfarne must have occured in summer. A modern adjustment of the written source to fit an inherited view of English innocence attacked by the wild sea rovers.

 

«The Northumbrian king Aelfwald had been killed by a band of conspirators led by the nobleman Sicga, who then killed himself in February in the same year of the Viking raid.» From Encyclopedia Britannica, this was a drama before the drama. There must be a connection, right? Does England's tradition for storytelling of dragons and unspeakable horror in others, come from an attack in winter, when they felt safe, or was Lindisfarne an invention of a storytelling tradition, or a political play? A fear for the ocean and its inhabitant creatures?

 

 

I am sure uncle Snorri said, «It’s all literature!»

 

 

 

 

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