Wrath of the Norsemen

1220 years ago, June 8, 793AD, began a brief but so-memorable reign of terror that it defined an entire people for Western Culture: at dawn, men came from the sea in sleek ships of a like never before seen to fall upon the English island monastery of Lindisfarne, men so fierce and bold and unafraid that, for the following three centuries, nothing--including the technological limits of then-current navigation or the geographical limits of the known world--stopped their advance. They sailed East down rivers through Russia, into Asia and entered Byzantine culture as the elite Varangian Guard; the sailed West to the New World, to change the population of Ireland, and to (for a time) rule England; they sailed south to pillage Europe, lay seige to Paris, to explore North Africa and reunite the Mediterranean culture with Europe. They were 'the Norsemen,' whom priests so famously pleaded with God to save, from their wrath; and 1220 years ago, with the sack at Lindisfarne monastery, began the great Viking Age. Skol!