Raping Pillaging Plundering Vikings were scared of Scotland!

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Gundulph, Oct 14, 2009.

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  1. Looks like it wasn't only the Romans who disliked Haggis, Neaps & tatties, Fried Mars Bars, a Wee Dram and the Celtic Marauding Hordes from North of the Border :D

    Why even the fiercest Viking warrior steered clear of Scotland

    Icelandic sagas carried a warning for Norsemen

    By Jonathan Brown

    Monday, 21 September 2009

    Viking sailors were interested in trading with the Scots, but found the reception they received from the natives was somewhat less than cordial


    Viking sailors were interested in trading with the Scots, but found the reception they received from the natives was somewhat less than cordial

    The Viking reputation as bloodthirsty conquerors has endured for more than a millennium but new research shows that some Norsemen approached these islands with more than a little trepidation.

    Uppermost in the minds of the Icelandic merchants weighing anchor off Scotland in the Middle Ages were the ferocious reception they expected from hostile locals, dangerous landings, the incomprehensible language and the terrible weather (very foggy).

    Advice handed down to Norse travellers in the 13th century warns those making the journey to Scotland that they did so at their own peril. A new analysis of the classic Icelandic Sagas (Islendingasagur) has unearthed the following counsel: "Icelanders who want to practise robbery are advised to go there ... but it may cost them their life."

    Another tells of a Scot identified as Grjotgard, a kinsman of Melkolf, king of Scotland (Malcolm II). His flotilla of 13 vessels bristling with fierce, angry-looking warriors intercepted a party of arriving Icelandic traders in a western sea loch: "You have two choices. You can go ashore and we will take all your property, or we'll attack you and kill every man we lay our hands on," the Scot warned them.

    The chronicles set down on yellowed calf vellum eight centuries ago have been reinterpreted by Gisli Sigurdsson, a historian at Reykjavik University, who suggests that the ancient Norse were more tentative than other accounts suggest, especially when it came to contact with the Scots.

    Though written down in the 13th century, the part-fact, part-fiction accounts based on the travels of the leading Icelandic families pertain to a period 200 years earlier.

    At the height of their power the Scandinavian seafarers claimed Orkney, Shetland, Iceland and Greenland as their own. They had also established powerful colonies in mainland Scotland, England, Ireland, France, North America and Russia.

    At this time the Scots were fighting off the Norman kings of England as well as coping with the bitter struggles of their own clans. But as their sphere of military influence grew, the Norse became more interested in trading than fighting. They were not always met with open arms, according to Mr Sigurdsson. "The only places the Norse expected a safe reception was Orkney and Shetland, where the people were basically like them and where they would be greeted as kin," he said. They were particularly nervous in the western sea lochs then known as the "Scottish fjords". The Vikings were also wary of the Gaels of Ireland and west Scotland and the inhabitants of the Hebrides.

    Orkney historian Tom Muir said the raiders typically preyed on easy targets such as monasteries but the trouble was not all one way: "The truth is there were raids both ways and the Norse had every reason to fear Celtic neighbours."

  2. 13th century? so post viking really and after the end of the Norwegian kingdom in the western isles.
  3. It's a shame they didn't have a Viking Duke of Cumberland!
  4. Hmmmm sounds like someone is mistaking Pagan Vikings for the Christian successors.

    For those who are interested google Haplogroup R1a
  5. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    The Isles were still part of the Norse empire till the mid 1468s when they were ceded to Scotland.

    so 15th Century.
  6. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Kicked your scrotey English arrrses around more times than anybody else :twisted:
  7. I think you forgot the ravaging bits... Sure there were no open arms, but the Vikings were hardly looking for those parts of the anatomy.

    The Viking expansion is usually dated from the raid and capture of Lindisfarne, 793 onwards until its largest expansion in the 11 century, see map below.

    By the time this socalled new research(!) describes, the local population had a significantly improved gene pool and most people probably spoke norse anyway.

    The bits of the Highlands that were not covered still do not produce good single malts as the islanders do, so one sees why they could not be bothered. And the deep fried Mars bars - the horror!

    Attached Files:

  8. Not another legend of Scotlands inconquerability....

    You're in the Union, you were conquered. Deal with it.
  9. More like there was nothing worth raping, pillaging, or plundering.
  10. Re tiger stacker; or just study this 724-pager ;-)

  11. I dont think scotland existed as such until around 1700, yes I know the place existed, just the ruling clans before then had no concept of a country.
  12. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    By whom?

    I thought you were a historian?
  13. I think England played a major part in Scotland getting battered.
  14. Bc, don't know how "concept"ually fixated they were, but the Norwegian king Magnus did negotiate with the Scottish King Etgair mac Maíl Coluim in about 1099, and agreed that any land Magnus could circumnavigate would belong to the Norwegian king. There's an interesting story (well it's a slow night here) of how he then proceeded to let his longship be dragged on logs across the Kintyre at Tarbert, subsequently claiming it for the norse kingdom.
    Edited to add a drawing, sorry, best I could do - the colour photos are in the main archive.

    Choc-frog, note the yellow bits of England that weren't civilised until late in the game.

    Attached Files:

  15. Cheers think i will stick to the book to hand.