This week in class, I learned about the 9th and 10th century invasions. They started in Sicily in 827 AD with the Vikings and ended during the late 10th century with the Muslims. In this essay, I am going to briefly summarize what happened during these 200 years.
Norsemen, more commonly known as Vikings, started invading France in the early 9th century. They started with coastal cities at first, but after the death of King Louis the Pious in 840 AD, they got bolder and moved onto the towns inland. They showed no mercy to the inhabitants of the towns they pillaged. Houses would be burned, valuables stolen, and people were enslaved. Sometimes they would demand large amounts of money from the townspeople in exchange for immunity from their merciless pillaging. Those who refused would be completely destroyed.
One of the characteristics of the Vikings was how they never stayed in the town they looted. Once they gathered their prize, they would sail back home to Scandinavia. This showed that unlike other groups of people that came before them, they were unwilling to be ‘civilized.’
In 911 AD, King Charles the Simple officially gave a piece of land to the Vikings, even though they had completely monopolized it during the years prior. Charles hoped that this would convince the Vikings to settle down and stop pillaging. His attempt worked and the Vikings stopped majority of their violent plunders of France, and they established their own homes in the land, creating the region of Normandy.
While this was happening, a group known as the Magyars, who are said to have come from Asian descent, were attacking Germany, northern Italy, and some parts of France during the mid-9th and 10 centuries. They were merciless when they attacked the Germans, much like how the Vikings were to the French. However, by the year 100 AD, they were Christianized and settled down, creating the Christian kingdom of Hungary.
Muslim troops based in Spain and Africa also joined the pillaging of European countries during this time, but they stopped during the late 10th centuries.
As you can see, the 9th and 10th centuries were a very rough time for France and Germany. However, these invasions are very important to history, as you will see in my next essay about feudalism and manorialism.
Thanks for reading!