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 {| border="5" style="margin:0pxauto;" |- style="text-align:center;" | style="width:224px;"|Point of Divergence 878 AD | style="width:225px;"|Ninth Century (800 - 899) | style="width:225px;"|Tenth Century (900-999) |} Following the decisive defeat of Alfred of Wessex Battle of Edington in 878, the fate of England was forever changed. This timeline begins after that battle, detailing the events that would lead up to the modern day.



ContentsEdit

[show]==Ragnar LodbrokEdit==

[1]

The Battle of Brávellir

Ragnar Lodbrok was born sometime in the eighth century to legendary king Sigurd Ring and Alf of Alfheim. Sigurd had become king years earlier when he successfully led an army of Swedes and Western Geats to defeat an army of Danes and East Geats under the command of Harald Wartooth near Bråviken (Brávik), East Götaland. Harald was a legendary king who had inherited Sweden from his maternal grandfather Ivar Vidfamne. Harald was in Garðaríki at the time of his grandfather Ivar Vidfamne's death, and went to Zealand, where he was accepted as king. Then he went to Scania, which his mother's family had ruled, and was well received and given much help in men and arms. With a good portion of territory in his control, Harald then launched an invasion of Sweden to claim his inheritance. Harald was combated by a number of petty kings, previously conquered by Ivar. At only age fifteen, the many nobles thought they could easily defeat Harald, but instead the young commander proved able-minded and successfully conquered his grandfather's domain and then some. Harald ruled Denmark and East Götaland, while his subordinate king Sigurd Ring was the ruler of Sweden and West Götaland. Throughout much of Harald's domain subordinate jarls and kings were appointed, all paying tribute to him. This rule continued successfully for some time, and Harald realized he could die of old age, having grown quite old as king, and would never go to Valhalla. Harald asked Sigurd to let him leave his life gloriously in battle.

Both sides spent seven years preparing, according to legend amassing armies of 200,000 men, although this number is probably high. Harald was also joined by Ubbe of Friesland, Uvle Brede, Are the One-eyed, Dag the Fat, Duk the Slav, Hroi Whitebeard and Hothbrodd the Indomitable, all legendary heroes in their own right, as well as 300 shieldmaidens led by Hed, Visna of the Slavs and Hedborg. On Sigurd's side fought Starkad, Egil the Bald, Grette the Evil (a Norwegian), Blig Bignose, Einar the Fatbellied and Erling Snake, as well as the Swedes Arwakki, Keklu-Karl, Krok the peasant, Gummi and Gudfast from Gislamark. Large groups of Norwegians, Slavs, Finns, Estonians, Curonians, Bjarmians, Livonians, Saxons, Angles, Frisians, Irish, Rus', and many other tribes were recruited, choosing sides for the battle. it is also said that whole forests were chopped down in order to build 3000 longships to transport the Swedes, and that the Danish warriors under the command of Harald had built so many ships that they could walk across The Sound. The real numbers in this battle have since been lost to antiquity, with these recorded numbers highly exaggerated. The leidang fleets of the Scandinavian kingdoms only numbered around 300 ships each during the Viking Age for example.

[2]

Following the Battle of the Brávellir Sigurd Hring let burn the death body of Harald Wartooth.

Finally the two armies clashed, fighting heavily with Ubbi in the center. Ubbi would personally slay Ragnvald the Wise Councilor, then the champion Tryggvi and three Swedish princes of the royal dynasty. Sigurd sent forth the champion Starkad to fight Ubbi, managing to wound him, but also taking severe wounds himself. Ubbi would then kill Agnar, dual wielding swords to cut his way into the Swedish army. Ubbi would become riddled with arrows from the archers of Telemark, finally dying. The champion Soti would be killed by the shieldemaiden Vebord, who would also inflict another wound against Starkad. Starkad became furious, running into the enemy army, killing several warriors, and cutting off the shieldmaiden Visna's army, which held the Danish banner. He would also slay the champions Brai, Grepi, Gamli, and Haki. Finally Harald himself ran into battle on a chariot, slaying warriors left and right. Bruni, Harald's steward believed his liege had fulfilled his dream of glory, and crushed his king's skull with a club. The victory against Harald Wartooth would establish Sigurd Ring as the sovereign ruler of all of Sweden and Denmark.

Following the death of Alfhild, Sigurd Ring would travel to Skiringssal to take part in the great blóts in his oldage. There he spotted a very beautiful girl named Alfsol, daughter of King Alf of Vendel (Vendel). The girl's two brothers refuse to allow Sigurd to marry her, and Sigurd fought with the brothers, killing them in battle. Their sister is found, however, to have been given poison by her brothers so that Sigurd could never have married her. When her corpse was carried to Sigurd, he went aboard a large ship where, where he placed Alvsol and her brothers. The ship was steered with full sails out on the sea, as the ship burned. With Sigurd now dead, Ragnar succeeded his father as king, but placed a subking named Eysteinn Beli on the throne of Sweden. Ragnar would marry his Thora Hart-of-the-Town after allegedly slaying a giant snake in her possession, who gave birth to two sons, named Eirik and Agnar. After Thora's death, Ragnar would next marry Aslaug, whom some call Randalin, the daughter of Sigurd Fafnir’s Bane and Brynhild Budli’s daughter. They had four sons; Ivar Boneless was the eldest, then Bjorn Ironside, then Hvitserk, then Sigurd. Sigurd becomes known as Sigurd Snake-in-Eye, because of a mark in his eye that looks as if a snake lay around his pupil.

With the brothers Eirek and Agnar in second in rank after Ragnar, and Ivar third with his younger brothers, Ragnar and his sons would go on to conquer Zealand and Reidgotaland, Gotland, and Öland and all the smaller islands in the sea. Ivar would then set himself up at Hleidargard in Zealand with his younger brothers, going against the will of King Ragnar. Ragnar had grown upset that his sons had set up control over his tributary lands, and became jealous of them. One summer while Ragnar was raiding in the Baltics, Ragnar's sons led an attack against King Eystein of Sweden. They would be defeated by Eystein's superior numbers, with Agnar killed in battle. Eirik would also be captured, choosing to be killed.



"Vilkat boð fyr bróður né baugum mey kaupa, Eystein kveða orðinn Agnars bana, heyra;
grætr eigi mik móðir, munk efstr of val deyja, ok geirtré í gögnum gerr, látið mik standa."
“Don’t care, cur, to hear you, killer if you offer; (Eystein, they say, slew Agnar) I don’t want your
daughter. To mourn me I’ve no mother; make haste, hey!, impale me. I’ll die over host hoisted,
highest o’er the slaughter.”
(Eirik Ragnarsson, Ragnarssona þáttr)


[3]

Ragnar Lodbrok's death in the snake pit.

The sons of Ragnar next mustered an even larger force, setting sail for Sweden. A second army under the command of Wueen Aslaug was also sent, with fifteen hundred knights. Aslaug commanded the force herself, wearing armor and leading the force into battle. The groups meet up in Sweden and begin to plunder and burn the Swedish countryside. Eystein leads an army to meet the invaders, but is defeated and falls in battle, conquering the region of Sweden.

When Ragnar arrived home from his raids he was very displeased that his sons had continued to go against his will, and sought to show his own personal greatness. Ragnar would set sail with an army of five hundred men for the shores of England, seeking to conquer the region with a small force and show himself superior to his sons. Upon arriving, however, Ragnar would be defeated by King Ælla of Northumbria. Ragnar was captured in battle, and on King Ælla's orders, killed in a snake pit.

Krákumál, Ragnar's death-song, a 12th-century Scottish skaldic poem (first verse):

Hjoggum vér með hjörvi.
Hitt vas æ fyr löngu,
es á Gautlandi gengum
at grafvitnis morði;
þá fengum vér Þóru,
þaðan hétu mik fyrðar,
es lyngölun lagðak,
Loðbrók at því vígi;
stakk á storðar lykkju
stáli bjartra mála. .
We swung our sword;
that was ever so long ago
when we walked in Gautland
to the murder of the dig-wulf.
Then we received Þóra;
since then
(at that battle when I killed the heather-fish)
people called me Furry-pants.
I stabbed the spear
into the loop of the earth." .

When Ragnar's sons heard the news of their father's torture and death they immediately sought their revenge against King Ælla of Northumbria, vowing to invade England and finish what their father had started. A small force arrived in England, but the immense Northumbrian army was too great and the invaders returned back to Denmark. Ivar the Boneless, Ragnar's oldest remaining son, stayed on the island however. It is during this time that Ivar would establish settlements in the north of Scotland, leading to the establishment of the nation ofSuðreyjar. Ivar would also prepare for a future invasion of Northumbria, winning local support for a war against Ælla. His brothers also prepared, planning an invasion from Scandinavia. Finally in 865 they were ready, and the invading Scandinavian army arrived in England. Known as the Great Heathen Army, this force would go on to ravage the island.  ==Great Heathen ArmyEdit==

Main article: War of the Great Heathen Army (The Old Boar Suffered)
[4]

Rough map of the army's advance prior to Edington.

The Vikings had previously been defeated by King Æthelwulf and the West Saxons in 851, so the Great Heathen Army elected to land further north instead of Wessex, landing in East Anglia. The invaders arrived in late 865, using East Anglia as a staging point for their invasion. King Edmund of East Anglia agreed to provide the invaders with horses in exchange for peace in his realm. The Norsemen agreed and used the local horses to march north after spending the winter in East Anglia.

The invaders arrived in the city of York on 21 November 866. Ælla of Northumbria was captured and given the blood eagle by Ragnar's sons, a form of execution performed by cutting the skin of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings, and pulling the lungs out through the wounds in the victim's back before salting them. With Ælla captured and deposed, a detachment of their army next marched north under Ivar the Boneless and Halfdan. Norse forces remaining in the city of York would successfully defend the city against a counterattack from the north in 867. Meanwhile the city of Bamburgh, center of Northumbrian resistance in the north, was captured after a brief siege, leading to the eventual subjugation of all of Northumbria.



"Ok Ellu bak at lét hinns sat Ívarr ara Jórvík"
“Ivar, he who held court at York, had eagle hacked in Ella’s back.”

(The Knútsdrápa by Sigvatr Þórðarson)


The fall of Northumbria would lay the foundations for the creation of the independent Norse Kingdom of Jórvík, under the rule of Halfdan Ragnarsson and the House of Hvitserk. With Northumbria secured and under Norse rule, the Great Heathen Army marched south, setting off for the Kingdom of Mercia, leading to the capture of Nottingham in 867. Unable to adequately combat the invaders on his own, the King of Mercia made an appeal to the West Saxons to the south, asking for their aid in the defense against the invaders. An army from Wessexwas gathered, and together a combined army of Mercians and West Saxons besieged the city of Nottingham, now in Norse control. The siege was indecisive and ended in the Anglo-Saxons lifting their siege. Eventually Mercia would elect to pay off the invaders rather than continue fighting. The victorious Viking army returned to Northumbria in autumn 868 and overwintered in York, remaining there in the city for most of 869.

In 869 the Vikings returned to East Anglia, wintering during the 869-870 at the city of Thetford. Since no official peace treaty existed between the Anglo-Saxons of East Anglia and the Great Heathen Army, King Edmund of East Anglia led an army against the Vikings, but was defeated and killed.

First Campaign in WessexEditEdit

In 871 the Great Summer Army, a group of reinforcements from Scandinavia under the command of Bagsecg, arrived in the British Isles and joined the already successful army in the region. The Vikings turned their attention to Wessex, the only hostile kingdom in opposition to them at this time. The reinforced Great Heathen Army marched west, establishing a camp at the city of Reading. A small force road ahead of the main army three days later. Led by Sidrac and another Earl the group rode toward Englefield. Æthelwulf, the Ealdorman of the shire, had mustered a force and was waiting for them, and upon their arrival attacked the group. In the ensuing Battle of Englefield the invaders suffered heavy loses, including the death of the Earl of Sidrac. The remaining group fled back toward Reading, the battle being a decisive West Saxon victory.

The West Saxons pursued the fleeing army, arriving at the Norse camp at Reading. The camp was defended by the Thames and Kennet rivers on two sides, and a rampart on the west side, making the camp adequately defended from attack. Æthelwulf was joined by the main West Saxon army following his victory, led by King Æthelred and his brother Alfred. With a large force now assembled on 4 January 871 the West Saxons launched a direct assault on the camp, directing their attack mainly at a gateway through the ramparts. Fierce fighting followed in defense of the rampart, but ultimately the West Saxons would be repulsed by the Viking defenders. The West Saxons were forced to retreat, with Æthelwulf being killed in the battle. Alfred and Æthelred would fall back, organizing and reforming their army.

Confident from their victory at Reading, the Norse invaders continued their march west into Wessex, attacking the remaining West Saxon army that had been reassembled onto the Berskire Downs. Acting quickly, the new king Alfred mustered his men from around the surrounding countryside, riding up to Blowingstone Hill and alerting the surrounding area via an ancient perforated sarsen stone, called the "Blowing Stone". Alfred successfully sounded the alarm, alerting his countrymen who immediately gathered to defend their homes.

[5]

Raven banner (Old Norse: hrafnsmerki) of the Great Heathen Army.

On 8 January 871 the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons met at the Battle of Ashdown, with the weather cold and damp, and the Berkshire Downs soaked and boggy. The Anglo Saxon army was divided in half and positioned on either side of the ridgeway, prepared to mount a defense against the incoming enemy army. Ethelred was placed in command of one side, with Alfred commanding the other. In response to this, as the Vikings approached they also split their army into two halves.

Alfred waited for the Vikings to gather close to his lines before ordering both of his armies to charge. Ethelred, however, decided that he must pray before the battle and refused to advance as per Alfred's plan until he had finished his service. Sensing that if he did not act quickly he would lose his high ground advantage, Alfred had no choice but to order the charge anyway, despite the other half of his army not ready. Vicious fighting broke out along the ridgeway, with both sides employing shield walls from which to push and batter against each other. Eventually, however, the Viking army broke and fled, with Bagsecg dying in the battle, leaving Alfred victorious. Later during the battle Ethelred also launched an attack, winning against the Viking detachment that had been sent his way.

At the start of the battle the Anglo-Saxons had prepared a much larger force compared to the invaders. However, would lose a heavy amount of soldiers fighting at the Battle of Ashdown. The Great Heathen Armysuffered far less casualties, but ultimately still fell back. Throughout the rest of the war the invaders would be much more cautious in their raids and attacks into Wessex, choosing easier targets in which they held the upper hand.

Conquest of MerciaEditEdit

King Æthelred would die about three months later, and would be succeeded by Alfred, who chose to buy off the Vikings as king. The Great Heathen Army would winter in London during the 871 to 872 winter, before heading back to Northumbria. A rebellion had broken out against the regime established under Halfdan Ragnarsson and his family, and the combined Norse army invaded to restore order. Having successfully crushed the rebellion during that year, the army spent the winter of 872 to 873 at Torksey in Lindsey. With the Great Heathen Army again on its doorstep, the Kingdom of Mercia paid them off in return for peace, and at the end of 873 the Vikings took up winter quarters at Repton in Derbyshire.

Following their stay at Repton, in 874 the Norse army invaded Mercia despite payments, finally driving the Mercian king into exile and conquering the nation. From Mercia the Norse army decided to split in half. The first band was placed in the command of Halfdan, who led his army back north to his domain in Northumbria, where he overwintered by the river Tyne into 875. Halfdan would spend 875 consolidating his rule and securing the northern border ravaging further north into Scotland, where he fought the Picts and the Britons of Strathclyde. Halfdan would return to his land in 876, granting fertile lands to his men who settled across Jórvík. An army would also be mobilized to aid in the south against Wessex.

Second Campaign in WessexEditEdit

The second army was commanded by Guthrum, Oscetel and Anwend, and this group left Repton in 874 to establish a base at Cambridge for the winter of 874 to 875. The group would then move against Wareham in 875, where they raided the surrounding area and occupied several fortified positions. King Alfred of Wessex attempted to create treaties with the Norsemen in an effort to evict them from Wessex in exchange for payment. In response to this the Vikings would leave Wareham, but it was not long before they headed west and resumed raiding other parts of Wessex.

With diplomatic attempts failing, Alfred had no choice but to fight back. A West Saxon army was raised and marched under the command of Alfred to meet the invaders. Alfred would spend that winter in the Somerset march of Athelney, using the nature of the countryside for moderate protection. The Norsemen would also spend much of this time organizing and preparing for a proper invasion of Wessex, preferring a more cautious advance to a swift series of raids. Despite promising to leave Wessex alone, the Norsemen spent the winter in Gloucester. Alfred pursued them and spent Christmas in Clippenham, located only thirty miles away from the Viking position on the edge of his territory.

Clippenham was attacked by the Vikings in the middle of the night in early January. Clippenham was captured and Alfred barely escaped with his life, fleeing into the surrounding woods with a small personal force. Alfred was left in a weak position, and it is unlikely that he could have stopped the Vikings at this time, unable to even defend the well fortified position at Clippenham. The Vikings advanced across Wessex, receiving an army landed by 120 ships near Swanage as reinforcements.

Alfred know that he could not possibly take back Clippenham, especially now that he possessed a far smaller amount of troops at his disposal, as the Vikings had proven at battles in the past, such as Reading, that they were fully capable of adequately defending fortified positions and cities. Instead Alfred retreated south, but was ultimately caught between the two Viking armies. In the ensuing Battle of Edington the West Saxons would be defeated and Alfred would be killed. Wessex was launched into a state of chaos, unable to protect themselves against the invasion of the Great Heathen Army.

Concurrent to the campaign against Alfred of Wessex, a second army led by Ubba Ragnarsson had been launched against the West Saxons. Having met initial success, Ubba was not halted until he encountered Ealdorman Odda of Devon, a local West Saxon noble in command of a small detachment of local forces. Ubba was in command of approximately twelve hundred men, having arrived on the coast at Combwich accompanied by twenty three ships earlier in the war. Ubba assaulted Odda, who was accompanied by a number of English Thanes and their men, who fled to a nearby fort called Cynwit to better defend against the Norse attack.

Ubba lead siege to the fort, believing that the fort's apparent lack of a water source would cause the English defenders to surrender. After many days Ubba would lead an assault of the fort, but would be unsuccessful. The Battle of Cynwit would prove to be a decisive English victory, with the remaining Norse forces being driven away from the fort. Ubba Ragnarsson was killed in the battle, and his leaderless army fled. The Englishmen would also capture the Hrefn, the Raven banner, a symbol of the Great Heathen Army, which boosted the English morale.

The main Viking army continued its ravaging of Wessex, against sporadic and unorganized resistance. Alfred of Wessex's oldest son, Edward, was only a few years old, leading to a series of ill-fated regents and protectors, many of whom wishing to take the crown for themselves. This led to a weakening in the West Saxon resistance, and contributed to the rise of rival armies operating in the west of the country. The Great Heathen Army sought to take advantage of this disorganization by marching south and besieging the city of Winchester. The invading army surrounded the city and waited for several days, hoping that the city would eventually surrender. In the meantime a small West Saxon army had been gathered and was marched east to lift the siege. It is also possible that this army sought to take the city for themselves. In the ensuing battle, however, the Norse invaders managed to set up positions out of sight, which ambushed this approaching army as it neared the front lines. Heavily weakened this army was forced to retreat with heavy casualties. Several weeks later Winchester fell to the invaders, and the city's inhabitants panicked. Edward was killed, as were most of his family, leading to a collapse of the House of Wessex.

Norse Rule in EnglandEditEdit

Following the fall of the Kingdom of Wessex to the Great Heathen Army, all of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England had been conquered or subjugated by Norsemen. With Norse kingdoms now established in the British Isles, the remaining Viking army settled down throughout England, and word to Scandinavia attracted further settlement. Conflict over land led to infighting and violence, in conjunction with conflict among Anglo-Saxon land owners and nobles and newer Danish inhabitants. In Jórvík men loyal to the king would be tasked with enforcing Danish laws and retaining order, but resistance was still common. The conquered territories would be divided among the conquering Danish through a series of agreements between the Sons of Ragnar Lodbrok and other influential commanders and nobles. The Jarldom of East Anglia was granted to Guthrum the Old, who swore allegiance to Ivar the Boneless. Ivar's second oldest son, Sigfroþ, was made Chief of Norfolk, and a vassal of Guthrum. The Petty Kingdom of Suðreyjar under Ivar the Boneless received the northern sections of Northumbria directly, and Ivar's third son Barid was placed in charge as a direct vassal of Ivar.

The various rulers' administrative abilities varied, and each realm developed different ways to control their region. Halfdan Ragnarsson was nearly deposed as ruler of Jórvík before he was able to crush the rebellion with the help of the combined Norse army during the War of the Great Heathen Army. Following the conclusion of the war, Guthrum the Old ruled his realm more civilly, while Ivar the Boneless's notoriously harsh rule led to the deaths of hundreds of Christians across his kingdom. As a result in 881 a Christian revolt broke out in Ivar's southern provinces. Unlike earlier resistance, the Christians were well equipped and prepared to fight against the heathens. After the rebels managed to raid a number of villages in southern Scotland, an army under the command of Barid Ivarsson was assembled. Barid and his local forces were barely able to defeat the rebels, and after a few decisive battles the rebels disbanded. A crackdown followed suit, with public torturing of Christians being carried out, as well as raids against rebellious Christian communities. Areas that did not resist were allowed to carry out their individual practices, assuming they still supplied soldiers and paid a tax, eventually leading to an end to Christian resistance for a time being. This move would be implemented by Barid to supply his army with greater amounts of supplies and men, and would initially be unapproved by Ivar the Boneless, but eventually the measure paid off to establish order in the south of the nation.

SuðreyjarEditEdit

Ivar the Boneless died around the year 883, and was succeeded by his son Sigtrygg. Unlike his father Sigtrygg was less cruel to his Christian subjects, although still strictly pagan, and an advocate of conversion to the Germanic faith. Sigtrygg would spend the first few years of his rule consolidating his kingdom, suppressing rivals to the throne outside his immediate family. Numerous revolts in Ireland and Scotland, primarily by Christians, were quickly crushed. But at the same time clamors for alternate means of succession also had to be quelled. Sigtrygg's brothers were spared the early purges of his reign, as Barid remained a loyal ally of Sigtrygg in the kingdom's Scottish kingdoms, and Sigfroþ remained too far out of Sigtrygg's reach for either brother to contest the other. In 887 Sigtrygg led a series of raids into the Kingdom of Strathclyde, capturing several towns on the coast, as well as pillaging several cities in the area. After wintering at a camp near Govan, in 888 the Norse under the command of Sigtrygg defeated a Scottish detachment under Eochaid, son of Rhun, which led to the continued devastation by the Norse. Sigtrygg would not leave the kingdom until later that year, having captured a large number of captives and riches.

JórvíkEditEdit

Main article: Jórvík (The Old Boar Suffered)

The Kingdom of Jórvík became the dominant Norse kingdom in the British Isles, including almost all of the Anglo-Saxon territories of England. To administrate such a large kingdom effectively, Halfdan Ragnarsson, King of Jórvík, established his oldest son Sigfríð as heir of the kingdom, while placing his second son Guðfrið as ruler in the south of the kingdom. This cooperation stayed intact throughout the reign of Halfdan, with both brothers working together to keep the kingdom as a whole intact.

A series of Catholic and peasant revolts would break out in the next few years, all of which less severe than the revolt during the War of the Great Heathen Army. Halfdan would appoint Sigfríð to lead forces against the rebelling peasants, allowing him to gain experience as a military leader and administrator. While Sigfríð was busy leading forces across the kingdom to keep internal unity, Guðfrið would lead an army west to invade Cornall in 881. Known as the Cornwall War, the Hvitserk family sought to take advantage of Cornwall's instability following the War of the Great Heathen Army, when the country experienced a number of government shifts and internal conflicts after establishing itself separate from all ties with the West Saxons. The death of Donyarth in 875, the last centralized king of all Cornwall, had placed the nation in a state of disunity, and allowed the Norse to take advantage of the nation's slow mobilization time and ability to respond to invasion.

Cornwall WarEditEdit

Main article: Cornwall War (The Old Boar Suffered)

Guðfrið's army first encountered resistance in the city of Axminster, where a small army had been raised from several towns across Devon. At the time of the invasion the County of Devon was ruled by Alan, the late Donyarth's nephew, who was only a teenager. As a result much of the county's levies were led by local lords, while Alan did his best to retain order. At Axminster the majority of the county's forces had been assembled, while word was sent west to Tintagel, where the Alan's cousin Ricat ruled as king, although mostly in name only. No more than a year older than Alan, Ricat also had very low authority in Cornwall, but was able to muster a small force to aid his cousin in the east. After some brief pillaging in the north of Devon, Guðfrið's forces marched south, surrounding the Bretons at Axminster, forcing them to defend the city until Ricat's army arrived.

[6]

King Doniert's Stone (Cornish: Menkov Donyerth Ruw) commemorating King Dungarth.

At the Battle of Axminster the Bretons put up a valiant defense, but outnumbered and surrounded, Guðfrið would be victorious. With Devon's army shattered, those that remained loyal fled west to defend Lydford, the county's capital and home to one of the region's strongest defenses. Guðfrið pursued the Bretons to the city, while his younger brother Ragnarr, Halfdan's third son, led a small army south, pillaging and defeating small Breton bands. The group met up at Lydford on 20 April 881, around the time that word had arrived of Ricat's army preparing to relieve the city. Ragnarr was left in command of the siege, while Guðfrið marched a detachment south to intercept Ricat. Guðfrið's army met the Bretons at the Battle of the River Tamar, where they managed to rout the Bretons after a long battle. Despite victory on the battlefield, Guðfrið failed to destroy the remaining forces, who managed to flee. Guðfrið marched back north and aided in the assault on Lydford, which fell on 1 May 881. The Norse raided the city, killing many of its inhabitants. Among the carnage in the city was the young count Alan, whose circumstances of death remained unclear. Those that fled the city fell back to Tintagel, Ricat's stronghold, where they prepared to make a last stand against the Norse invaders.

By the end of that year, much of Devon was subjugated, and the Norse army marched west into Cornwall proper. With the main Breton army residing in Tintagel, the rest of the nation was easily raided. That year the Norse invaders raided St. German, capturing the Bishop of Cornwall, before moving on to the city of Bodwin, where they acquired supplies for their remaining conquest. News of the unhindered raids caused resentment to build across the nation, as many became angry against King Ricat for his inability to retain order and protect his people. Morale was low among the Breton soldiers, who became less loyal to the king after his leadership proved ineffective.

That autumn Guðfrið besieged the Tintagel, surrounding the city to cut it off from supplies. The surrounding countryside was also plundered, allowing the Norse invaders to continue the siege for an extended period of time. Attempts to break the siege in a direct assault failed, causing heavy casualties to Tintagel's remaining defensing force. After a few weeks, when the Norse called for an assault on the city, the Bretons were unable to put up an effective defense, and the city fell to Guðfrið and his army. Ricat was captured, as were most of the remaining nobles within the city, and Cornwall was officially conquered by Jórvík. Guðfrið established his brother Ragnarr as ruler of Cornwall under his ownership, while Guðfrið's men were given a portion of the loot acquired during the conquest. Guðfrið returned east to his kingdom, placing a small army under Ragnarr to aid him in his establishment as king. Ragnarr wintered in Tintagel, and in 882 set out crushing resistance across the nation.

NorwayEditEdit

Harald FairhairEditEdit

While conflict ensued in England, a process of unification in Norway had also begun. Harald Fairhair, son of Halfdan the Black Gudrödarson, succeeded his father as sovereign of several small, scattered kingdoms in Vestfold, and sought to marry Gyda, the daughter of Eirik, King of Hordaland. According to legend Gyda refused Harald's proposal until he proved himself by becoming King of Norway, a unified kingdom of many different nations across the region. Harald's conquests began in 866 when he subjugated a number of petty kingdoms, including Värmland in Sweden. The remaining kingdoms of Norway would fall to Harald over the course of the next few years, ending in 872 with Harald's victory at the Battle of Hafrsfjord, near Stavanger, where Harald found himself king over the whole country.:

Heyrði þú í Hafrsfirði, Did you hear in Hafrsfjord
hvé hizug barðisk how hard they fought
konungr enn kynstóri the high born king
við Kjötva enn auðlagða; against Kjotve the Rich.
knerrir kómu austan, ships came from the east
kapps of lystir, craving battle,
með gínöndum höfðum with gaping heads
ok gröfnum tinglum. and prows sculpted.
[7]

Non-contemporary painting of Harald Fairhair.

Almost immediately Harald's kingdom was threatened by outside threats, many stemming from rival nations where many of his opponents had fled. Those who did not flee were forced to by Harald, while many of the wealthier and well respected Norwegian chieftains who could not be forced out of the nation were harassed by Harald. To silence resistance from his opponents, Harald launched a Norwegian invasion of many of the surrounding islands, successfully conquering or subjugating the island kingdoms of Orkneyjar, Hjaltland, and Iceland, which had only recently been discovered. Harald is largely responsible for the growth of Iceland at this time, allowing many to take up home on the island. Iceland also became home to those opposed Harald's claim of right of taxation over certain lands, who fled to the island to take advantage of the lack of heavy centralization.

Much of Harald Fairhair's later rule was plagued by conflicts with his many sons. According to some records various titles in Norway were awarded to his sons, with some ruling as subkings within the Kingdom of Norway. Harald's sons were to govern as his representatives in certain provinces, but conflict among his sons soon made this difficult. With Harald growing old, he handed supreme power of Norway over to his favorite son, Eirik Bloodaxe. Eirik was meant to rule alongside his father Harald, but only three years later Harald died of old age at the age of eighty three, allowing Eirik Bloodaxe to succeed has sole King of Norway in approximately the year 933.

OrkneyEditEdit

During the eighth century the islands of Orkney saw an influx of Norse settlement, especially from those fleeing conflict in Norway. The unification of Norway under Harald Fairhair further pushed Norwegians to Orkney, attracting those opposed to Harald's rule. After the Battle of Hafrsfjord in about 872, Norway was completely unified under Harald's rule. Orkney became a base for raids against Harald's kingdom, and in 875 he launched an invasion of both Shetland and Orkney to pacify this threat. Harald was accompanied by the Jarl of Møre, Rognvald Eysteinsson, son of Eystein Glumra, Jarl of Oppland and Hedmark. While campaigning in the British Isles Rognvald's son Ivarr would be killed, and in compensation Harald Fairhair granted him rule over Orkney and Shetland. Rognvald passed these titles onto his brother Sigurd, while he himself returned to Norway.

During Sigurd's reign he challenged a Pictish nobleman, Máel Brigte of Moray, to a forty man-a-side battle, to settle a dispute between Moray and Orkney. After the agreement had been made, Sigurd instead brought eighty men to the battle, decisively defeating Máel Brigte's men. The Pictish warriors were beheaded, and their heads strapped the the Norse men's horses. While riding away, Máel Brigte's buckteeth allegedly scrapped Sigurd's leg, causing his leg to become infected. Sigurd died from his wounds, and Orkney passed to his son Hallad. Hallad was unable to contain Danish raids in Orkney and retired to Norway. Rognvald was furious, and summoned his sons Thorir and Hrolluag, but both sons he believed would not pursue a career in Orkney. Instead his youngest son Turf-Einar volunteered to go to the islands.

Turf-Einar would defeat the Danish raiders in Orkney, including two warlords named Thorir Treebeard (Þórir Tréskegg) and Kalf the Scurvy (Kálf Skurfa), and would go on to found a successful dynasty in the islands, that would last for years. Rognvald would be killed by Gudrod Gleam and King Harald's son Halfdan, who surrounded his house and burnt it to the ground, killing the Jarl and sixty men inside. Harald ordered that Gudrod be arrested, forcing him into exile. Halfdan escaped to the British Isles, managing to seize Orkney and temporarily displace Turf-Einar. Turf-Einar based himself on the Scottish mainland and resisted Halfdan's occupation. Turf-Einar's forces would win a decisive battle at sea, allowing him to land on Orkney and began a hard fought campaign to retake the islands. Halfdan was found hiding in the north of the isles, and Turf-Einar had him sacrificed to Odin as a blood eagle. Harald made peace with Einarr in exchange for a fine of sixty gold marks levied upon himself and the allodial owners of the islands, to which Einarr offered to pay the full amount in exchange for his seizure of the island's lands. In terms of compensation, Harald made Turf-Einar the new Jarl of Møre, and also offered his daughter Alof to him in marriage.

Turf-Einar died of sickness, his long reign unchallenged. He left behind three sons, Arnkel, Erlend, and Thorfinn, who succeeded him as Jarls of Orkney. Turf-Einar, despite his partially lowborn birth on his mother's side, had successfully established a stable kingdom under his rule. Turf-Einar's deal with Harald had also allowed the Jarldom to seize the entirety of the islands, albeit while remaining a vassal of the Norwegian crown, increasing the power of the Jarl on the islands themselves.

DenmarkEditEdit

Sigurd Snake-in-the-EyeEditEdit

Following the conclusion of the War of the Great Heathen Army, Sigurd Snake-in-the-eye (Old Norse: Sigurðr ormr í auga) returned to Denmark, where he ruled as King of Sjælland, which consisted of the regions of Zealand, Scania, Halland, the Danish islands, and Viken inherited from Ragnar Lodbrok. On the Jutland peninsula the Kingdom of Jylland, previously ruled by the Ragnar sons' ally Bagsecg, had passed on to his young son Frirek after Bagsecg's death at Ashdown in 871. Sigurd married King Ælla of Northumbria's daughter Blaeja, who gave birth to the children Harthacanute and Aslaug, who was named after her grandmother, Ragnar Lodbrok's wife.

IcelandEditEdit

The island of Iceland is believed to have been discovered by a Faroese Viking named Naddodd, who stumbled upon the east coast of the island after being blown off course while sailing from Norway. Later a Swedish explorer named Garðar Svavarsson would discover the island, being the first to circumnavigate and prove Iceland to be an island.

Frankish EmpireEditEdit

Main article: Frankish Empire (The Old Boar Suffered)

At the time of the War of the Great Heathen Army, much of western and central Europe was under the rule of the Frankish Empire, a kingdom founded by Clovis I, first King of the Franks, crowned in 496. Throughout its history, the tradition of dividing patrimonies among brothers ensured that the Frankish Empire, at least nominally, consisted of a number of kingdoms of subkingdoms. In particular the region of Austrasia, a kingdom centered on the Rhine and Meuse rivers in northern Europe, distinguished itself as the primary kingdom of Francia and became the term's main application. The term Francia would also often refer to the region of Neustria, north of the Loire and west of the Siene rivers.

Carloman I was anointed King of the Franks and titled "Patrician of the Romans" by Pope Stephen II in 754, alongside his father Pepin the Short and his brother Charles, when Carloman was only three years of age. Carloman became king in 768, ruling over half of his father's domain following his death, alongside his younger brother Charles. Carloman's share of the kingdom was centered in central Francia, based out of the city of Soissons. His realm consisted of the Parisian basin, the Massif Central, the Languedoc, Provence, Burgundy, southern Austrasia, Alsace and Alemannia, while the remaining territories were ruled by Charles. Carloman's territory was poorly integrated and surrounded by Charles', lowering Carloman's income, while making his territories easier to defend against foreign invasion.

Division of the Carolingian Empire (840 - 888)EditEdit

First Civil War and Treaty of VerdunEditEdit

[8]

Division of the Carolingian Empire at the Treaty of Verdun.

Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, and King of the Franks, died on 20 June 840, leading to his eldest son, Lothair I, claimed overlordship over the whole of his father's kingdom. This came in violation of the Salic Law of the Franks, which required division of Louis’ empire among all his sons. Lothair also supported the claim of his nephew Pepin II to Aquitaine, a large province in the west of the Frankish realm. Lothair’s claims were not recognized by his brother Louis the German and his half-brother Charles the Bold, and war soon loomed over Francia.

Charles and Louis assembled their armies and marched against Lothair. At the Battle of Worms Lothair would be defeated, and was forced to grant Charles all the lands of the west, and Louis that of Bavaria and the lands of the east. Lothair was left with the lands he managed to hold, the Kingdom of Italy, and the imperial title. Despite this division, conflict continued, beginning on 24 July 840 when Lothair declared in Strasbourg ownership over the entirety of the empire. Lothair was joined by his nephew Pepin and Girard II, Count of Paris, Lothair's brother-in-law, and marched into the Loire Valley. The barons of Burgundy became split over their allegiances, with Ermenaud III of Auxerre, Arnoul of Sens, and Audri of Autun pledging themselves for Lothair, and Guerin of Provence and Aubert of Avallon remaining with Charles. By March 831 Burgundian forces loyal to Charles and the forces of Guerin had been organized, and by May of that year they had joined Louis of Bavaria and Charles the Marne river.

At the Battle of Fontenoy the forces of Charles and Louis met Lothair and Pepin. Lothair and his allies initiated combat, and took the upper hand against Charles and Louis, until the arrival of Guerin and his army of Provençals. Pepin’s contingent managed to repulse the forces of Charles, while Lothair was slowly pushed back by Louis and the reinforcing Provençals. Lothair was eventually defeated, and fled to his capital at Aachen. After gathering his army Lothair continued raiding, but outnumbered by his brothers was unable to decisively defeat them. In 842 Charles and Louis would sign the Oaths of Strasbourg, declaring Lothair unfit for the imperial throne.

In August 843 Lothair would agree to negotiations with his brothers. The ensuing Treaty of Verdun would officially end the Carolingian Civil War, and would fully partition the former Carolingian Empire. Each of the three brothers retained their already established kingdom: Lothair in Italy, Louis the German in Bavaria, and Charles the Bald in Aquitaine. Lothair retained his title of emperor, and in addition each of the following terms was fulfilled:

  • Lothair received the central portion of the empire which later became, from north to south: the Low Countries, Lorraine, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, and the Kingdom of Italy (which covered only the northern half of the Italian Peninsula), collectively called Middle Francia. Lothair also received the two imperial cities, Aachen and Rome, with his possession of the imperial title recognized. Despite his title Lothair retained only nominal overlordship of his brothers' lands.
  • Louis the German was guaranteed the kingship of all lands to the east of the Rhine and to the north and east of Italy, and received the eastern sections of the empire. This land later became known East Francia, and would lay the foundations for the Kingdom of Germany, the largest component of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Charles the Bald received all lands west of the Rhône, which became known as West Francia. Pepin II was granted the kingdom of Aquitaine, but only under the authority of Charles.

Treaties of Prüm and MeerssenEditEdit

Following the signing of the Treaty of Verdun, Lothair soon ceded the Kingdom of Italy to his eldest son, Louis. Lothair retained control over his remaining kingdom, where he attempted to defend his realm and reconcile relations with his family, in an effort to obtain their support against Norse and Muslim raiders on the outskirts of Frankish territory. Lothair would next engage against Fulcrad, Count of Arles, after he led an armed rebellion against the emperor. Fulcrad would fail in his attempt to seize Provence, and would be forced to surrender to Lothair. Provence had at this time been at increasing risk from outside threats. In 842 Muslim raiders had attacked Marseille and Arles. Later the area would be attacked by Byzantine pirates in 848, again by Muslims in 859, and that same year by Vikings. After surrendering to the emperor, Fulcrad would next work alongside Lothair, in order to repel foreign attacks in Provence.

[9]

Lothair's division among his sons.

In 855 Lothair would fall ill, and arrange for his eldest sons to receive portions of his territory. Following his death, his sons would arrange the Treaty of Prüm, which granted Upper and Lower Burgundy, including Arles and Provence, to his third son Charles of Provence, with his remaining territory north of the Alps to his second son Lothair II, who ruled over the land which would later be known as Lotharingia. This area included Frisia and the parts of Austrasia that remained his father's after Verdun, containing the original realm of the Franks and the capital of Aachen. Lothair's eldest son, Louis II inherited Italy and his father's claim to the Imperial title.

Despite being the senior heir to Lothair's domain, Louis II received comparatively less territory than his brothers, and allied with his uncle Louis the German against his brother Lothair and his uncle Charles the Bald. Lothair eventually sued for peace with his brother and uncle, whereas Charles was so unpopular in his realm that he was unable to field a large army. Charles instead fled to Burgundy, but remained king after the bishops of his realm refused to crown Louis king in the west. Charles would later attempt to invade Burgundy for himself, but would be repulsed.

In 862, in exchange for support of his divorce with his wife, Lothair II ceded Louis II a small amount of land. This agreement would once more lead to conflict with the papacy and his uncles. The following year Burgundy passed to Louis II following the death of Charles of Burgundy. The border would next change with the death of Lothair II with no legitimate heirs. The Treaty of Meerssen was created in 870 as a partition of Lothair's realm. Lothair's heir would have been Emperor Louis II of Italy, but as he was at that time campaigning against the Emirate of Bari, his uncles, Louis the German and Charles the Bald, took his inheritance instead. That same year Charles had himself crowned in Metz, but was forced by his brothers to partition the territory of Lotharingia, as well as the lands Lothair II had acquired after the death of Charles of Provence.

The Treaty of Meerssen, which would now serve to completely replace the Treaty of Verdun. Firstly, the treaty split Middle Francia between east and west, effectively creating two large divisions. At this time however, large portions of the Frisian coast were under control by Viking raiders, and the division was largely nominal. The border was largely based on the Meuse, Ourthe, Moselle, Saone, and Rhone rivers, with Louis receiving Austrasia in the north, including Aachen and Mets, as well as most of Frisia. Louis also received most of Upper Burgundy in the south of the empire, with the rest being ceded to Italy. Charles received Lower Burgundy, including Lyon, and a small concession in the western part of Lower Burgundy, which included parts of Portois and Varais, including Besancon. Louis' acquisitions in the north were largely ceded to his son Louis the Younger, while the Duchy of Alsace was later granted to Lothair II's illegitimate son Hugh.

During much of Louis the German's later rule, he was faced with growing trouble from his sons. In 861 his eldest son Carloman revolted, which was followed by a revolt by his second son Louis, supported by his brother Charles, two years later. In 864 Louis ceded the Kingdom of Bavaria to Carloman, which he had similarly once held under the rule of his father. The following year the majority of his lands were likewise divided, with Saxony, Francia, and Thuringia being granted to Louis the Younger, and Swabia and Raetia being granted to Charles the Fat. In 871 Louis seized Bari from the Saracens, but was held hostage by Sergius of Naples, Waifar of Salerno, Lambert of Spoleto, and Adelchis of Benevento, who released him upon promise never to return to Italy.

With news of the death of Louis II of Italy, peace was momentarily called between Louis the German and his sons, who attempted to obtain the imperial crown for Carloman. This report turned out to be false, and Louis the German was combated by the still alive Louis II and Charles the Bald. When Louis II did die in 875, he named Carloman his heir. Charles the Bald, supported by the Pope, contested this inheritance, and was crowned both King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor. While preparing for war, Louis the German died in 876 at Frankfurt. Charles wished to spread his influence into East Francia, and met his nephew Louis the Younger at Sinzig, but Louis refused Charles' plans.

As such Louis' sons prepared for war against West Francia. Charles launched a campaign into the Rhineland, which culminated in the Battle of Andernach. The battle would prove a decisive victory for Louis the Younger, forcing Charles back from East Francia. Charles fled to Italy, answering the call of Pope John VIII, who urged him to help in combating invading Saracens. Charles' campaign was unpopular among many of his nobles, and reinforcements refused to join his army from France. Carloman likewise entered northern Italy, and Charles, now ill, attempted to flee back to France. While crossing out of Italy, Charles died in 877, ending the war between East and West Francia.

Treaty of RibemontEditEdit

[10]

Borders in Europe following the Treaty of Ribemont

Louis the Younger managed to establish a friendship with Charles' successor, Louis the Stammerer, with both kings agreeing to accept the succession of their respective sons in their respective realms. In 879 Louis the Stammerer would die, and a delegation led by the Bishop of Paris would invite Louis the Younger to take control over West Francia, which was under attack by Vikings at the time of Louis the Stammerer's death. Louis agreed and invaded West Francia, but retreated after reaching Verdun when his nephews Louis III of France and Carloman of France agreed to cede their share of Lotharingia to him.

At this time Boso of Provence, a Carolingian noble, would declare himself King of Provence. In an attempt to settle this rebellion, the numerous and pronounced Viking raids, and other threats to the empire's possessions, the Carolingian kings agreed to meet in Ribemont, creating the fourth and final partition of the Carolingian Empire. Louis the Younger agreed to be neutral in France, whereas the kings of France confirmed Louis' possession of the parts of Lotharingia previously ceded to him by the Treaty of Meerssen and Louis III and Carloman of France. Now no longer in conflict with West Francia, Louis was free to combat insurrection in Provence. Following the treaty at Ribemont the former realm of Louis the Stammerer would be divided between Louis III and Carloman, with Louis III gaining Neustria and Francia, and Carloman gaining Aquitaine and Burgundy. The Kingdom of Italy was granted to King Carloman of Bavaria, but a stroke forced him to abdicate Italy to his brother Charles the Fat and Bavaria to Louis of Saxony.

In 881 the title of Holy Roman Emperor was granted to Charles the Fat. The following year Louis III of Saxony and Louis III of Francia died, allowing Saxony and Bavaria to be united under Charles the Fat, and Francia and Neustria being granted to Carloman of Aquitaine, who had also conquered Lower Burgundy. When Carloman of Aquitaine died in 884 from a hunting accident, his realm was granted to Charles the Fat, effectively recreating the empire ruled by Charlemagne. Charles was unable to secure his kingdom, however, from Viking raids. In 886 he paid off the Vikings to have them leave Paris, leading to Charles being perceived as cowardly and incompetent by his court. The following year Arnulf of Carinthia, the illegitimate son of King Carloman of Bavaria, and Charles' nephew, rebelled against Charles. Instead of fighting back against his nephew, Charles fled to Neidingen and died the following year.

Italian PeninsulaEditEdit

Guy III of SpoletoEditEdit

When Charles the Fat fled his kingdom in the wake of rebellion from Arnulf of Carinthia, one claimant to the throne of West Francia was Guy III of Spoleto, an Italian nobleman and relative of Archbisoph Fulk of Rheims. Guy traveled into France and was crowned by Fulk at Langres, however, the coronation of Odo instead caused him to abandon France and turn toward Italy and the imperial title. The Iron Crown of Lombardy was contested by Berengar of Fruili, who had an advantage by being allied to the Carolingian family, and even crowned as king of Italy in 887. Both individuals were related to the Carolingians in the female line, and came to represent opposing factions in Italian politics; pro-German versus pro-French. Despite this advantage, after leaving France in 888, Guy was closer to Rome and allied to Pope Stephen V. The two rivals kings devolved into conflict, before a diet held in the city of Pavia at the end of the year proclaimed Guy the rightful king. Guy was crowned by Pope Stephen V as King of Italy in 889, and was proclaimed the Roman Emperor two years later, when his son Lambert II ascended to the throne of Italy.

A truce was signed between Guy and Berengar, which kept the peace in Italy until 889. During this time Arnulf sought to invade Italy for himself, but Berengar convinced him to meet at Trent and agree to a deal, where Berengar would be crowned King of Italy, but as a vassal of Arnulf. Arnulf agreed to this deal, however, he had the counties of Navus and Sagus transferred to him directly. Arnulf stayed in Fruili for the remainder of the year, celebrating Christmas at Karnsberg, before returning his army to Germany. When the truce expired hostilities resumed, with Guy defeating Berengar at the Battle of Trebbia. This defeat made Guy the sole king of Italy, although Guy allowed his rival to retain his position as Duke of Fruili.

In 891 the newly elected pope, Formosus, became distrustful of Guy, and began to look elsewhere for support against the emperor. Berengar still held out in the Duchy of Friuli, much to the dismay of Guy, and to bolster his own position Guy had Lambert crowned co-emperor at Ravenna in 892, by forcing Formosus to comply. After this event the pope backed Arnulf of Carinthia for the Italian and Imperial thrones, and in 893 invited Arnulf to come to Trento and overthrow Guy. Arnulf instead had his son Zwentibold lead an army, who joined forces with Berengar while en route to Trento. Guy fled the city as Arnulf's forces surrounded Trento. The following year the officially took Trento and Milan, after defeating Guy at the Battle of Bergamo. Berengar took the throne of Italy, and was recognized as a vasdsal of Arnulf, while Zwentibold returned to Germany with an army weakened by fever. Guy retreated to Taro to regroup his forces and fortify his position, but died that autumn. Guy was succeeded by his son Lambert, who would continue to contest the throne with Berengar and Arnulf.

Berengar IEditEdit

After trapping Guy at Pavia, Berengar left Arnulf's army for Lombardy while Arnulf's men were in Tuscany, causing a rumor to spread that the King of Italy was working against Arnulf, alongside such nobles as Adalbert II of Tuscany. Fearing the rumor to be true, Arnulf had Berengar replaced with Waltfred, one of Berengar's former supporters and counselors. Waltfred died soon after, while Arnulf went on to be crowned Emperor in Rome by Pope Formosus. When he departed Italy he left his young son Ratold in charge, but he crossed back into Germany near Lake Como and left Italy to Berengar. Seeking to deal with the rival claimant to the throne of Italy, Berengar arranged a meeting with Guy's son Lambert in Pavia, agreeing to divide the kingdom. Berengar received the eastern half between the Adda and Po rivers, and agreed to a truce with his rival. Additionally Lambert pledged to marry Berengar's duaghter, Gisela.

By 898, however, the peace had broken down. Berengar marched on Lambert's position near Pavia, but was defeated at Borgo San Donnino and taken prisoner. A few days later Lambert died, and Berengar marched on Pavia as the sole ruler of Italy. The following year Italy was threatened by the Magyars, who launched their first attacks in Western Europe and Italy that year. It is unknown if this attack was unprovoked, or if the Magyars had formed an alliance with Arnulf or some other party. Whatever the case, Berengar raised his forced and marched to the northeast to meet the invaders, but at the Brenta River was decisively defeated by the numerically smaller Magyar force.

The crushing defeat caused the Italian nobles to question Berengar's ability to defend him, and many turned to another maternal relative of the Carolingians, Louis of Provence. With backing from many of the northern Italians, Louis marched into Italy in 900, defeating Berengar in battle. Louis went on to Rome, where he was crowned Emperor by Pope Benedict IV in 902. Berengar continued his conflict against the Emperor, and after a costly defeat that year Louis was forced to leave Italy and promise never to return. In 905 Louis broke this promise and returned to the peninsula, but was defeated and captured at Verona. Berengar had the emperor blinded as punishment, and Louis returned to Provence. Berengar was once more the undisputed King of Italy, and established a fortified seat at Verona from which he ruled. The threat of the Magyars continued, and in 904 they laid siege to Bergamo. Berengar granted the bishop of the city the right to build walls and fortify them with the help of the citizens and refugees fleeing the Maygars, making the bishop as powerful as a count in the wake of the invasion.

MagyarsEditEdit

In the late ninth century the Hungarians began a series of conquests of the Carpathian Basin, returning to the region in 892. During this time they came to the aid of Arnulf of East Francia against Svatopluk I of Moravia. Arnulf dismantled defenses on the edge of the empire through this action, which was later condemned for allowing the Hungarians easier access to their own land. The Hungarians occupied a large amount of land during their war, using it as a base to cross the Danube into Pannonia in 894. Pannonia was heavily raided, possibly in alliance with the Moravian monarch. Also in 893, in the east Ismail Ibn Ahmed, Emir of Khorasan, had begun a series of raids against the Karluks, beginning a western migration, pushing each group of people increasingly west. The Khazars and Ouzes for example compelled the Pechenegs to cross the Volga River, some time around 894.

During this time conflict had arisen between the Byzantine Empire and the nation of Bulgaria, after Emperor Leo the Wise had forced Bulgarian merchants to leave Constantinople and settle in Thessaloniki. Tzar Simeon I of Bulgaria launched an invasion of Byzantine territories, defeating a small imperial army himself before hiring the Hungarians as mercenaries. Instead the Byzantines contacted the Hungarians and had Byzantine ships transport the warriors across the Lower Danube, allowing them to invade Bulgaria. Tzar Simeon fled to his fortress at Dristra, while the Hungarians began plundering the region. With a Hungarian attack commencing from the north, a Byzantine invasion was launched from the south, forcing the Bulgarians to agree to peace. Simeon also attempted to incite the Pechenegs against the Hungarians, and they launched an invasion from the east, drawing Hungarian forces from Bulgaria.

The Pechenegs destroyed Hungarian settlements in the east, and the survivors left the Pontic Steppes in favor of the Carpathian basin. The Hungarians moved into Carpathia in large numbers, advancing toward the Danube. Arnulf, who at this time was no Emperor, entrusted Braslav, ruler of the region between the rivers Drava and Sava, with the defense of Pannonia in 896. The following year a civil war broke out between Mojmir II and Svatopluk II, sons of the late Moravian ruler Svatopluk I, in which Emperor Arnulf intervened. The Hungarians remained in Carpathia for the next few years, next raiding into Italy in 899 and 900. The Italian king Berengar I was defeated by the Hungarians, and they plundered Vercelli and Modena. They were defeated by the Doge of Venice and prevented from raiding Venice itself, before leaving Italy that year.

Categories:*The Old Boar Suffered

   

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