On June 8th, 793 CE, Viking raiders sacked and pillaged the monastery on the isle of Lindisfarne, an act that historians mark as the “official” start of the Viking Age. There had actually been a few raids in the years prior to this act but some scholars believe that this raid was unique because it may have been an act of revenge for Charlemagne’s brutal campaign of genocide and forced conversion in Frisia. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has this to say about the raid:
“In this year dire forewarnings came over the land of the Northumbrians, and miserably terrified the people: these were extraordinary whirlwinds and lightnings, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine soon followed these omens; and soon after that, in the same year, on the sixth of the ides of Ianr, the havoc of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindisfarne, through rapine and slaughter.”
So hoist a drink high and drink to the memory of the brave adventurers who would terrify Europe for nearly 300 years as they changed the world forever!