How much material damage did the Northmen actually do to ninth-century Europe? By Lesley Anne Morden

 How much material damage did the Northmen actually do to ninth-century Europe?

By Lesley Anne Morden

PhD Dissertation, Simon Fraser University, 2007

Abstract: The aim of this dissertation is to examine the material damage the Northmen perpetrated in Northern Europe during the ninth-century, and the effects of their raids on the economy of the Carolingian empire. The methodological approach which is taken involves the comparison of contemporary written accounts of the Northmen’s destruction to archaeological evidence which either supports these accounts, or not. In the examination of the evidence, the destruction of buildings and settlements, and human losses are taken into account.

The first chapter deals with the current state of the question. In it, secondary sources are critiqued from the standpoint of what they have to say about the nature of the Northmen’s invasions into continental Europe, the ramifications these incursions had with respect to the defences of Frankish territory, and the resulting economic effects. Chapter two places the original written source material under scrutiny. Chapter three provides a critical narrative of the consecutive waves of attacks engaged in by the Northmen in Frankish territory between the years 835 and 892. The final chapter sets up a comparison between the written accounts of the Northmen’s destruction and what has been uncovered and published by archaeologists.

Primarily because the written sources regularly mention that there was much burning that accompanied the attacks, this chapter includes site excavations that report burn layers and/or other documented forms of material destruction. Four maps and two appendices are featured at the end of the dissertation. The maps illustrate both the areas where the Northmen marauded and the archaeological sites mentioned in chapter four.

The appendices inventory the places where the Northmen were reported to have caused destruction, the numbers of casualties on both sides, tribute paid to the Northmen, and the relics translated from their “homes” to other, safer sites. The dissertation shows that the written sources of the ninth century were generally quite accurate when they reported on the levels of destruction at various sites and that the economy of the Frankish territories was not disrupted completely as a result of the Northmen’s incursions into continental Europe, as previous historians have claimed.

Click here to read this thesis from Simon Fraser University

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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