It was in the eighth century that the Vikings burst from Scandinavia and brought fire and pillage to their European neighbors. But there was also Viking-on-Viking violence aplenty as the modern nations of Scandinavia were forged in the white heat of battle. And one fiercely fought clash in 872 saw the birth of the Norwegian nation. The Battle of Hafrsfjord is commemorated today in an extraordinary and massive sculpture of three swords.
What we now think of as the Viking era stretched from the eighth to the 12th centuries A.D. The Vikings came from the countries we now call Sweden and Denmark, as well as from Norway. It’s said that when they first arrived in their longboats, the British actually welcomed them. But things soon went sour in the face of Viking violence.
Perhaps one of the most famous of the Viking raids was the sacking of Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of mainland England, separated by a tidal causeway. Lindisfarne is also known as Holy Island because it was said to be the first place that Christianity was brought to the north of England, then the kingdom of Northumbria, by the Irish Saint Aidan in the seventh century.