James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) online

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Henry II. of England, who for some time
had been turning his attention to Ireland,
interfered in^the disputes of the two nations.
On being asked by an Irish king for help, he
permitted Richard Clare, Earl of Pem-
broke (Strongbow) to cross to Ireland, and
the latter conquered Dublin in 1170. The
last Norwegian king was forced to flee,
and when he attempted in the following
year to regain his kingdom, he was taken
prisoner and killed. Shortly after this,
King Henry himself crossed and entered
Dublin. Thus ended the rule
* tne Ostmen m Ireland.

They had not, however, entirely
at an tnd , . J , '. , ' . , J

disappeared from the island,

but remained living principally in those
towns where, as peaceful citizens,
they busied themselves with commerce
and navigation. For a long time
they preserved their nationality, since
they formed separate and organised com-
munities. At the present day we find a
trace of them in the name of part of the


town of Dublin Oxmanstown = Ostman-
town ; that is, the town of the Eastmen.

The Irish and Norwegians were too
dissimilar in character, manners, and mode
of life to blend quickly. Moreover, they
lived for the most part separated from each
other the Norwegians in their fortified
towns, the Irish in the country ; in addi-
tion, the hatred of the Irish for the foreigner
kept both nations estranged. In spite of
this, they influenced each other in various
ways. The influence of the Irish on the
Norwegians has, perhaps, been exagger-
ated. But it is indisputable that in the
provinces of fiction and art the Nor-
wegians learned much from the Irish, and
attempts have even been made in modern
times to prove that many of the northern
sagas of the gods and of heroes had their
origin in the tales which the Northmen
heard from the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons.

The Norwegian form of the temple, the
" Hov," is, it is believed, a copy of the
Irish churches. On the other hand, the
Irish are indebted to the Ostmen for the
advancement of their municipal life. It
might almost be asserted that the Nor-
wegians were really the founders
founders r ,, T , ..

of the Irish towns ; it was

first owin & to the Norwe g ia ns,
who were not only capable
soldiers but also enterprising merchants
and navigators, that commerce and naviga-
tion, along with agriculture and farming,
became important branches of industry for
the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle.

The Norwegian rule lasted longer in
the Scottish islands and in the Faroe
Islands than in Ireland. As has been
mentioned, the Norwegians had settled on
these islands about the year 800. In the
tenth century they founded a kingdom
of the Hebrides, in which they ruled over
a Keltic population, and another in the
Isle of Man ; this was ruled by the king
of Norway after uoo, and was not sur-
rendered to Scotland till 1266. Tynwald
Hill, near St. John's, on the west coast of
the Isle of Man, was the Tinghill, which
was the seat of legislation and justice for
the few islanders who still hold a unique
position under the British crown. To the
present time the spot recalls the inde-
pendence of the island when it formed a
part of the Norwegian kingdom.

The Orkney and Shetland islands, where
a few Kelts still remained, had for a long
time been favourite retreats of the Vikings.
The number of the invaders steadily


As head of the pirates who ravaged the Seine, Rollo, known also as Roll, was much feared.
In order to secure peace for himself and his people, Charles the Simple determined to surrender to
the Northmen the country on the Lower Seine and a treaty was concluded between the two men at
St. Clair sur Epte in 911. Receiving as a fief the land which was afterwards called Normandy,
Rollo swore an oath of fidelity to the king, was baptised and received the name of Robert.



increased, especially after Harald Fairhair
had become sole ruler of Norway in 872 ; in
this way the islands gradually became popu-
lated by Norwegians. As these emigrants
began to pillage the coasts of Norway King
Harald crossed over to the islands and
made them subject to him. Later the
islands were ruled by a Jarl (the " Orkney-
Jarl ") appointed by the Norwegian king.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
they came into closer contact with Scotland.
The Jarls had fiefs in Scotland. Scots
settled on the islands, and the Scottish
language came into use alongside of the
Norwegian. The Norwegian supremacy

was, however, still acknowledged, and a
constant intercourse with Norway was
maintained. In 1469 the islands were
mortgaged as dowry of Margaret to J ames
III. of Scotland, and remained ever after
in the possession of the Scottish crown.
The inhabitants no longer have their own
laws and privileges. The Norse language
has disappeared, and only the place-names
recall the former rulers. In the eighth
century Irish settlers had emigrated to
the Faroe Islands. They departed, how-
ever, after the arrival of the Northmen,
who took possession of the islands and
called them the Faroe that is, sheep

This representation of the siege of Paris by the Northmen illustrates in a striking manner the original form of
the famous capital of France. That portion of the town known as the He de la Cit6, a small island in the
middle of the Seine, on which the cathedral Notre Dame stands, was originally the entire city. It is still the
core of Paris, but, of course, represents only a tiny portion of the immense city which now spreads in every
direction from the banks of the river, and is connected with the ancient island by numerous bridges.
On the south side of the river, now known as the Latin Quarter, were the headquarters of Roman Paris
(Lutetia), the residence of the governor, still partially preserved in the Cluny Museum, being there situated.



Islands, from the numerous sheep that had
been left behind by the emigrants. Various
chieftains ruled over the islands. More
important affairs were decided at the
people's assembly, or ting, at Thorshavn.

The islands remained in constant inter-
course with Norway, and several dis-
tinguished inhabitants served Norwegian
kings, who tried to bring the islands under
their rule. They succeeded in doing this
in 1035, an d the Faroe Islands belonged
to Norway till 1814, when Norway was
separated from Denmark ; the islands
remained with Denmark and were incor-
porated with this kingdom in 1849. After
the loss of their freedom the prosperity of
the islands declined. Intercourse with the
outer world gradually ceased. Voyages,
especially for trading purposes, became
less frequent, and the commerce upon
which the welfare of the islanders to a
great measure depended passed into the
hands of foreigners and was not regained
until 1856. From that time a new and
happier time began for the islanders.

The language, which was old Nor-
wegian, has survived in several dialects

which in their grammar bear most resem-
blance to Icelandic, in pronunciation and
vocabulary to modern Norwegian dialects.
The inhabitants of the Faroe Islands
have not preserved in writing their sagas
and songs, like the Icelanders. They
have no old literature in the real sense
of the word ; yet the islanders possess a
rich treasury of folk-songs, which have
been orally transmitted and have been
published in modern times. These songs
for the most part tell of old Icelandic
myths of the gods and heroes, and are
derived from other Icelandic sagas and
Norwegian folk-songs.

It was Naddodd, a colonist from the
Faroe Islands, who discovered Iceland, in
867. On a voyage from Norway he was
driven by storms far towards the north-
west, and came to the shores of a large and
mountainous country. He landed and
climbed a high hill, from which he looked
round in vain for traces of a dwelling-house.
As he was leaving the land it was snowing,
and on this account he called it Snowland.
Not long afterwards the land was dis-
covered to be an island, and received the



name Iceland from Floke Vilgerdson, who
spent a winter there in 870. From 874
onwards Norwegian emigrants began to
settle on the island, where they found a
safe retreat.

From Iceland the Norwegians went to

Greenland and America. The discoverer

of Greenland was Erik Rode, who was com-

. pelled to leave Norway owing

How Greenland to acharge of manslaughter

and sailed to Iceland. On
being outlawed there he
attempted to reach a country which had
been seen to the west of Iceland. Hedis
covered it about the year 985 and called it
Greenland, in order to entice others there
by the name. Several settlers arrived on
the south-west coast, where they lived by
fishing and cattle-breeding. About the
year 1000 they were converted to Chris-
tianity by the Norwegians, and a century
later received a bishop of their own,
whose diocese was in Gardar, in the
Jgalikofjord, near Julianehaab ; two
monasteries were also founded there. The
colony preserved its independence for a
long time, but submitted in the thirteenth
century to the king of Norway. For some
time intercourse between the two countries
was maintained, but after the devastation
caused by the Black Death in the middle
of the fourteenth century communication
gradually ceased. The colonists, left to
themselves, lacked everything ; at the
same time they were exposed to the
incessant attacks of the Esquimaux, who
were pressing towards the south, and to
whose attacks the colonists finally suc-
cumbed. When the Danes resumed inter-
course with Greenland, in the eighteenth
century, they found that there were no
longer any Norwegians there ; a few
ruined buildings are the only traces of the
Norwegian colony.

Erik Rode had a son called Leiv, who
sailed from Greenland to Norway, where
he spent the winter of 999-1000. Early

Lost Vo a er m the ycar ** e w i sne d to return
Finds a to .Greenland, but, losing his
New Land course n the return voyage,
he wandered for a long time on
the sea until at last he discovered a land
which he had never seen before. This
land was beautiful to look at : there were
rich meadows, vines and wheat grew
wild, and there was a quantity of salmon
in the water, but he did not see any
human beings. Leiv arrived safely at
Greenland in the autumn, and described

the country which he had discovered
and which he called Vinland on account
of the vines which he found there. It
was decided to examine the country more
thoroughly. In the following year Leiv's
father and brother sailed from Greenland,
but their voyage was unsuccessful, for
the wind was contrary ; they were
driven first towards the north-east, then
towards the south-east, and were forced
to return to Greenland without having
accomplished anything.

Two years afterwards in 1003 a new
expedition was organised for the purpose
of colonising the land. A hundred and
forty colonists, among whom were some
women, sailed on these ships under
the leadership of an Icelander, Thorfinn
Karlsevne, who had come in the pre-
ceding year to Greenland and had
married there. On the voyage Karlsevne
discovered two countries, which he named
Helleland, that is, Stoneland, and Mark-
land, that is, Woodland, and finally he
arrived at Vinland. There the colonists
settled, but they were not destined to
remain long. They encountered natives
and began to barter with them.

'* Soon ' however ' the y quarrelled
with the Indians, or " Skrse-
,. ,,.->. i v

lings that is, weaklings as
they called them ; moreover, they were
at variance among themselves. After
three years this attempt at colonisation
was abandoned, and in 1006 the Northmen
returned to Greenland. The countries
which they discovered were, according to
the most recent investigation, Labrador
(Helleland), Newfoundland (Markland),
Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia (Vinland).
With this expedition attempts at coloni-
sation in Nova Scotia were abandoned.
Soon the course to the new country was
forgotten. We do not know why the
Northmen so soon gave up their new
discoveries ; perhaps the difficult voyage
disheartened them, or else the produce
which they could have brought home
from there was not worth the trouble
and the danger.

While the Norwegians were colonising
new countries on the North Atlantic,
battling more with the raging of the
weather and the boisterous elements than
with human opponents, the richer south
was infested chiefly by the Danes. As
early as the reign of Charles the Great
the Northmen appeared on the shore of
the Prankish Empire. Charles, who was

of th



The youngest brother of the great Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, Roger made many friends by his attractive looks
and elegant manners. On his first arrival in Italy he was compelled, through lack of means, to support himselt
by the acts of a common robber. Roger overthrew the Arab hordes in a war that lasted from 1061 till 1090, and
wrested from them the island of Sicily ; he obtained the title of Count of Sicily, with undisputed possession of the island.



fighting against the Danish king Gottfried,
took various precautionary measures for
the defence of the coasts, but these were
not rigidly maintained. Not long after
his death the coasts of Friesland and
Flanders were exposed to the attacks of
the Northmen ; several towns were plun-
dered by them, among others the wealthy
commercial town of Duurstede, or Dorestad,
on the Rhine. Later they made use of the
quarrels between the sons of Louis the
Pious to establish themselves by force in
Friesland and Flanders. Already at that
time they were laying waste the coasts
of France. They penetrated up the
Seine, the Loire, and the Garonne to the
centre of the country, plundered towns

and monasteries, carried away men and
women of noble birth into captivity,
and then returned to the river mouths.
Everywhere they spread terror and panic,
in the churches men offered the prayer,
" Libera nos a furore Nortmannorum, O
Domine! " or, in Englsh, "From the fury
of the Northmen, Good Lord, deliver us."
But scarcely anywhere were vigorous
precautions taken to drive out the
dreaded foe.

From the coasts of France the North-
men crossed to Spain about the middle
of the ninth century; they attacked
Galicia, and then turned upon the
Moors in the south, besieged Lisbon,
sailed up the Guadalquiver, conquered


the command of their powerful sea-kings, the Danes, at uncertain intervals, harassed England for several

.es, and as the country was unprovided with proper defences, the entire coast was subject to their inroads, and

,ere btptln. constant state of unrest and alarm. The illustration represents a sudden descent of these

ierers off the coast of Northumberland about 787. The boats from the Danish ships, filled with wild figures

that leap ,nto the surf, are already running: ashore, while the terrified inhabitants are hurriedly erecting fortifications,

From the fresco by William Bell Scon



In the spring of 877 the Danes embarked in 120 vessels at Wareham, and proceeded in a westerly direction to the aid
of their beleagured countrymen in Exeter. The elements, however, were against them. For a month the frail ships
were tossed about on the stormy sea, unable to find a landing spot anywhere, and when King Alfreds warships
Tppeared on the scene the opposing fleet was not able to defend itself. Strfking on the rocks off Swanage, the greater
lumber of the vessels were broken to pieces. The Danes who escaped the waves fell victims to the Saxon warriors.

From the picture by Herbert A. Bone

the suburbs of Seville, where they gained
rich spoil, and laid waste the Balearic
Islands, and even the north coasts of
Africa. Later they "renewed their attacks
on Moorish Spain, but had not the same
success against the Moors as against their
other opponents. The Arabs were bold
and capable sailors, and successfully
engaged both on sea and land with the
Northmen, whose ships were at that time
fitted up for transport, and being over-
loaded with warriors and goods were little
suited for naval warfare.

Hasting is the most celebrated of the
Northman chieftains of the middle of the
ninth century. After plundering France
for several years, he is said to have taken
a journey to Italy for the purpose of
conquering Rome, of whose greatness and
wealth he had heard. He was driven by
storm to Luna now a ruin, near Sarzana on
the Magra, in the neighbourhood of Carrara
and by a stratagem took possession of
this town, which he thought was Rome.

He sent a messenger to the bishop and
governor of the town to say that he had
been driven there by storm on his home-
ward journey, that his intentions were
peaceful, and that in addition he was
lying seriously ill and humbly begged to
be baptised. The bishop and governor,
rejoicing at the news, assured him of
peace and of their friendship. The gates
of the town were opened to him and to
his people ; he himself was carried into
the church and baptised, and afterwards
borne back to his ship. In the following
night loud lamentations were heard among
the strangers. It was reported that
Hasting was dead, and it was now the
duty of the church to bury him. A funeral
procession was actually formed in which
Hasting was carried like a corpse on a
bier. The bishop was just about to per-
form the office for the dead when Hasting
sprang from the bier, threw off the grave-
clothes, and appeared in full armour.
H,is followers in like manner let fall their





mantles which concealed their armour.
Hasting slew the bishop and the governor ;
his followers began a terrible slaughter
and took the town, which they then
discovered was not Rome. As they had
no prospect of further conquests, they
determined to return to France. In the
meantime other Northmen continued
their attacks on France, and
France near i y reduced the people to
despair. It is said that
" France had never seen greater
tribulation ; no one dared to leave the
fortified towns ; no man slept soundly
at night on his couch." The Northmen
burst like a storm where they were least
expected, killed the priests, dressed them-
selves in the vestments which they had
robbed from the altars, dragged away
young and old, outraged women and
girls, drove away the cattle, and burned
everything that they could not carry
away. Only a few dared to offer resist-
ance, among them the brave count,
Robert the Strong, the progenitor of the
Capets, who was extolled by the chroni-
clers as the Maccabaeus of France, and
who met with a glorious death while
fighting against the Northmen in 867. A
few of the invaders were destroyed, but
this availed little, for they were always
replaced by others.

The Prankish princes and great lords
were, as a rule, too weak to offer
strenuous resistance to the North-
men. Besides, the morals of the no.bles
were so corrupt that many received money
from the Northmen in return for not
disturbing them in their robberies. At
the end of 885 Paris was compelled to
endure a severe siege. A large Danish
fleet 'reported to consist of 700 ships
with 30,000 to 40,000 men had been
collected at Rouen. They sailed up
the Seine to Paris, where the leaders
demanded free passage, promising, if this
was granted, to spare the town. As
_ the demand was refused, they
e besieged the town, which was

bravely defended by the in-
habitants. The latter hoped to
obtain speedy assistance from the emperor;
but Charles the Fat, with his army, did
not come to their relief till the following
year. By this time Paris was ravaged with
famine and pestilence, but Charles, instead
of engaging in battle with the Northmen,
concluded a disgraceful peace with them.
He promised to pay them 700 pounds of


silver by the following March, and gave
them permission in the meantime to
spend the winter in Burgundy. Since the
Parisians would on no account be privy
to this dishonourable treaty, and still
refused to let the Northmen pass through,
the latter dragged their ships a distance
of 2,000 feet overland past Paris, took
them down to the river again beyond the
town, and sailed towards Burgundy ;
after they had devastated that province
they returned back the same way.

Some years afterwards, Arnulf, king of
the East Franks, succeeded, by means of
a great victory over the Northmen at
Lowen in 891, in procuring peace for his
kingdom. In France, also, where Count
Odo, who had defended Paris so bravely
against the Northmen, had succeeded the
weak emperor, Charles the Fat, they
suffered some defeats. But to annihilate
them was found impossible both by
Odo and by his successor, Charles the
Simple. The privations of the people
became daily greater ; there was a scarcity
of everything, of victuals, of cattle, and
even of grain for sowing. Of the chieftains
of that period the most feared

was Rollo, or Rolf, the head
Surrender to r ., / ,i_ TT

, . . , of the pirates of the Seine. He

r irate C/hief , , r . , , T->

had previously been in France,
and had fought in Friesland and in Eng-
land, but had returned to France at the
beginning of the tenth century. He
established himself in Rouen, and his
warriors ravaged the banks of the Seine.
Charles the Simple, therefore, determined
to surrender the country .on the Lower
Seine to the Normans, in order to procure
peace for himself and his people. Charles
and Rollo met at St. Clair sur Epte in 911
and concluded a treaty. Rollo received
as a fief the land wh ch was afterwards
called Normandy, and swore an oath of
fidelity to the king. Next year he was
baptised and received the name of Robert.
He divided the land among his followers
and by strict laws restored peace and
order. It is related that on one occasion
he forgot a bracelet which he had left
hanging on a tree, and after three years
he found it on the identical spot.

Normandy flourished under Rollo and
his successors, the dukes of Normandy,
and became the best cultivated and best
organised province in the whole of France.
The Normans gradually blended with the
French, whose language, manners, and
habits they adopted. Soon they surpassed



the men of their new country in
religious zeal, without in the meantime
having lost their love of fighting and ad-
venture. They also devoted their atten-
tion with conspicuous success to literature
and art. In Normandy at an early age
men devoted their time to writing history ;
there originated the vaudeville and also,
it is believed, the Gothic style of archi-
tecture. Thus the settling of the Normans
in Normandy was a gain for the whole of
France. Notwithstanding the fact that
the Normans blended with the French,
their descendants still preserved many
traces of their northern origin. At the

Crusades. It was a descendant of Rollo,
William, Duke of Normandy, who sub-
jugated England after the victory of
Senlac, near Hastings, in 1066. The Nor-
mans came into the country with him ;
they became the rulers of the Anglo-
Saxons, and their language, which had
already been adopted by the English
court, supplanted Anglo-Saxon. Gradu-
ally the Normans blended with the Anglo-
Saxons ; from this union originated the
English people and the English language.

As early as the first half of the eleventh
century the Normans had settled in the
South of Italy, where at that time the

Alfred was only twenty-two years of age when he was crowned at Winchester in 871. Within a month of his
coronation he was called upon to take the field against the dreaded Danes, and his brilliant qualities as a leader
soon restored the confidence of his Saxon followers. After many battles, Alfred succeeded in overcoming his enemies
and receiving submission from them, and England was freed from the danger and ruin that had so long threatened her.

From the picture by G. F. Watts. R.A., in the Palace of Westminster

present day the inhabitants of Normandy
differ from the rest of the French in ap-
pearance, character and disposition. In
particular, they have always shown a keen
interest in commerce and navigation.
Normandy has always been the home of

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 7 of 55)