Christendom and the Barbarians c. 800–900


Map Code: Ax02391

The so-called “barbarians” were migratory peoples who launched attacks on the more settled societies of the old world since Roman times. In the 9th century new marauders preyed upon Christendom, drawn by the wealth accumulated by religiousestablishments and centres of commerce. The Vikings were audacious maritime marauders, who reached as far as Italy. The Magyars, a confederation of nomadic tribes who settled in the Hungarian plains, became arch-exponents of the long-range cavalry raid, penetrating as far as Muslim Spain and the heel of Italy. Charlemagne encircle his new empire with “marches”, a buffer zone of client states, but internal conflict after his death left the borders and defended. Saracen corsairs sacked and raided in the Balearics and southern France, establishing bases in southern Italy and making three raids on Rome. The forces of Christendom began to fight back: Otto the Great decisively defeated the Magyars at Lechfeld (955). But the Vikings proved more durable, establishing a permanent power base in Normandy from the late 9th century and the vast riverine empire in Russia, Kievan Rus.

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