A Saxon warrior


A Viking (Hall of Heorot)


Authentic enough reenactments of a Saxon and a Viking by uknown reenactors. Felicitations on them for their indeed authentic appearance.

Saxons and Vikings (mostly Danes and some Norwegians) clashed fiercely in England during the 9th-11th centuries for its lands. In Scotland and Ireland, mainly Norwegians faced the local Celts. The first Saxon kingdom to be attacked by the Danes was Northumbria, followed by East Anglia and Essex. Mercia and Wessex followed soon. The smaller Saxon kingdoms of Sussex and Kent had already become dependencies of Wessex. Gradually the Danes, after bloody battles and raids on large areas, managed to conquer the old kingdom of Deira, the southern part of Northumbria (making York their capital under the Danish name Jorvik), East Anglia, Essex, and finally the eastern half of the kingdom of Mercia. This area was called the Danelaw by the Saxons, and remained under Danish control for centuries. Although during the Norman conquest of England the Danes suffered massacres by the equally brutal Normans, the Danish character of the North Danelaw area survived for centuries and according to some researchers, it continues to survive partially to this day.

Although the Saxons claimed to be fighting for Christianity against the Danish pagans and invoked a kind of ‘nativeness’ for themselves, they did not differ significantly from their Viking opponents. Like the Danes, the Saxons were Germanic invaders who conquered most of England about two centuries before the arrival of the Danes and became Christians (although several Saxon villagers still maintained their pagan cults which were similar to those of the Danes.).

Below, a map on the political situation about 886 (credit: Wikimedia commons)