By Michelle Styles
In 793 the Vikings exploded on the European stage with their raid on Lindisfarne. The precise cause of the raid is lost in the mists of history, but something happened to make the Nordic people suddenly decide to export war to other countries. One recent theory is that the belligerent Christianity of the Franks under Charlemagne led to an increase in warlike behaviour from various pagan tribes. Other theories have to do with the increased mobility through technological innovation, in particular the Viking long ship. The word Viking means one who goes out on piratical raids and can be used as a verb — to go Viking. Scholars are divided on the origins of the word. Vik in old Norse means bay or inlet. So it is possible that a Viking was originally used to mean a man from a bay or a man with a ship from a bay. It also could be a reference to the Viken, a part of southern Norway, pre-unification of Norway in the 10th century. There is some evidence that the Lindisfarne raid did originate from that area. In general during this period, the Vikings are referred to as Northmen or Norsemen and eventually the Viking who settled in France became the Normans. The Viking age ends in 1066 when the last large Viking invasion force is defeated at Stamfordham, shortly before the battle of Hastings.