Ethelred the Pious (Viking England)

This is cross-posted from althistory.wikia.com, but I am hoping that at this forum more people will be able to see it and offer scrutiny and constructive criticism.

1. One morning in Berkshire...

The urgent hoofbeats broke the chilly mid-morning quiet of the little village. As they poked their heads out into the frosty air, housewives and shopkeepers saw the backs of three great war-horses. Riding in the middle had to be the prince-- brother of their king, who had ridden into town just after dawn. The prince rode with a desperate speed as the warriors on his left and right struggled to keep up.

The prince reared to a halt in front of the little church. Without waiting for his companions, he jumped to the ground, his steps muffled in the snow, his mail and his spurs jingling as he lightly ran to the door and, letting out a shout, threw it open.

"Ethelred!"

The priest was standing at the front of the church. Suddenly interrupted in mid-incantation, his face showed a mixture of surprise and confusion. But the kneeling royal figure at the clergyman's feet looked over his shoulder and gave his brother a look of pure irritation.

"Alfred! What are you doing here? How dare you disturb us during the Sacrament?"

"Ethelred-- brother-- my lord..." though beside himself with impatience, Alfred took a moment to catch his breath. "The Danes have been moving into position all morning. They seized the high downs while we stood watching. We cannot let them also seize the initiative. If we wait any longer we will have to withdraw. We'll lose the whole shire."

"Alfred, why in God's name do you think I am here? Do you really expect to hold the field without God's blessing? Get back to the men and keep them in order until I arrive."

Alfred strode across the nave, his youth and adrenaline causing him not to notice his own impertinence. "But the men also see that the battle must soon be joined. And they need their king to lead them. Already the Danes are firing their arrows to provoke us."

Ethelred now stood, his own impatience rising to the level of his brother's. "God comes first," he declared. "When I meet the heathens in combat, I shall face them with a clean conscience. Now you are disrupting us in this sacred place. Either get yourself to the men, or else join me in confession. I daresay you could stand to be shriven as well as I, Alfred."

"At last Alfred, seeing the heathen had come quickly on to the field and were ready for battle... could bear the attacks of the enemy no longer, and he had to choose between withdrawing altogether or beginning battle wihtout waiting for his brother." -- Hodgkin, quoted in Churchill, 105

2. The Battle of Ashdown

In real life, Alfred made the fateful decision to lead the troops of Wessex into battle himself, even though he was only 21 and untested in war, and his brother the king remained at his devotions. His bold action halted the Viking advance and gave Wessex time to regroup. Alfred spent his life fighting the Danes and is remembered as a hero of the English people. And Ashdown in 871 was where his extraordinary career began.
But what if Alfred had listened to timid common sense? Suppose he had not made the rash decision to lead an army without its king, having never fought a battle in his life. In Churchill's words, "If the West Saxons had been beaten all England would have sunk into heathen anarchy. Since they were victorious the hope still burned for a civilized Christian existence in this Island... Alfred had made the Saxons feel confidence in themselves again. They could hold their own in open fight. The story of this conflict at Ashdown was for generations a treasured memory of the Saxon writers."
In this timeline, Alfred waited for his pious elder brother. While he waited, the Danes moved the entirety of their army to a more advantagious position. When Ethelred arrived to take command of his men, the attack was already underway. The Saxons were routed, and the main body of the fyrd scattered. It did not take long for the Danes to drive Ethelred's forces out of Wessex entirely.
Ethelred the Pious-- remembered as the last Saxon king of England-- scored some surprising victories over the next few months and years, but could not stop the inevitable Danish advance. He died valiantly in 873 at the Battle of Headcorn in Kent, regarded as the last stand of the Saxon kingdoms.
Alfred went underground, leading small bands of insurrectionists for a number of years, until he too was captured and executed by Britain's new Viking rulers in 881.

3. Ripple effect

The Danes and Norwegians flooded England over the following years, cultivating a new Scandinavian country in the Anglo-Saxon soil. They brought their worship of Odin and Thor, their independent, landowning peasant class, and their Norse languages. A new national language emerged: Englesk.

Over the years, the impact of a pagan England made itself felt as Norway, Iceland, and the rest of Scandinavia only sluggishly adopted the Christian faith. They continued their plundering lifestyle for a very long time, establishing new Viking states in France, Spain, and, later, Vinland.
Eventually (c. 1120), French knights crusaded against England. The rulers converted; many fled to the north and west, to the fertile pagan lands in Vinland. Vinland and its surroundings became a new sphere for Scandinavian trade and settlement.

A great cultural exchange ensued between the Norse and the peoples of northeastern America. The introduction of European livestock and shipbuilding transformed the Mississippian civilizations of medieval North America, while American squash, beans, and corn spread in Europe and the Mediterranean. By 1400 or so, the Indians of the northeast were quite Scandinavian, and the Scandinavians of the region quite Indian.

4. Further development

I have written a timeline that takes the events in lots of detail up through around 1100, with only a few gaps here and there. I know the idea of Vinland surviving is relatively old hat in AH, but I hope that it is somewhat plausible here, as a side effect of the major changes in England. The other area to see massive differences is Spain, where the Christian kingdoms are snuffed out in the 900s by the increased Viking raids.

I'll provide more later, but I'd love comments on the overall idea.

Skol!
Ben
 
I know the idea of Vinland surviving is relatively old hat in AH, but I hope that it is somewhat plausible here, as a side effect of the major changes in England.
The question I would have is why Vinland would survive in this TL. Settlement of Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland is likely to be LESS, not more, than it was in OTL if the Vikings take over all of England. Why sail thousands of miles across the Atlantic to settle in a howling wilderness when there are rich lands, ready to be farmed, waiting just a relatively short hop across the North Sea? Many, if not most, of the people who went west in OTL are going to end up in England in this ATL.

Also, in OTL, there is little evidence that anyone fled to the far west to escape Christianization when it came to the Norse lands. Why would that suddenly happen in the ATL?
 
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Also, in OTL, there is little evidence that anyone fled to the far west to escape Christianization when it came to the Norse lands. Why would that suddenly happen in the ATL?
As you rightly pointed out, this ATL should have LESS western expansion. But, that could actually work in 'flight of pagans west's favour. OTL, Iceland converted in 1000 very shortly after Norway did (partly to avoid being conquered by her). Iceland was also full populated AFAIK by that time. Greenland wavered for a bit, but was convinced to go Christian, Vinland didn't exist.

With this POD, I would bet that that Scandinavia Christianizes EARLIER (rather than later as the poster claimed). Remember that Knut converted in his English possessions (He was a christian married to a christian wife in England, a ?? married to a pagan wife in Denmark!!)

Soo... If more Scandinavian settlement goes to the British Isles, so that Iceland isn't full and Greenland half empty; and conversion of the geographically European parts of Scandinavia happens earlier, I could, indeed see pagans fleeing for Iceland. If alt-Knut is preoccupied with English/Danish, etc. affairs, he might not even worry too much about Iceland for a while. Then when, oh say, his son decides to deal with 'the problem', the die-hard pagans might then flee from Iceland to the vaguely known Vinland off to the west. Of course, what they'd use for boats, and how to keep ahead of the commando forces of the Anglo-Danish king, well, that would be more difficult.

The end result might be simply tech transfer (iron, cattle, sheep, barley, linen) to such native nations as they allied with before being wiped out.

But, no, the establishment of large pagan Norse kingdoms on the North American seaboard is really low probability, IMO.
 
The question I would have is why Vinland would survive in this TL. Settlement of Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland is likely to be LESS, not more, than it was in OTL if the Vikings take over all of England. Why sail thousands of miles across the Atlantic to settle in a howling wilderness when there are rich lands, ready to be farmed, waiting just a relatively short hop across the North Sea? Many, if not most, of the people who went west in OTL are going to end up in England in this ATL.
Thank you for responding! That makes sense that following the conquest of England, fewer Norse would be driven to Iceland. But I would counter by saying that even in OTL, Greenland would not be discovered until the 980s - more than a century after this TL's Viking conquest of England. In that time, a landowning class became entrenched (particularly in the South), and Vikings who would seek their fortunes did indeed begin to look elsewhere. Nothing after c. 1020 in this TL is set in stone yet, but my plan was for 1000s-era Vinland to be only marginally different from OTL: mainly seasonal expeditions and a few small villages - just a few more of them, with more regular contact with parts to the east than in OTL.

Also, in OTL, there is little evidence that anyone fled to the far west to escape Christianization when it came to the Norse lands. Why would that suddenly happen in the ATL?
In this ATL, Christianization came to England via a violent Crusade, provoking many to flee. Again, the details at this point are not finalized, but I imagine the bulk of the refugees fleeing to still-pagan parts of Norse Ireland and Iceland. But even the Norse in Ireland ATL were Christianizing rapidly, and Iceland cannot support too great a population (although, per your other point, Iceland may have been emptier than OTL). However, I still think it may be plausible that some pagans continued westward. Not enough to conquer the continent, but enough, perhaps, to have an ecological impact via diseases and livestock.

But this still lies fairly far off. My next few posts will detail the history of Europe post-POD.

Ben
 
As you rightly pointed out, this ATL should have LESS western expansion. But, that could actually work in 'flight of pagans west's favour. OTL, Iceland converted in 1000 very shortly after Norway did (partly to avoid being conquered by her). Iceland was also full populated AFAIK by that time. Greenland wavered for a bit, but was convinced to go Christian, Vinland didn't exist.

With this POD, I would bet that that Scandinavia Christianizes EARLIER (rather than later as the poster claimed). Remember that Knut converted in his English possessions (He was a christian married to a christian wife in England, a ?? married to a pagan wife in Denmark!!)
I'll try to address this with the next "narrative" post. I had also assumed that the Norse would convert as soon as they arrived in England. But as I moved on down the history and looked at the details, it became clear that with the Saxon kings dethroned and the organized Saxon Church preoccupied with survival and reaching out to the new neighbors rather then the Norwegians and Danes... paganism turns out to be a harder nut to crack in this ATL. I hope that can be made more clear.

The end result might be simply tech transfer (iron, cattle, sheep, barley, linen) to such native nations as they allied with before being wiped out.

But, no, the establishment of large pagan Norse kingdoms on the North American seaboard is really low probability, IMO.
Agree whole-heartedly. In my current plan, the main results, in fact, are ecological: livestock and disease. This is enough to change the course of American history - eventually.

Ben
 
The Ninth Century

The Ninth Century covers the first thirty years after the point of divergence. Effects are limited to England itself.

The Danes under Halfdan Rangnarsson and his brother Ivar conquered all of England after the Battle of Ashdown. They chased Ethelred and Alfred from Ashdown to the south, the heart of the West Saxon kingdom, and then into Kent. Ethelred made frequent counterattacks, some of them successful, but in the end was unable to decisively defeat the Danes as his own army dwindled.

With the victory at the Battle of Headcorn, Halfdan and Ivar's conquest of England was complete. They were in command of two new Danish kingdoms, Jórvík (York) and Østangeln (Eastanglia).

The Vikings' next task was to secure their conquest. The rest of the century was devoted to consolidating Scandinavian rule in an island that was still largely Anglo-Saxon. There was still a rump Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria in the far north and a self-governing Mercia in the Midlands. Many of the nobility of Wessex had taken refuge on the often-raided but unconquered Isle of Wight. Most pressing was the rebellion Alfred continued to wage. The carving up of Mercia into jarldoms began the process of absorbing the remaining Saxon states. Alfred's rebellion was wiped out in 881.

Other tensions lurked beneath the surface. There was conflict between the Saxons and their new Scandinavian rulers. Halfdan of Jorvik dealt with this through unthinkable cruelty and bloodshed. His son Hvitserk was more temperate and re-established some of the Saxons' local laws and customs, at least in the far South, the so-called Angelagen.

At the same time, the two kingdoms were not getting along. Halfdan had been the stronger partner in his alliance with his brother, and after their victory had absorbed most of Wessex and all of Mercia into Jorvik, leaving Ivar of Østangeln with little to show for all his campaigning in 871-873. War broke out twice, in which Halfdan decidedly defended his conquests. Their sons attempted to make peace, but to no avail.
 
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Biographies of the last Saxon kings

Ethelred the Pious of Wessex

He's the title character, and yet he dies two-and-a-half years into the timeline. Poor fellow!

Ethelred of Wessex, remembered forever as Ethelred the Pious, was the fourth son of King Ethelwulf and the older brother of King Alfred. He was the last King of Wessex to have control over the kingdom.

Ethelred was born c. 840 and grew up to be a very religious man and very dedicated to his God and kingdom. He succeeded his older brother to the throne at the age of 25, during the height of the Viking invasions of the ninth century. Ethered suffered a major defeat to a large Danish army on January 4, 871, at Reading, although the Saxons did manage to inflict heavy casualties on their enemies. Four days later, the armies faced each other once again, at the Battle of Ashdown. There, Ethelred tarried for too long in a nearby church, receiving the Sacrament and praying for victory. His brother Alfred respected his wish to hold the Saxon army until their king finished-- which allowed the Danes to gain the upper hand and rout the Saxons.

For the next two years, Ethelred waged a brave but unsuccessful defensive campaign. In March he rallied his remaining troops and led a counterattack on the Danes. This was not a simple "re-match" of Ashdown (as it was in OTL) but a desperate gamble against a far superior force. Knowing that another rout would mean a swift end to Wessex, Ethelred withdrew in order to save a remnant of his forces. Unlike OTL, he survived, but his attack failed.

In the summer the Danes took the key West Saxon stronghold of Wareham and held it for the winter. The following spring, Ethelred went on the offensive again, driving the Danish army into the Somerset Swamps and winning a great victory there. However, for the next year Ethelred led his army in one long, ignominious eastward retreat. Driven into Kent, Ethelred was literally backed into the island's corner. He met his end at the Battle of Headcorn in Kent, after which Alfred assumed the throne but was unable to reverse the Viking conquest.

In the Alfredssaga Ethelred is portrayed as a noble yet naive warrior for Christ, riding boldly into the Danish lines and cutting down the Heathen with his sword. He is betrayed by cowardly underlings, clergy in league with the Vikings. They lead him astray by taking advantage of his simple faith, convincing him that various ill-advised moves are actually the will of God.

Alfred of Wessex

Alfred was the last king of Wessex, the last great Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. He is best remembered as a folk hero in southern England, where his legend has strayed rather far from the historical facts.

Youth

Alfred was born in 849 Wantage in Berkshire, the fifth son of King Ethelwulf. The Viking invasions took their toll on the royal family, and by 865, the fourth son, Ethelred the Pious, had to step forward to assume the throne. During Ethelred's turbulent reign Alfred was trained in war, and his first battle proved to be a fateful one, the Battle of Ashdown, fought not far from Alfred's birthplace.

The battle occurred in January 871, when Alfred was 21. Ethelred spent the morning in prayer and sacrament while the Danes under Halfdan Rangnarsson moved into position and began firing arrows at the waiting Saxons. The impetuous young prince urged his brother to hurry and lead his men, but Ethelred insisted that God came first. Showing a streak of unconfidence, which was to prove uncharacteristic, Alfred decided to wait for Ethelred, sacrificing position and initiative to the Danes. The Saxons were routed.

For two years Alfred and Ethelred attempted to turn the tide, but they were driven into Kent and forced to make a last stand at Headcorn. Ethelred died in the battle, and Alfred escaped with a small band of men.


Insurgent king

Alfred was now rightful King of Wessex and Kent, but the whole of his realm lay in Danish hands. He became an outlaw, gathering fighting men where he could get them and attacking Danish forces whenever the chance allowed. He managed a hasty coronation at Canterburh, apparently sneaking into the town by night and awakening the archbishop. He ranged far during his decade-long insurgency, occasionally amassing large enough forces to engage in pitched battles, but more often harassing small Viking armies as they moved or camped.

In 881, Alfred was captured during a raid on a village in the jarldom of Djúra-bý, in the defunct Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. He was executed as soon as the jarl learned his identity. King Halfdan, infamous for his cruelty, is said to have killed the hapless jarl for depriving him of the chance to personally dispose of Alfred.

Alfred married a woman named Ealhswith while still a teenager and certainly had children by her. None of them are known to have claimed the West Saxon throne after Alfred's death, if indeed they survived.

Legacy and Legend

In England's South Country, Alfred's legend is revered. He symbolizes resistance to authority, daring, and piety, certainly. But more importantly, he has become a regional symbol, a figure of pride and strength in a region that has always been dominated economically, culturally, and politically by the North. The Southern dialects of Englesk have always been held as substandard, for example: modern attempts to legitimize the Southern way of speaking have been dismissed by most as "glorifying the uneducated." Other Southerners speak the Kentish language, which is even more endangered than South Country Englesk. The South's economy, too, was traditionally dominated by large lords, in contrast to the pattern of independent land ownership that prevailed in the North. So although Alfred most likely conceived of his struggle as one of Saxon against Dane, or perhaps Christian against Pagan, his story is most often framed as one of South against North, and in the stories he usually ends up getting the better of his northerly adversaries.

One story, perhaps first told in the twelfth-century Alfredssaga, has Alfred seeking shelter in a peasant woman's hovel during a lean time. Not realising who he is, the woman asks the king to watch some cakes on the fire while she works outside. Alfred is brooding about his kingdom and allows the cakes to burn. The woman berates him until he reveals his identity, whereupon she appologizes profusely; but the gracious Alfred insists that he has let her down. Another story has Alfred disguising himself as a minstrel to infiltrate the Danish camp, gettng him the information he needs to win a great victory.

The legends often insert happy endings quite different from the fate of the historical Alfred. Some modern versions, which draw freely and indiscriminately from legend and modern scholarship, suggest Alfred was able to find refuge on the Isle of Wight, a place where some Saxon nobles really did escape to flee the Vikings. Some other modern portrayals stray from both the old tales and the historical record. A recent play Greatheart shows Alfred bedding Halfdan's wife and secretly fathering the entire line of Jorvikian kings. Audiences continue to flock to performances, while the history faculties of every university in England continue to poo-poo it.
All in all, Alfred's role in history may have been minor-- his successes tended to be small and fleeting, his failures large and permanent. But this historical Alfred has been almost entirely covered up by the hero of the South Country, and few can doubt that he has inspired many who also face insurmountable foes.
 
I THINK you have your spellings mixed up. You have "Strathclyde"with modern OTL English spellings (also Welsh, I.Wight, Northumberland, Dublin, Franks), 'Östangeln' with a modern continental scandinavian spelling (no? Sorry, couldn't get the O/ with any of the keyboards I have installed), and 'norðr-eyar' and 'suðr-eyar' in what are supposed to be Old Norse, except that I think the endings should drop in the middle ('norðeyar' and 'suðeyar' - compare Vestmanneyar in OTL Island - it's not Vestmaðreyar).

Also, if the Danes have conquered the south of England, why is English law/rule being applied? The Danelaw OTL was not the area of Danish settlement (although it was that, too, largely), it was were the Danish LAW ran.

Picky, picky, picky. I know!:)
 
Picky, picky, picky. I know!:)
That's why I joined this board! Pick away!

I THINK you have your spellings mixed up.
Probably. I don't know Old Norse and am piecing the place-names together from whatever linguistic info I have on hand. I've inconsistently switched between OTL and ATL place-names as wall. [does four Our Fathers :)]

Also, if the Danes have conquered the south of England, why is English law/rule being applied? The Danelaw OTL was not the area of Danish settlement (although it was that, too, largely), it was were the Danish LAW ran.
To quote myself:
Halfdan of Jorvik dealt with this through unthinkable cruelty and bloodshed. His son Hvitserk was more temperate and re-established some of the Saxons' local laws and customs, at least in the far South, the so-called Angelagen.
...As time went on, this was allowed to fade, and the rule of the local landowners became more direct. But aspects of the shire system were to continue to be felt in Norse England.

Ben
 
Procedural question from a noob

As I mentioned, I've written this TL in quite a bit of detail (AD 871-1020 for now) on the Althistory Wikia. I'm posting large chunks of it here because this forum in general seems more high intensity than that site, and I want EtP to be able to stand up to scrutiny. But given that so much is already written, should this be in the "Timelines and Scenarios" section?

Ben
 
Overview of the Tenth Century

Well, I read the Readme for "Timelines & Scenarios" and am pretty sure that this is still the place to post if I want a discussion.

All right, so far so good on the first 30 years. This post will be an overview of the years 900 to 1000, and more detailed narratives will come on later posts.

England

During the Tenth Century, England changed from an Anglo-Saxon country under Viking occupation into a Scandinavian country with a downtrodden Saxon minority. Much of this transformation came from the waves of immigrants from Denmark and Norway. They formed a new class of peasant freeholders, independent-minded and pagan. A hybrid culture developed combining the native with the Viking. The Beowulfssaga, thought to originate in Mercia, is considered a prime example of this cultural blending. The old inhabitants of the island influenced the invaders' language as well, and by the end of the century both peoples were speaking various dialects of what can be called Old Englesk.

The two Viking states in England, Jorvik and Ostangeln, existed as separate kingdoms until the very end of the century. Ostangeln's history was in general more turbulent than Jorvik's. Whereas Jorvik adopted a consistent Saxon-inspired legal system and a fairly regular means for electing its kings, Ostangeln was a constant battlefield for nobles and invaders seeking influnence and power. The kingdom fell to Erik Bloodaxe, former King of Norway and then king of Dublin, in mid-century.

The dispute between Erik Bloodaxe's sons led to the Bloodaxe War of 964-974. The two factions appealed to outside allies, and one by one Orkney, Jorvik, Alba, and finally Denmark were brought into the conflict. By the end of the war, King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark was the ruler of Östangeln. His successor Sweyn Forkbeard proceeded to conquer Jorvik and was named King of Dublin in the 990s. In 998, Sweyn became the first ruler of a united Kingdom of England.

Scotland/Alba

The Vikings' focus on England in the earlier part of the century actually provided a respite for the nascent Scottish state, Alba, during the reign of Constantine II. Of all of Alba's kings, Constantine did the most to establish the Scottish kingdom. He put Scotland on the path toward unification a century earlier than in OTL. The details of this will come in a forthcoming post, but I can provide them sooner on request.

By the end of Constatnine's reign, Alba was probably the strongest kingdom in the British Isles. His successors maintained its position, and during the Bloodaxe War the Isle of Man and some of the Hebrides were added to its territory. The first real threat to Alba emerged at the end of the century with the rise of the Danish Empire.

Norway

Two Norwegian kings, Haakon I and Olaf I, spent formative years in England. They did not convert to Christianity in this pagan country, and therefore did not bring the new religion back to Norway. The eleventh-century King Olaf II was the first Christian monarch of Norway. He too had spent some time in England, as well as Ireland and the Norse-Spanish kingdom of Galisja, where he experienced his conversion.

France and Spain

The high-intensity era of the Viking raids extended longer than in OTL. The continued practice of paganism in England and Norway was largely to blame for this; also, while Viking activity in the years c. 870-920 was focused on dividing up the conquests in England, by the mid 900s there was a new generation of landless sons seeking estates, loot, and glory. Dublin again came under Norse domination, and a number of other petty Gaelo-Viking kings took power elsewhere in Ireland. Others went to Iceland, where the larger number of feuding chieftains delayed the establishment of Iceland's council, the Althing, by several years. In France, English Vikings established the Duchy of Anguèlènie.

In northern Spain, the struggling Christian kingdoms found themselves caught between the Vikings and the expanding Cordoba Caliphate. They were unable to resist two such powerful enemies at once. By the end of the century, Cordoban rule extended northward to the Pyrennes and Leon. Vikings established their own petty states along the coast. The most important of these by far was Galisja, centered on Santiago de Compostela. Galisja attracted immigrants from England and took on a decidedly Nordic flavor. By 1000 Castile was the only major Christian state left in Spain; it ruled the Castilian plain as well as the rugged land of Asturias. However, the Galisjan Vikings were gradually converting to Christianity themselves, led by the second king, Hrut. Hrut began referring to his kingdom as Sant Jakob.

Denmark

Denmark's consolidation and Christianization proceeded apace, essentially the same as in OTL. Differences begin to happen in the 970s, when the Danish king was actively invited to join in England's squabbles. He acquired a foothold on the island that led to Denmark conquering all England sooner than in OTL.

Russia and the rest of the world

I keep thinking about the effects of an all-Viking England on the Kievan Rus, and every time I run it in my head there are few differences. Perhaps a few adventurers who would have become petty Varangian potentates instead chose to try their luck in England. But the Rurikid family itself was in Russia before the POD, and the economic opportunities would have been the same, particularly after c. 920-930 when England began running out of free land. A slightly smaller Kievan Rus may have resulted, but in general, no major changes.

Slightly increased Viking activity in the western Mediterranean before c. 950; thereafter, a stronger Caliphate means less Viking activity in the Mediterranean.

No major changes to Italy or Germany from what I can see, nor to the rise of Capetian power in France.
 
Hm, not many replies. I hope that the TL isn't... boring. Although I admit it is a bit detail heavy. I won't post the year by year timeline or the family trees, then :p.

My last post was an overview of the years 900-999. My next few will cover the same years in more detail.

The Tenth Century, Part 1: Hvitserk and Constantine

Britain between 900 and 930 was dominated by two powerful kings: Hvitserk the Wise of Jorvik (York) and Constantine the Great of Alba. Both men successfully consolidated their rule over their respective kingdoms and expanded their territory. Hvitserk comandeered the sound Anglo-Saxon administrative and legal structures that existed before his father had conquered England. He also successfully took advantage of the weakness of the neighboring Norse kingdom of Östangeln (Eastanglia). Constantine consolidated his power during a time when the Viking kingdoms were busy fighting one another rather than invading Scotland. He cooperated with the Church and extended his rule over neighboring Northumbria and Strathclyde.

In 903, the Ostanglian nobles overthrew the joint kings, Sigfrid and Sigtrygg. The brothers fled to the court of their uncle and former enemy, Hvitserk of Jorvik. Hvitserk sought to use them to further destabilize Östangeln, so in 905 he equipped them with an army to retake their old kingdom.

The brothers' attack failed. The army was defeated, Sigfrid was killed, and Sigtrygg captured. Hvitserk recognized that he had bet on the wrong horse. He refused to ransom Sigtrygg, abandoning him to the new king, Halfdan, who soon had him executed. Hvitserk instead sought to establish ties with Halfdan. Halfdan's son Eirik married Hvitserk's daughter Raghild in 910.

While the English were occupied with fighting one another, a new power was rising in the north. Constantine II became King of Scots and Picts in 900 and soon began strengthening his kingdom through buildings and reforms. In 906, the last Anglo-Saxon king, Eadulf of Northumbria, appealed to Constantine for protection. Constantine became Northumbria's (more-or-less) feudal overlord.

In 914, the two kings clashed. Hvitserk sought to conquer the last of the Saxons and invaded Northumbria with an army. Constantine met him, and the battle was bloody but indecisive. Hvitserk and Constantine settled upon a border and agreed never to fight over Northumbria: in the so-called Treaty of Bramburgh they essentially acknowledged one another as equals and soon became loyal friends. Constantine began building fortifications and monasteries in Northumbria, consolidating his rule and helping the spread of Scots-Gaelic culture there.

Hvitserk's marital diplomacy seemed to pay off in 922, when his son-in-law Eirik seized the Ostanglian throne. When Hvitserk died in 924, he ruled over a secure kingdom in Jorvik, was the acknowledged overlord of Dublin and several other Irish fiefs conquered by loyal jarls, maintained a secure and peaceful northern border, and had a great deal of influence in Ostangeln. Nevertheless, the magnates of the kingdom elected Bjørn, leader of a different family, to succeed him.

In 932 Constantine's influence was extended still farther. His ally King Dyfnwal of Strathclyde, the Welsh-speaking kingdom to the southwest of Alba, had designated Constantine's nephew Máel Coluim (Malcolm) as his tanist, or heir. When Dyfnwal died in 932, Malcolm ascended the throne. Constantine was firmly established as northern Britain's great power. Constantine also designated Malcolm as his tanist. When Constantine retired to a monastery in 943, Malcolm became King of the Picts, Scots, Strathclyde, and Northumbria. Alba's rise to power was complete.
 
I'll keep posting. The main characters in this section are Sigtrygg Ivarsson, Sigtrygg the Squinty, and Guðröðr Siegfriedsson, all of whom were real Vikings. They formed part of England's new ruling dynasty, the Ragnarætten (descendents of Ragnar Lodbrok), in TTL.

The Tenth Century, Part 2: English Adventures in France

After around 920, England was more or less out of conquered land free for all to take: in the north, much of the farmland was filled with Scandinavian farm families; in the south, the preservation of Anglo-Saxon laws and customs kept much of the farmland in native hands. English Vikings began expanding to other countries. The sons of many Norwegian nobles came to England to prove themselves by raiding neighboring countries, while many English Vikings continued to attack neighboring countries for land, profit and glory.

The Ragnarætten, the family of England's first Viking conquerors, led many of the most successful conquests abroad. After Sigtrygg Ivarsson was captured trying to reconquer Östangeln, his son Sigtrygg the Squinty went back to Jorvik. In 920 he assembled a large number of followers and sailed to France.

Sigtrygg landed at the mouth of the Garonne and attacked the important trading hub of Bordeaux. The city fell to him, and he began attacking towns farther upriver. King Raoul of France fought back.

In 925, Sigtrygg and Raoul reached an arrangement similar to one struck by the Dane Rollo of Normandy in 911. Sigtrygg would be granted a sizeable domain centered on Bordeaux. In return, he would acknowledge Raoul as King and consent to be baptized. Though a lifelong pagan, Sigtrygg agreed. As Duke of Anguèlènie, he joined the ranks of France's most powerful magnates. He died soon afterwards and was succeeded by his cousin Góröðr, who was already using his French name, Godefroy. Soon after becoming Duke, Godefroy secured a politically savvy marriage to Emengard, daughter of the Duke of Burgundy. He inherited Burgundy through his wife in 950.
 
A few thoughts:

1) Why would Christianization necessarily be delayed? It's not like Christianity has been wiped out, after all.

2) If there's more territory to settle in England, why would there be greater expansion?
 
1) Why would Christianization necessarily be delayed? It's not like Christianity has been wiped out, after all.
Largely it comes down to 2 factors, both of which were important in Christianizing Scandinavia OTL, and both of which are eliminated or lessened TTL: (1) Anglo-Saxon missionaries in Scandinavia, and (2) Anglo-Saxon elites' outreach to Norse elites in England.

Anglo-Saxon Christians will instead be reaching out to their neighbors and simply trying to survive. There are no Anglo-Saxon elites left, really, so the Norse princes who spend time in England instead spend their time amongst fellow pagans.

2) If there's more territory to settle in England, why would there be greater expansion?
Basically, the territory is distributed among the conquerors and their families by c. 930, and with a more solid base in England and a still-burning expansionist impulse that lasts longer (partly b/c of the paganism)... there's greater expansion c. 920-1000. Beyond that, the details are fuzzy as the bristling beard of Odin. I have a feeling that TTL will lead to a larger movement of people to North America after 1100, but others have pointed out that that may not be the likliest result.
 
The Tenth Century, Part 1: Hvitserk and Constantine

Britain between 900 and 930 was dominated by two powerful kings: Hvitserk the Wise of Jorvik (York) and Constantine the Great of Alba. Both men successfully consolidated their rule over their respective kingdoms and expanded their territory.
Hvitserk is obviously an epithet, not a name. A name that goes into legend may well be the epithet, but a name in history books is unlikely to. I googled hvitserk, and there are tales of someone of that name as a son of Ragnar Hairybreeks (since I can't be bothered getting all the Norse special characters right). One source points out that no source refers to both 'Hvitserk' and 'Halfdan', so they may possibly be alternate ways of refering to the same person. [I notice that later you have Hvitserk's son marrying Halfdan's daughter, IIRC, which, if this is the same Halfdan would be .... interesting!]
 
I'll keep posting. The main characters in this section are Sigtrygg Ivarsson, Sigtrygg the Squinty, and Guðröðr Siegfriedsson, all of whom were real Vikings. They formed part of England's new ruling dynasty, the Ragnarætten (descendents of Ragnar Lodbrok), in TTL.

The Tenth Century, Part 2: English Adventures in France
....
Sigtrygg landed at the mouth of the Garonne and attacked the important trading hub of Bordeaux. The city fell to him, and he began attacking towns farther upriver. King Raoul of France fought back.

In 925, Sigtrygg and Raoul reached an arrangement similar to one struck by the Dane Rollo of Normandy in 911. Sigtrygg would be granted a sizeable domain centered on Bordeaux. In return, he would acknowledge Raoul as King and consent to be baptized. Though a lifelong pagan, Sigtrygg agreed. As Duke of Anguèlènie, he joined the ranks of France's most powerful magnates. He died soon afterwards and was succeeded by his cousin Góröðr, who was already using his French name, Godefroy. Soon after becoming Duke, Godefroy secured a politically savvy marriage to Emengard, daughter of the Duke of Burgundy. He inherited Burgundy through his wife in 950.
King Raoul? ??? Boy, does this look wierd. OK, Raoul is a French name, but I can't think of a single major noble or member of royalty that carried it.

Rollo/Hrolfr a Dane!?!? Hunh! on looking at the Wiki article it says there's strong case to be made that he was. I had previously only heard the Icelandic version of his origin as a Norwegian.

Rollo? Odd spelling in Norse-esque tale. Rolf/Hrólfr would be more consistent, IIRC.
 

Valdemar II

Banned
Rollo/Hrolfr a Dane!?!? Hunh! on looking at the Wiki article it says there's strong case to be made that he was. I had previously only heard the Icelandic version of his origin as a Norwegian.
There's quite good indication that he was Danish royalty*, when Louis IV of France tried to recapture Normandy under the boy duke Richard I reign, a Danish fleet/army came to the rescue under Harald Bluetooths command, something, which indicated that he was close to the Danish King.

*This is less impressive than it sound the royal family/clan at that time was big.
 
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I am leaving work and don't have time to comment on everything in detail.

The two leaders of the army that conquered England in the 870s were the two sons of Ragnar Hairybreeches, Halfdan and Ivar. I believe that the precise relationships among these individuals is open to several interpretations; for purposes of this TL I picked one and went with it.

Hvitserk son of Halfdan... that is probably me misreading a source. My knowledge of Norse is right up there with my knowledge of nuclear medicine - zero. So any and all attempts to recreate Norse or Norse-esque names are going to resemble that of a blind man slicing olives with a battle-axe. I'll welcome corrections of spellings and all that. Often I will use whatever spelling my sources happen to use, which will result in inconsistencies due to my linguistic ignorance.

I believe that I have two unrelated kings of Jorvik named Halfdan. So Hvitserk is not marrying his sister, unless I am seriously forgetting something.

Rollo/Hrolfr is a background character in this TL who does not differ at all from his counterpart in OTL. I'll gladly refer to him as Hrolfr henceforth. His descendant Guillaume the Conqueror, on the other hand, will have a very different life trajectory.

Raoul de France was the Carolingian King from 923 to 936, same as OTL. Google google... OK, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_of_France
 
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