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The Viking Way
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Programme II: 'A Danelaw Day' goes out at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday 09 November 2005.
This programme explores what happened when the Vikings started attacking Anglo-Saxon communities in Britain. Presented by David Aaronovith.
Danelaw Day
9 November 2005
Viking Age combs 16022 Coppergate, York (c) York Archaeological Trust
Viking Age combs from 16-22 Coppergate, York
Copyright © York Archaeological Trust 2005
Programme II: 'A Danelaw Day'
 
This programme explores what happened when the Vikings started attacking Anglo-Saxon communities in Britain .

Anglo-Saxon Britain was not a unified state - but it was a wealthy land, and much of that wealth was gathered in the monasteries. It had been gained largely by peaceful trade, but when the Vikings - or "north men" as they tended to be called - turned to raiding rather than trading, the various rival Anglo-Saxon kings found they had a common enemy.

Reconstruction of a battle scene.

Or did they? Our knowledge of the period is mostly due to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, written by the very people who were on the receiving end of that Viking approach to "free enterprise". In addition, there are several different manuscript versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, written at different times and in different monasteries - and they don't all tell the same story.
And what was life like under Norse domination?  For those Anglo-Saxons who found themselves living in Danelaw - the area to the east of Britain ruled by the Danes - in what ways did their existence change? Would those at the bottom of the social scale have been better or worse off?  Would they indeed have noticed much difference?

Silver penny of Eric Bloodaxe. Viking, AD 947-54 York, England.


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David Aaronovitch
Sue CookDavid Aaronovitch is a broadcaster and journalist. Having been editor of On The Record, he moved onto presenting a number of programmes, including On Air, The Argument and Radio 4's Copy Snatchers.

In 2002 he presented the acclaimed series The Roman Way that looked at life in the Roman Empire and followed this in 2004 with The Norman Way. In 2006 he will be turning his attention to Anglo Saxons in The Saxon Way. 

He also writes regularly for The Times.
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