VIKINGS IN THE DORDOGNE- a Synopsis
The thesis evaluates 9th century Viking raids on the Dordogne river system in southwestern France. Viking activity is well recorded in many parts of the Carolingian Empire, but raids on the Dordogne river system have been largely ignored.
Sources are reviewed and discussed at some length, not just because they form the foundation of what one knows about Viking raids in the Dordogne, but also because sources or lack of them reveal the degree of franco-centricity during the Carolingian era relative to an area largely autonomous from Frankish dominance. What has been written and said about Viking activity in Périgord is in contrast with actual, extant source records. But the paucity of source material may have other causes than lack of event. When contextualizing Viking raids in the Dordogne, there are causes that not only help explain the reasons for them, but also why the source record is so meagre. Some causes have to do with natural, cultural and especially political conditions in the region at the time that made raiding attractive to the Vikings pull causes; other causes deal with conditions that made it natural for Vikings to engage in this kind of activity in the 9th century with consequences for the Dordogne push causes. Viking raids can be seen in a wide context of long-distance trading patterns, and of attempts to control the seaborne networks of trade and raid, and perhaps even in the context of dynastic claims and kingdom formations in Viking homelands. It is only when one sees the wider context of the raids and their causes that one can reconstruct and understand the extent, and the contents, of Viking raiding on the Dordogne river system.
The thesis concludes that it is more than likely that Vikings were a regular presence on the Dordogne river system, at least from the 840s until the 860s, and that material gains were used to further certain chiefs interests in controlling a north Atlantic seaborne network, which was linked to Ireland but which also may have had dynastic implications in Scandinavia.