May 25 • 1HR 40M

Why did Vikings steal from Christians?

Monasteries were known targets of Viking raids. Matthew Ponesse helps us understand why.

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Vikingology Podcast
Terri and C.J. are first and foremost educators passionate about the Viking Age and Viking history. Theirs was a meeting foretold in the myths of old. Both are historians of Viking history, both live in Oregon in the U.S., and both share the same birthday. It seemed only natural they team up for something epic. The Norns have woven this fate.
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Just think of it. Those poor Christian monks minding their own business dedicating themselves to God living lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and then boom! Vikings start showing up to terrorize and steal from them, and then do it again and again and again. Why? What on earth could have brought this catastrophe upon those defenseless religious communities?

In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Matthew Ponesse of Ohio Dominican University, an expert in 8th and 9th-century Frankish monasticism — you know, the kind created and supported by that medieval super King and Emperor Charlemagne — to get a sense of what they had that Vikings wanted so badly.

He talks to us about what it meant to become a monk, the role and place of monasteries in the Carolingian and Viking worlds, and why he’s been able to spend his entire academic career ignoring Vikings even though they hammered the Frankish Empire repeatedly throughout the 9th century.

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