The first incursion of the Northmen took place in A.D.
They were beaten off, but the Northmen narrowly escaped destruction, and two of their number (one a leading settler) were slain.
After reducing the Desi, who were in alliance with the Northmen of Waterford and Limerick, in 984 he subdued Ossory and took hostages from the kings of East and West Leinster.
The 10th century is the time of the settlement of the Northmen in Gaul, and of the change in religion and language of which the softening of the name is the outward sign.
The fortress was often besieged and sometimes taken, the Picts seizing it in 736 and the Northmen in 870, but the most effectual surprise of all was that accomplished, in the interests of the young King James VI., by Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill on March 31, 1571.
The Northmen of Denmark and Norway, whose piratical adventures were the terror of all the coasts of Europe, and who established themselves in Great Britain and Ireland, in France and The Sicily, were also geographical explorers in their rough but Nothmen.
After passing the Wonderstrands and reaching a coast indented with bays, Thorfinn put two fleet Gael runners ashore, with orders to explore southwards (see Leif Ericsson): they returned with grapes and wild wheat, proofs that the Northmen were not far from Vinland.
The new synthesis reveals a universal decline from the 5th to the 10th centuries, while the Germanic races were learning the rudiments of culture, a decline that was deepened by each succeeding wave of migration, each tribal war of Franks or Saxons, and reached its climax in the disorders of the 9th and 10th centuries when the half-formed civilization of Christendom was forced to face the migration of the Northmen by sea, the raids of the Saracen upon the south and the onslaught of Hungarians and Sla y s upon the east.
Lake Ilmen and the river Volkhov, on which stands Novgorod, Rurik's capital, formed part of the great waterway from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and we know that by this route travelled from Scandinavia to Constantinople the tall fair-haired Northmen who composed the famous Varangian bodyguard of the Byzantine emperors.
There can be little doubt that the earlier of these expeditions were from Denmark, though the term Northmen was originally applied indiscriminately to all these terrible visitants from the unknown north.