The Vikings

Cologne and the Rhineland at the end of the 9th century. For quite some time, the various heirs of the once great but now fragmented Frankish Empire have been fighting each other. The Vikings take advantage of this political instability and plunder the rich Rhineland, the heart of the Frankish Empire.

How did the young Byzantine princess Theophanu become the richest woman in Europe at only 12 years old at the end of the 10th century? And how did she become the most powerful woman in Europe at the age of 24, with far-reaching effects on European history? In this episode, we will look at her breathtaking life and, of course, at the end, what all this actually has to do with Cologne itself.
  1. Theophanu
  2. How Archbishop Bruno changed the face of Cologne forever – until today
  3. Retrospective on Frankish Cologne
  4. The Archduke of Cologne
  5. From the Empire of the Franks to the Land of the Germans

Reconstruction of a Viking longboat

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

How a Viking dragonboat or longboat might have looked like. The mast could be removed and placed in the boat, as seen here. In slack or offshore waters, rowers brought the ship into motion.

By William Murphy – originally posted to Flickr as VIKING LONGSHIP “SEA STALLION” ARRIVES IN DUBLIN, CC BY-SA 2.0,


By User:DemonDays64 – This file was derived from: Blank map of Europe (without disputed regions).svgLegend from File:Map of Scandinavia.png, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Map showing two of the common definitions of “Scandinavia”; a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe. Most common referred as Scandinavia are Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Sometimes even Finnland and Iceland.

Vikings in contemporary sources from the 12th century

Post stamp from the Faroe Island

As this stamp from 2005 shows from the Faroe Island is that most of the Scandinavians were indeed farmers and not raiding vikings.

Vikings raid Paris

19th century portrayal of the siege of Paris by the vikings in 845.

The Raid in Cologne in 881

The predecessor of the church of St. Cecilia, which later housed a convent, was probably destroyed by the Vikings. But otherwise, the destruction of the city by the Vikings written down in the historical sources is archaeologically not grifa

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