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В переведенной на русский язык галлимаровской брошюрке Ива Коа "Викинги, короли морей" нашла несколько миниатюр, посвященных вторжению викингов в Англию.

В подписях стоит "Манускрипт из библиотеки Пьерпонта Моргана".
Вопрос к френдам - что это за манускрипт? И какая за ним история стоит, потому что найденные мною сведения об Иваре Бескостном вроде бы не соотносятся с иллюстрациями.

А история такова:
It was an army of Danes - a Viking force of hitherto unseen strength and number - that moved through the land with frightening speed and seemingly unstoppable success. Led by Ivarr and his brothers Halfdan 'of the wide embrace' and Ubbi, this was the first Viking invasion of the British mainland aimed at conquest rather than pillage. Its impact was devastating.

Within the Scandinavian saga tradition, the 'great heathen invasion' was the result of Ivarr and his brothers' very personal desire to avenge the death of their father in the Northumbrian pit of vipers.

The little pigs would grunt now if they knew how it fares with the old boar.

Words which prophesied the violent revenge that would be exacted by Ragnarr's children

The Defeat of Northumbria

The Vikings landed on the East Anglian coast. King Edmund, the local ruler, bought peace for his kingdom by supplying the invaders with food, horses and winter quarters. Ivarr then led his army - perhaps reinforced by other Vikings from France - north along the old Roman road, crossing the Humber into the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria.

On 1st November 866, taking advantage of a civil war raging there between Aella and his rival Osbert (who may have been his brother), the Viking army captured and occupied the Northumbrian capital of York (Jorvik) in a surprise attack, meeting little resistance. The invaders began to build up the defences of York, to make it theirs.

The warring Northumbrians had put aside their differences to unite against the common enemy, and on 23rd March 867, the combined forces of Osbert and Aella attempted to retake York. They were heavily defeated by the Danes. Osbert was killed in battle and Aella was put to death. The Annals of Ulster record:

A defeat of the Northern Saxons in York, at the hands of the Danes, in which Alli, king of the Northern Saxons, was slain.

Aella's Execution

The manner of Aella's death has generated tremendous debate among scholars of the period. His execution is described in great detail in the Scandinavian sources, and Ivarr's personal involvement is stressed. The most graphic description appears in the Ябttr af Ragnars sonum:

They caused the bloody eagle to be carved on the back of Aella, and they cut away all of the ribs from the spine, and then they ripped out his lungs.

This particularly gruesome act was a form of Viking ritual murder known as the 'blood-eagle'. The practice has been rejected by certain academics, who feel it is based entirely on folklore, and that later descriptions are the result of mistranslation. However, the fact that the term 'blood-eagle' existed as a meaningful concept in the Old Norse vocabulary indicates that it constituted a ritual form of slaying in its own right.

Ivarr's devastating attack on the British Isles can thus be seen in the context of filial revenge and Aella's exceptionally gruesome execution as the culmination of this impulse.

What was left of the Northumbrian royal court fled north, and Ivarr installed Egbert I as the puppet king of Northumbria. He was little more than a tax collector for the Danes, helping to bring them greater wealth and emphasising their power.

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