Columba and his band of twelve monks were the first to carry Celtic Christianity, with its emphasis on preserving the written word, from Hibernia. They took it to Iona, an island off the coast of Caledonia, in 563. There they started a center of learning that kept the light of knowledge burning during the dark days which followed the collapse of the western provinces of the Roman Empire in the 400s. The monastery on Iona sent their monk Aidan to Lindisfarne, an island on the opposite side of Caledonia, to start another center of learning in 635. Eventually the Christianity and literacy practiced by the monks of Iona and Lindisfarne spread to Britannia and Gaul.
Vikings were warriors swarming out of Scandinavia. What became the Viking Age began when they attacked the monastery at Lindisfarne (793). There they destroyed the church building, killed some monks while capturing others for slaves, and carried away booty.
The following year they attacked the Anglo-Saxon monastery at Jarrow (Britannia). There the Venerable Bede (ca 672-735) had written his influential Ecclesiastical History of the English People (completed in 731).
That same year (794) Vikings also raided the monastery at Iona.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.