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Danegeld (; "Danish tax", literally "Dane yield" or tribute) was a
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
raised to pay
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
to the
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Pro ...

Viking
raiders to save a land from being ravaged. It was called the ''geld'' or ''gafol'' in eleventh-century sources. It was characteristic of royal policy in both
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
and
Francia Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest History of the Roman Empire, post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks du ...

Francia
during the ninth through eleventh centuries, collected both as
tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...

tributary
, to buy off the attackers, and as
stipend A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work pe ...
iary, to pay the defensive forces. The term ''danegeld'' did not appear until the late eleventh century. In Anglo-Saxon England tribute payments to the Danes was known as ''gafol'' and the levy raised to support the standing army, for the defense of the realm, was known as ''heregeld'' (army-tax).


England

In England, a
hide__NOTOC__ Hide or hides may refer to: Common uses * Hide (skin), the cured skin of an animal * Bird hide, a structure for observing birds without causing disturbance * Gamekeeper's hide or hunting hide or hunting blind, a structure to hide in when ...
was notionally an area of land sufficient to support one family; however their true size and economic value varied enormously. The hide's purpose was as a unit of assessment and was the basis for the land-tax that became known as Danegeld. Initially it was levied as a tribute to buy off Viking invaders but after the Danish Conquest of 1016 it was retained as a permanent land-tax to pay for the realm's defence. The Viking expeditions to England were usually led by the Danish kings, but they were composed of warriors from all over
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
, and they eventually brought home more than 100 tonnes of
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

silver
. Although the term Danegeld is generally held to have been the name of the tribute payments made to the Vikings, prior to the Norman Conquest, the payments were actually referred to as ''gafol''. In 1012
Æthelred the Unready Æthelred (Old English: ''Æþelræd'', ;Different spellings of this king’s name most commonly found in modern texts are "Ethelred" and "Æthelred" (or "Aethelred"), the latter being closer to the original Old English language, Old English fo ...
introduced an annual land tax to pay for a force of Scandinavian mercenaries, led by
Thorkell the Tall 250px, The rune stone U 344 in Orkesta, Uppland, Sweden, was raised by the Viking">Sweden.html" ;"title="Uppland, Sweden">Uppland, Sweden, was raised by the Viking Ulfr who commemorated that he had taken a danegeld in England with Thorkell the Ta ...
, to defend the realm. Following Æthelred the kings of England used the same tax collection method to fund their own standing armies, this was known as ''heregeld'' (army-tax). Heregeld was abolished by
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the s ...

Edward the Confessor
in 1051. It was actually the Norman administration who referred to the tax as Danegeld.


Anglo-Saxon era

An English payment of 10,000
Roman pound The ancient Roman units of measurement were primarily founded on the Hellenic system, which in turn were influenced by the Egyptian system and the Mesopotamian system. The Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Ita ...
s (3,300 kg) of silver was first made in 991 following the Viking victory at the
Battle of Maldon The Battle of Maldon took place on 11 August 991 AD near Maldon beside the River Blackwater in Essex Essex () is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it ...
in Essex, when Æthelred was advised by
Sigeric the Serious Sigeric (died 28 October 994) was the Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of ...
,
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
, and the aldermen of the south-western provinces to buy off the Vikings rather than continue the armed struggle. One manuscript of the ''
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the stud ...
'' said
Olav Tryggvason Olaf Tryggvason (960s – 9 September 1000) was King of Norway from 995 to 1000. He was the son of Tryggvi Olafsson, king of Viken, Norway, Viken (Vingulmark, and Rånrike), and, according to later sagas, the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair, f ...
led the Viking forces. In 994 the Danes, under King
Sweyn Forkbeard Sweyn Forkbeard ( non, Sveinn Haraldsson tjúguskegg, ; da, Svend Tveskæg; 17 April 963 – 3 February 1014) was king of Denmark The monarchy of Denmark is a constitutional political system, institution and a historic office of the ...

Sweyn Forkbeard
and Olav Tryggvason, returned and laid siege to London. They were once more bought off, and the amount of silver paid impressed the Danes with the idea that it was more profitable to extort payments from the English than to take whatever booty they could plunder. Further payments were made in 1002, and in 1007 Æthelred bought two years peace with the Danes for 36,000 troy pounds (13,400 kg) of silver. In 1012, following the capture and murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the sack of
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...

Canterbury
, the Danes were bought off with another 48,000 troy pounds (17,900 kg) of silver. In 1016 Sweyn Forkbeard's son,
Canute Cnut the Great (; ang, Cnut cyning; non, Knútr inn ríki ; or , no, Knut den mektige, sv, Knut den Store. died 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England Th ...
, became King of England. After two years he felt sufficiently in control of his new kingdom to the extent of being able to pay off all but 40 ships of his invasion fleet, which were retained as a personal bodyguard, with a huge Danegeld of 72,000 troy pounds (26,900 kg) of silver collected nationally, plus a further 10,500 pounds (3,900 kg) of silver collected from London. This kind of extorted tribute was not unique to England: according to
Snorri Sturluson Snorri Sturluson (Old Norse: ; ; 1179 – 23 September 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker of the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He is commonly thought to have authored or compiled port ...
and
RimbertSaint Rimbert (or Rembert) (Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch: ''Vlaanderen'' ; French: ''Flandre'' ; German: ''Flandern'' ) is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. How ...

Rimbert
,
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
and the
Baltic states The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the ...

Baltic states
(see also Grobin, now
Grobiņa Grobiņa (; german: Grobin) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the w ...
) paid the same kind of tribute to the
Swedes Swedes ( sv, svenskar) are a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct Eas ...
. In fact, the ''
Primary Chronicle The ''Tale of Bygone Years'' ( orv, Повѣсть времѧньныхъ лѣтъ, ''Pověstĭ vremęnĭnyxŭ lětŭ''), often known in English as the ''Rus' Primary Chronicle'', the ''Russian Primary Chronicle'', or simply the ''Primary Chroni ...
'' relates that the regions paying protection money extended east towards
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
, until the Finnish and Slavic tribes rebelled and drove the Varangians overseas. Similarly, the
Sami people Places * Sápmi (, smj, Sábme / Sámeednam, sma, Saepmie, sju, Sábmie, , , : Соаме ''Soame'') is the traditionally inhabited by the . Sápmi is in and includes the northern parts of , also known as the "". The region stretches ...
s were frequently forced to pay tribute in the form of pelts. A similar procedure also existed in
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a penin ...

Iberia
, where the contemporary Christian states were largely supported on tribute gold from the
taifa The ''taifas'' (singular ''taifa'', from ar, طائفة ''ṭā'ifa'', plural طوائف ''ṭawā'if'', a party, band or faction) were the independent Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, ا ...
kingdoms. It is estimated that the total amount of money paid by the Anglo-Saxons amounted to some sixty million
pence A penny is a coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ...
. More Anglo-Saxon pennies of this period have been found in Sweden than in England, and at the farm where the runestone Sö 260 talks of a voyage in the West, a hoard of several hundred English coins was found.


Norman era

In southern England the danegeld was based on hidages, an area of agricultural land sufficient to support a family, with the exception of Kent, where the unit was a sulung of four yokes, the amount of land that could be ploughed in a season by a team of oxen; in the north the typical unit was the carucate, or ploughland, equivalent to Kent's sulung; and East Anglia was assessed by the
hundred 100 or one hundred (Roman numerals, Roman numeral: C) is the natural number following 99 (number), 99 and preceding 101 (number), 101. In medieval contexts, it may be described as the short hundred or five 20 (number), score in order to different ...
. Everywhere the tax was farmed (collected) by local sheriffs. Records of assessment and income pre-date the Norman conquest, indicating a system which James Campbell describes as "old, but not unchanging". According to David Bates, it was "a national tax of a kind unknown in western Europe"; indeed, asserts that the national system of land taxation developed to raise the Danegeld was the first to reappear in Western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.. It was used by
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs, monarch of Engl ...

William the Conqueror
as the principal tool for underwriting continental wars, as well as providing for royal appetites and the costs of conquest, rather than for buying-off the
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Pro ...

Viking
menace. He and his successors levied the geld more frequently than the Anglo-Saxon kings, and at higher rates; the six-shilling geld of 1084 is infamous, and the geld in Ely of 1096, for example, was double its normal rate. Judith Green states that from 1110, war and the ''
White Ship The ''White Ship'' (french: la Blanche-Nef; Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origin ...
'' calamity led to further increases in taxation efforts. By 1130
Henry IHenry I may refer to: 876–1366 * Henry I the Fowler, King of Germany (876–936) * Henry I, Duke of Bavaria (died 955) * Henry I of Austria, Margrave of Austria (died 1018) * Henry I of France (1008–1060) * Henry I the Long, Margrave of the Nord ...

Henry I
was taxing the danegeld annually, at two shillings on the
hide__NOTOC__ Hide or hides may refer to: Common uses * Hide (skin), the cured skin of an animal * Bird hide, a structure for observing birds without causing disturbance * Gamekeeper's hide or hunting hide or hunting blind, a structure to hide in when ...
. That year, according to the chronicle of
John of Worcester . John of Worcester (died c. 1140) was an English monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-Eu ...
the king promised to suspend the danegeld for seven years, a promise renewed by
Stephen Stephen or Steven is a common English first name First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever rec ...
at his coronation but which was afterwards broken.
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...

Henry II
revived the danegeld in 1155–1156, but 1161–1162 marks the last year the danegeld was recorded on a
pipe roll The Pipe rolls, sometimes called the Great rolls,Brown ''Governance'' pp. 54–56 or the Great Rolls of the Pipe are a collection of financial records maintained by the English Exchequer, or Treasury, and its successors. The earliest date from ...
, and the tax fell into disuse. The importance of the danegeld to the
Exchequer In the civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transi ...
may be assessed by its return of about £2400 in 1129–1130, which was about ten per cent of the total (about £23,000) paid that year. Judged by an absolute rather than a contemporary standard, there is much to criticise in the collection of the danegeld by the early 12th century: it was based on ancient assessments of land productivity, and there were numerous privileged reductions or exemptions, granted as marks of favour that served to cast those left paying it in an "unfavoured" light: "Exemptions were very much a matter of royal favour, and were adjusted to meet changing circumstances ... in this way danegeld was a more flexible instrument of taxation than most historians have been prepared to allow."
Henry IHenry I may refer to: 876–1366 * Henry I the Fowler, King of Germany (876–936) * Henry I, Duke of Bavaria (died 955) * Henry I of Austria, Margrave of Austria (died 1018) * Henry I of France (1008–1060) * Henry I the Long, Margrave of the Nord ...

Henry I
granted tax liberties to
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
in 1133, and exempted the city from taxes such as
scot The Scots ( sco, Scots Fowk; gd, Albannaich) are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged in the Scotland in the Early Middle Ages, early Middle Ages from an amalgamation of two Celtic languages, Celtic-speaki ...
, danegeld, and murdrum. From the late twelfth century, a levy on moveables, which required the consent of parliament, replaced the geld. The principle of 'no consent, but exemption', gave way to that of 'consent, but no exemption'.


Francia


Brittany

That a country-wide danegeld was ever collected in the
Duchy of Brittany The Duchy of Brittany ( br, Dugelezh Breizh, ; french: Duché de Bretagne) was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and ...
is uncertain. Certainly they were paid off on more than one occasion, and such payouts may have included money (besides other valuables), but the imposition of a tax on the people to pay either a
stipend A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work pe ...
or a
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
is not recorded in the sources, although it is possible that some monies were raised this way. It is more likely that purely local danegeld were raised in times of emergency. In 847 the Breton leader
Nominoe Nominoe or Nomenoe (french: Nominoë; br, Nevenoe; c. 800,  7 March 851) was the first Duke of Brittany This is a list of rulers of the Duchy of Brittany. In different epochs the sovereigns of Brittany were kings, princes, and duke ...

Nominoe
was defeated three times by some
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
Vikings before finally opening negotiations with their leaders and enticing them to leave by offering them gifts, as recorded in the contemporary ''
Annales Bertiniani ''Annales Bertiniani'' (or ''Annals of Saint Bertin'') are late Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Franks, Frankish noble family founded by Charles Mar ...
'': The possibility that the Danes were bought off by methods other than the raising of cash is raised by an incident in 869, recorded in the aforementioned ''Annales'' and by
Regino of Prüm Regino of Prüm or of Prum ( la, Regino Prumiensis, german: Regino von Prüm; died 915 AD) was a Benedictine Order, Benedictine monk, who served as abbot of Prüm Abbey, Prüm (892–99) and later of St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier, Saint Martin's at Tr ...
. In that year
Salomon, King of Brittany Salomon ( br, Salaün) (died 874) was Count of RennesThe Count of Rennes was originally the ruler of the Romano- Frankish ''civitas In the history of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
, put an end to some pagan raids by payment of five hundred heads of cattle. The more local type of danegeld is exemplified by two chronologically close events in the County of Vannes. According to a record in the
cartulary A cartulary or chartulary (; Latin: ''cartularium'' or ''chartularium''), also called ''pancarta'' or ''codex diplomaticus'', is a medieval manuscript volume or roll (''rotulus A ''rotulus'' (plural ''rotuli'') or ''rotula'' (pl. ''rotulae'') i ...
of
Redon Abbey Redon Abbey, or Abbey of Saint-Sauveur, Redon ("Abbey of the Holy Saviour"; french: Abbaye Saint-Sauveur de Redon), in Redon Redon (; ) is a Communes of France, commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine Departments of France, department in Brittany (adminis ...
, the
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
Courantgenus was ransomed from Viking captivity in 854. His ransom was quite probably raised on a local level. In 855 the monks of Redon had to ransom the count, Pascwet, from a similar captivity by handing over a
chalice A chalice (from Latin 'mug', borrowed from Ancient Greek () 'cup') or goblet is a footed cup intended to hold a drink. In religious practice, a chalice is often used for drinking during a ceremony or may carry a certain symbolic meaning. Rel ...
and a
paten A paten or diskos is a small plate, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names ...
, weighing together sixty-seven ''
solidi The solidus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it ...
'' in gold. Sometime later Pascwet managed to redeem the sacred vessels from the pagans, and this payment too may have been raised as a sort of danegeld. Certainly, according to Regino of Prüm, Pascwet later (in 873) paid a stipendiary danegeld of an undisclosed amount to hire as mercenaries some Vikings with which to harass his opponent for the ducal throne of Brittany, Vurfand,
Count of Rennes The Count of Rennes was originally the ruler of the Roman Empire, Romano-Francia, Frankish ''civitas'' of Rennes. From the middle of the ninth century these counts were Breton people, Bretons with close ties to the Duchy of Brittany, which they ofte ...
.


East Francia

The most important danegeld raised in
East Francia East Francia (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...
was that used by
Charles the Fat Charles III (13 June 839 – 13 January 888), also known as Charles the Fat, was the emperor of the Carolingian Empire from 881 to 888. A member of the Carolingian dynasty, Charles was the youngest son of Louis the German and Hemma, and a great- ...

Charles the Fat
to end the Siege of Elsloo and convert the Viking leader Godfrid into a Christian and a Duke of Frisia (882). Local danegeld may have been raised in the Eastern kingdom as needed, such as by one Evesa to ransom her son, Count Eberhard, at a "very great price" in 880, according to
Regino of Prüm Regino of Prüm or of Prum ( la, Regino Prumiensis, german: Regino von Prüm; died 915 AD) was a Benedictine Order, Benedictine monk, who served as abbot of Prüm Abbey, Prüm (892–99) and later of St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier, Saint Martin's at Tr ...
..


Frisia

The first danegeld ever raised was collected in
Frisia Frisia (, ; ) is a cross-border Borders are geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systemat ...

Frisia
in 810.. In that year a Danish fleet of some two hundred vessels landed in Frisia, harassing first all the coastal islands and then the mainland before defeating the Frisians in three battles. The victorious Danes then demanded a large tribute from the conquered. Soon after, a report was sent to
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
, then at
Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian language, Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen. This dialect, as part of the large West Germanic languages, West Ger ...

Aachen
contemplating a campaign against the Danish king, , stating that the Frisians had already collected through taxation and paid a sum of one hundred pounds of silver. These events are recorded in the ''
Annales regni Francorum The ''Royal Frankish Annals'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the po ...
'' and the ''
Vita Karoli Magni ''Vita Karoli Magni'' (''Life of Charles the Great'') is a biography of Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking ...
'', both works of Charlemagne's court historian,
Einhard Einhard (also Eginhard or Einhart; la, E(g)inhardus; 775 – March 14, 840) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Ger ...

Einhard
, and in the separate ''
Reichsannalen The ''Reichsannalen'' are a class of annals composed anonymously in the Carolingian Empire throughout the 9th century. They first appeared under Pepin the Short in 741 and became ubiquitous at monasteries throughout the empire in the following decad ...
'' called the ''
Annales MettensesThe ''Annals of Metz'' ( la, Annales Mettenses) are a set of Latin Reichsannalen, Carolingian annals covering the period of Franks, Frankish history from the victory of Pepin of Heristal, Pepin II in the Battle of Tertry (687) to the time of writing ...
'' and the ''Annales Maximiniani'', as well as the work of the so-called "
Poeta SaxoThe anonymous Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic * * * * peoples whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country (Old Saxony Ol ...
". The total sum paid out is unknown, but it was without doubt raised through taxes, as Einhard in his ''Vita'' explicitly says: "And the victorious Danes imposed a tribute on the vanquished, by means of taxes one hundred pounds of silver from the Frisians is already released" (''Danosque victores tributum victis inposuisse, et vectigalis nomine centum libras argenti a Frisionibus iam esse solutas''). No further danegeld was collected in Frisia until late in the reign of
Louis the Pious Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Ro ...

Louis the Pious
(died 840). In 836 some Northmen, having burnt
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
and the marketplace at Wintla, agreed to leave on the payment of some tribute, the amount of which the ''
Annales Fuldenses The ''Annales Fuldenses'' or ''Annals of Fulda'' are East Francia, East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious (died 840) to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian rule in East Francia ...
'' do not specify. In 837, either because the Frisians were unprepared or defected from their Frankish overlords, some Vikings managed to land on
Walcheren Walcheren () is a region and former island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An ...

Walcheren
, capture several counts and other leading men and kill them or hold them for ransom.. They then proceeded to exact a ''census'' wherever they could, funnelling an "infinite" amount of money "of diverse kinds" into their coffers. They then moved to the mainland, where they assaulted
Dorestad Dorestad (''Dorestat, Duristat'') was an , located in the southeast of the in the , close to the modern-day town of . It flourished during the 8th to early 9th centuries, as an important port on the northeastern shipping routes due to its pr ...
and extorted a tribute from the population of the region before leaving. This event is recorded in the ''Annales Fuldenses'', ''Annales Bertiniani'', ''
Annales Xantenses The ''Annales Xantenses'' or ''Annals of Xanten'' are a series of annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation" ...

Annales Xantenses
'', and the ''Vita Hludowici imperatoris'' of
Thegan of Trier Thegan of Trier (or Degan of Treves) (before 800 – ca. 850) was a Francia, Frankish Roman Catholic prelate and the author of ''Gesta Hludowici imperatoris'' which is a principal source for the life of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious, the so ...
. In 846, during the reign of Louis's son
Lothair I Lothair I or Lothar I (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" ...
, the Vikings compelled the Frisians to collect a ''census'' to pay them off. The ''Bertiniani'' and ''Xantenses'' annals record how Lothair, though aware of the outrage, was unable to stop it, and the Vikings left Frisia laden with booty and captives. The last recorded danegeld raised by the Frisians was paid in 852. In that year 252 Viking ships laid anchor off the Frisian coast and demanded tribute (of what kind we do not know), which was procured. Their demands met, the Vikings left without devastating the territory, as recorded in the ''Annales Bertiniani'' and the ''Miracula sancti Bavonis'', a life of
Saint Bavo Saint Bavo of Ghent (also known as Bavon, Allowin, Bavonius, and Baaf) (622–659) was a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Ro ...

Saint Bavo
. That these various Viking impositions were paid by the taxation of the Frisians is made evident in a record of events in 873. In that year, according to the annals ''Fuldenses'', ''Bertiniani'', and ''Xantenses'', the Viking leader Rodulf sent messengers to the Ostergau calling for tribute. The Frisians replied that they owed taxes only to their king, Louis the German, and his sons (Carloman of Bavaria, Carloman, Louis the Younger, Louis, and Charles the Fat, Charles), and a battle ensued, in which Rodulf was killed and his troops routed. One later, tenth-century source, Dudo of Saint-Quentin's ''De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum'', records that Rollo forced the Frisians to pay tribute, but this is unlikely. All the various Frisian danegeld was purely local in nature, raised by the local leaders and the people without royal aid or approval.


Lotharingia

In Lotharingia the danegeld was only collected once. In 864 Lothair II exacted four ''denarii'' from every ''mansus'' in the kingdom, as well as large number of cattle and much flour, wine, and beer. The whole amount is not recorded, nor whether it was paid as a
stipend A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work pe ...
or as a
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
, but it was paid to a Viking band led by one Rodulf. It has been suggested that Lothair was imitating the example set by Charles the Bald in 860, when he hired the Vikings of Wayland the Smith, Weland to attack those encamped on the island of ''Oscellus'' in the Seine. Neither the reason for Lothair's payment nor the result is recorded in the only source to mention it, the contemporary ''
Annales Bertiniani ''Annales Bertiniani'' (or ''Annals of Saint Bertin'') are late Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Franks, Frankish noble family founded by Charles Mar ...
'':
Hlotharius, Hlotharii filius, de omni regno suo quattuor denarios ex omni manso colligens, summam denariorum cum multa pensione farinae atque pecorum necnon vini ac sicerae Rodulfo Normanno, Herioldi filio, ac suis locarii nomine tribuit.
There is also a story told by Dudo of Saint-Quentin in his ''De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum'' of how Reginar Langhals was ransomed by his wife in 880 for all the gold in County of Hainaut, Hainault, but this is probably a legend.


West Francia

The first payment of the danegeld to the Vikings in West Francia took place in 845 when, under Ragnar Lothbrok, they tried to attack Paris. The Viking army was bought off from destroying the city by a massive payment of nearly six tons of silver and gold bullion. In November 858 a danegeld was being collected, probably to pay off Bjørn (Viking), Bjørn (Berno), who had ravaged the Seine and its district for the whole previous year (857). In 862 two groups of Vikings—one the larger of two fleets recently forced out of the Seine by Charles the Bald, the other a fleet returning from a Mediterranean expedition—converged on Brittany, where one (the Mediterranean group) was hired by the Breton duke Salomon, King of Brittany, Salomon to ravage the Loire valley. Robert the Strong, Margrave of Neustria, captured twelve of their ships, killing all on board save a few who fled. He then opened negotiations with the former Seine Vikings, and hired them against Salomon for 6,000 pounds of silver. The purpose of this was doubtless to prevent them from entering the service of Salomon. Probably Robert had to collect a large amount in taxes to finance what was effectively a non-
tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...

tributary
Danegeld designed to keep the Vikings out of Neustria. The treaty between the Franks and the Vikings did not last more than a year: in 863 Salomon made peace and the Vikings, deprived of an enemy, ravaged Neustria.


Russia

In Russia during the rule of the Swedish ''Rus'' (from where the name Russia derives), the Slavs had to pay an annual tribute to the Vikings known as the ''dan'' from at least 859 onward. Prince Oleg of Novgorod, Oleg, who was a relative of Rurik the Viking, after moving to Kiev, imposed a ''dan'' on the people of Novgorod of 300 ''griveni''/per year "for the preservation of peace". The payments to Kiev continued until 1054 with the death of Prince Jaroslav of Kiev. When Prince Oleg made his expedition against Constantinople in 907, he demanded that the Romans "pay tribute to his men on his 2, 000 ships at the rate of 12 ''griveni'' per man, 40 men reckoned to a ship". The treaty negotiated between Oleg and the Roman Emperor Leo VI the Wise committed the emperor to pay 1 ''grivna'' to every man on Oleg's ships in exchange for going away. According to the Russian chronicles, the followers of Prince Igor of Kiev, Igor in 945 :
... said to him "The servants of Sveiald are adored with weapons and fine raiment, but we are naked. Go forth with us, oh Prince, that you and we may profit thereby". Igor heeded their words and attacked Dereva in search of tribute (''dan''). He demanded the previous tribute and collected by violence from the people with the assistance of his followers...


Legacy


In literature

William Shakespeare made reference to Danish tribute in ''Hamlet, Prince of Denmark''
Act 3, scene 1
(King Claudius is talking of Prince Hamlet's insanity): Danegeld is the subject of the poem "Dane-geld (poem), Dane-geld" by Rudyard Kipling, whose most famous lines are "once you have paid him the Danegeld/ You never get rid of the Dane." The poem ends thus: Kipling's poem was set to music by filk musician Leslie Fish on her 1991 album, ''The Undertaker's Horse''.


In politics

In the United Kingdom, the term "Danegeld" has come to refer to a general warning and a criticism of any coercive payment, whether in money or kind. For example, as mentioned in the British House of Commons during the debate on the Belfast Agreement: To emphasise the point, people often quote Kipling's poem "Dane-Geld", especially its two most famous lines. For example, journalist Tony Parsons (British journalist), Tony Parsons quoted the poem in ''The Daily Mirror'', when criticising the Rome daily ''La Repubblica'' for writing "Ransom was paid and that is nothing to be ashamed of", in response to the announcement that the Italian government paid $1 million for the release of two hostages in Iraq in October 2004. In Britain the phrase is often coupled with the experience of Neville Chamberlain, Chamberlain's appeasement of Adolf Hitler, Hitler. On 22 July 1939, two British newspapers, ''The Daily Telegraph'' and the ''News Chronicle'', reported that Robert Hudson, 1st Viscount Hudson, Robert Hudson of the Department of Overseas Trade had visited the German Embassy in London two days before, to meet the German Ambassador Herbert von Dirksen and Helmuth Wohlthat of the Four Year Plan Organisation, to offer Germany a huge loan worth hundreds of millions of pound sterling in exchange for not attacking Poland. The media reaction to Hudson's proposed loan was overwhelmingly negative with the newspapers calling Hudson's plan "paying the Danegeld". Much to Hudson's humiliation, Chamberlain announced in the House of Commons that Hudson was acting on his own, and Britain would not offer Germany any such loan as a solution to the Danzig crisis.


See also

* Appeasement * Ransom


Notes


Citations


Further reading

* * {{Viking Anglo-Saxon money Anglo-Norse England Medieval economics History of taxation Abolished taxes Extortion