==Anglo-Saxon and Danish History and Culture==
The season begins at a battle where the invading Danes are victorious against the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria at York.
This event did occur and the Danes were, in fact, able to win this battle by slaughtering the garrison in 866 and then beating a counterattack in 867 , which is the opening battle in the series. York was the chief city of this region and taking control over it was critical. The depiction of the Danes is relatively accurate, as they would have formed a shieldwall and likely attempted to entrap their enemy or outmaneuver them.<ref>For a history on the invasion on Northumbria, see: Hunter Blair, P. H., & Keynes, S. (2006). <i>An introduction to Anglo-Saxon England</i> (3. ed., repr). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, pg. 103.</ref> [[File:Winchester 13.jpeg|thumbnail|left|300px|Figure 1. Modern day Winchester, which served as the main capital of Wessex in the Anglo-Saxon period.]] The Danes at this time were mostly polytheists, where the wars against the Anglo-Saxon were depicted as wars between the Christian God and the Danish gods. The Danes are generally known to us as Vikings; however, the show makes clear they were more than just Vikings because the Danes were settling to live in England. Viking, on the other hand, is a term used to describe the behavior of raiding.<ref>For background on the Danes, see: Jones, G. (2001). <i>A history of the Vikings</i> (2nd ed). London ; New York: Oxford University Press.</ref> Some of the events of conquest are not accurate or not explained, such as the Danish army coming from East Anglia after having landed there first, but the general events are true. The Danes did fear loosing warriors, as shown in the series, despite their fierce reputation, as they could not spare loosing too many men. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxons were often shown as weak warriors too dependent on their priests, something Uhtred criticizes, to save them. There is some truth to this, as much of the Anglo-Saxon army lacked professional warriors. However, they were probably able to form a shieldwall, a form of defense and attack used by Medieval armies, whereas they were depicted as not having that capability and confounded by it when they encountered it in the battlefield.<ref>For more on Anglo-Saxon fighting methods, see: Lavelle, R. (2010). <i>Alfred’s wars: sources and interpretations of Anglo-Saxon warfare in the Viking age</i> Woodbridge: The Boydell Press.</ref>
The Danes are shown as more fun-loving, while the Anglo-Saxons are depicted as more solemn and, at times, pious. This attracts Uhtred, an Anglo- Saxon, to prefer company with the Danes, although he later makes an oath to Alfred, king of Wessex and last remaining Anglo-Saxon king. There is truth to this, as the Danish beliefs did not involve a strict moral code. One scene shows the Danes killing the East Anglian king, Edmund, with a volley of arrows after he was captured.<ref>For more on Edmund, see: Pinner, R. ( 2015). <i> The Cult of St Edmond in Medieval East Anglia</i> . Woodbridge , UK: The Boydell Press.</ref> This did occur and Edmund was canonized for it. Other Anglo-Saxon leaders are shown as tortured and murdered when captured and this would have likely occurred when Danes captured major leaders, although some would be spared to act as puppet leaders.
Many of the urban places are historical and the names used in the series reflects their Anglo- Saxon names. For instance, London and Reading are two cities mentioned. Wessex's main city of power was Winchester (Figure 1), where most of the Wessex kings did hold court, as depicted in the series.<ref>For more on Winchester in the Anglo-Saxon period, see: Legg, P. ( 2011). <i> Winchester: history you can see</i>. Stroud: History.</ref> Winchester, in fact, was rival to London for a period as the capital of all of England.
Some of the terms used in the series were words prevalent at the time. This includes terms such as plowing a field having sexual connotations. Another term is <i>arseling</i>, used as a playful or sometimes mocking term of Uhtred by his friend Leofric, which also would have been a term used at the time meaning "from the ass."<ref>For more on Anglo-Saxon terms, see: Baker, P. S. (2012). Introduction to Old English (3rd ed). Chichester, West Sussex ; Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.</ref> Such terms were, in fact, contemporary to the period.