This article explores the commercial links that bound together the peoples of the North Sea from the seventh to the tenth century. At the heart of this trade lay Frisia, whose location as the cross roads between the North Sea and the heart of the Frankish Empire allowed Frisian, Frankish, and Scandinavian merchants to carry goods back and forth across the North Sea while at the same time facilitating the movement of ideas and cultural exchange. Annalists gathered information from these merchants, kings used them to pass messages back and forth, and missionaries traveled with them. By tracing the physical and textual evidence of merchants’ travels between foreign worlds, this article demonstrates that the steady growth of economic activity in the North Sea facilitated contact and communication between Francia and Scandinavia well before the first major Viking attacks on the Frankish empire in the 830s.


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pp. 65-89
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