One June day in the year 793, men in ships landed on Lindisfarne, an island off eastern England occupied by a monastery. The men, apparently from the north, plundered treasures, overthrew altars and set fire to buildings. They killed some monks and carried others off in chains; others, they stripped naked and left behind to the mercies of the weather. The attack shocked European Christian society. They came to mark it as the official start of the Viking Age, when Norse raiders ranged as far as the southern Mediterranean and northern Asia, before seemingly fading out some 250 years later.