Difference Between Saxons and Vikings

Saxons vs Vikings

Saxons and Vikings were two different tribes of people who are believed to have been dominant in what was to become the United Kingdom later. Both groups of people were Germanic, and there were many similarities between Saxons who were later known as Anglo Saxons and the Vikings though the two belonged to different eras. However, there were also differences between Saxons and the Vikings that will be discussed in this article.


Before the start of the 5th century, England was under the Roman control. Romans decided to leave England by around 410 AD and by this time, there were successions of raids by invaders from all sides of the English isles. These invaders mainly belonged to the tribes called the Saxons, the Jutes, the Angles, and the Frisians. Angles and the Saxons arrived in England from Denmark and adjoining areas and took over the vast expanse of land called UK from the left over Romans and the Celts. England was not a unified nation at this time, and the geographic areas controlled by the Saxons were named differently by these Saxons (such as Sussex, Essex, Wessex etc.)

The term Anglo Saxons refers to the intermingling of the two tribes of Angles and the Saxons. The era of Anglo Saxons lasted in England for about 600 years, and the biggest legacy of this dominance is the English language.

The name Saxons may have been derived from the knife called Seax that was used prominently by the tribe.


Viking was a Germanic tribe arriving in England from Denmark in the closing years of the 8th century. Their first raid took place in East Anglia on a monastery where they killed the monks and also made many slaves work for them. While many Vikings behaved as pirates and continued to raid, many of them settled and became Christians and started to live a civilized life. Alfred the great, a Saxon King, was the lone warrior against these raids, and he successfully repulsed the Vikings in a war, in 917 AD. However, Vikings continued to raid and also establish Danish rule in many territories in England. By the time 11th century arrived, a Danish even became the king of England. However, Vikings could not rule England for long, and the Saxons regained the country within 20 years of Viking rule. But, in 1066AD, the Saxon era came to an end as England was conquered by the Normans. Interestingly, Normans were of Viking descent.

Saxons vs Vikings

• Saxons were a Germanic tribe to arrive in England from Denmark, and they invaded and settled in East Anglia, in the year 410 AD as the Romans left the area.

• Vikings were also Germanic tribe that invaded England in the 9th century, in the year 840 AD, in East Anglia.

• Vikings were pirates and warriors who invaded England and ruled many parts of England during 9th and 11the centuries.

• Saxons led by Alfred the Great successfully repulsed the raids of Vikings.

• Saxons were more civilized and peace loving than the Vikings.

• Saxons were Christians while Vikings were Pagans.

• Vikings were seafaring people while the Saxons were farmers.

• Vikings had tribal chiefs while Saxons had lords.

  • kenny bear

    This isn’t that accurate not all Vikings were warriors, the majority were tradespeople

  • Person

    Inaccurate..you’re equating the Romanized anglo-saxons to the original Saxons, who WERE warriors and raiders, who WERE NOT Christians originally. They had pagan beliefs very similar to the Vikings

  • Leonardo da Vinci

    Also in accurate on the point that Viking’s were German. They were in fact Swedish and Norwegian decent. Your thinking of the Danes.

  • sean kinnane

    Most vikings had red hair..not blond portrayed by hollywood.The Normans or Norsemen were of Viking descent which you stated correctly .William the conqueror was a redhead .The Saxons defeated them in York but fell to them at Hastings 1.possibly because of the forced march from Stamford bridge to Sussex.
    2.the Normans had an advantage as they had cavalry.
    Even to this day the English have a sub conscious dislike for redheaded people this is why…has nothing to do with the Irish or Scottish..