In the ninth century, Christian civilization had almost been destroyed in western Europe by the Norse invasions. Unlike today’s benign neo-pagans, Vikings were ferocious, skull-cracking warriors who burnt down churches, slaughtered clergy and monks, and raped nuns. The tenth century, however, saw a remarkable turnaround. One by one, the Norse kingdoms embraced Christianity. The process had actually begun toward the end of the ninth century in England, when the Danish Norsemen submitted to Christian baptism as part of a peace treaty with Alfred the Great. In the tenth century, the Norsemen of France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland followed suit.