In the late 8th century, the Vikings started to appear along the coasts of Europe. With their long boats, adorned with dragon heads and loaded with well-equipped warriors, the Vikings soon became infamous for their swift and brutal raids. Initially, they mainly targeted monasteries, pillaging them for gold and silver. The monks, whose only weapon was their Christian faith, were easy prey and would seldom be spared the wrath of the Vikings. Over the years, the Viking strategy changed, because they were not only brutal warriors but also skilled diplomats, not afraid to mix with those in power who wanted to create a new Europe.