Ragnar Lodbrok

This man is an old legend, a king and a plague in the 9th century for France and England this man is nothing less then Ragnar Lodbrok (Lothbrok, old Norwegian Ragnarr Loðbrók: Ragnar “hairy pants” or “Shaggy-Breeches). He was the son of the Swedish king Sigurd Hring and related to the Denish king Gudfred. Ragnar has been married three times with shieldmaiden Largertha, the noblewomen Thora Borgarhjǫrtr, and Aslaug (also known as Kráka, Kraba, and Randalin) a Norse queen. he was the father of many famous sons among which Ivar Ragnarsson, Björn Järnsida, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd and Ubbe Ragnarsson. When Ragnar claimed the throne and became king he committed many raids and conquests until he was eventually captured and killed by his enemy king Ælle of Northumbria. The legends say Ælle of Northumbria threw Ragnar Lodbrok in a pit of poisonous snakes. After that, his sons took revenge by invading England with a massive pagan army and they captured Northumbria.

According to the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, Ragnar was the son of the Swedish king Sigurd Hring. The Hervarar saga tells that when Valdar died, his son Randver became the king of Sweden, while Harald Wartooth became the king of Denmark. Then Harald conquered all of his grandfather Ivar Vidfamne’s territory. After Randver’s death, his son Sigurd Hring became the king of Sweden, presumably as the subking of Harald. Sigurd Hring and Harald fought the Battle of the Brávellir (Bråvalla) on the plains of Östergötland, where Harald and many of his men died. Sigurd ruled Sweden and Denmark from about 770 until his death in about 804. He was succeeded by his son Ragnar Lodbrok. Harald Wartooth’s son Eysteinn Beli ruled Sweden as Ragnar’s viceroy until he was killed by the sons of Ragnar. The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons tells that the Great Heathen Army that invaded England in 865 was led by the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, to wreak revenge against King Ælla of Northumbria who had supposedly captured and executed Ragnar.

The Siege of Paris and the Sack of Paris of 845 was the culmination of a Viking invasion of the kingdom of the West Franks. The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named “Reginherus”, or Ragnar. This Ragnar has often been tentatively identified with the legendary saga figure Ragnar Lodbrok, but the accuracy of this remains a disputed issue among historians. Around 841, Ragnar had been awarded land in Turholt, Frisia, by Charles the Bald, but he eventually lost the land as well as the favor of the King. Ragnar’s Vikings raided Rouen on their way up the Seine in 845, and in response to the invasion, determined not to let the royal Abbey of Saint-Denis (near Paris) be destroyed, Charles assembled an army which he divided into two parts, one for each side of the river. Ragnar attacked and defeated one of the divisions of the smaller Frankish army, took 111 of their men as prisoners and hanged them on an island on the Seine. This was done to honor the Norse god Odin, as well as to incite terror in the remaining Frankish forces.

Ragnar Lodbrok has been popularised by the series Vikings from History Chanel, in this series, Ragnar starts out as a farmer and works himself up to be the king.

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May we meet again!

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