the best 5 viking leagends - INTHEPROF


the best 5 viking leagends

WRITTEN BY:  Rida Mohssine
LAST UPDATED:  See Topic History

For hundreds of years the site of a Viking longship on the horizon would strike terror into the hearts of those in its path and simply living by the coast became a risky lifestyle, due to the ever-present danger of Viking raiders. 

Descending on your home to take everything you own along with your very life, yet while Vikings are often depicted as bloodthirsty violent pirates. they were also skilled warriors craftsmen and explorers, who were the first Europeans to discover large parts of the world , which had until then been unexplored.

The blending of myth and fact which surrounds the Viking era, has created legendary characters, whose exploits terrified their victims but left a lasting legacy; which has shaped the modern world here are my choices for five for the most legendary Vikings and the true stories behind them number five:

 Harald Hardrada getting his first taste of battle at just fifteen years of age, the young Harald sigurðsson was unlikely to have had any idea of the life of war, conquest and adventure that lay ahead of him a life ,which would see him participate in battles across much of the known world, fighting in the service of the mighty Byzantine emperors winning. 

The Norwegian throne before ending his life invading the kingdom of England his incredible actions ,and ruthlessness in power earning him the name Harald the hard ruler ,he found himself in a vicious fight for his life when in 1030 AD aged just fifteen, he went to war in the support of his half-brother who was attempting to reclaim the Norwegian throne. 

The attempt failed miserably and ,Harald was badly wounded in the defeat his half-brother killed in action broken and humiliated he was forced into exile and fled to Kiev an Rus, where he served in the army of the Grand Prince yet a hunger for wealth and power would eventually draw him to the legendary imperial city of Constantinople; where he served in the Byzantine emperors elite Varangian Guard, which was a prestigious bodyguard unit made up of Viking warriors, he fought with distinction and rose to become the commander of the guard .

And is thought to have seen action all over the Mediterranean and Middle East ,even becoming entangled in imperial succession disputes and intrigue ,yet his work for the Emperor's had made him incredibly rich wealth which he had why they've been sending back to friends in Kiev and Rus for safekeeping, perhaps in the hope that one day the time might be right to return to his homeland .

The opportunity finally presented itself in 1046 after, the Norwegian throne had passed to his dead half-brothers illegitimate son Magnus the good using the massive fortune he had accumulated to fund his bid for the crown ,Harald returned home however perhaps intimidated by his uncle's reputation Magnus agreed to share power, with Harald until he conveniently died just a year later leaving Harald as the sole ruler of Norway ;yet one crown was not enough for Harald and he spent the next 15 years attempting to seize the Danish throne, his constant warring and tendency to mercilessly crush any dissent at home,  earning him his new title Harald hot-rodder meaning Harald for the hard ruler ;despite successes in battle by 1064 victory had eluded him and he gave up his claims on the Danish throne. 

However just two years later he would once again be at war in January of 1066, the king of England died childless leading to a succession crisis, as several powerful men claimed the throne Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England. Shortly after however his own brother Tostig, along with Duke William of Normandy, and King Harald Hardrada all maintained their own claims and raised armies to win the throne through war Tostig Godwinson brother of the newly chosen English king.

Harold Godwinson decided to pledge his allegiance to Harald Hardrada, and so the two joined forces Harald invaded northern England in September; yet despite scoring some early victories he was defeated and killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge by Harold Godwinson Sami ,but in the process perhaps a weakened the King of England just enough that he too would later perish in the famous Battle of Hastings at the hands of William the Conqueror allowing William to seize the English throne and changing the course of history forever. 

Harald Hardrada is said to have died a stereotypically Viking death in the thick of battle charging forward in a berserk rage wildly hacking, at the foes who surrounded him until he was struck by an arrow to the throat thus bringing to end not only an extraordinary life ,but the life of the man generally considered to be the last great Viking leader ,that defeats marking the end of the age of the Vikings a warrior culture which had terrorized so much of Europe for so long number ,four Rollo of the countless thousands of Viking warriors who raided European shores just a handful of remembered by name today ,and even fewer left behind a lasting legacy, yet Rollo who would rise from being just another Viking Raider to forging a powerful Duchy, and establishing a dynasty which would see his descendants become Kings his Blood still running through the veins of many of the European monarchs to this day .

Little is known about the man's origins and it's assumed that he was a minor noble in his native land being born in ether Denmark or Norway ,in the sagas he is given the by name the Walker most probably, due to his immense size which made finding a horse strong enough to carry him a difficult task resulting in him being forced to travel on foot, yet his imposing size and fierce presence in battle would help him earn the respect of his men and the dread of his enemies; after a mysterious early life Rollo left Scandinavia to participate in raids on England Scotland and France, hungry to amass riches and power, yet it was the wealthy city of Paris that would become the focus of his attention in 1885 he participated in the Viking siege of Paris sailing up the River Seine, with a force that contained hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of men after surrounding the city tribute was demanded from the trapped Franks ,however despite being massively outnumbered the Franks refused the Vikings launched a furious series of attacks on the city that lasted four days.

However despite siege engines being used the mighty walls of Paris held perhaps frustrated by the lack of progress, many of the Vikings abandon the main force and decided to head further upriver searching for easier prey ,however Rollo stayed behind with his men to continue the siege for several months or until he was finally forced to retreat, when the Frankish king Charles the fat arrived with his imperial army yet after having a taste of the riches France had to offer Rollo refused to leave and would continue raiding French settlements and towns the new Frankish king Charles, the simple encountered Rollo during another siege however despite his name perhaps he was wise enough to recognize the future threat to his lands, that these North men presented despite defeating Rollo in battle, he was impressed by his leadership as well as the ferocity of the warriors he led and so; decided that Rollo might make for a valuable ally instead of a bitter enemy the King offered rather a great swathe of land to the north of Paris, in exchange for ending his raids swearing fealty to him, and protecting his kingdom against the future Viking raids from his people that were sure to come ,Rollo agreed and his Duchy was given the name Normandy meaning north man's land the two men's agreement was sealed by Rollo agreeing to be baptized, a Christian and taking the king's daughter as his wife despite her being perhaps as young as five years old at the time Rollo would prove to be a successful ruler . Cementing control over his new lands and laying the foundations, for the Duchy of Normandy to become one of France's most powerful regions.

His descendants and subjects would become known as the Normans: a people were the formidable reputation who would eventually conquer much of southern Italy and even parts of North Africa,and the Middle East ,yet perhaps his most famous relative would be his great-great-great-grandson William the Conqueror who would lead a successful invasion of England in 1066, and become king after victory at the Battle of Hastings ,it would be through William that Toronto would become a distant ancestor of virtually all modern European monarchies today, as well as many of the claimants to Thrones, which have long since been abolished Rollo finally died in 930 ad and despite having been baptised to Christian, he is said to have died a pagan with one historian claiming that as he sensed his death was close he went mad and beheaded a hundred Christian prisoners in a final defiant act. Committed to honor the Viking gods number three Erik the red most explorers risk their lives for aging , into the unknown on the promise of obtaining fame and fortune lured by the thrill of discovering Uncharted lands and seeing what's no other man has seen before yet.

Erik the red did not have such lofty ambitions and was instead left with no other choice but to sail west to the icy and unexplored wilderness of Greenland, as his tendency for murdering those who he had disagreements with, led to his presence no longer being tolerated in more civilized society.

Killing as a method of conflict resolution seems to have been in his blood aged rs10 ,Eric and his family were banished from the native Norway after according to the sagas his father committed what is vaguely described as a number of killings ,and they were forced to start a new life in northwestern Iceland ,yet it would not be long until Erik followed in his father's footsteps, while working on the land a group of Erik slaves accidentally triggered a landslide on his neighbor's farm, which destroyed the man's house enraged the damage the neighbor slaughtered the slaves responsible for the damage, yet it seems as though Erik took offense to the man-killing people who would deemed to be his property he retaliated by attacking his neighbor killing him along with another member of the clan, yet rather than risk a blood feud or perhaps doubting their ability to take the ferocious man down in combat the kinsmen of the dead neighbor took the legal route demanding that he instead be banished.

Erik was forced to flee to a nearby island leaving some sacred beams of wood, he had inherited from his father in the care of a friend; however, when he later returned to collect the prized items , his friend refused to hand them over. Erik decided to take them back by force and in the resulting fight killed the man's two sons along, with several other men once again Erik could have been involved in bloodshed, and in 982 ad the local assembly exiled him from Iceland for a period of three years.

He was now an outlaw in both, his native Norway and his adopted home of Iceland, there seemed to be no place left for him in the civilized world ,and so he decided to sail to the mysterious and unexplored lands to the west which are the Norse before ,him hand sail to but none had dared settle he spent his 3-year exile charting ,the coast of Greenland and scouting the ice-covered landmass for suitable locations for farming and hunting, before finally finding an area in the southwest that seemed relatively ice-free,with his exile over he returned to Iceland, with the intention of gathering more men and ships to establish the first permanent settlement, yet he knew he would need to attract as many people as possible to make the venture a success .

And so he conjured up stories of a place called Greenland, which seemed far more appealing than the ice, Laden reality yet this act of marketing worked luring hundreds of people to follow him across the sea in 986 A.D .

Erik the Red ended his days as chieftain of the colony, which would eventually grow to hold 5000 people, yet a history of murder and the foundation of Greenland's first Norse settlement were not his only legacy ,his son Leif Ericson would go on to become widely viewed as the first European to explore North America over 500 years, before Columbus embarked on his famous voyage to the New World number 2 Ragnar lothbrok the tales associated with the legendary Norse hero Ragnar lothbrok vary from being the son of 

Kings Raider of powerful Christian kingdoms.
 Husband to famous shield maidens looter of Paris father of famous Viking warlords, such as I for the boneless and even the descendant of Odin the North Scott of war yet are the accounts of Ragnar based ,upon the exploits of a real man an amalgamation of several different warriors or just a made-up myth designed to inspire, according to legend Ragnar was born the son of Sigurd ring who was the king of both Sweden and Denmark and obtained the by name lothbrok which means heavy breeches; due to the animal skin trousers he supposedly wore although he is said to have claimed descent from Odin stories of a ferocious Viking warrior wreaking ,havoc across 9th century Europe a widespread among several different sources and his name is most closely linked with a series of merciless raids against France and England, which would have made him a wealthy and powerful man, he favored attacking lightly guarded monasteries ,which provided easy but rich pickings as well as targeting Christians while they were occupied with religious celebrations ,yet he also proved himself to be a formidable warrior and leader attacking, and defeating powerful armies and well-fortified towns with perhaps his most legendary deed being the capture of Paris in 845 .

With a fleet of long ships he sailed up the river son looting and plundering as he went before, finally reaching the fabled city of Paris in the beating heart of France the French King Charles the bald grandson of the mighty Charlemagne was defeated by Ragnar ,and Paris fell with the humiliated King forced to hand over ,and I watering seven thousand pounds of silver to ignore in exchange for leaving yet despite amassing such unbelievable levels of wealth Ragnar's raids against European shorelines continued earning him powerful enemies eventually his luck would run out and after being shipwrecked on the English coast during the storm he was captured in Northumbria by King Ayla and executed in a manner which sealed his legendary status furious of the raids regnal had carried out in his lands King aehlert dreamt up the most painful and humiliating death he could think of punishing the upstart Viking by having him thrown into a pit of vipers the fall breaking his bones and leaving him to be slowly bitten and poisoned to death by the vicious snakes according to the Icelandic legends Ragnar faced death with pride pleased that he would soon be entering the gates of Valhalla before issuing a final prophetic warning of the fate that awaited King Ayla and England when the news of his death reached his sons how the little piglets would grunt if they knew how the old bore suffered confidently predicting the bloody vengeance his sons would visit upon Ayla and the kingdoms of England ,it's through his sons that Ragnar's legacy would continue fathering many men who became famous warriors in their own rights including, Bjorn Ironside who would explore and raid the Mediterranean and the feared I, for the boneless who along with his brothers would lead the great heathen army across the North Sea to avenge Ragnar 

Conquering large sections of England and establishing the Danelaw a portion of northern England, that was governed by the laws of the danes and would be settled by large numbers of Vikings, whether Ragnar was a real man emerging of multiple characters or simply a myth his name still echoes through the ages has become a hero amongst his own people ,but a devil amongst those whose suffering he caused number one Iver the boneless an intriguing mixture of mystery and incredible brutality makes Iver the boneless ,perhaps the most famous Viking of all time with the man himself becoming legendary, for his cunning and cruelty his conquests would spread fear terror and destruction across the British Isles as he executed a bloody plan of revenge that would see entire swaths of the country fall under his control ,countless thousands perish and battle and even great Kings mercilessly put two incredibly savage deaths at his hands there were several theories regarding, how Ivar obtained his famous nickname with the most popular being that he suffered from some form of bone disease, that made him prone to breaks and fractures leaving him unable to walk ,however the name could have been given to him because of his flexibility in combat or simply because he was impotent there have even been theories that the name could have been a mistranslation from, either the despicable to boneless as the two words in Latin are very similar, yet if he did suffer from some kind of disability it did not prevent him from becoming an intimidating warrior, who inspired the army under his command to achieve great victories.

 In 865 Ivar and his brothers assembled what became known as the great heathen army an unprecedented gathering of Viking warriors ,from all over Scandinavia which possibly numbered in the tens of thousands, according to legend the army was put together to exact revenge on the English king of Northumbria who supposedly executed, Ivor's father the famous Ragnar lothbrok by having him thrown into a pit of snakes,  however whether or not this is true is unknown at this time Northumbria was embroiled in a civil war a conflict which I ,far and the North would have been well aware of and so it's possible that the invasion of England was carried out to simply take advantage of this weakness ,yet the sheer size and scale of the invasion thus suggests that it was motivated by personal reasons .

Rather than just a desire for land and wealth regardless of its intention ,the most destructive and violent invasion of England had begun life Asami quickly captured the Northumbrian capital of York , defeated the English army and captured King Ayla the man who was responsible for his father's death, for such a crime against his family only the most gruesome and painful revenge would do ,and I for his thought to have had Aguilar killed using the blood eagle.

A terrifying Viking method of execution ,which involved cutting the victims back open breaking the rib bones one by one with an axe ,before pulling out the lungs to form a gory wing-like shape draped across the back some sources even suggest that at this point the victim might still be alive, and would be forced to endure the unbelievable agony of having salt rubbed into the Giants open wound before they finally died whether or not this is true remains debated ,but what is known is that Ivor carved a bloody path across England displaying not only a genius, like understanding of battle tactics and strategy but also a disturbingly brutal streak in the treatment of his enemies, perhaps using such excessive cruelty as an extension of his battle strategy.

The fear accompanying his name often forcing potential enemies ,to surrender without a fight in one such example of this excessive level of violence ,after taking the kingdom of East Anglia the former King Edmund was beaten with clubs tied to a tree, and shot full of arrows before being beheaded and having his lifeless head thrown unceremoniously into a nearby ditch all because he refused to become a vassal, and renounce his faith the conquests and raids carried out by ivor continued all over England ,Ireland, and Scotland ,where monasteries and towns were destroyed civilians slaughtered and settlements pillaged on an unbelievable scale ,with the vast amounts of plunder and slaves taken making their way back to aivars base of operations in Dublin making him extraordinarily rich in the process the circumstances of aivars death, are disputed but it's thought that he lived to a surprisingly old age before finally succumbing to a non violent death, unlike the thousands of unfortunate people who died horribly as a result of his invasion the people of the British Isles breathing a collective sigh of relief as I; for the boneless finally passed from this world.

So those are my choices four or five of the most legendary Vikings and the true stories behind them, let me know your thoughts and which other interesting Vikings you would have mentioned in the list in the comments below, and I'll see you again soon. 

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