who was Ragnar lodbrok?

Who Was Ragnar Lodbrok? Get The Facts  

Known as the “Great Heathen Army’s” fearless leader, Ragnar Lodbrok is best known for his daring raids along the southern coast of England.

Besides Lagertha, another legendary Viking woman whom Lodbrok wed, and their son Bjorn Ironside, Lodbrok is also well-known for the women he fathered. who is Ragnar in Vikings?

Further, The question frequently arises who is Ragnar in Vikings? It is possible to read about Lodbrok in the Scandinavian sagas. Brief references to him can be found in the annals of his European conquests.

Medieval sources portray Ragnar Lothbrok, a Danish Viking king and warrior from the 9th century, as having led an invasion of East Anglia in 865 and dying in a snake pit at the hands of Aella of Northumbria. He was also the father of Halfdan, Ivar the Boneless, and Hubba

Ragnar Logbook’s life: A Timeline

The earliest mentions of the historical Ragnar Lodbrok can be traced back to the middle of the ninth century. However, most of the information comes from medieval English and Irish chroniclers. Historiographers disagree on the integrity of some of the details provided.

who was Ragnar lodbrok?
  • 841 AD – Ragnar is said to have been given land by Charles the Bald, king of West Francia, but this claim is highly doubted.
  • 845 AD– While Ragnar is credited with leading the Frankish forces at the Siege of Pans, historians have doubts about the integrity of this particular account.
  • 865 AD– This is Thetford, where the Great Heathen Army spends the winter.
  • 866 AD -The Great Heathen Army invades Northumbria and marches to confront York King Acta with their newfound power 
  • 867 AD– Conquered Mercia and spent the winter in Nottingham
  • 869 AD– The Defeated East Anti
  • 871 AD– invaded Wasser, heaped tribute on his way out of the country by the Erudish King: winter in Line
  • 878 AD– Although Ragnar is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the reliability of this account has been called into question and the kink of the West has triumphed over the Vikings.

What Are The Writing That Mentions Ragnar Lodbrok?

The Scandinavian sagas, a literary genre that developed from the oral tradition and was codified in writing for the sake of longevity and dissemination, are written prominently in discussions of Lodbrok. 

However, Due to the scarcity of primary sources, it can be difficult to tell fiction from nonfiction when studying Ragnar Lodbrok’s life. In addition, there are only fleeting, fantastical allusions to Lodbrok.

Moreover, Speculative elements are inherent to this genre. history scholars are often unable to tell what is true and what is fabricated about a person’s life because of this.

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Literary Sources That Mention Ragnar Lodbrok

1. Anglo-Saxon chronicle

One of the most important literary pieces establishing Ragnar Lodbrok as an actual historical figure is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Historians agree that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, written in 9th century England, is reliable.

Throughout the text, the authors make multiple references to Viking invaders and identify Lodbrok as a notable Viking raider.

2. The Icelandic Sagas

The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, Tale of Ragnar’s Sons, and Hervarar Saga all make reference to Lodbrok. 

Most of Ragnar’s heroic and villainous deeds are chronicled in these sagas. This includes his numerous attempts to win the hearts of Lagertha, Thora, and Aslaug in court. 

3. Gesta Decorum

The Danish document known as the Gesta Danorum was compiled by historian Saxo Grammaticus, and it features both historical facts and myths about Denmark.

who was Ragnar lodbrok?

Lodbrok’s first marriage to Lagertha and his second to Thora are both mentioned in the document. Unlike the Icelandic sagas, the Gesta Danorum provides a relatively accurate breakdown of Viking rule over time and space.

4. Poems And Paintings

Several well-known poems and paintings from Scandinavia depict tales about Lodbrok in addition to the official sagas and historical accounts that mention him and his family.

Historians argue that works of art from the period reflect how people viewed legendary figures through visual hyperbole and elements of fantasy, and are therefore not meant to be interpreted as accurate historical representations.

5. The Question Of Authenticity

Ragnar Lodbrok and his ancestors have a fascinating backstory, which can be found in the Icelandic Sagas. Many parts of them, however, are generally accepted as exaggerations or as adaptations of older Norse legends, such as the story of the Volsungs.

There are many gaps in our knowledge of Ragnar’s life that prevent us from drawing firm conclusions about him, including but not limited to:

6. Propaganda

A few works of literature from the era were written as political propaganda. For instance, in order to emphasize the English victory, writers may exaggerate a foreign threat.

Instead of the reverse, if the enemy’s commander is nasty and vicious, victory will be even sweeter.

7. Fabrication

The majority of historians consider that there may be some truth to the Icelandic Sagas’ depictions of Lodbrok’s life, but some of them have concerns about specific aspects. For instance, according to one account, Lodbrok accidentally kills Lagertha’s watchdog.

In another, he kills a bear by strangling it. Most historians view these tales as either imagination or exaggerated.

8. Mythology

Since Aslaug was the daughter of Sigurd and Brynhildr, two famous Viking legends, many of the stories about Lodbrok contained in the sagas are echoes of older Norse myths.

It was typical for powerful Vikings, like the Greeks and Romans, to assert their superhuman ancestry in order to win followers, garner respect, consolidate their positions of power, and other purposes.

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The wives Of Ragnar Lodbrok

1. Lagertha

Ragnar first became interested in Lagertha when they engaged in combat as warriors in Norway to get revenge for the death of Ragnar’s grandfather, Fro.

At first, Lagertha resisted her approach. She attacked him while a hound and a bear defended her property. Moreover, she was the mother of two of Ragnar’s daughters who were not named, and also of his son Fridleif.

Lagartha’s bravery let the Vikings overcome all the setbacks and fight until they conquered. Furthermore, she continued to support her husband and his mission even after Lodbrok wed Thora. She loaned him not only her ships and her warriors for his conquests but also her personal sword.

2. Thora Borgarhjort

Ragnar Lodbrok’s marriage to Thora is even more legendary than that of Lagertha. According to Viking tradition, he had to kill a gigantic monstrous serpent in order to gain her hand in marriage. Moreover, it has also been mentioned that  Thora was the mother of Erik and Agnar, two of Ragnar’s kids.

who was Ragnar lodbrok?

According to the Icelandic Sagas, Thora died from disease while her boys were away battling and suffering against Swedish earl Eysteinn Beli. Aslaug, Ragnar’s third wife, ordered her sons to exact revenge on their half-brothers after Thora died.

Ivar the Boneless was hesitant to invade Sweden due to the country’s reputation for magic, but all of the brothers were convinced of the plot when three-year-old Sigurd demanded justice for his brothers.

3. Aslaug

Aslaug, also known as Kraka or Krabi in the Viking sagas, is the child of Brynhildr, the shieldmaiden, and the fabled dragon slayer Sigurd. However, she tricked Lodbrok when they first met, making him think she was the daughter of peasants who had been looking after her ever since they had killed her foster father. 

As with his other wives, Lodbrok decided to marry Aslaug using a tricky method of courtship: he posed a riddle to her.

He requested her to visit him without being dressed or undressed, without eating or fasting, and without being by herself or with a companion.

She approached him wearing a fishing net, biting an onion, and with a dog by her side. Lodbrok was charmed by her smart response and began his efforts to win her as his bride.

The Sons Of Ragnar Lodbrok

Ragnar Lodbrok’s sons are just as much a part of the family saga as their famous father is. Lodbrok’s three marriages produced many sons, many of whom joined forces to seek revenge for their father’s murder at the hands of Northumbrian King Aella.

1. Hvitserk-  Hvitserk, and Halfdan are both characters in Scandinavian sagas, and some historians believe they are the same person.

Hvitserk, son of Ragnar, is better known as “Hvitserk the Betrayer” and simply goes by the nickname “White Shirt.” Hvitserk went on a raid in modern-day Kyiv to avenge his father’s death, but he was ultimately defeated and burned at the stake.

2. Ivar the Boneless- It was believed that Ivar the Boneless was born with a disability because his parents had sex the night of their wedding rather than waiting the three days she had suggested after having a premonition.

Although the specific cause of Ivar’s nickname, “Ivar the Boneless,” is unknown, it is speculated that he was born with a disability that rendered him unable to walk, such as Spina bifida or Cerebral palsy.

3- Bjorn Ironside- He became a famous naval leader and future king of Sweden.

4. Ubba- One of Ragnar’s sons from Aslaug was Ubba, also known as Ubbe. In Christian historical sources from this era, Ubba is portrayed as the prototypical Viking invader because of his brother Ivar’s persistent pillaging of the Christian nations of Europe.

According to legend, Ubba perished in combat with the English in 878.

5. Fridleif– No historical sources of the Great Heathen Army make mention of Fridleif, the only son of Lagertha who is referred to in the Scandinavian sagas. In Ragnar’s sagas, Fridleif and his sisters don’t have a particularly important role.

6. Sigurd Snake-In-The- The eye- Is the youngest son of Aslaug, was given the name because of a mark on his eye that his mother had predicted before he was even born. This symbol was supposed to resemble an ouroboros, or a snake biting its own tail.

This mark was more likely a physical flaw.  In order to revenge the deaths of his half-brothers Agnar and Erik, Sigurd is most known for stirring up his brothers to combat.

Were Logbook’s Sons Actually His Sons

There is substantial debate as to whether Ragnar Lodbrok’s other sons, Bjorn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless were indeed connected to him.

Since it was common practice for Viking men to “adopt” younger men to follow them in leadership at the time, it is impossible to determine whether or if these historical persons were connected to Lodbrok through blood.

The Conquests Of Ragnar Logbook

Ragnar was originally described as a raider on the French coastlines before he became recognized as the Viking who commanded the Great Heathen Army.

The culmination of this was the siege of Paris in 845, during which Charles the Bald is said to have paid Ragnar’s fleets off with 2.5 tonnes of silver to advance them.

The historical narratives diverge at this point. Although Lodbrok was defeated, according to the Franks, Danish records show that he continued to attack the Irish coast until his demise, which is thought to have taken place in the middle of the 850s.

The Death Of Ragnar Lodbrok

The Great Heathen Army invaded Europe to exact revenge on King Aella of Northumbria for killing Ragnar Lodbrok, according to Scandinavian sagas and other literature.

After he attempted to take the kingdom with only two ships to his name, Allen reportedly executed him by tossing him into a pit of venomous snakes.

Although the narrative may be much exaggerated, his death serves as a heroic tragedy that motivates the Viking army to go to battle with Europe.

According to certain historians, Lodbrok passed away less dramatically. Lodbrok may have perished at sea while plundering the Irish shores.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Ragnar a real Viking?

Yes, according to sources Ragnar is a real Viking. The Danish Viking king and warrior Ragnar Lothbrok ruled during the 9th century.

2. Is Thor related to Ragnar?

Thor is also known as Björn or Baldr. He was the son of Ragnar.

3. Who is Ragnar’s father in Vikings?

 Ragnar’s father is Sigurd Ring in Vikings.

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