10 Great Viking Leaders (Part 1 of 2)
Viking history is full of great war-band leaders. But those who either truly had a significant impact during their time or had values in their stories are limited. This piece of writing will come in two parts. Part 1 will discuss five Great Viking leaders including Ragnar Lothbrok, Ivar the Boneless, Rollo of Normandy, Erik the Red, and Leif Eriksson.
Not all of the names mentioned are historical. Some of them are believed to be a part of literal fabrication. But whether they are historical or legendary, no one can deny that these figures make an overwhelming impression.
Ragnar Lothbrok: Father of Kings
Ragnar Lothbrok is a very famous name in this day and age. This is because of the modern adaption of Ragnar Lothbrok image.
He is the hero in the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok. Many scholars suggest that Ragnar is a literal figure compiling from tales of many other Viking leaders. In the sagas, Ragnar attempted to raid Britain with two ships only.
What makes Ragnar awesome is that he fathered many kings. Sons of Ragnar are great, some even greater than their father. He fathered Ivar the Boneless - a Viking cripple that became a military genius, Bjorn Ironside - King of Dublin, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Halfdan Ragnarsson.
In the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, Aslaug Ragnar's wife who was also a seeress warned Ragnar about his conquest in Britain. But Ragnar never listened to her words. He was captured by King Aella of Northumbria. Ragnar faced a death sentence in Northumbria as King Aella ordered to execute him in a pit of snakes.
Ivar the Boneless: The Cripple Viking Son
Ivar Ragnarsson or Ivar the Boneless is best known from the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok. He is allegedly the eldest son of Ragnar Lothbrok. Anglo-Saxon Chronicles also mentioned Ivar as one of the great leaders of Great Viking Heathen Army.
Ivar the Boneless a cripple son later became a great warrior and a military genius
In the Tales of Ragnar's sons, Aslaug warned about the physical disability of their first son if Ragnar didn't wait for three days to consummate their marriage. But Ragnar ignored the words of this volva. Accordingly, Ivar was born but he could not walk.
Overcoming his shortcomings, Ivar trained his hands and upper body so hard that in his battle against King Eysteinn he shot arrows from the bow as tall as a tree.
In the sagas, Ivar and other Ragnar's sons formed the Great Heathen Army to seek revenge for their great father.
Rollo of Normandy
It remains a debate whether Rollo a traitor or a wise man. He was the founder of Normandy and had previously raided Kingdom of West Francia.
Some accounts said that Rollo is associated with the well-known Seige of Paris. Charles the Fat paid the Vikings a large amount of wealth to rid of them. But Rollo remained in the regions and carried out some raidings. Charles the Simple later offered Rollo some lands and gave his daughter to Rollo as her bride. By this way could Charles the Simple gain the loyalty and protection from Rollo.
Statue of Rollo Duke of Normandy
Rollo accepted this offer and had a vast territory for himself. He named it Normandy (the land of Northman). He got baptized and became Christian remaining his loyalty with his father-in-law. He defended West Francia against the Vikings and helped protect the lives of his people.
Erik the Red
Erik the Red or Erik Thovaldsson was an Icelandic explorer who was the first to settle down in Greenland. In the beginning, Erik was convicted as an outlaw in his society and got banished from Iceland just like his father.
He spent the exile time travelling around only to discover the new land.
When he came back to Iceland, he told people he had found a wonder land to settle down and motivated people to come with him. He described how great the land was and how they could become wealthy when cultivating in the land. He called it "Greenland" which according to the scholars was a trick by Erik.
But he attracted a lot of followers. Finally, 14 ships set sail with Erik the Red to go to Greenland. Though the land was full of snowy mountains and coldness, the Vikings managed to settle down there.
The reason for his "the Red" nickname was that his hair was completely red.
Leif Eriksson as his name suggested was the son of Erik the Red.
Leif was most famous for his landing in North America around 500 years before the discovery of America by Columbus. The story of Leif Eriksson came from the Sagas of Icelanders and Erik the Red's Saga.
Accounts tell different stories about Leif's discovery. Some said that Leif happened to discover North America when his ship was blown off course on his voyage back to Greenland. Others said that a friend of Leif told he had spotted a great land and urged Leif to see what it actually was. It meant that Leif was not the first to discover the land but the first to settle down there.
Leif Erikson was the first Viking to settle down in North America prior to the days Columbus discovered America
The archaeological evidence for Viking settlement in North America was the L’Anse aux Meadows. But Leif soon returned to Greenland for this newly-discovered land was not ideal for Viking tradition on the sea.
A group of Norwegian scholars created a project to create a Viking ship sailing through the Atlantic Ocean. They were about to sail the ship to New York in 1893 the time which people there were celebrating Columbus's discovery of America after 500 years. This ship was named "Viking" a ship replica of Gokstad ship. Some sources mentioned it was a way to celebrate the excavation of Gokstad ship and celebrate Columbus day.
Viking ship replica of Gokstad ship landed New York to celebrate Columbus Day