10 Great Viking Leaders (Part 2 of 2)
In the previous part of 10 Great Viking Leaders, we have a kickoff with the first five male figures whose stories were impressive. This part two should begin with a woman leader or a Viking shieldmaiden. Whether she was historical or not, this Viking shieldmaiden rocked.
Freydis Eiriksdottier: The Wrath of a Shieldmaiden
As the name indicated, Freydis Eiriksdottier was the daughter of Erik the Red who was believed the be the first Norseman to settle down in Greenland. This meant Freydis was the sister of Leif Erikson who was the first Norseman to land in North America roughly half a millennium before Columbus.
Though her relatives did not appear to be hot-tempered figures, Freydis was a hot-tempered woman. She was the best example illustrating the phrase "Hell hath no wrath like a woman scorned".
The most famous tale about Freydis Eiriksdottier took place on her voyage to North America. She presented her leadership quality vividly in the story.
In the middle of the night when her crew were sleeping on the land of North America, there was a sudden attack. It was the native living in North America. A sudden attack scared the wits out of the whole crew, except for Freydis who was pregnant at that time.
Freydis Eiriksdottier statue showing her breast and wielding her sword ready to fight back the enemies
All of them ran away for fear of being killed. Only Freydis remained to fight back. She wielded her sword as an honour of a true Viking shieldmaiden. The spirit and the wrath of this woman did terrify the locals. She howled and showed no fear.
Harald Fairhair: A solemn vow and everything he did were to prove he deserved a wife
Harald Fairhair was the first Viking king that united Norway.
Harald Fairhair's story gets more attention probably because of his love affair with Gyda the Princess of Hordaland. For the beauty of Gyda, Harald (at that time was not actually "Fairhair") ordered his servants to come and ask the hands of Gyda. But the beautiful princess refused for she believed that Harald did not deserve her.
Hearing the news, Harald did not show a hint of anger. He did not feel any insult in the words of Gyda. Rather, he could see what Gyda Princess said was right. Then he attempted to unleash all of his potentials. He swore that until he could win the hand of Gyda (which means until he could win all the territory of Norway), he cut and combed his hair.
The vow of Harald in this day and age is nothing much. Back to the time of the Vikings, it was terrible because combing was a long tradition of the Vikings.
After ten years of fighting and not combing his hair, Harald won all territory of Norway and also the heart of Gyda.
Harald Bluetooth: The king who loved blueberries united the Danes
If you are guessing whether the mentioned "Bluetooth" relates to
"Bluetooth" wireless device, the answer is yes, he does. Harald Bluetooth was the inspiration for the name "Bluetooth" we have now. Even the symbol of Bluetooth device is a combination of two initials H and B written in runes.
The inventors of Bluetooth might have connected the achievement of Harald Bluetooth with the ability of Bluetooth device. While Bluetooth wireless device connects people from a distance, Harald Bluetooth connected the Danes. For he was the first king that united Denmark.
He was also the Danish king who converted his people into Christians. Harald Bluetooth found his way into a Christians after observing a cleric holding the hot iron bar without getting burnt.
But in reality, Harald Bluetooth converted himself into a Christians for he was attempting to get rid of the Germanic invasion whose leader was Christian. And in the Christian faith, fellows did not fight one another.
Though Harald Bluetooth mentioned his greatest achievement was the conversion of his people (he mentioned on the Jelling Stone), he was a great ruler who defended his people by ensuring peace and promoting country's infrastructure.
Sweyn Forkbeard: The son who overthrew Father
Sweyn Forkbeard was the son of Harald Bluetooth. After overthrowing his father, Sweyn strengthened his power on the hold in Norway. He became the king of both countries.
With the military of both countries, Sweyn waged war against Britain. This was allegedly the Sweyn's response to the massacre of Danish settlement in Britain.
Sweyn carried on his military campaign to invade Britain until 1013AD. It was that time that Sweyn was honoured as the Danish King of England. He was the father of Cnut the Great.
Cnut the Great
If any list of the great Viking leaders sorts out the name of Cnut the Great, it is not complete. Cnut was the son of Sweyn Forkbeard and the grandson of Harald Bluetooth.
He had an extremely outstanding skill in ships and fighting. He conquered Britain, taking some part of Sweden, uniting Denmark and Norway. For his lifetime, Cnut the Great desired to unify people under one system of law, into one community. And he succeeded.
Also, Cnut the Great was wise enough to manipulate the church to serve his will and to further his political steps.
After Cnut died, he was recognized as the great king of Britain, Norway, Denmark, and parts of Sweden. Because Cnut could not manage to hold all territory of Sweden back then.
Harald Hardrada: The Last Norse King in Viking Age
Have you ever wondered who was the last in the Viking throne? If yes, it is a good question. The answer is Harald Hardada.
He was the last Viking king in the 11th century who finally lied down in the battle of Stamford Bridge. The death of Harald Hardrada finally drew a close to the glory of the Viking Age. The life of King Harald Hardrada was full of ups and downs, fighting and fleeing. But he finally managed to come back and retrieve his throne in Norway.
He did raid Denmark in the way his ancestors once did. But it just reached the level of raiding while many of his predecessors carried out successful conquest of large territory.