Ragnar Lothbrok: The Old Boar Suffered and Entered Valhalla
If you are a Viking enthusiast, you are likely to see the name "Ragnar Lothbrok" somewhere. Ragnar Lothbrok was a legendary Viking hero. He was allegedly the Danish Viking warlord in the 9th century.
Ragnar Lothbrok was actually Ragnar "Lothbrok" Sigurdsson. "Lothbrok" was just a nickname of him. Many scholars believed that it meant the hairy/dirty breeches.
Many people are confused when it comes to the historical existence of Ragnar Lothbrok. But from my viewpoint, Ragnar Lothbrok is real but how close the sagas of Ragnar is to the real figure remains to be seen. In other word, my doubt is that whether the depiction of Ragnar Lothbrok we see on the TV or read on the Internet is the authentic historical figure. Meanwhile, many people tend to believe that Ragnar of the sagas is the compilation of many historical figures in the Viking history.
The execution of Ragnar Lothbrok in the pit of snakes. He met his final days when his ship was blown into the land of Northumbria. There he and his crew fell to the hand of King Aella of Northumbria who had pledged his eternal hatred toward Ragnar Lothbrok for his raiding and looting deeds.
Besides being a great war-lord, Ragnar Lothbrok was also a successful father according to the sagas. He fathered many Viking heroes and warriors. His sons included Ivar the Boneless, Bjorn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Hvitserk, Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye, and Ubba. Sons of Ragnar just made a perfect team to revenge for their father in the future. If Ivar the Boneless was a military genius, Bjorn Ironside was a great warrior with great skills.
When the Old Boar suffered
Regarding the death of Ragnar Lothbrok, scholars could not conclude what caused his death exactly. There are two major versions of Ragnar's death.
One version tells that he contracted a disease when he was on his conquesting journey in Paris. The disease was allegedly diarrhoea.
Another well-known account said that Ragnar Lothbrok was captured by enemies and sentenced to death. Around the middle of the 9th century, Ragnar was on his voyage and got blown off to the land of Northumbria, one of the Anglo-Saxon countries. King Aella of Northumbria harboured his hatred toward Ragnar Lothbrok for long because of his raiding and looting deed wreaking havoc on his land. Capturing this opportunity, King Aella put a full stop to the life of a great Viking hero. He tortured and threw Ragnar Lothbrok into the pit of snakes.
But no matter how severely Ragnar got punished, he never backed off. No hint of fear could be seen from his eyes. On his way to the pit of snakes, he hummed softly the song of his proud death.
A scene on "Vikings" TV series of Ragnar's death. He was glad to know that Odin was welcoming him to Valhalla to feast along with the Allfather and the Aesir gods. The Valkyries were to summon him home
He was glad to know that his god, Odin, was preparing a feast for him. He was to enter Valhalla to feast with the Aesir gods and to live with his fallen brothers. He was ready and waiting for the Valkyries to bring him home. His days in Midgard ended and he had to come back home with his father, Odin the Allfather. Because Ragnar was the son of Odin.
King Aella sent a message to the sons of Ragnar about their father's death. As Ragnar said prior to his death, his sons would seek a bloody revenge on the murderer. Legends had it that Halfdan was playing chess when he heard the news. He gripped the chess piece so hard that his nail bled and the piece broke.
"How the little piggies will grunt when they hear how the Old Boar suffered" (Cre: "Vikings" TV Series)
Indeed, "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffered". Many accounts said that Ragnar's sons formed the Great Heathen Army heading to Anglo-Saxon to make the enemies pay for the blood.
The Eagle Blood was carried out on King Aella of Northumbria. They bent the ribs of the king when he was still alive to imitate the wings of the eagle. Then they pulled out the lungs of the king to end the ritual.
Somewhat, we can see the similarities between the legendary Viking hero, Ragnar Lothbrok and Odin the Aesir chief god. Odin had many sons and so did Ragnar. All of their sons were great. If Odin fathered Thor god of thunder and lightning, Ragnar had Bjorn whose physical strength was so great that he had the nickname "Ironside".
In Odin's last battle, he faced Fenrir the wolf who must have harboured the hatred toward Odin for a long time. Because Odin allegedly separated Fenrir's family. Ragnar met his sworn enemy King Aella during his final combat. Both Odin and Ragnar fell in their battle only to have their son revenged for their death.