Who Was The Greatest Viking Warrior in Viking History? (Part 2)
In the previous blog post, we have discussed five out of ten Great Viking Warriors: Egill Skallagrimsson, Ragnar Lothbrok, Ivar the Boneless, Bjorn Ironside, and Erik the Red. In this piece of article, we discuss the five remaining Viking Warriors.
Gunnar was described as an invincible warrior in combat. He could jump as high as his own height even when he was armoured to the teeth. In the saga, every time he joined the battle and wielded his weapon, he never missed the target. When he used his bow, his arrow could penetrate the enemies.
On one occasion, Gunnar killed two men in one family and the whole family of the deceased men sought for the life of Gunnar as revenge. Gunnar gained the upper hand until his bowstring broke. He asked his wife to repair it yet she refused because Gunnar once slapped her. There, Gunnar finally met his demise under the axe of that family.
Sweyn Forkbeard was the son of King Harald Bluetooth who claimed himself to manage to unite Denmark under a banner. However, Sweyn Forkbeard harboured his hatred against his father because Harald Bluetooth decided to submit to the cross. This made Sweyn Forkbeard waged war against his father.
Once he had killed his father, he became the King of Denmark. As a king, Sweyn wanted more land. He repeatedly attacked England and he later changed his focus into Norway.
Meanwhile, Æthelred the Unready King of England ordered a massacre which killed many Vikings settling down in England. Among the victims was the sister of Sweyn Forkbeard. On hearing the death of his sister, Sweyn Forkbeard declared war on King Æthelred eternal. And the war carried on for 11 years until Sweyn Forkbeard met his final days.
If you read articles about the Viking Age, chances are that you might learn of Leif Erikson who set his foot in America 500 years before Columbus did. And yes, Freydis Eriksdottir was the sister of Leif and the daughter of Erik the Red. The blood of a Viking warrior seemed to pass down from Erik the Red who was sentenced three times for murdering. And the visit of Freydis in America left nothing but horror there.
The statue of Freydis Eriksdottir in the Museum
Some scholars believed that deep inside, Freydis didn't want her brother to shadow her name. So she only got only choice: join voyage crew. And she did join a crew that planned to travel to Vinland (they called America Vinland because it had a lot of grapes from which they could produce wine). There were some local people there when they landed. The two groups didn't get along well with each other.
When night broke on the sky, the crew of Freydis went to sleep. The local people in Vinland made use of this and attacked their camping land in the middle of the night. Catapults were what they used to shoot the Vikings who had never been exposed to this kind of weapon. The crew were a little bit of scared when they encountered this type of weapon. The only one warrior who stood up and fought was Freydis the Shieldmaiden. At that time, she was pregnant for 8 months. But her physical conditions couldn't prevent her from wielding her sword to slay the enemies.
Freydis fought and terrified the local warriors with her prowess. Then she showed her bare chest and beat it with her weapon. This finally warded off all the enemies. In the face of death, she did rise.
The parentage of Hervor the Shieldmaiden remains a big question. Accounts tell different figures were her parents. But the most widely accepted material tells that Hervor was a daughter of a Viking berserker who went to Valhalla after his final battle. Because she was the daughter of a bloodthirsty father, everyone in her neighborhood abandoned her. No parents wanted their kids to play with Hervor. They even banished Hervor into the woods when she was born. But Hervor never allowed others to decide her fate. She lived on.
When Hervor reached her age, she didn't learn to do things that girls at that age normally did for example brewing, cooking, etc. All she knew was to wield her weapon to find food. Some neighboring boys came and disturbed Hervor. But all they got back were the black eyes and swollen faces. Hervor even broke a leg of a neighboring boy.
That Hervor finally joined the army was no all of a sudden. She submitted to the army and quickly made her way to the war-band leader. Hervor was among the greatest Viking Shieldmaiden. She never disappointed her people for she always brought back a lot of treasure after voyage.