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According to numerous historical records, Ragnar Lodbrok was a Viking leader from the first half of the 9th century who claimed to be a direct descendant of the god Odin. He was the king of Sweden and Denmark who regularly attacked and plundered Western Europe.
Most of the things we know today about Ragnar come from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which originally originated in the 9th century, and from the Gesta Danorum, a piece of Danish history written by Saxo Grammaticus in the 12th century. Sax's version of Ragnar was later confirmed by numerous Icelandic sagas. According to French historians, Ragnar was king, and he and his sons ruthlessly plundered France.
Ragnar was the father of many historically famous sons, including Ivar Ragnarsson (Ivar Beskosni), Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd (snake-in-the-eye) and Ubba. While all the well-documented historical figures are listed, it is still impossible to determine whether Ragnar himself was real and whether he was their father at all.
According to Anglo-Saxon and Nordic legends, Ragnar became popular among the Vikings when he was 15, when he got his nickname Lodbrok (this is not his last name). To get the princess's hand, fifteen-year-old Ragnar had to destroy a poisonous snake's nest, wearing a suit made of boiled animal skin rolled in mud and sand. It has since been dubbed Lodbrok - which literally means Hairy Pants.
The stories of Ragnar's life differ from each other in detail, however, he is always described almost identically in each story as a fearless Viking who regularly plundered France and England.
Ragnar's most spectacular endeavor was the attack on Paris in 845. The city was then spared destruction only thanks to the fact that the Frankish emperor Louis the Pious paid a fabulous ransom.
Another common thing mentioned in many stories about Ragnar are his three wives: the warrior Lagertha, Queen Aslaug and the noblewoman Thor who bore him sons Ivar Ragnarsson (Ivar Beskosni), Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd (snake-in- eye) and Ubba.
There are two versions of the story of Ragnar's death. One says he died of a deadly diarrhea-like illness right after he attacked Paris.
The second, which can be found in many more historical records such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which is generally believed to be true, tells us that Ragnar Lothbrok met death at the hands of his enemies.
According to this version, on his way home from Paris, Ragnar suffered a shipwreck and ended up on the coast of the Kingdom of Northumbria (present-day England), which he had previously attacked frequently. Wanting revenge for all the attacks, King Aella of Northumbria captured Ragrnar and threw him into a pit full of venomous snakes. Legend has it that, just before his death, Ragnar sang the Nordic anthem and warned King Aella that his sons would come to take revenge.
His warning soon came true. The Great Heathen Army, which combined Vikings from Denmark and Sweden, invaded England in 866. At the head of the army were the sons of Ragnar, and King Aella was killed in the attack.
Ragnar's influence on Western Europe continued after his death. About two centuries after his reign, some of the Vikings who descended directly from his sons settled the west coast of France and called the area the "land of the Northerners," present-day Normandy.
If by chance you haven’t watched the series yet, you need to do so. The story is set at the beginning of the Viking Age (793) The main character of the Vikings series Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) is a historical figure and one of the most famous Norman heroes, as well as one of the most infamous. Among other things, he was nicknamed the Scourge of France and England. The series about Scandinavian invaders puts us at the crossroads of mythology and history, and the story draws inspiration from both history books and Nordic sagas.The events are based on real Viking attacks on English cities, as well as on the French capital. The series is full of battles, intrigues, and there are also strong female characters. Among them stands out Lodbrock’s hot-blooded wife Lageretha (Katheryn Winnick).
Ragnar, who has risen from an ordinary farmer to a fearless warrior and legend, is driven by pride and an inexhaustible desire for the unknown. When his faithful friend and local specialty Floki (Gustaf Skarskgård) builds a unique ship, they challenge the local ruler Earl Haraldson to allow them a journey into the unknown - to the west, towards what was then mystical England. Ragnar's brother Rollo (Clive Standen) also goes on a hike, but he keeps a fig in his pocket all the time, as he harbors a hidden resentment towards his brother.When the Vikings reach England, the astonished Englishmen are unaware of what has befallen them. Ragnar ravages the monasteries, confiscates valuables, and takes home a prisoner, the Anglo-Saxon priest Athelstan, with whom he soon forges an unusual friendship. Ragnar begins to learn about Christianity, and the priest is obsessed with Norse mythologies and customs.
I hope you enjoyed reading. Now I recommend you watch the series again.