ragnar lothbrok pictures and images

Ragnar Lothbrok, the Fearless Viking Hero of Norse History

Ragnar Lothbrok was a Danish Viking warlord and a renowned hero of Norse history who lived in 9th century. Both the name Ragnar and the surname/nickname Lothbrok had many variations in the accounts of the age. Sometimes his name could be written as Regnar or Regner whereas his surname could be written as Lodbrok or Lodbrog.

The word “Lothbrok” could be interpreted as “hairy breeches” in the Old Norse language and it was believed that this name was derived from his breeches which he wore while fighting against a serpent that breathes poison (or a dragon according to some stories).

Stories and historical accounts in medieval literature regarding Ragnar Lothbrok differ from each other in terms of details, however, the essential part about him being a fearless Viking warrior who raided France and England seems to be almost identical in every story.

ragnar vikings photosIn addition to that, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a chronological account of the age which is considered a highly reliable source, confirms the story of Ragnar Lothbrok, his deeds, which made a significant impact on the history of 9th century, and his sons carrying on his legacy.

According to the accounts of French historians, Ragnar ruled as a king in Denmark and he and his sons raided France ruthlessly.  Another account links Ragnar to Reginheri (Reginherus), the Viking who attacked Paris, hanged 111 Christians and died of a disease shortly thereafter. Also, some stories claimed that Ragnar was the son of Danish King Sigurd Ring (or Hring)

ragnar wife pictures

Ragnar Lothbrok became famous as a warlord and made his fortune by raiding the lands and kingdoms in the west. He allegedly attacked people when they were in the church.

He was told to be a witty leader and ruin the well-organized and disciplined forces of France with his furious army sometimes using blitzkrieg (sudden charge) tactics to surprise the enemy.  He captured Paris and made King Charles pay 7000 pounds as ransom on one occasion.

As a common point in many stories telling us the legend of the great Viking hero, Ragnar  Lothbrok had three wives; Lagertha, the shield maiden,  Aslaug, the warrior queen and Thora Town-hart (Borgarhjort), a noblewoman who was the daughter of the earl Herrauðr of Götaland.  Ragnar’s wives gave him many sons; the most famous ones being Bjorn Ironside, Ubba (Ubbe/Hubba), Halfdan Ragnarsson and Ivar the Boneless (Inwaer).

 

Ragnar Lothbrok’s Death – How did Ragnar Lothbrok die?  

There are two versions of the story about Ragnar Lothbrok’s death. One identifies him with Reginheri and suggests that he died of a deadly disease similar to diarrhea right after he ravaged Paris. The second version is a more believable one since it is told in the same way in most of the historical accounts, particularly, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

ragnar lothbrok pictures

According to this version, on his way back home after he was forced out of  Paris, Ragnar’s ship washed ashore on the coast of the Kingdom of Northumbria where he attacked and held to ransom numerous times.

Longing for getting revenge on Ragnar for a long time, King Aella of Northumbria captured and threw Ragnar into a pit of snakes, leaving him to a painful and gruesome death. Legend has it that, right before he died, Ragnar sang a Norse hymn and warned King Aella that his sons would come for vengeance. The Great Heathen Army (the Great Viking Army, a combined army of Vikings from Denmark and Sweden) led by Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons invaded England and killed King Aella in 866.

Ragnar’s legacy continued and his descendants actually kept on making an impact on the structure of the region even long after he was dead. Around two centuries after Ragnar’s passing, some of the Vikings, who descended from his sons, settled in the west coast of France turning this area into “the land of Northmen”, Normandy as we know it in the present day.

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15 Responses to Ragnar Lothbrok, the Fearless Viking Hero of Norse History

  1. Will March 24, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Too Cool.

  2. Heilan Yvette Grimes September 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    My book “The Ring: The Legend of the Niebelungenlied: The Volsungr Saga and The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrokr” has a complete translation of the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrokr.

    The book is a retelling of the Ring Saga (much bloodier than Wagner’s Teutonic Ring Cycle). Most storytellers end with the deaths of the Sigurdr and Brynhildr. However, the saga ends when the last Volsung is dead, and that would be Sigurdr and Brynhildr’s daughter, which is part of the Saga of Ragnar. Ragnar’s first wife is Sigurdr and Brynhildr’s daughter. But, he’s a lousy husband.

  3. Daphne February 27, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Dysentery is a much believable death for the time, actually, and one must take into account what writers want to push forward about their ancestors. Of course we want to believe the pit of snakes, but history and logic support dysentery. Besides, dysentery would account for the hairy breeches (dirty breeches) nickname: in more than one account, Ragnar’s death was described as his bowels spilled to the earth.

    • Met_Ozer March 25, 2015 at 3:54 am #

      Hello Daphne, first of all, thank you for the detailed info. Ditto on the dysentery situation. My sources mentioned a disease but not a “specific” one. This will be included to the article soon. About beliefs; of course, the pit of snakes version fascinates people more and they settle the story like that in their minds. Plus, there are almost always at least several versions of a story if it involves mythology/myths or parts of history about which there may not be enough information. That is why I am always writing “according to some accounts ..” etc. Thanks again for your insight.

  4. rozi March 6, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Watched every single episodes…too incredibly facinating n too awesome…

    • Met_Ozer March 25, 2015 at 3:42 am #

      Hi Rozi, yes, one of the best shows on TV as of now in terms of acting and directing.

  5. Adrienne March 25, 2015 at 1:35 am #

    Norse History is fascinating. There is so much more to be known. There are records of islands where some Norsemen lived a 1000 years ago that are presently under water, in the higher northern latitudes. I’m happy the Viking program on the History Channel is being presented.

    • Met_Ozer March 25, 2015 at 3:39 am #

      Hi Adrienne, yes, definitely. Haven’t heard about the islands in question, but will definitely make some research now. And yes, we owe the History Channel 😉

  6. Mari April 17, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    Haven’t missed one episode! Best historical drama on television in some decades!

    • Met_Ozer April 19, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      True that Mari! Same here.

  7. Dennis Lisoway April 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    This has been the best series that has ever been told about the Norsemen. History Channel I thank you and hope the series carries on for another season. Even though it looks like Ragnar may meet his end according to History I would like to see his sons carry on as well as his family. With my family from Norway its fun to think f the Vikings as distant relatives.

  8. Deborah April 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Love this series, I have watched each series twice. I would like to see more docu-dramas that deal with the Norse people.

  9. 2mm August 9, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Great show always a great pleasure to watch

  10. Charles August 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    My uncle has spent a few years researching our ancestry. He has it linked to Ragnar Lothbrok. Even further but Ragnars father apparently had a son by a mistress of which her name was not recorded. This made going back further difficult to trace.

    • Met_Ozer August 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      That’s interesting to hear (about Ragnar’s father) and you should definitely be proud to be his descendant since Ragnar Lothbrok was a real Viking hero. :)

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