Ívarr the Not-So-Boneless

Ívarr

Ímar (Old Norse: Ívarr) was King of the Norsemen of all Ireland and Britain. Ímar, or Ívarr or Ivar, was a Viking leader that came to rule Ireland and Scotland in the mid-late ninth century.  He was the founder of the Uí Ímair dynasty (Dynasty of Ivar), whose descendants continued to dominate the Irish Sea region for several centuries. House of Ivar King Ímar is believed by many scholars to be none other than Ivar the Boneless of the Great Heathen Army. The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland identifies Ímar patrilineality as being the son…

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Who the Ælle is King Ælla?

King Ælla (or Ælle, and sometimes Aella) was the ruler of the Kingdom of Northumbria in the middle of the 9th century. Although the dates are questionable because sources on Northumbrian history are extremely limited during this period; it is generally believed that in 862 or 863 AD, Ælla had disposed King Osberht (who was possibly his brother) and placed himself as ruler of Northumbria. The now King Ælla had then seized lands belonging to the Church at Billingham, Ileclif, Wigeclif and Crece.  Little more is known of King Ælla, except that he is described by most…

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Get off my Boat! Jarl Haakon resists Conversion

Harald Bluetooth tried to force covert Jarl Haakon, but he and his men weren’t having anything to do with that. Most of the early Christian conversion attempts on the Norse people were done by means of entire communities converting as a whole rather than individual conversions.  Mass conversions were usually carried out by methods such as demanding conversions through subjugation. The subjects of a leader would be forced to convert.  Typically, the Norse leader or King would convert to Christianity themselves and as an opportunity to solidify their power, they…

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Björn Ironside Ragnarsson

Björn Ironside Ragnarsson was a legendary viking that became the king of Sweden and founded the Munsö dynasty as its first ruler during the 9th century. Björn Ironside was the son of Ragnar “Lothbrok” Sigurdsson and Queen Aslaug (Kráka) Sigurdsdatter of the royal Völsung clan.  In the television series, ‘The Vikings,’ he is portrayed as being the son of the shieldmaiden Lagertha, but this is incorrect. Through his parents, Ragnar and Aslaug, Björn’s brothers are: Ivar the Boneless, Hvitserk (“White-Shirt”), Ragnvald, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, along with half-brothers Fridleif, Eric, and Agnar. He is known in Old Norse as Bjǫrn Járnsíða Ragnarsson,…

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Ivar the Boneless and the Great Heathen Army

Ivar the Boneless was one of the leaders of the Great Heathen Army that invaded the lands now known as England. In Old Norse, he is known as Ívarr hinn Beinlausi and in Old English as Hyngwar. Ivar the Boneless was the son of Ragnar Lodbrok and Aslaug. He and his half brothers, Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Hvitserk, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye and Ubba, had all grown up and set out to prove themselves as equals to their father. The half brothers raided and made wars far and wide. They conquered such places as Zealand, Reidgotaland (Jutland),…

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Thorvald Erikson, first known European to be killed in North America

Thorvald Erikson was the son of Erik the Red and brother of Leif Erikson. The only sources available regarding Thorvald Erikson are the two Vinland sagas; the Greenland Saga and the Saga of Erik the Red. Although the two sagas differ in various detail, according to both sagas Thorvald was part of an expedition for the exploration of Vinland and became the first known European to be killed in North America by its indigenous people. Thorvald Erikson (Old Norse: Þōrvaldr Eirikssonr; Icelandic: Þorvaldur Eiríksson) The Greenland Saga describes the voyage made by Bjarni Herjolfsson,…

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Bjarni Herjolfsson

Bjarni Herjólfsson was an Icelandic trader who is the first known European to discover the mainland of North America in the year 986 AD. Bjarni was born in Iceland to Herjólfr, who was the son of Bárdi Herjólfsson (Old Norse: Bárði) and Thorgerdr (Old Norse: Þorgerðr). When Bjarni grew to manhood, he became a merchant captain based in Norway. Although he was away most of the year, he made sure he visited his father every summer in Iceland. Bjarni is believed to have been the first European to see North America. The Greenlanders Saga tells about one year when…

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Leif Erikson

Leif Erikson (970 – 1020 AD) was an Icelandic explorer and the first known European to have discovered North America (excluding Greenland), before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, Leif Erikson established a Norse settlement at location he called Vinland. This location is identified as possibly being located at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada. However, this location is not firm as later archaeological evidence suggests that Vinland may have been the areas around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that the L’Anse aux Meadows site was a ship…

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Erik the Red

Erik the Red (Old Norse: Eiríkr hinn rauði) was a Norwegian Viking who founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland. Erik Thorvaldsson (Eiríkr Þorvaldsson) was born in 950 AD in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway and died in Greenland in the year 1003 AD.  He was the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson, whose violent actions would begin his son, Erik the Red’s, saga. The appellation “the Red” in Erik’s name most likely refers to his hair and beard color. Erik the Red and his wife Þjóðhildr (Thjodhildr) had four children: a daughter, Freydís, and three sons,…

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Redbad, The Last Pagan King of Frisia (Northern Netherlands)

King Redbad refused to convert to Christianity because he, “preferred eternity in Hell with his pagan ancestors than in Heaven with his enemies.” Redbad (also Redbod or Radbod) was the King of the Frisians from 680 AD until his death in 719 AD. He is often considered the last independent ruler and the last pagan ruler of Frisia before Frankish domination. The previous ruler of Frisia, King Aldegisel, had welcomed Christianity into his realm.  Aldegisel harbored and protected Wilfrid, the deposed Archdiocese of York, who had just been exiled from Northumbria.  On his way to…

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