In today's popular TV series 'Vikings', the main character Regnar Lodbrog is followed, but has Regnar existed and has he been on a trip to England?
The information that I have been able to find about Regnar Lodbrog is based more on saga narratives than on historical facts. The name itself is found in many myths and sagas, and there are many indications that a king named Regnar really ruled in the Viking Age. Bl. a. I found an account of his voyage to the French cities of Rouen and Paris in 845.
Regnar allegedly had 11 sons, and in the English chronicle is Ivar Benløs, who was their leader and the eldest brother.
Here you can read three fairy tales about Regnar Lodbrog, and then you can assess for yourself how much inspiration the TV series has found in the sagas of this Danish Viking king. At least I think there are certain comparisons. See for yourself - I wish you a lot of fun reading.
I - How Regnar won the daughter of Herreød the earl of Gotland, Tora, to wife
Herreød Jarl in Gøtland had a daughter named Tora. She was his only daughter and widely known because she was so beautiful. She was given the nickname Borgarhjort or Hinden i Borgen. He had a virgin cage built for her with a fixed fence around it. The earl used to give his daughter something as a gift every day; one day he brought her a small worm. She found it so beautiful that she hid it in a box along with some gold. The worm grew, along with the gold on which it lay. Soon it was so big that it had no room in the box, but it kept growing until it was so big that it lay outside the virgin cage. Every day it demanded an ox for food, and no one dared approach it except the man who gave it food. The earl became eerie at all this, and he promised that whoever could trap the worm would get his daughter to marry and in dowry all the gold on which it lay.
The king's son Regner in Denmark was fifteen years old when he heard about all this. He then let himself sew clothes: a furry robe and furry trousers, and let them boil pale. Then he went to Gotland and put his ship in a cove. Early in the morning he got up, put on his furry clothes, and took a large spear in his hand. All the earl's men were asleep when he reached the royal palace. He thrust the spear into the back of the worm, the first and second time; it shrank so strongly that the shaft broke, and let his life ruffle greatly, as Regner turned away, the jet of blood hit him, but it did not hurt him because of his cloak. At the drone everyone in the royal court woke up; Tora saw the big man walk away from the cage, she asked for his name but he did not answer. When the men came out, they found the worm dead and a large spear blade sitting in the wound. When no one could name the boar's courtier, the earl summoned things, and commanded that all who were in his land should appear. At the Thing the earl had the interrupted spearhead presented and announced that whoever owned the shaft suitable for it should get Tora Borgarhjort married. Now a man walks around with a spear blade, but nowhere is there anyone who has the corresponding shaft. Finally they come to Regner and his flock, they stand at the far end of the thing; he replies that it is his spear, and shows the shaft that fits it. Now a wedding was held between Regner and Tora Borgarhjort. She went with him to Denmark and gave birth to two sons, Erik and Agnar, but she died not long after.
II - How Regnar married a farmer's daughter who was so beautiful that one had never seen a mate, but was not a farmer's daughter at all, and how Ivar Benløs came to be
Rain was often on Viking expeditions. Once he went to the southern coast of Norway and landed at a place called Spangareid. He sent his servants up to a house ashore to bake bread. But when they returned with the loaves, they were all burnt. Rains threatened them with severe punishment; but they apologized that there was a girl up in the yard, so lovely that they had never seen her mage, and that they could not help but stare at her all the time.
Rainer said; “If what you say is true, you must escape the charge; and now I want to send men to explore that matter. ” He sent the most knowledgeable of his men with the message that if they found her as beautiful as had been said, they should ask her to come to Regner and be his wife, but she must not come naked nor clothed, neither satiated nor fasting, not one however not in the company of any man.
They found up on the farm an old bitch named Grima, and a young girl named Kraka, and she was wonderfully beautiful. They brought her the king's commandment, and she promised to come the next morning. First she washed herself by the brook, then she took a fishing net over her and pulled her long yellow hair out over it, then she bit into an onion, but did not enjoy any other food; then she called to her little dog, but did not take any human with her. Thus came only to Regner's ship, and he admitted that all his three requirements were properly met. Then his led her home, with you and hold wedding with her.
Kraka gave birth to Regner many sons. One was Ivar, who was nicknamed Boneless because he only had cartilage in his limbs where others have bones, and he therefore had to be carried forward. Another was named Bjørn, the third Hvitsærk. Later she bore him even more sons. When they grew up, they went on a Viking expedition, just as their father did.
III - How Regnar visits King Øjstein of Uppsala, but the meeting does not develop quite as planned and creates a bad mood between the two
Regnar once visited King Øjstein in Uppsala; he had a daughter named Ingeborg. On the evening of the feast, Regner's men persuaded him to court the king's daughter instead of having a husband's daughter for his spouse. He courted her and she was betrothed to him. When he was on his way home, he commanded his men that none of them - severe punishment - should speak to anyone about his endeavor.
Regner now came home and a welcome beer was drunk for him. In the evening, Kraka sat on her husband's lap and asked for new tidings. Hans said there was no one. Later, when they had gone to bed, she asked him again: he replied that there was no one, that he was tired and sleepy. “If you can not tell me tidings, then I can tell you. I call it news that a king commits adultery, especially when he already has a wife. ” He asked who had said that. She replied to him “Just let your men keep their lives and limbs. There were three small birds sitting in the tree above you, they flew ahead and brought tidings about it, however, I would ask you to turn this off. You must know that I am not a housewife's daughter, but a royal child. My father was Sigurd Fafnersbane, the most famous king, and my mother Brynhild Budledatter ”.
He asked where it could be that she bore such a small name as Kraka. “Aslog is my real name,” she said, “and the other name only my foster parents have given me. And if you want characteristics of my burden, then I can tell you this: I must give birth to a son, and there must be something like a viper in his eye in memory of my father King Sigurt, who killed the Worm Fafner ”.
Not long after, she gave birth to a son, the child was placed in the lap of the father, that he might give it a name. He could see that there was like a viper in his eye, and he said he should be named Sigurt after his mother's father.
Regner did not come to Uppsala at the time when his wedding to the king's daughter should have taken place. From this arose enmity between him and King Øjstein.
Then Erik and Agnar went to Sweden to take up the fight with King Øjstein. It did not succeed, but it must of course be mentioned which Ivar Benløs takes care of.
Regner's eldest sons, Erik and Agnar, then decided to go against him. King Øjstein was greatly feared for his great power and because he had a troll cow that always provided him victories in battle. When Erik and Agnar marched towards Uppsala, Øjstein gathered an unstoppable army and placed his troll cow in front of it. When the armies were about to collide, the cow gave a roar, so that everyone in the Danish army was beaten with horror and confusion and began to fight among themselves. Erik and Agnar fought bravely bravely, but eventually one of them fell and the other was caught. King Øjstein offered Erik to give him life and to give his daughter for marriage. But Erik answered no. They then offered him, even to choose his mode of death. He commanded them to plant spears in the ground and to throw him in over them, but before that he asked for peace for those of his men who had survived the battle. Before being thrown into the spears, he pulled a ring from his arm and asked the men to bring it to Aslog. Then he left his life.
The messengers meet Aslog in the royal court. She had blown her hair out to comb it and put a leash over her. They brought her the message, and finally they handed her Erik's ring. Then she shed tears, red as blood and hard as hail. She said "This can not be avenged until Regner or my sons come home."
Rain The sons came home from a Viking expedition. Aslog told them about the deaths of their brothers Erik and Agnar and egged them on for revenge. Ivar replied "It is shown that I never come to Sweden because of the much sorcery that has houses with King Øjstein." Aslog egging them on. Sigrut Orm-i-oog was then a little boy walking by his mother's hand; he said “I want to say what I think needs to be answered:
Mother does not have to grieve.
Within trending days
ships out of the country
slipping over the wave.
Then the brothers also said that this was quite the answer. The brothers now landed in King Øjstein's kingdom and raged with fire and sword. Øjstein gathered a large army and put the troll cow in front of it. Ivar ordered that he should be carried in front of the Danish army, and that he should be given a bow tree as large as no one had had before, and corresponding arrows. He also commanded all the warriors to strike their shields so that it drowned out the roar of the sorceress. Then the armies moved against each other. The Danes made a big splash. But when the cow began to roar, it was like the whole army was silent and only it roared; the Danish warriors became confused and began to fight among themselves. Then Ivar tightened his bow, as lightly as if it had been an elm branch, he bent, and shot an arrow straight into the eye of the beast. And he tensed a second time and hit in the other eye. The cow rushed forward furiously; then Ivar asked his bearers to throw him straight over on it. When he fell on the beast he was so heavy that he broke its back, He asked the men to lift him up again, and then he shouted over the whole army, so that he stopped the mutual fight, and led them all against the enemy. The Swedes were beaten. King Øjstein and many of his people fell.
Since then, Regner's sons went on Viking expeditions to distant lands and gained great reputation and much wealth.
>>> If you're watching the TV series Vikings, do not read on. For here comes Regner's last exploits and how his sons seek paternal revenge and fight King Ella, who got the well-known Viking's punishment called blood eagle. <<<
Rainer eventually thought he would perform a work no less than what his sons practiced. He then had two very large ships built. Aslog asked where they were going to be. he replied that he would set out for England without more ships than two. Aslog advised him to rather take more ships and smaller; it was dangerous to land on the English coast, especially by deep-sea vessel. “Little reputation is gained by occupying a land with many ships; but no one has heard before that a great kingdom is won by two; but if I am beaten, it is better, the fewer ships I have. ”At parting, Aslog gave him a silk sack, which she herself had woven completely in one piece: she said that weapons could not penetrate it.
Both Regner's ships ran aground on the coast of England, but he escaped with the food. When King Ella heard that enemies had come into the land, he gathered a large army from his kingdom. He commanded his men not to overthrow the chief of the adversaries, but to take him prisoner; for if it was Rainer, he had sons after him, who were probably able to avenge his death. Rain prepared for the battle; he had only the silk sash that Aslog gave him, the helmet on his head and the spear with which he had killed the worm. He cleared his way through the army of the English, but his people succumbed to the superiority, and in the end he too was closely surrounded and squeezed between shields.
King Ella asked him who he was. But he answered nothing. Then the king said that he should be made to speak, and commanded him to be thrown into the serpent's house; however, if it was Raining, they should immediately pull him up. He sat down without the worms biting him. Ella ordered to pull the robe off him. Then all the worms hung on. He was then heard to say "The pigs would grunt if they knew the boars' need." After that he died. Then Ella understood that it had been Regner.
Ella was now thinking about how he could explore the minds of the sons of the Computers, and he decided to send word to them about their father's death. - He commanded the envoys to keep a close eye on how each of them received this message. They entered the royal hall and went before the throne, where Ivar sat; Sigurt Orm-i-oog and Hvitsærk were at the board game, Bjørn stood and smoothed on a spear shaft. When the envoys brought the greeting of the King of England and the message of the death of their father, each of them stopped with his. But when they came to the words that the pigs would grunt when they heard the boar's distress, Bjørn squeezed the spear shaft so that it burst. White-collar squeezed the blackboard so hard that blood sprang out from under each nail; Sigurt had been sitting with a knife in his hand, now he put it in his finger, right to the leg, without feeling it. On the other hand, Ivar asked carefully about everything, and all that was seen of him was that he soon turned red, soon pale. Hvitsærk jumped up and said that this should be avenged and that one should kill Ella's messenger immediately; but Ivar replied that they should travel in peace. Thus, they came back and reported everything they had experienced. Ella said it was Ivar they had to fear the most.
Soon after, the brothers went on a trip to England, but Ivar did not want to join. They were beaten and had to return home. Ivar then went over alone to King Ella and asked if he would give him any penance for his father's death; he was just asking for that much land that he could encircle with a cowhide. Ella agreed. Ivar then had a large cowhide taken, and left it soft and stretched, this he repeated three times; then he had it cut into narrow strips and separated the hair side from the flesh side. Thus he got a strap that could stretch over such a large piece of land that no one had expected; and on this land he laid up a whole city. Then he sent messengers to his brothers and asked them to send him all the gold and silver they had at their disposal. He handed out the gold and silver to many of the English great men and thus made friends with them. Next, he sent word to his brothers that if they wanted revenge, it was the right time. They gathered their whole army and marched over. Ella gathered crew against them. but many hold back because they had received gifts from Ivar. When it came to the battle, Ella was captured and the brothers roasted a blood eagle on his back. This was done by cutting the ribs loose and bending them back like a pair of wings. During these torments, Ella died. But the sons of Regner subjugated his kingdom and performed many other great works.
Regnar Lodbrog was avenged and the brothers embarked on several years of conquest in England.
It will be exciting to see how the TV series follows his final and his sons' cruel revenge.
The story and the picture are taken from the book: Danish Hero Legends - Text by Axel Olrik - Illustrated by Lorenz Frölich