THE SAGA OF RAGNAR LOTHBROK AND SONS by Saxo Grammaticus has been added to Our Site



I have just posted ‘THE SAGA OF RAGNAR LOTHBROK AND SONS’ by SAXO GRAMMATICUS  (Circa 1200 AD) as translated by Sir Oliver Elton to the website under the Book Heading of that name.

Saxo Grammaticus (c.1200) by Wiki

THE SAGA OF RAGNAR LOTHBROK AND SONS  by Saxo Grammaticus  (Circa 1200 AD)

This version of The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok and Sons is quite a bit longer and more complex than the version found at the tail end of the Volsung Saga and is found at the tail end of Saxo’s Nine Books of Danish History and constitutes all of Book Nine.  It starts by covering Ragnar’s forefathers, Sigurd Ring, his father and perhaps King Ring, his grandfather, ruler of Ringerike province, upland of the Vik, where Oslo now sits.  When his father died of wounds from battle, Ragnar took over as King of Denmark in Liere.

While there are many similarities between the two versions of the saga, there are also many differences.  In Saxo’s tale, Ragnar’s first son is Fridlief by Ladgerda, and then two sons of Ragnar are named Radbard and Dunwat by Thora, King Herodd’s daughter (Aslaug?).  He also mentions as brothers Siward, Biorn, Agnar and Iwar although he doesn’t state they were by Thora.  It is to win Thora that Ragnar battles two great snakes using shaggy clothing to protect himself and Herodd gives him the byname Lothbrok (Shaggy Britches).

While fighting alongside Ragnar, Siward was wounded and, while healing, got the byname Snake-Eye (supposedly from healing dust, but perhaps he was wounded in the eye by a blood-snake (sword)).  When Thora died, Ragnar took to warfare and roving and slew King Hame, father of King AElla of York.  This may have started the cycle of violence between them, what I call the Snake-Swine Curse Cycle.

Apparently Ragnar married a Swanloga, for he had the sons Ragnald, Hwitserk and Erik by her.  Biorn, Fridleif and Ragbard helped Ragnar defeat the great Starkad and his seven sons in Battle and Biorn earned himself the byname Ironsides and the kingship of Sweden.  Ragnar then had an affair with the unnamed daughter of Esbern and a son named Ubbe came of it.  Ragnar and his sons then traversed Russia and attacked the Eastern Roman’s Emperor Dia and slew him.  The emperor’s sons, Dia and Daxo, got troops from their father-in-law, the king of Russia, but were also defeated by Ragnar and his sons as were the Scythians and Hwitserk was put in charge of the province.  Eventually Daxo defeated Hwitserk and burned him alive with his men (this may have been in reference to Greek fire).

King AElla attacked the Irish,and killed all those loyal to Ragnar so, the Danish king attacked York but lost and Ragnar was captured by AElla and cast into prison and given to serpents to devour, and a snake, like a deadly executioner, beset his very heart.  Then in a courageous voice he recounted all his deeds in order, and at the end of his recital added the following sentence: “If the porkers knew the punishment of the boar-pig, surely they would break into the sty and hasten to loose him from his affliction.” (This was a curse upon AElla and his kin, for the swine was the mortal enemy of snakes and AElla was now the snake-king.)  Iwar went towards England, and Siward and Biorn came up with a fleet of 400 ships,and with open challenge declared war against the king.  This they did at the appointed time; and when they had captured him, they ordered the figure of an eagle to be cut in his back.  Thus AElla was done to death, and Biorn and Siward went back to their own kingdoms and Iwar governed England for two years.

When Siward was the last of the sons of Ragnar, he passed the Danish crown on to his son Erik (Hraerik) who passed the crown on to his son Kanute (Harde Knute I) who passed it on to his son Frode.  King Frode requested Christian teaching from Pope Agapete of Rome (c.946-955) but died before receiving a reply and the crown was passed to his son Gorm (meaning snake) ‘the Anglishman’ who had been born in York (realm of the snake-king AElla).

With King Gorm we have Denmark gradually entering into recorded history, for he is also known as Gorm ‘the Old’, the byname, the Old, coming from his descent from the long line of Danish kings known as the Skioldungs, the Fridleif/Frodi line of kings (there is both a Fridleif and a Frodi in the above saga, but nothing to tie them into the Skioldung line).  Another King Gorm is described, but from the description:

“After this the throne was obtained by GORM, a man whose soul was ever hostile to religion, and who tried to efface all regard for Christ’s worshippers, as though they were the most abominable of men.”

This is obviously a description of King Sweyn Forkbeard (AKA Svein meaning Swine), who de-Christianized Denmark and went to war with England for the Saint Brice’s Day Massacre of Danes in 1002 AD. 

Saxo finishes his saga with the tale of King Gorm the Old being told about the death of his son, Kanute, very cleverly by his wife Queen Thyra.  Then said Gorm: “Dost thou declare to me the death of Kanute?”  And Thyra said: “That is proclaimed by thy presage, not by mine.”

See “The VARANGIANS Series” by Brian Howard Seibert at for more on this decidedly distinct take on the Vikings of Northern Europe and the Varangians of Rus’ (Russia).


Book One, “The Saga of Hraerik ‘Bragi’ Hraegunarson,” recreates Book Five of Saxo’s work to show how Erik Ragnarson was Rurik of Novgorod and also illuminate the origins of the name Rus’ and how it evolved from Hraes’ in ninth century Russia and how the name Varangians originally meant Va Rangers or Way Wanderers of the Nor’Way.

Book Two, “The Saga of Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson,” recreates Arrow Odd’s Saga of c. 1200 to illustrate how Arrow Odd was Prince Helgi (Oleg in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev

Book Three, “The Saga of Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Hraerikson,” reveals how Ivar the Boneless Ragnarson was actually Prince Ivar (Igor in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev and then King Harde Knute of Denmark.

Book Four, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson,” demonstrates how Prince Svein ‘the Old’ (Slavic: Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’) of Kiev later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark.  But before being forced out of Russia, he sated his battle lust by crushing the Khazars and attacking the great great grandfather of Vlad the Impaler in a bloody campaign into the Heart of Darkness of Wallachia against the Army of the Impalers and their 666 salute.  The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack them seemed not nearly enough, so Prince Svein attacked the Eastern Roman Empire itself.  He came so close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, that later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his kin, “The Lying Sagas of Denmark” and set out to destroy them.

Book Five, “The Saga of Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson”, establishes how Grand Prince Vladimir ‘the Great’ of Kiev was also known as Prince Valdamar Sveinson of Gardar, who supported his father, Sweyn Forkbeard, in attacks upon England and later became King Canute ‘the Great’ of England and also King Knute ‘the Great’ of Denmark and Norway

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