King IVAR the BONELESS was Prince IVAR (Igor) of KIEV and his son
King SWEYN ‘FORKBEARD’ IVARSON was Prince SVEINALD (Sviatoslav) of KIEV
I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 25, ‘SAINT BRICE’S DAY MASSACRE’ of “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson” Book Four to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Heading of that name.
Book 4, Chapter 25, ‘SAINT BRICE’S DAY MASSACRE’ (Circa 1001-1002 AD):
Please Note: This website is about Vikings and Varangians and the way they lived over a thousand years ago. The content is as explicit as Vikings of that time were and scenes of violence and sexuality are depicted without reservation or apology. Reader discretion is advised.
King Sweyn relocates Queens Thora and Gunhild to Angleland to avoid discovery by the agents of King Burizleif of Wendland, who has renewed his search for Thora after the death of her latest husband, King Olaf Tryggvason. They take up residence with Princess Gyda in Ipswich and Thora quickly falls in love with a young Anglish officer there.
King Sweyn and Jarl Eirik begin an assault upon the city of Southampton, just north of their Viking fortress on the Isle of Wight. The city soon falls under the intense barrage of trebuchets and half the population is enslaved, ransoms are allowed and the remaining slaves are carried off in slaver knars to Kiev. The Viking army moves inland and Winchester is sacked in like manner. The Danes are finally met by the fyrds of Hampshire at Alton and the English are soundly defeated and many are bent over their shields and their surrenders are taken. King Sweyn returns to Denmark with his slaves to join the great merchant fleet as it heads east through Hraes’ for trading in Baghdad and Constantinople.
Jarl Eirik continues the Viking assault on southern England and his ship borne troops sail west along the coast and go up each river in progression, sacking towns and cities as they row north up the waterways. The Norse spend the summer traversing west across southern England until, by fall, they reach the River Exe, sacking the town of Exmouth, and progressing north to the city of Exeter. There they learn that a Jomsviking Jarl has been hired by King Athelred to hold the walled city against Viking attack. When King Sweyn returns from the east, he intimidates Jarl Pallig into joining the Hraes’ instead and they take the city without a fight. Jarl Pallig tells Sweyn that Athelred blames Sweyn for the death of his ally, the Christian King Olaf Tryggvason, and talks of nothing but revenge.
Jarl Eirik leads a force upriver to the walled town of Taunton and they prepare for a siege, but word comes upriver that an English army has been raised in Plymouth and is marching toward Exeter to attack King Sweyn. Jarl Eirik doesn’t have time for a siege so, he uses Cathayan sky lanterns to set the town on fire at night and he captures the populace as they flee out from within the walls to escape the flames. Eirik meets two young Devonshire girls there, a poet and a singer, and they write him a poem. The poem is borrowed from Devon Balwit of Portland and I found it interesting. Please give it a read. The Viking army defeats the English army at Pin Hoo, a King Pin’s howe, and the Saxons are bent over their shields and then enslaved.
King Sweyn returns to Denmark with his slaves and Jarl Eirik returns to Norway with Princess Gyda and her children, but Queen Thora is pregnant and in love with her Anglish officer so, she and Queen Gunhild stay in Ipswich over the winter.
When Sweyn and Eirik return in the spring, King Athelred sends messengers offering twenty four thousand pounds of silver for peace for the year. Sweyn tells them it will only buy peace until fall, because he wants to resume raiding when he gets back from Baghdad, but that suits Athelred, as he was building an army that would be ready by fall anyway.
King Sweyn brought another Hraes’ mobile legion back to Angleland with him in the fall and the two Hraes’ legions went against the new English army, which was expecting to face only one Danish legion, so they turned and ran and half the army was captured by the pursuing Danes. The English captives were bent over their shields and then half were enslaved and sent east to Kiev to be sold to the eunuch armies in the Levant. King Athelred then put his backup plan for vengeance into action.
King Sweyn and Jarl Eirik and Gyda and children returned east to overwinter in Scandinavia, but Queens Thora and Gunhild stayed on in Ipswich with a full legion under Jarl Pallig to protect them. But King Athelred’s plan for Ipswich is very devious and proves difficult to defend against and his plan for the rest of England is equally murderous. It becomes known as the Saint Brice’s Day Massacre, a day of English infamy, where all English were called upon by their king to follow his royal decree:
“Your king, King Athelred, gives you order to slay all the Danes that
are in England. This is accordingly to be done after the mass-day of
St. Brice; because it has been told the king, that they would beshrew him
of his life, and afterwards, of all his ‘good’ council, and then have his
kingdom without any resistance.”
So, the mobs rushed out of the church looking for the heathen Danes that resided in London and they slaughtered the unarmed men by sword and gathered up the Danish women and raped and killed them in the streets and raped and murdered their children in the alleys and the babies they plucked from women’s arms and they dashed their brains out on the front doors of buildings in the streets.
King Athelred’s new young wife, Queen Emma of Normandy, learned about the massacre as it progressed around her in London, and she swore to punish her husband, for she was half Dane herself. News of the massacre went out to Normandy and then to Denmark and King Sweyn learned about it as Scandinavian royals gathered in Roskilde for Yulefest. All of Scandinavia pledged to avenge the Danish deaths. Duke Richard of Normandy took a warfleet up the Thames to rescue his sister, Emma, but wasn’t allowed to see her so, he threatened war and returned to Normandy to raise a larger fleet. King Athelred raised his own warfleet and sent them off to Normandy to attack Duke Richard, but the English army ran into the angry Danish peasants of Normandy, led by a few Norman knights and the English troops were slaughtered to all but one man. He and a few that were guarding their ships made it back to London to tell of their fate.
There would be a lot more than just two legions going against the English in the spring.
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.