‘Mongkey Faces’: Prince Vlad 666th and Jinping XI, the Russian and Cathayan Ambassadors to Mongke Khan IV, Great Khagan of the Mongols (C. 1250 AD), painted by Erik ‘Bragi the Old’ Ragnarson
Books I, II, & III of ‘The Wanderers of Odin’ (Circa 800 AD), has been added to our website:
Sir Henry Rider Haggard KBE (June 22nd 1856 – May 14th 1925) was an English writer of adventure fiction romances set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, and a pioneer of the lost world literary genre. His hugely popular ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ is often considered the first of the Lost World genre. He was a fine writer and we hope you enjoy this updated presentation of ‘The Wanderer’s Necklace’. I was surprised how personally I was affected by this story. I had just recently asked the University of Arhus for support in my research on Rus’ Princes retiring as Danish Kings, so it was surprising for me to learn that Rider had set his Book One in Aar (modern Arhus), Jutland, Denmark. I had found a lot of references to the writing of Rider Haggard while doing research on my prequel, ‘The Saga of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson, who was an incredibly famous legendary Danish king, and this is the first book of his that I have read and updated for this website. I shall soon be posting Chapters of this Saga to this website, so please feel free to read them and email me comments.
Please keep in mind that 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. I continue to be surprised at how much witchcraft and plundering is found in the Christian Sagas that survive and I wonder at how wild and erotic the Pagan Sagas afore them were before they were called ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ and were destroyed by the Christian kings that followed. Please enjoy this read, though. It has hardly been touched by the sagas.
Book I: Aarhus (C. 800 AD) In Book I: ‘Aarhus’, Olaf Thorvaldson, an Anglish Dane from Aar, Jutland (modern Aarhus) became betrothed to Iduna ‘the Fair’, a Norse Dane from Lesso Island, just off the eastern coast of Jutland. After his older brother, Ragnar, refused to marry the beautiful young girl and Olaf’s foster-brother, Steinar, seemed to show no interest, her father, Jarl Athalbrand, chose Olaf to wed her because he needed an alliance with the Angles of Jutland so he could attack the Island of Samso. While visiting in Aar, Iduna heard a story that a local great burial mound of some antiquity was rumoured to hold a Golden Necklace of the Pharaohs and she told Olaf that she would like it as a wedding gift. Olaf gained the aid of a local witch and healer and they broke into the mound and recovered the gold necklace and a red bronze sword from within the howe and Olaf gave the necklace to Iduna ‘the Fair’ and kept the sword for himself.
While waiting for the wedding date to arrive, Olaf’s foster-brother, Steinar, gained a vast inheritance and a fief on the western coast of Jutland and Jarl Athalbrand decided that Steinar would be a better prospect as a son-in-law, now being wealthy and better able to finance a war. He invited Steinar to Lesso Isle while Olaf was at home recovering from an injury and during the stay, Steinar fell in love with Iduna and Jarl Athalbrand allowed her betrothal to be changed to the newly rich Steinar. Jarl Thorvald and Olaf’s relatives all were slighted by this betrayal of Steinar and Iduna and demanded that the wedding carry on as planned and when Jarl Athalbrand refused, they set out with a small warfleet to attack the Isle of Lesso, but the Norse Danes expected as much and had set out to meet them and they had a fierce battle on the Skagerrak Sea.
The sea battle was equally manned from both sides and both Jarls died in the fight, as did young Ragnar, but the Angles were victorious and Olaf took his foster-brother captive and they sailed back to Aarhus, where Steinar was condemned to death in a sacrifice to Odin for his breaking of a troth. Olaf had wanted Steinar forgiven but the priests of Odin would show no clemency so Olaf, in a fit of rage, raised his axe and attacked the wooden statue of Odin in its temple and was cast out from there and was soon to be condemned as well. Once that day’s sacrifice of Steinar to Odin was executed, all left the temple and went home.
When Olaf snuck back to the temple to visit with the body of his foster-brother, he found the witch Freydisa and Iduna ‘the Fair’ there crying over the body of Steinar. When he accused Iduna of causing all this, she told him that her father had forced her into betrothal with Steinar and that the young man was only acting out of impetuous love, and that she still loved Olaf. But Olaf couldn’t stay because he had defaced the effigy of Odin. He left her and Freydisa in charge of his inheritance of Thorvald’s estate and he sailed off with some of his father’s men across the newly founded Southern Way, through the Riverways of Rus’, to Constantinople.
In the book, Olaf states that he doesn’t know how they got to the east, but they finally got there and this might be attributed to the writer, H. Rider Haggard’s lack of access to Wikipedia and Google Maps. In the future I hope to add a chapter to cover the trip and set up a meeting between him and Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ Ragnarson in Tmutorokan, where Erik gives Olaf the mission of getting himself into position to protect the life of Empress Irene of Constantinople for some very occult reasons. Erik uses his manifesting warlock powers to send Olaf and his men fifty years into the past to Circa 750 AD to protect her from her son, Emperor Constantine VI, the son of her husband, Leo ‘the Khazar’. The Khazars, Huns and Mongols all want her dead so that Constantine ‘the Khazar’ can cause the Eastern Romans to keep up their alliance with the Khazars and not let the Danes and Varangians of Rus’ destroy the Khazar Empire and they use their Aran warlocks and wizards to change the past, forcing Erik to use his Aesir magic to prevent that. But I digress…
Book II: Constantinople (C. 750 AD) In Book II: ‘Constantinople’ Olaf finds himself a captain of the Northern Guard in command of the protection of Empress Irene. While guarding the Empress of the Earth, he tells her of the beautiful Iduna ‘the Fair’ and why he’d had to leave Denmark and Irene falls in love with him and sponsors him for baptism into the Christian faith. A number of events transpire between the two and her hostile relationship with her son, Emperor Constantine, is developed and described. Olaf is put in charge of the prison in Constantinople and there he saves a blinded and deposed Emperor from death. He even saves Emperor Constantine once and the Empress several times, but while being baptised he sees Princess Heliodore of Egypt and she was even more beautiful than Iduna ‘the Fair’ and while taking in her beauty he sees a matching Pharaoh’s necklace around her throat jus as he wore one about his. There seems to be a power in the necklaces and they are drawn to each other and fall in love. Princess Heliodore has to return with her father to Egypt to start a rebellion against the Caliph of Baghdad with the support of the Romans.
We learn more of the plots and schemes of Roman royalty and of the blindings and executions so common in Constantinople. General Olaf falls victim to the schemes and is disgraced and has to flee the Empire so he leads his men to Egypt to find his love, Princess Heliodore.
Book III: Egypt (C. 780 AD) There he learns that the rebellion has been crushed by the Caliphate and the princess’s father is dead and Olaf has to save her. Olaf travels the Nile looking for her and he does save her, but they fall into the hands of the Caliph. There he is called Olaf Red-Sword, General of the Christians, and his fate is precarious, but Caliph Harun-al-Rashid admires the love of the couple and he allows them to be married in Egypt and eventually frees them. They decide to flee north and they attempt to sneak through Roman lands, because Empress Irene still hates their love, but when they are captured by the Romans, they learn that Empress Irene has been imprisoned for killing her son, Constantine, and a new Emperor Nicephorus I rules in Constantinople. He gives General Olaf the Island of Lesbos to govern and then he sends Olaf the Empress Irene to guard and finally orders Olaf to kill her. When Olaf refuses, he knows that he must take Princess Heliodore north once more. But before he leaves he listens to Empress Irene put a curse upon Emperor Nicephorus that he might die in ignominy and suffer not being properly buried. The Editor (Rider) then puts a note in the book that Nicephorus I was killed at the Battle of Pliska in Bulgaria and that Khan Krum had fashioned a drinking goblet out of his skull.
One of the presumptions I make in Book Four of my Varangian Series, The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson (see below), is that the story of Prince Sviatoslav’s purported death at the hands of Khan Kurya of the Pechenegs was a fiction of the Monk Nestor, based on the Emperor Nicephorus history, and that the General Sveinald (Svein ‘the Old’) that escapes the ambush and joins Ivarapolk (Ivar the Pole, his son) in Kiev, is the Danish prince that retires to Denmark as King Sweyn Forkbeard, who eventually conquers England. His son, Ivarapolk, or Ivar ‘the Pole’, is named after Svein’s father, Ivar ‘the Boneless’ and Svein’s wife, Sviataslava, who is often identified as Polish, but was more likely a Greek nun that he had captured while ravaging Wallachia or Bulgaria.
So far I have found two other cases of skull-cupping in Byzantine lands and they are both used later as writing devices by historical authors. One case is Brynhild of the Volsung Saga and another involves Emperor Baldwin I, who sacked and conquered Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade and may very well have been a son of Ragnar Lothbrok, trying to one up his great grandfather’s sacking of Paris!
Henry Rider Haggard was a great writer, well noted for his descriptive flair, and has many published books in his repertoire. Please enjoy the read. I certainly did!
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.
‘The VARANGIANS’ Series (AKA ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series):
‘The Varangians’ series (‘AKA ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ series) of five (seven) books is about the Danish Varangian Princes of early Rus’ (Ukraine), based on The Nine Books of Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus and the Rus’ Primary Chronicle of Nestor. The Rus’ monk Nestor asserts that Rus’ was founded by three brothers, Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, but the Danish names in Book 5 of Saxo’s work are Erik, Sigfrodi (King Frodi) and Roller, three brothers from Denmark and Norway.
Book One of the five book Varangians Series places the Saga of King Frodi the Peaceful from Book Five of The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200) into its proper chronological location in history. In 1984, when I first started the book, I had placed the main character, Erik’s (Hraerik’s) birth at circa 800 CE, but have since revised it to 810 to better fit with the timelines of the following books in the series. Saxo had originally placed the saga at the time of Christ’s birth and later experts have placed the story at about 400 CE to correspond with the arrival of the Huns on the European scene but when Attila was driven back to Asia, the Huns didn’t just disappear, they joined the Khazar Empire north of the Caspian Sea and helped the Khazars control the western end of the famous Silk Road trade route.
When King Frodi’s Danes started their ninth century ‘Southern Way’ incursions into the rivers of present day Russia, they ran into the Khazar Khaganate that was controlling Silk Road trade there and cooperation looked promising when he married King Hun’s daughter, Princess Hanund. But she cheated on him and he sent her back to Khazaria in disgrace and things got ugly, fast. Two Norwegian princes, Hraerik and Hraelauger Hraegunarson, sons of the famous Hraegunar Lothbrok, visited Frodi’s court in Liere with a dangerous plan to protect their own Nor’Way trade route to Khazaria, but that plan changed when Prince Hraerik fell in love with and married Princess Gunwar, King Frodi’s sister.
When news arrived in Liere that the Huns planned to attack Denmark, Prince Hraerik convinced King Frodi to assemble a Varangian Army of the North and lead a pre-emptive strike against the Khazar Empire. Following the capture of Kiev, the three brothers, Frodi, Hraerik and Hraelauger established the Hraes’ (Rus’) Trading Company and built an empire that exists in many forms to this very day, including Russia, Normandy, Great Britain and L’Anse Aux Meadows in America. The wealth of the Hraes’ Trading Empire they created powered the prolific Viking expansion in Medieval Europe that still fascinates us today.
Book One, “The Saga of Hraerik ‘Bragi’ Hraegunarson,” recreates Book Five of Saxo’s work to 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. The book examines the death of Princess Gunwar (Hervor) at the hands of the Hunnish Prince Hlod and how it drives Prince Hraerik ‘Bragi the Old’ Hraegunarson (Hraegunar Lothbrok’s son) to write a famous poem of praise that both saves his head and rallies the northern kingdoms to fight the infamous Battle of the Goths and the Huns on the Don Plain of Gardariki (Gnita Heath of Tmutorokan).
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, by showing that their identical deaths from the bite of a snake was more than just coincidence. The book investigates the true death of Hraegunar Lothbrok by poisoned blood-snakes (kenning for swords) and how his curse of ‘calling his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ sets up a death spiral between swine (Sveinald) and snakes (Gorm ‘the Old’) that lasts for generations. It then goes on to depict the famous Battle of the Berserks on Samso, where Arrow Odd and Hjalmar the Brave slay the twelve berserk grandsons of King Frodi on the Danish Island of Samso, setting up a death struggle that takes the Great Pagan Army of the Danes from the ravaged coast of Norway to England and on to Helluland in Saint Brendan’s Newfoundland.
Book Three, “The Saga of Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Hraerikson,” reveals how Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Ragnarson was actually Prince Eyfur (Ivar in Danish, Igor in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev and then King Harde Knute of Denmark. By comparing a twenty year lacuna in the reign of Prince Igor in the Russian Chronicles with a coinciding twenty year appearance of a King Harde Knute I (Hard Knot or Knytling) of Denmark in European Chronicles, Prince Igor’s death by sprung trees, which reportedly tore his legs off, may have rather just left him a boneless and very angry young king. Loyal Danes claimed, “It was a ‘hard knot’ indeed that sprung those trees,” but his conquered English subjects, not being quite as polite, called him, Ivar ‘the Boneless’. And the Danish ‘Knytling’ line of kings carried on for ‘the Old’ Fridleif/Frodi line of kings.
Books Four, Five and Six, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson“, “The Saga of Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson” and “The Saga of Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson” demonstrate how Prince Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’ of Kiev was really Prince Svein Ivarson of Kiev, who later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark and England. But before being forced out of Russia, the Swine Prince 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 that seemed to herald the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with the 666 Salute of the Army of the Impalers. The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack the Army of the Impalers 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 would set out to destroy them, claiming that, “true Christians will never read this saga”.
Book Seven, “The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson”, 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. Unlike his father, he came to the aid of a Roman Emperor, leading six thousand picked Varangian cataphracts against Anatolian rebels, and was rewarded with the hand of Princess Anna Porphyrogennetos, a true Roman Princess born of the purple who could trace her bloodline back to Julius and Augustus Caesar. She was called Czarina, and after her, all Rus’ Grand Princes were called Czars and their offspring were sought matrimonially by European royalty.
By recreating the lives of four generations of Russian Princes and exhibiting how each generation, in succession, later ascended to their inherited thrones in Denmark, the author proves the parallels of the dual rules of Russian Princes and Danish Kings to be cumulatively more than just coincidence. And the author proves that the Danish Kings Harde Knute I, Gorm ‘the Old’ and Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormson/Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ were not Stranger Kings, but were Danes of the Old Jelling Skioldung Fridlief/Frodi line of kings who only began their princely careers in Rus’ and returned to their kingly duties in Denmark with a lot of Byzantine Roman ideas and heavy cavalry and cataphracts.