King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ and Princess Aslaug (Kraka) by A. Malmstrom (c. 1880)
Book 0.1, Chapter 2.0, ‘Prince Ragnar Sigurdson’ (Circa 810 AD), Excerpts:
“In ancient times, Norway was called Thule and was thought to be an island instead of a peninsula and we call it Thule in this Chapter and shall explore how it may have first become the Nor’Way and later Norway.”
Brian Howard Seibert
The above introductory quote to Chapter Two explains that Norway is likely the origin of the fabled Isle of Thule in the ancient Greek writing of Pytheas and comes to be called Norway because the west coast was the Nor’Way into Scythia and the Hellespont via the Barents and White Seas. Also, many of the ancient names of rivers are used, such as Itil River for the Volga, mainly to illustrate that the times were a ‘changing’ from the ancient Roman Vanir period to modern Roman Christian times.
The Chapter begins with the death of Prince Ragnar’s father, King Sigurd Hring, and Ragnar’s becoming King of Denmark while still a minor. It introduces his first wife, the shield-maiden Ladgerda (spelled a little differently from the more common Lagertha), and describes Saxo’s version of how the two came to be married. King Ragnar is established as the Vik King of Stavanger Fjord as well as Zealand, Denmark and Skane and this will tie into the upcoming Book One, The Saga of Erik ‘Bragi the Old’ Ragnarson, and it will be interesting to see how well the two tales mesh, for I concluded that the Ragnar and Kraka characters in Book 5 of Saxo’s Nine Books are the Ragnar Lothbrok and Swanloga (Kraka) characters in his Book 9. We shall see. At any rate, Ladgerda has a son, Fridleif, and two daughters by Ragnar. It is worth pointing out that the Anglish Danes of Jutland have a line of kings, the Fridleif-Frodi Skjoldung line of kings, and it makes me wonder if perhaps Ladgerda had Anglish roots?
Eventually King Ragnar finds his second wife, Princess Thora of Sweden, and makes her his Queen of Denmark. She gives Ragnar two nobly gifted sons, Radbard and Dunwat. These also had brothers; Siward, Bjorn, Agnar, and Ivar. And Queen Thora did bring peace to Denmark for a time, but she died long before her time.
I take the opportunity at this point to insert the ancient myth of Ragnar’s wife, Princess Aslaug (Kraka), here, even though Saxo doesn’t have her in his story, briefly mentioning only a Swanloga, who may equate to Aslaug, a third wife who fits in here. It is difficult, a stretch, but the tale of Princess Aslaug is as beautiful as the Saga of the Volsungs, from which she is sprung, so I felt it well worth exploring; perhaps a bit of poetic licence.
I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 2.0, ‘Prince Ragnar Sigurdson’ (Circa 810 AD), of Book Zero Point One of ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series, “The Saga of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson” to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Zero Point One Heading.
In Chapter One, Jarl Heimer of the Volsungs of Oster-Gothland in the Hellespont escapes the Hun King Atli and heads north with the child, Princess Aslaug towards Oster-Gotland near Sweden, but he is slain in Skane and Aslaug is enslaved by the old couple that murdered her guardian and they rename her Kraka to hide her identity. A dozen years later, King Ragnar discovers the beautiful princess living in bondage and he frees her and promises to slay a fire-breathing dragonship for her back in the Land of the Volsungs. Here we take a fresh look at the test Ragnar gives her to discover her royal blood and also a look at the slavery of the times and how enslavement affected the newly enslaved. Part of the Aslaug story covers her being rejected as a queen by the Danes because she lacked royal lineage, but we attribute her rejection as being more due to her having been enslaved, royal or not. Worth a look? You bet! We use the rejection to keep Aslaug’s participation in this Saga at a minimum and as a good reason for Aslaug to, in turn, reject the Danes and rule as queen in Stavanger, Norway instead (where we find her in Book One).
This all sets Ragnar up for fighting a fire-breathing dragonship in Roman lands instead of fighting a magical giant serpent in Sweden. We are, after all, trying to find the possible origins of some of the mythical tales we find along the way. Only the Romans had Greek-fire that spewed forth from dragonships, the likely origin of fire-breathing, poison-spewing, winged dragons of myth and legend in Sagas such as Ingvar the Traveller, where the moon touched Earth, in Constantinople. The Crescent of Islamic lore is actually the Crescent Moon of Constantinople and this crescent moon was present above the entrance gates of Byzantine cities throughout the Hellespont and, according to Ingvar, the poison spewing dragons were found where the moon touches Earth. So we shall be sending Ragnar off to Roman lands to slay a fire-breathing dragon for Princess Aslaug.
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‘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.