THE SAGA OF KING RAGNAR ‘LOTHBROK’ SIGURDSON Has Been Added to The Site Under the New Heading The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS and the below Post Covers CHAPTER TEN:


Prince Siward ‘Snake in the Eye’ Ragnarson’s Young Healer Witch


A Novel By Brian Howard Seibert

© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert



(Circa 815 AD)  King Ragnar and his warfleet were met at the harbour town that served Liere by his sons, Ivar and Siward.  Messengers had come home and told the boys to expect the return of their father, the king.  They had finally won the battle, but had lost the war.  King Fridleif had refused to negotiate an amicable peace and had lost his life in that final battle, but King Ragnar had lost so many men winning it, they could not hold the field against fresh Frankish and Anglish Danish troops that were replacing Fridleif’s losses.  But Ragnar was confident that King Fridleif’s death would set back the Anglish Dane plans by at least a year so he made plans of his own to lead a spring merchant fleet east across the Baltic and then south through Scythia to Baghdad and Constantinople, while his foremost man in Stavanger, Brak, would lead a second merchant fleet across the Nor’Way for trade with the Volga Bulgars and Khazars.  He would leave his sons, Ivar and Siward, in charge of Zealand and Skane while he was off trading and when he got back in the fall it would be with paid Roman mercenaries and he would take the war, once more, back to the Schlei and the Anglish Danes before their beloved Danevirk.

Back in Liere, King Ragnar went through his plans with Princes Ivar and Siward and they thought it a fine strategy and looked forward to seeing the rented legions their father had talked about.  For enough gold and prospects of booty, an ally of Rome could rent a legion of five thousand Roman foot or a cataphract legion of three thousand Roman knights or both if required.  Ragnar had spent much gold while he had been visiting the Hellespont and this attracted the attention of the Emperor Michael and they’d had discussions of King Ragnar’s Sor’Way venture and the way Slav hurdles could be overcome along the ‘Way.  The Romans were particularly interested in serviles, or slaves, to man the oars of their naval fleet, the galleys and biremes and new triremes that gobbled up manpower, and the slaves that the Danes had been bringing from the north, the Anglo-Saxons and Irish and Frisians were all strong and very adept at rowing, so the Emperor was open to supporting the Hraes’ or Rhos, as they put it, Trading Company militarily for repayment in serviles and furs and gold.  When the Emperor brought up Roman trade tariffs, Ragnar told him flat out that the Hraes’ Trading Company paid tariffs to no one, that being the main reason that mercenaries might be required to deal with the many intervening kingdoms between the Danes and Romans.  Now the Romans were known to tariff anyone who dealt with them, so it looked as though the trade agreement had hit some rocks, but the Romans really needed the serviles, as they were at war in the Levant and a strong naval presence was required, so the Emperor had relented and gave a verbal approval for tariff-free trade.

King Ragnar would have preferred to stay in Zealand and protect his realm, but his victory had bought them some time and he needed to keep his verbal agreement with the Romans so that a contract could follow.  International trade was always complicated, but the benefits were very lucrative.  And Prince Harald had garnered himself an Emperor of the Franks, so Ragnar needed Imperial support as well, in the Emperor of the Romans.  And King Ragnar had just acquired several thousand Anglish Dane and Frankish prisoners of war who were just the types of men the Romans needed to row their war machines.  In his haste to depart the continent, Ragnar had not had the time to offer the captives up for ransom, and in his rush to get the spring trading underway, he forgot to send messengers to Jutland with names of men and ransoms requested for each of them and this would prove to be a mistake.

In both Aesir and Vanir law, people who were captured in war or in raids had to be offered for ransom by relatives for three days or the captives were considered kidnapped, an act of piracy, but if some captives were ransomed and others left because of lack of relatives with wealth, those captives then became legally enslaved and could be kept or sold by their captors at their discretion.  When the Irish merchant fleet arrived in Liere from Dublin, Queen Imaira sent along Irish slaves, young men, women and children that had been captured from rival clans and had been offered up for ransom and the ones in Liere were the sorry unransomed.  Likewise, when Prince Agnar sent his Anglish merchant fleet to Liere from York, he sent along Anglish and Saxon men, women and children captured in raids upon Mercia and Wessex and also unransomed.  Ransoms started at essentially the cost of slaves, but went up in price with the status and standing of the captives and could be quite profitable when it involved princes and royalty, but the value of slaves in Baghdad or Constantinople was just that, the value of a slave.  A prince stripped to his waist to show the strength of his back was worth no more than a farmer thus stripped, and perhaps, even quite a bit less.  Likewise, a princess stripped naked to show the pleasure that could be had with her was worth no more than that of a maiden equally blessed and her haughtiness could make her worth a whole lot less.  So ransoms were a custom well practiced save by pirates and a growing number of Norse Vikings who were raiding European coasts indiscriminately.  The Norse Vikings were the small merchant raiding fleets of the Vik Kings of the many fjord petty kingdoms that ranged up the coast of northern Thule and their captives were often not offered for ransom because their fleets were too small to risk sitting offshore for the three days required for legal ransoming.  If defending warfleets came upon them, or other Vikings for that matter, they could quickly lose their lives and their goods, so they raided in a hit and run fashion out of necessity rather than choice.  When they found themselves raiding in a secure locale, they would always opt to ransom captives, for the profits could be that much greater.

Regardless of the reasons, the Nor’Way trade route was being frequented by more and more traders who were taking kidnapped captives east and selling them as serviles, rather than properly enslaved captives.  And now, King Ragnar himself was becoming party to this practice as a result of his war with the Franks and Anglish Danes.  When he sailed east with his large merchant fleet, the pirates of the Baltic fled before him while others joined him posing as merchants with slaves to sell beyond Scythia.  Thus the crimes of slavery were multiplied.  And when they sailed up the Dvina, the fleet stopped and traded with the Sclavs while King Ragnar slept with King Daxo’s daughter and spent time with his son, young King Hwitserk, before leading the fleet on.  The Sclavs had traded furs and honey and amber and captured Slav serviles for cloth and woolens and weapons and many Sclav merchants paid Ragnar a tithe and joined up with the Hraes’ merchant fleet and headed south with them.

The fleet stopped along the banks of the Dnieper and traded in the city of Kiev, while King Ragnar visited with King Olmar of the Poljane Slavs.  There were Khazar traders in the city and they were surprised to find northern Hraes’ traders there.  They all knew of the Hraes’ traders on the Volga and some had even dealt with Ragnar trading in the city of Bulghar on the Volga, but they had not expected to see the Hraes’ trading fleet passing through Khazar controlled territory which included Kiev and all Dnieper lands south to the Scythian Sea and up to Roman Cherson.  Ragnar told them he had a verbal agreement with Emperor Michael of Constantinople for his Sor’Way trade route and they seemed happy with that explanation.

Back in Denmark, Prince Harald led an embassy to Liere representing both the Anglish Danes of Jutland and the Emperor of Frankia and he renewed his claim to the Kingdoms of Zealand and Skane, but, more importantly, asked the whereabouts of the Anglish and Frankish prisoners of war he had lost and further inquired as to why they had not been offered up for ransom after the Battle of the Schlei.  Princes Ivar and Siward had shown Prince Harald all due respect and Ragnar’s sons shared the highest highseat of the great longhall in Liere, while the visiting prince sat alone on the highest guest highseat.  “I think that ransoms were not offered,” Prince Ivar began, “due to the threat of impending attack from fresh Frankish and Danish forces.  All captives have been taken east for sale as serviles.”

“Serviles?” Harald repeated, “as in slaves to the Roman Empire?”

“As in slaves to anyone in the east,” Ivar corrected him.

“Emperor Louis is going to go bat shit crazy!” Harald exclaimed.  “His army is still occupying King Ragnar’s Roman ring fort.  The Frank officers are all copying King Fridleif’s vellum drawing of it and are taking measurements so they can build their own Roman ring forts when they’re on campaign.  I think he’ll send them here.”

“Let him!” Prince Siward said.  “If the Franks had a tough time fighting Danes on the Schlei, just wait until they come and fight Danes in Denmark.”

“Perhaps we could offer the emperor wergild for his warriors,” Prince Ivar said, a little more practically.  His father would be getting gold for them as serviles so he could use the gold to rent Roman legions and Ivar wanted to stall the Frankish emperor until the Roman legions arrived.

“He’s Christian,” Harald said.  “He’s not going to accept gold for his warriors.  He’s going to want them back!”

“Perhaps we can get them back for him during the next trading cycle?” Ivar pondered.

“That’s a year from now,” Harald replied.  “The Franks won’t wait that long.  He’ll attack you before that.”

Prince Ivar looked over to his brother for an answer.  “Let him!” Prince Siward repeated.  “He’ll be on our turf this time.  It will go far worse for him.”

“I don’t want Zealand wrecked,” Harald admitted.  “There’ll be nothing left for me to claim.”

“The Anglish Danes aren’t going to let you claim Zealand anyway,” Ivar assured him.  “They’re only using you and your claim to take it for themselves.  They want Ragnar’s Sor’Way.  They’re already calling it their Southern Way, their Dan’Way.”

“I have their word,” Harald protested, but he knew Ivar and that he only spoke the truth.

“And they have your Frankish support.  Once they have Zealand, they won’t need you or your Franks.”

“Fock!” Harald cursed.  “I kissed Emperor Louis’ ass for that support.  I even became Christian for it!”

“If you want Zealand, you’re going to have to take it for yourself,” Ivar told him.  “Do it without the Jutlanders, with only Louis’ army and the Angles won’t have a claim on you.  You’re their ally.  You’ll be able to hold it next to them as an equal.  Emperor Louis will see to that.  What ever Frankish forces you have, we’ll meet you with an equal number of Danes and we’ll fight it out between Zealanders alone.  Leave the Angles out of it and it will keep them out of Zealand!”

“I want to include my Skanian allies,” Harald agreed, excitedly.

“Fine,” Ivar answered.  “We’ll just meet them with an equal number of Danes.  Then we can deal with all the rebels at once.”

“I’ll stall Emperor Louis on his missing men,” Harald assured Ivar, “and I’ll be back with the Franks and Skanes in a week.”  He left Liere and took his embassy to Skane.

“Really!” Prince Siward said to Ivar later.  “The Skanians?”

“Dividium et Imperium,” Ivar replied.  “Divide and Conquer.  First we’ll beat the Franks and the Skanes.  Harald won’t do this without his relatives in Skane.  And then the Angles will come to avenge their dearly departed Prince Harald and we’ll beat them as well.  We don’t stand a chance if they come at us all at once, that’s what father was afraid of, but separately, Ragnar would have killed for a chance to deal with those two armies separately.”

“You’re a focking genius, Ivar,” Siward said.  “Ragnar will be so proud of us when he gets back!”

The two princes began drilling their warriors to get them into prime battle condition and they prepared a battlefield south of Liere that had come to be called ‘Loth’ and sometimes ‘Laneus’ in the Latin of the Romans, meaning Shaggy or Woolly supposedly after the grass, but it was really named after Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ and they would have put in the ‘Brok’ if breeches or pants could somehow be worked into a field name or perhaps if a brook had run through it.  But it was just one big ass shaggy grass field and the two princes and their officers set about placing hazel poles at the corners.  Then they trained and marched their men about the field to pack down the shaggy grass and they put floating buoys out past shore so that warships coming from the south would see where the field of battle was.  Then they waited for Prince Harald.

Prince Harald soon arrived with his Franks and was met on shore by his Skanian relatives and their forces.  It would be another battle of foot soldiers, for Ragnar and his army had wiped out the Frankish cavalry had had come up from Aachen with the Frankish foot.  Prince Harald preferred to have his relatives about him during the fighting so he made up his center vanguard with his personal Centuriata and his brothers and uncles and their Skanian troops and he split up the Franks into two formations on his wings.  Princes Ivar and Siward combined their personal Centuriatas into one vanguard and they split an equal number of Zealanders into two formations on the wings and they sent the rest of their troops back to Liere as they had agreed.

The Franks beat a few drums but there were no horns or trumpets, only Roman war whistles for communication within ranks, and no arrows flew and no spears were hurled.  This was personal, between princes, and the shield walls crashed and the hacking began.  There was hard fighting for about two hours, then the ranks thinned and melee fighting took over.  Then a huge Skanian of amazing size fought his way up in front of Prince Siward and promised that Siward should straightaway rejoice and be whole, as he was about to consecrate him to join all the souls the prince had overcome in battle and had sent to Valhalla.  Nor did he conceal his name, but said that he was called Rostar ‘the Skanian’.  Prince Siward faced off against the giant and was fighting him bravely but had to give up ground in front of him and move about him quickly, as speed was his greatest ally in fighting such a huge man.  Prince Ivar saw that Siward was up against more than he could handle, so he started working his way toward his brother to help, but he couldn’t get through the throng between them.  Rostar ‘the Skanian’ kept thrusting at Siward with his long sword, but Siward would dart out and evade the thrust and then dart in and give the giant a thrust of his own, but his sword would not bite, or if it did it made a mere flesh wound.  The two circled each other and kept up this thrusting dance for a while as Ivar watched and began to suspect that magic of some sort was involved, for, indeed, Siward’s thrusts were not being felt by the giant when they landed.  Siward was fast, springing forward, thrusting hard and then bouncing back, but the strokes he landed had no effect on the giant.  Ivar called one of his men over and took a weapon off his back and worked on it as he watched his brother.

Siward moved in and jabbed the giant with his sword to no effect and when the giant thrust out with his sword Siward sprang back out of range, but only almost this time.  The giant had been holding back a bit on his thrusts so that Siward sprang back less and less each time, then the giant lunged at him and used a full stroke and Siward didn’t move back quite enough and the tip of the blade caught him slightly in the eyeball and cut him across his cornea in an S-curve and it blinded him and for some reason both his eyes watered up and he couldn’t see to dodge the next blow, then he heard a loud crash and he thought he might have fallen, but, no, he was still standing, and when he’d wiped the tears from his good eye he saw that it was the giant that had fallen on his back dead with an arrow in his eye.

Prince Ivar finally got up to his brother and stood next to him, bow in hand, with another arrow nocked and ready.  “I had to shoot him in the eye,” Ivar said.  “He had some kind of magic spell on his skin that wasn’t allowing you to stab through it.  It probably would have stopped arrows too.”

“I think he blinded my eye,” Siward said and he showed his face to Ivar.  Ivar took his battle gloves off and pried Siward’s eyelids open and he could see that the cornea was cut but there was no blood flowing, no fluid at all, but the cut was in a squiggle like a snake and Ivar said, “It’s a snake!  That focking giant put a snake in your eye!  What kind of magic is this?”

But while they were talking, the Skanians were watching, and they saw their champion, Rostar ‘the Skanian’ lying dead on the ground, killed by one lone arrow, and he was supposed to be proof against all battlefield injury and chatter went through the Skanian ranks that the Danes had more powerful magic and some of the Skane troops began to turn tail and run for their ships.  They believed that magic could work for you in battle, but it could also be turned against you by a more powerful witch or warlock and the Danes must have found just such a warlock, so they fled.  As Prince Harald’s surrounding Skanians melted away from him, his Centuriata took responsibility for the prince’s protection and began marching in reverse, not running, but withdrawing and they took the prince with them.  Suddenly the Frank formations on the wings found that they were being attacked from the rear as Danes poured through the center and swept outwards behind them.  Many were slaughtered before they could even turn to face them, others were in melee combat with a Dane in front of them and were hacked down from behind.  Many others just threw down their weapons and, being young Christians, were completely surprised when the Danish warriors tore off their pants, bent them over their bucklers and plowed them a new furrow on a big ass shaggy grass field that could now be called ‘Lothbrokless’.

Meanwhile, Prince Siward was being tended to by a young witch healer that was helping patch up the wounded.  Some thought that he who did this miracle wished to declare, by the manifest token of his eyes, that the young man was to be cruel in future, in order that the more visible part of his body might not lack some omen of his life that was to follow.  When the young witch healer saw the curved marking of a little snake in his eye she said, “I don’t think this is magic at all!  When the Skanian, this Rostar, thrust at you, the blade was vibrating and as the cut went in the sword vibrated up and down and that is why the cut curves up and down like a snake wriggling across your eye.”  She made up a magic poultice and wrapped it in cloth and told Siward to keep it over his eye and perhaps sight would come back to it, but vision would never be very clear through that one eye.  Still, there were Danes who claimed that the giant, Rostar ‘the ‘Skanian’, had used magic to put a snake in Siward’s eye.  Hence it happened that Siward got the widespread name of Sigurd Snake-Eye, for Sigurd was the Skanian form of the Zealand name Siward and it was a Skanian that had put the snake in him.

Prince Agnar arrived late with some Danish troops he had under his command in Angleland, but arrived too late to help his brothers, Princes Ivar and Sigurd Snake-Eye, but just in time to help them celebrate their great victory with a feast.  He had also brought some fresh Saxon captives with him and was planning to take them down the Sor’Way and follow his father to sell them to the Romans during this trading cycle.  “We’ve captured another two thousand Franks,” Ivar told Agnar as they celebrated on their highseats in Liere, “and perhaps you could take them along and give them to Ragnar so he can rent more Roman legions.”

Both Agnar and Sigurd thought that was a great idea, so Ivar offered to take Agnar’s Zealand troops back to Angleland and help his herses hold the country while Agnar was traversing the Sor’Way.  “Just don’t do any raiding while I’m gone,” Agnar warned his brother.  “The Saxons are getting really pissed about all the raiding I’ve been doing.”  So, after a few days of preparation, Prince Agnar took his slaves and captives east and then south and Prince Ivar led the Danish troops back to Angleland.  When he arrived in York with the troops he found York Castle under siege by a Saxon army.  He caught the Saxons by surprise and drove them off temporarily, but the Danes holding the castle told him it was not provisioned for a long siege and recommended a withdrawal to Zealand until they could return with more troops, so that is what they did. 

Meanwhile, Prince Agnar sailed across the Baltic with his merchant fleet and visited with his young half-brother Hwitserk in Sclavia before sailing south to Kiev.  There he stopped and visited with King Olmar, who warned him that the Khazars were up in arms with the Romans for trading tithe-free with the King Ragnar and the Danes.  Because he was passing through Khazar controlled land, they were entitled to a tax on all goods passing through their lands.  When Emperor Michael told them that the Romans would pay the Danes’ tithes, the Khazar Kagan refused, and it became apparent that there was more to it than just scat.  The Khazars and their Hun tribe felt threatened by the fierce Norsemen and wanted to buy all their furs and slaves and resell them in the southern lands.  They wanted to directly control and profit from all Hraes’ trade.

A few weeks later, Prince Agnar and his slaver merchants joined his father, King Ragnar, in the Saint Mamas quarter of Constantinople, the only Polis within the city in which the Hraes’ or Rhos were allowed to stay while trading.  Ragnar had rented a great estate just inside the walls and the merchant fleets were beached along the shore outside the walls and the king welcomed his son into his great hall and they dined and had wine together.  Ragnar thanked Agnar and blessed his sons, Ivar and Siward, who was now Sigurd Snake-Eye, for the additional Frankish serviles, but he said, “There is some blood bond between the Romans and the Khazars, and I can’t learn what it is, but the Romans are refusing to rent me the legions they’d promised last year because the Khazars are worried I will attack them with the legionnaires.”

“Will the Romans allow us to sell our slaves here?” Agnar asked.

“Oh, yes,” Ragnar confirmed.  “They want all our serviles and even more, for which they pay in fine golden Byzants, but they can’t rent us mercenaries because they don’t want trouble with the Kagan of the Khazars.”

“Perhaps we don’t need the legions,” Agnar offered.  “Ivar and Sigurd defeated the Franks on the field of ‘Loth’ which they can now call ‘Lothbrok’ thanks to the Franks that were bent over on it.”  And he raised his wine goblet and they toasted that success.

“But Prince Harald and his Skanians escaped,” Ragnar lamented.  “He’ll get more troops from Louis ‘the Pious’ and he and the Jutlanders will attack us again.  Jutland is thrice the size of Zealand and the Holy Roman Empire is at least thrice the size of Jutland.  If we can’t buy Roman support we’ll have to turn Zealand over to Prince Harald.  Emperor Louis won’t allow the Angles to take it from him and it will be easier for us to take it back from Harald and his Skanians than from the Angles, should they get their hands on it.  Harald may even share the Sor’Way with us if we make sure it grinds gold for him as well.”

“Will the Angles let him let us?” Agnar asked.  “They do have their own southern way through Slav lands.  The Anglos of Angleland talk about it.”

“And the Angles of Jutland think it is their best kept secret,” Ragnar spat.  “No.  They want our Sor’Way because the Wends and the Obodrites won’t allow them to run serviles through their Slav trade route, and serviles are where the big money is in both Baghdad and Constantinople.”

“The Christian Frank captives I brought keep claiming that the Christians of Constantinople can’t buy them as slaves because of some Papal Bull or other.”

“They prefer pagan slaves, that’s true enough,” Ragnar said, “but they bond the Christians they buy from us and, by the time they work off their debt, their best years are spent anyway.  Then they’ll send them back to Frankia.  Their pagan serviles they just kill and grind up for dog food when they’re spent, but they’re not supposed to do that with Christian bonds, so they send them back to burden their relatives.”

“That’s focked!” Agnar said.

“It’s a rough trade,” Ragnar admitted.

Prince Agnar spent the rest of the summer running the trade in Constantinople while his father sailed off with a merchant fleet to Baghdad.  This was the Zealand Danes trade secret, for the Romans were at war with the Caliphate of Baghdad and such business would be frowned upon by Emperor Michael.  And the Hraes’ trade secret was kept about as long as the Angles.

One day a messenger came from the east and told Prince Agnar to pack up his merchant fleet and meet his father on the Scythian Sea near Cherson.  When the two fleets met up, Ragnar explained that he didn’t want to meet him on Roman lands because he had traded slaves for silver Dinars and spices and other Arabic goods that the Romans might try to confiscate.  “I think we’ll have to put more focus on our Nor’Way trade,” Ragnar told his son.  “At least the Khazars aren’t at war with anyone…yet.  They’ve officially converted to Judaism so they can keep clear of this ongoing Christian Muslim conflict.  But that’s not likely to work, since the other two followers of their Book can’t seem to get along with the Jews.  Thank the gods we’re Aesir!”

“Amon to that!” Agnar agreed using the ancient ‘all-men’ blessing of Zoroaster.

When the two returned to Zealand from the east they learned that the Saxons of Wessex and Anglos of Mercia had driven the Norse Danes out of Anglish Northumbria and a lot of it had to do with Viking raiding and a lot had to do with the Zealanders’ wars with the Anglish Danes and the Franks and their past connection with the scholar Alcuin of York.  “Raise a force and retake Angleland!” King Ragnar ordered his sons.  “I am going to overwinter in Stavanger with Queen Aslaug, and I want York back before spring.  We may have to turn Zealand over to Prince Harald to keep it out of the hands of the Anglish Danes and we can’t lose both!”

After King Ragnar had sailed off to his Vikingdom of Stavanger Fjord, the sons debated over how to accomplish their task of retaking Northumbria while still maintaining a defence of Zealand against a possible attack of the Angles and Franks.

“You lost Angleland,” Sigurd said, “so you should get it back!”

“York was already under siege when I got there,” Ivar argued.  “The position was untenable when I got it from Agnar.”

“It was fine when I left,” Agnar interjected.  “I even took Saxon and Mercian slaves east with me when I left.”

“But that’s why the Saxons already had York under siege!”

“Then you should both go,” Sigurd said.  “I’m still getting treatments for my eye from the young witch that saved it on the ‘Field of Lothbrokless’.”

“You mean the cute young witch that you keep visiting with?” Ivar asked, laughing.  “Shall we go retake Angleland, Agnar?”

“Let me check my schedule,” Agnar replied.  “I can squeeze it in between a raid upon Ireland and an attack on Frisia.”

After raising an army to plunder and ravage Angleland, the two princes sailed off with their warfleet, leaving Prince Sigurd to hold Zealand and his cute young witch.

Chapter 11: KING RAGNAR RETURNS TO HRAEGUNARSTEAD  (Circa 820 AD) shall follow on next Post or may be found under Heading of The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS in Book One: The Saga of King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson.

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 / UKRAINIANS or The Nine Books of the Danish History of Brian Howard Seibert

BOOK ONE:  RAGNAR’SAGA LOTHBROK or The Saga of King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson

King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ Sigurdson’s third wife, Princess Aslaug, was a young survivor of the Saga of the Volsungs and was a daughter of King Sigurd ‘the Dragon-Slayer’ Fafnirsbane, so this is where Ragnar’s story begins in almost all the ancient tales (except Saxo’s).  In our series, we explore this tail end of the Volsungs Saga because King Sigurd appears to be the first ‘Dragon-Slayer’ and King Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ would seem to be the second so, it is a good opportunity to postulate the origins of Fire Breathing Dragons and how they were slain.  King Ragnar would lose his Zealand Denmark to the Anglish Danes of Jutland, who spoke Anglish, as did the majority of Vikings who attacked England, which spoke both Anglish and Saxon languages, sometimes mistakenly called a common Anglo-Saxon language.  The Angles and Saxons of England never really did get along, as shall be demonstrated in the following books.  King Ragnar assuaged the loss of Zealand by taking York or Jorvik, the City of the Boar, in Angleland and Stavanger Fjord in Thule from which he established his Nor’Way trade route into Scythia.

BOOK TWO:  ERIK’SAGA BRAGI or The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi the Old’ Ragnarson

Book Two of the Nine Book The Varangians and Ukrainians Series places The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi the Old’ Ragnarson from Book Five of The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200 AD) about King Frodi ‘the Peaceful’ into its proper chronological location in history.  In 1984, when I first started work on the book, I placed Prince Erik’s birth at circa 800 CE, but it has since been revised to 810 CE to better reflect 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, just north of the Caspian Sea, and helped the Khazars control the western end of the famous Silk Road Trade Route.  Princes Erik and Roller, both sons of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’, sail off to Zealand to avenge their father’s loss, but Erik falls in love with Princess Gunwar, the sister of the Anglish King Frodi of Jutland and, after his successful Battle Upon the Ice, wherein he destroys the House of Westmar, Erik marries Gunwar and both brothers become King Frodi’s foremost men instead, and the story moves on to the founding of Hraes’ and Gardar Ukraine.

BOOK THREE:  HELGI’SAGA ARROW ODD or The Saga of Prince Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Erikson

Book Three, The Saga of Prince Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Erikson, recreates Arrow Odd’s Saga of circa 1200 AD to illustrate how Arrow Odd was Prince Helgi (Oleg in Slavic) Erikson 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 Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ by poisoned blood-snakes in York or Jorvik, the ‘City of the Boar’, and how his curse of ‘calling his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ sets up a death spiral between swine and snake that lasts for generations.  The book then illustrates the famous Battle of the Berserks on Samso, where Helgi ‘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 Denmark to ravage Norway and then England and on to Helluland in Saint Brendan’s Newfoundland.  A surprise cycle of vengeance manifests itself in the ‘death by snakebite’ of Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’.

BOOK FOUR:  IVAR’SAGA BEINLAUSI or The Saga of Prince Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Erikson

Book Four, The Saga of Prince Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Erikson, reveals how Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Ragnarson was actually Prince Eyfur or Ivar (Igor in Slavic) Erikson of Kiev and then King Harde Knute ‘the First’ of Denmark.  By comparing a twenty year lacuna in the reign of Prince Igor in The Hraes’ Primary Chronicle with a coinciding twenty year appearance of a King Harde Knute (Hard Knot) of Denmark in European Chronicles, Prince Igor’s punishment by sprung trees, which reportedly tore him apart, 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’.  The book expands on the death curse of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’ and the calling of ‘his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ when Ivar leaves his first son, King Gorm (Snake) ‘the Old’, to rule in Denmark and his last son, Prince Svein (Swine) ‘the Old’ to rule in Hraes’, further setting up the death spiral between the swine and snake of the ‘Lothbrok’ curse.

BOOK FIVE:  SVEIN’SAGA the OLD or The Saga of Prince Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson

Book Five, The Saga of Prince Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson, demonstrates how Prince Sveinald (Sviatoslav in Slavic) ‘the Brave’ of Kiev was really Prince Svein ‘the Old’ 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 then 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 and included the famed 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 close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, but lost and was forced to leave Hraes’ to his three sons.  He returned to the Nor’Way and spent twelve years rebuilding Ragnar’s old trade route there.

BOOK SIX:  VALDAMAR’SAGA’ the GREAT or The Saga of Grand Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson

Book Six, The Saga of Grand Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson, establishes how Grand Prince Valdamar (Vladimir in Slavic) ‘the Great’ of Kiev, expanded the Hraes’ Empire and his own family Hamingja by marrying 700 wives that he pampered in estates in and around Kiev.  Unlike his father, Svein, 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 of Constantinople, 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 Hraes’ Grand Princes were called ‘Czars’ and their offspring were earnestly sought after, matrimonially, by European royalty.

BOOK SEVEN:  SWEYN’SAGA FORKBEARD or The Saga of King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson

In The Saga of King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson, Prince Svein anonymously takes the name of Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ in Norway and befriends the Jarls of Lade in Trondheim Fjord in Norway as he expands the Nor’Way trade route of his grandfather, Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’.  He had come close to defeating the Eastern Roman Empire, and still felt that he was due at least a shared throne in Constantinople.  He used the gold from the Nor’Way trade to rebuild his legions and his Hraes’ cataphracts and though his brother, King Gorm ‘the Old’, was dead, his son, Sweyn’s nephew, King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormson had usurped the throne of Denmark and had hired the famed Jomsvikings to attack Prince Sweyn in Norway, setting up the famous Battle of Hjorungavagr in a fjord south of Lade.  King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ would emerge from that confrontation and then he would defeat King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway in the Battle of Svolder in 1000 AD, in an engagement precipitated over the hand of Queen Sigrid ‘the Haughty’ of Sweden.  Later he attacked England in revenge for the following St. Brice’s Day Massacre of Danes in 1002 AD and he fought a protracted war with the Saxon King Aethelred ‘the Unready’ that could only be described as the harvesting of the English for sale as slaves in Baghdad and Constantinople.  With the help of his son, Prince Valdamar of Kiev, and the legions and cataphracts of Hraes’, he conquered England on Christmas Day of 1013, but victory was not kind to him.

BOOK EIGHT:  CANUTE’SAGA the GREAT or The Saga of King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson

Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson of Kiev, who had supported his father, King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark in attacks upon England left his ‘Czar’ sons in charge of Hraes’ and took over as King Valdamar of England, but the Latin Christian English revolted against his eastern name and Orthodox Christian religion and brought King Aethelred back from exile in Normandy and Valdamar had to return to Hraes’ and gather up the legions he had already sent back after his father’s victory.  His half brother was ruling in Denmark and his sons were ruling in Hraes’ so, in 1015 AD Grand Prince Valdamar ‘the Great’ of Kiev was written out of Hraes’ history and in 1016 the Latin Christian Prince Canute ‘the Great’ returned to England to reclaim his throne.  He defeated Aethelred’s son, King Edmund ‘Ironside’ of England, at the Battle of Assandun to become King Canute ‘the Great’ of England and later King Knute ‘the Great’ of Denmark and Norway as well.  But that is just the start of his story and later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his forefathers, The Lying Sagas of Denmark, and would set out to destroy them, claiming that, “true Christians will never read these Sagas”.

BOOK NINE:  WILLIAM’SAGA the CONQUEROR or The Saga of King William ‘the Conqueror’ Robertson of England and Normandy

The Third Danish Conquest of Angleland was seen to herald the end of the Great Viking Manifestation of the Middle Ages, but this, of course, was contested by the Vikings who were still in control of it all.  Danish Varangians still ruled in Kiev and Danes still ruled the Northern Empire of Canute ‘the Great’, for the Normans were but Danish Vikings that had taken up the French language, and even Greenland and the Newfoundland were under Danish control in a Hraes’ Empire that ran from the Silk Road of Cathay in the east to the Mayan Road of Yucatan in the west.  “We are all the children of Ragnar ‘Lothbrok’,” Queen Emma of Normandy often said.  Out of sheer spite the Saxons of England took over the Varangian Guard of Constantinople and would continue their fight against the Normans in Southern Italy as mercenaries of the Byzantine Roman Empire.  They would lose there as well, when in the Fourth Crusade of 1204, the Norman Danes would sack the City of Constantinople and hold it long enough to stop the Mongol hoards that would crush the City of Kiev.  It would be Emperor Baldwin ‘the First’ of Flanders and Constantinople who would defeat the Mongol Mongke Khan in Thrace.  But the Mongols would hold Hraes’ for three hundred years and this heralded the end of the Great Viking Manifestation.  The Silk Road was dead awaiting Marco Polo for its revival.  But the western Mayan Road would continue to operate for another hundred years until another unforeseen disaster struck.  Its repercussions would be witnessed by the Spanish conquerors who followed Christopher Columbus a hundred and fifty years later in the Valley of the Mound Builders.


By recreating the lives of four generations of Hraes’ Ukrainian 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 Hraes’ Ukrainian 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 Hraes’ and returned to their kingly duties in Denmark with a lot of Byzantine Roman ideas and heavy cavalry and cataphracts.

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