THE SAGA OF PRINCE ERIK ‘BRAGI’ RAGNARSON Has Been Added to The Site Under the New Heading The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS Book Series – The True History of ‘The Great Viking Manifestation of Medieval Europe’© and the below Post Covers CHAPTER THIRTY:
BOOK TWO: THE SAGA OF PRINCE ERIK ‘BRAGI’ RAGNARSON
A Novel By Brian Howard Seibert
© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
30.0 ESCAPE AT INGELHEIM (Circa 839 AD)
“…along with his envoys the Emperor sent also
some men who called themselves and their own
people Rhos; they asserted that their king,
Chacanus by name, had sent them to Theophilos
to establish amity.”
Prudentius, Bishop of Troyes; Annales Bertiniani (839)
(839 AD) The embassy that the Roman Emperor, Theophilos, sent to the German King, Louis the Pious, consisted of: two state officials, Theodosius, Bishop of Chalcedon, and Theophanes, Imperial Spatharius, along with a cavalry troop of officers of the Immortals, as well as several Norsemen led by Erik, Kagan Bek of the Hraes’.
The two Roman ambassadors carried with them gifts and a sealed letter from their Emperor. Theophanes explained to Erik, as they travelled the old Roman road through Dacia, that the Emperor had written to King Louis the Pious about Erik’s situation and begged the western sovereign to assist the Rhos in returning to their homeland. The ambassador even showed Erik the sealed letter, but Erik made sure he noted into which chest Theophanes returned the document. Later, in the impenetrable darkness of night, Erik slipped into Spatharius Theophanes’ pavilion and purloined the letter. Taking it back to his own tent, he gently prized the seal open and he read the parchment. The Emperor Theophilos, true to his Khazar blood, had written a request that Louis the Pious put to death Erik and his Varangians. Erik put down the letter. Such deception and treachery were the warp and weave of the ancient Roman legends, Erik told himself, yet, it had been Theophilos who had taught him the tales, and it had been Theophilos who had expounded upon the duplicity within them. While the wily emperor had wanted Erik dead, apparently, he did not want Erik’s blood upon his hands. Such were the efforts of a deep mind, Erik reflected, and, while his respect for Theophilos, the Emperor, waned, his regard for Theophilos, the emissary, waxed.
Erik opened his chest with his exposure plate in it and he withdrew a pen, some ink and camphor oils, and Erik made a minor modification to the personal letter of Emperor Theophilos. The new instructions requested that King Louis the Pious extend to Erik and his men all required assistance in returning to their homeland, instead of the former request that he execute them. That was how Theophanes had originally told Erik the letter read, and now, indeed, it did. Erik studied his handywork and was satisfied it would pass scrutiny. He then carefully heated the back of the wax seal over a candle and reapplied it to the envelope. Stealing out into the night, Erik returned the letter to the chest in the Spatharius’ pavilion.
Ingelheim was a small town on the Rhine River in Germany, where Louis the Pious had his palace. It was there that Bishop Theodosius presented his Emperor’s letter to the King of the Franks. Although Erik’s seal tampering had fooled both Theodosius and Theophanes, King Louis, well-practised in the scrutiny of wax seals and such, became suspicious that the seal had been opened, and when he read the letter he suspected that its contents had been altered. When he questioned the ambassadors on this mystery, they pleaded innocence, having been told only that the Rhos, according to their Emperor, were, as noted, to be given safe passage north. King Louis then asked them if Erik or any of the Rhos could have altered the letter, but Bishop Theodosius assured the king that they were pagans and barbarians and quite illiterate. Erik could make out some of the conversation in German.
“Who are these people, the Rhos?” King Louis asked the bishop. “Who is their king?”
Bishop Theodosius answered, “They are Swedes and their king is called Kagan.”
On hearing that the Rhos were Swedes, King Louis grew very suspicious, for the northern provinces of the Holy Roman Empire were currently suffering from Viking raids executed by Danes, Norwegians and Swedes. The Frankish king ordered Erik and his men detained until he could learn their true purpose of being in Germany.
Again, Erik found himself imprisoned by an emperor, however, this time he and his men had no treaty with their hosts guaranteeing them proper treatment, so their accommodations consisted of one common cell in the dungeons of the pious one’s palace. And, as with his previous stay in prison, Erik was again visited by a stranger. The Frankish king’s court poet visited Erik often in his prison cell and Erik told him many tales of the Eastern Realm: tales of his father, Hraegunar fighting the fire breathing dragonship Fafnir of the Roman navy, and tales of the Goths and the Huns on the Scythian steppe. Erik also taught the poet many poems from the northern lands, including some about Germany, itself, before the advent of Christianity had caused clerics and officials to purge the state of pagan poetry and sorcerous tales. Saga rune sticks and scrolls were burned along with witches, and the Aesir religion and witchcraft were banned from the land. It was not without risk that the young Frank poet learned the ancient rhymes of his forefathers, and not without price.
“Teach me the pagan poetry and I promise to help you in any way that I can,” the young German told Erik.
“First, you must put in a good word for us to your emperor,” Erik had stated when he first began to teach the Frank.
“Now, you must send a message out to my brother, King Roller of Norway,” he added, several weeks into the lessons.
“Finally, you must help us escape,” were Erik’s words once he had caught the young man up in the spell of mystic and historic poetry.
Erik and the young German had spent many weeks planning Erik’s escape from the dungeon confines, when word came to Ingelheim that there was a large Norwegian fleet anchored at the mouth of the Rhine River, and that the Viking leader sent word demanding the release of Erik Bragi Ragnarson. It was said that King Roller of Norway personally led the raiders. At first, King Louis refused to release Erik and the Rhos, for he had not heard any word from Emperor Theophilos on the true meaning of the altered letter, and Erik, growing impatient, wanted the young German poet to carry on with their own plan of escape.
“I will help you if you so desire,” the young man offered, “but I shall have to flee with you. The king knows that I visit you daily and I will be the first one they’ll suspect of aiding you. If I am to teach others the poetry of the ancients, I must remain in the court of my king. Let me talk to the king, convince him that you should be returned to your homeland, and, failing that, I shall help you escape,”
Erik agreed to the plan, and, when Roller advanced the Norwegian fleet up the Rhine, the young poet’s suggestion to his king was well received. In the dead of the night, the young poet had the guards release Erik and his men and their gear from the cell and he led them to a waiting troop of Frankish cavalry that would escort them from the courtyard of the palace to the Norwegian fleet on the Rhine. Erik rode off to his brother and the young Frank poet was promoted in the court of King Louis, and his recounting of the ancient poetry Erik had taught him made him very popular with the local nobility.
“I thought I might never see you again,” Roller said, as Erik climbed aboard his longship.
“Never have I been so glad to see a friendly face,” Erik answered. “Charlemagne’s son is truly a poor host.”
The two brothers embraced each other on the deck of Roller’s ship as the Frankish cavalry trotted off into the dawn. Boyhood memories came back to Erik as he recalled all the times Roller had bailed him out of youthful escapades. Erik had thought the days long done whereby he and his brother, Roller, could experience the closeness they had shared in their youth, but the day of their being reunited was so joyous that Erik had to admit he had been wrong.
“I must raise an army,” Erik told his brother, as they sailed up the west coast of Jutland. “I shall go throughout the northern kingdoms and I shall raise an army to fight the Huns.”
“As I told you before, you have the full support of all my forces,” Roller said. “You must set out, at once, for Gotland and Sweden. I’ll raise armies in Norway and Denmark, and we’ll meet up with the hosts you raise in Sweden.”
“Thank you, brother,” Erik answered. “Never have I been so glad to see a friendly face.”
“Bare is the back of the brotherless,” was Roller’s reply.
Chapter 31: THE FATE OF GARDARIKI (Circa 839 AD) of BOOK 2: THE SAGA OF PRINCE ERIK ‘BRAGI’ RAGNARSON shall follow on next Post or may be found under Heading of The VARANGIANS / UKRAINIANS Book Series – The True History of ‘The Great Viking Manifestation of The Middle Ages’© in Book Two: The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ Ragnarson.
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 Saxo’s Danish History Per Brian Howard Seibert
BOOK ONE: 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: The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ Ragnarson
Book Two of the Nine Book The Varangians / Ukrainians Series places The Saga of Prince Erik ‘Bragi’ 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: The Saga of King William ‘the Conqueror’ Robertson
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.