Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
5.0 KING RAGNAR FOUNDS LONGPHORT DUBLIN IN IRELAND (Circa 810 AD)
“The Ui Imair (sons of Ivar), Princes of Waterford and Dublin were the descendants
of Ivar (the Boneless?) Ragnarson, the Irish son of Ragnar Lothbrok and they
were followers of the Raven Banner (of Ragnar Lothbrok fame).”
Brian Howard Seibert
(Circa 810 AD) When the war fleet of King Ragnar of Denmark landed on the eastern coast of Ireland, it was at a town midway down, called Dub-Gael and they began trading with the locals immediately, Ragnar not wanting to admit he was lost. Ladgerda continued vomiting and it was apparent that her pregnancy was not progressing well. Queen Imaira came down from the town to welcome the traders and King Ragnar introduced himself and Princess Ladgerda and he asked the queen if there was a healer in the town. “I am the main healer in our land,” she told him. “I could have a look at her if you wish.” Queen Imaira examined Ladgerda under the awnings of their ship and determined that rough sailing had affected the pregnancy. “She can no longer sail and it would be best if she came to my palace and rested more comfortably.” So, Ragnar and some men escorted the queen and Ladgerda to the Dub-Gael palace and the healer queen examined Ladgerda further. “She cannot sail,” the queen again said, “and she must refrain from any sex or other activity that might stir her up further inside. She could lose her baby.”
King Ragnar thanked the queen for her hospitality and he began asking her about Dub-Gael. The town and her surrounding land of Fin-Gael had just finished an inconclusive war with a northern clan and the town had lost a lot of their men folk, including their king. When Ragnar asked her if she thought a trading station would help the town, she was all ears. Ragnar told her about his travels in Scythia and that he was considering establishing trade routes to Constantinople in the east. He wanted to build a number of trading stations in Ireland, England and Frankia to promote this eastern trade. Queen Imaira was very excited by the idea and she offered to let some land to Ragnar on the coast by the River Poddle where it formed a great pool. It made for a good harbour. As winter approached, Ragnar took the gold the Irish had given him for the goods he had purchased from Jarl Arthor and he and Brak began melting it down and combining it with the red gold of Byzantium until it was no longer red and they spent this gold having a long fort constructed along the coast south of the Black Pool and their trading station was called Dub-Lin, the Lin meaning pool in the Irish tongue. The slaves they had freed were paid gold to work on it and the Roman soldiers they had captured worked on it to gain their freedom.
Because there were many widows in the town from lives lost in the recent war, many women came down to the beach to watch the construction and soon many of the freedmen that were working on the longfort were living in the town. Many Roman soldiers were soon asking permission to join them in living with the women of the town because the women found the Christian Romans particularly attractive. But there were two kinds of monotheism being practiced in Ireland at that time. Many of the Irish had been practicing the one true god religion of the Prophet Zoroaster for over a thousand years and others of the Irish followed the one true god religion of the Prophet Jesus that the Romans had brought to Ireland and that the Angles and Saxons and Welsh of Britain now followed. So the Roman marines tended to fraternize with the Christian Irish women and the rowers, who had been allowed no religion, tended to align themselves with the ladies that followed the teachings of Zoroaster. The Danes were left out of the mix, except for Ragnar, who, being a king, was of a station that fit well with the religion of royalty that Queen Imaira followed. She often visited with King Ragnar and Princess Ladgerda in the royal suite and she pleasured Ragnar on Ladgerda’s behalf and she pleasured Ladgerda because only penetrating sex was forbidden in her condition.
Ragnar wanted to take his Red Gold Hoard of Byzantium, his treasure, back to Stavanger before winter set upon them so, he left Ladgerda in command and Brak in charge of construction, made his goodbyes with Queen Imaira, telling them all he would be back in the early spring, and he sailed off to Lade in his shieldship. When he arrived in Lade, both Princess Aslaug and Prince Bjorn and his two daughters ran down to the quay to greet him. All the people of Thule had been worried, for King Ragnar was supposed to be back by fall and winter was setting on them. Ragnar introduced them to his young Slav concubine princess and showed Aslaug and Bjorn all the Roman armour and all the red gold of Byzantium he had captured as proof that he, indeed, had slain the fire breathing dragonship and there was great feasting among the Trondelag people. Princess Aslaug wanted to marry her king right there, in Lade, but Ragnar told her he wanted to marry her in Liere. But that night, after the feasting, he whispered, “I marry you, I marry you, I marry you,” and Aslaug did the same and they went to bed together and Aslaug gave Ragnar her maidenhead.
The next days they sailed south to Rogaland and Stavanger Fjord and they stayed a few days in his estate there and he hid much of his red gold treasure in a special treasury cavern that his grandfather had built there when he had ruled in Thule. But Ragnar set aside some of the gold and ordered his Rogalanders to build him a dozen sturdy little oak ships like the ones Jarl Arthor used for his ‘Way’ crossings at the extreme northern tip of Thule and he ordered others to spend the winter trapping foxes and ermines and beavers for their pelts. Then they sailed off to Liere in Zealand and the couple were officially married in the palace there and Ragnar declared Aslaug his primus wife and made her his Queen of Denmark. It was not very long before Aslaug was vomiting in the mornings and was diagnosed by the healers as being pregnant. By Yule celebrations, Aslaug was so ill that she was refusing Ragnar’s advances, so he brought his Slav concubine Princess Boda into bed with them and whispered the marriage phrase into her ear three times and then Aslaug assisted her in giving Ragnar her maidenhead as well. In the spring, Princess Boda was in the ‘way’ and was vomiting just as Queen Aslaug had been. The queen was well past her illness by then and was proudly starting to show. Ragnar bid them goodbye and sailed off for Ireland.
Ragnar and a small fleet of warships left Liere and returned to his estate in Stavanger, where he picked up his dozen special ‘Way’ ships already laden with furs and he had some of his men sail the new ships to Lade to await him there and he led his small fleet of warships to Ireland. He wanted to offer Queen Imaira the protection of Denmark to stave off any further attacks from hostile clans and he needed troops to guard his new Dub-Lin longfort trading station. Many of the rowers they had freed the previous year had expressed interest in doing trading in the east with Ragnar and their experience in the east made them a valuable asset. The Romans were to remain in Ireland, free to live and marry there, but still captives of war and confined to the Irish lands. When he got back to Queen Imaira’s palace in Dub-Gael, Princess Ladgerda had just given birth to another daughter for Ragnar and Imaira was well along in her pregnancy. He learned that two Roman officers had taken their new Irish wives and had escaped in a boat to Britain. They would, undoubtedly, be working their way south through Europe in an attempt to return to Eastern Roman lands and Constantinople.
“We should have sacrificed the Romans all to Odin,” Jarl Brak told him after giving him the bad news. “I fear they may cause trouble for us with both the Romans and the Khazars. You have taken the Red Gold Rings of Byzantium from the Romans and a Slav princess from the Khazars.”
“I plan on taking a lot more from them than that,” Ragnar declared boldly. “I think those Roman officers will respect the lives of their fellow Romans still here in Ireland and not cause us too much trouble. The fact that they took their Irish wives with them tells me that they acknowledge and accept their debt to me for giving them second lives.”
Ladgerda agreed with Ragnar, saying, “Those Irish lasses shall keep their officers in line.” She was determined to join Ragnar with the new spring trading effort and could not be talked out of it, so she left her baby under the care of Queen Imaira to be raised with her baby when it came. Ragnar left some of his ships and men under the care of the queen and the rest he took with him to Lade. There he left some warships and troops to protect Ladgerda’s interests and they loaded more furs onto the dozen Nor’Way ships that were waiting there and they sailed north to meet Jarl Arthor and his Thulealanders at Raven’s Island off the north tip of Thule. It was the last island that benefitted from the warmth of the Thule Current that carried warm southern water north up the coast. It was the last island in the north that had trees and the only birds there were Ravens, hence the name. They had left a ship and crew there in the fall to build a meeting hall there and when they arrived it was ready for them and King Ragnar declared it be called Hrafnista, meaning Raven’s nest.
Jarl Arthor was already waiting there with his dozen Nor’Way ships and he inspected Ragnar’s new Nor’Way ships. “They’re oak!” he declared joyously. “These will be plenty strong enough to handle the storm!”
All the Thulealander’s ships were made of pine, which did not last as long in salt water as the oak, but the only oak that grew in Thule was on the southern end in Rogaland and Agder. It was too cold for oak any further north, even in this warming period that Europe was experiencing. Ragnar had always suspected that his grandfather had conquered Thule more for its oaks than for anything else, because Denmark had been totally cleared of oaks for Danish warships and the longships were only getting longer and this took even more oak. The masts were all pine, though, tall and straight and strong from Trondheim Fjord, for that is where the best ones were found. The winter had been hard on sheep as well, for the ships now all had sheepskin awnings to keep out the waters and the cold.
The Nor’Way merchant fleet sailed to the ‘Way’ Fjord to gather and await the storm that would take them across the thawing Barents Sea and deposit them in the White Sea. While they were waiting, King Ragnar declared that the large fjord should be henceforth called the Varanger Fjord, Va meaning Way and Ranger meaning Wanderer and he further stated, “and those, and only those, who make the great Nor’Way crossing can call themselves Varangers and Varangians.”