Millions love the hit television show Vikings—but how many fans know that its main character, Ragnar, is based on an actual Viking king whose ambitious and terrifying exploits have been legend since the ninth century AD?
As fierce, cunning, and determined as the character he inspired, King Ragnar Lodbrok is perhaps most famous for his sacking of Paris in 845 AD. He is also widely regarded to be among the first Viking leaders to target the riches of the British Isles not simply for plunder, but also for Danish settlement.
The Legend of Ragnar Lodbrok presents fascinating translations of ninth, twelfth, and thirteenth-century writings—including sagas, poems, and historical accounts—that describe, in vivid detail, the adventures of Ragnar, his sons, and his formidable wives, Lagertha the Shieldmaiden and Princess Aslaug.
These absorbing convergences of fact and Norse mythology include a new translation of The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok; a new translation of The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons; The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the single most important source for English history during the early Middle ages; Krákumál, a famous twelfth-century poem thought to be Ragnar’s death song; and the Gesta Danorum, a patriotic work that describes the origin of Lagertha and her relationship with Ragnar.
Whether Ragnar was a single man of a thousand deeds or an amalgam of heroes may never be proven, but The Legend of Ragnar Lodbrok offers thrilling insight into his brutal, unforgettable world.