Is Ragnar Lothbrok real?
Ragnar Lothbrok (Old Norse Ragnarr Loðbrók or Ragnar Lodbrok) was a legendary and one of the most famous Viking kings known to date. He was the son of Sigurd Hring, a King of Swedish descent. A lot of people are still apprehensive if he existed but Viking sagas proved that he was real.
He was mentioned and part of medieval latin historical sources and Old Norse sagas like Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok (Ragnars saga Loðbrókar), Saga of the Sons of Ragnar (Ragnarsson þáttr), Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus, Frankish chronicles, and Krákumál (an Icelandic poem that offers a romantic version of his death).
Some people are questioning and still in denial about his existence. However, we can’t deny that he accomplished great feat during his time. He really set himself apart from others by fearlessly raiding the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, Scandinavia and Frankia numerous times during the 9th century CE.
Based on written sources, he was not the first to raid England as other Vikings had done it since the late 700’s. But he wasn’t called legendary for nothing. He created a name for himself and did things differently than others. Rather than simply leaving after plundering, he was reported to leave settlements and attempted to control some lands. What’s even more interesting is that he was the first courageous warrior to do that.
He was married four times and the names of his wives were Thora, Aslaug, Lagertha and Swanloga. He also fathered some of the most popular characters in these written sources namely Ubbe/Ubba, Sigurd, Hvitserk, Bjorn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless (The Crippled Viking Warlord).
If you watch the History Channel series "Vikings", you’ll see that he was portrayed as a farmer in what appears to be Norway. His wife in this interesting television series is Lagertha, a beautiful shieldmaiden that went to battles with other Viking male warriors.
The exact date of his death is still unknown at this point but it could’ve happened in England around 840 or 866. The exact cause of his death wasn’t clear as well. Some sources say that he was killed by venomous snakes after he was thrown by the Northumbrian King Ælla. Other sources state that he was murdered in East Anglia after befriending Kind Edmund.
His existence may have been doubted and debated but we can’t deny the fact that he was mentioned in different historical sources including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.