|Partner:||Ragnar + LODBROK (760?- )|
|Children:||Ivar + RAGNARSSON (788-873)|
|Sigurd SNODOVE (790?-830)|
|Name:||Ragnar + LODBROK|
|Father:||Sigurd + RING (730?- )|
|Cause: thrown into a pit of poisonous snakes on the order of Aelle, King of Northumbria|
|Name:||Ivar + RAGNARSSON|
|Death||0873 (age 84-85)||Dublin, Leinster, Ireland|
|Occupation||King of Denmark and Sweden|
|Death||0830 (age 39-40)|
Ragnar Lodbrok (Ragnar "Hairy-Breeks", Old Norse: Ragnarr LoÃ°brÃ³k) was a Norse legendary hero from the Viking Age who was thoroughly reshaped in Old Norse poetry and legendary sagas.
The namesake and subject of â€œRagnarâ€™s Sagaâ€, and one of the most popular Viking heroes among the Norse themselves, Ragnar was a great Viking commander and the scourge of France and England. A perennial seeker after the Danish throne, he was briefly â€˜kingâ€™ of both Denmark and a large part of Sweden. A colorful figure, he claimed to be descended from Odin, was linked to two famous shieldmaidens, Lathgertha in the Gesta Danorum, and Queen Aslaug according to the VÃ¶lsungasaga.
He told people he always sought greater adventures for fear that his (possibly adoptive) sons who included such notable Vikings as BjÃ¶rn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless would eclipse him in fame and honor. Ragnar raided France many times, using the rivers as highways for his fleets of longships. By remaining on the move, he cleverly avoided battles with large concentrations of heavy Frankish cavalry, while maximizing his advantages of mobility and the general climate of fear of Viking unpredictability. His most notable raid was probably the raid upon Paris in 845 AD, which was spared from burning only by the payment of 7,000 lbs of silver as danegeld by Charles the Bald. To court his second wife, the Swedish princess Thora, Ragnar traveled to Sweden and quelled an infestation of venomous snakes, famously wearing the hairy breeches whereby he gained his nickname. He continued the series of successful raids against France throughout the mid 9th century, and fought numerous civil wars in Denmark, until his luck ran out at last in Britain. After being shipwrecked on the English coast during a freak storm, he was captured by Anglian king Ã†lla of Northumbria and put to death in an infamous manner by being thrown into a pit of vipers.
Although he is something of a hero in his native Scandinavia, reliable accounts of his life are very sketchy and heavily based on ancient Viking sagas.
A historic Ragnar Lodbrok is held to have been a jarl at the court of the Danish king Horik I (814-854), and this Ragnar participated in the Viking plunderings of Paris in 845.
A certain Reginheri attacked Paris with a fleet of 120 ships. The warriors belonging to the army of Charles the Bald, were placed to guard the Abbey of St. Denis, but fled when the Danish Vikings executed their prisoners ferociously in front of their eyes.
After receiving a tribute of 7000 pounds of silver from Charles the Bald, Ragnar went back. By mysterious circumstances, many men in Ragnar's army died during the journey and Ragnar died soon after his return.
Ragnar apparently spent most of his life as a pirate and raider, invading one country after another. One of his favorite tactics was to attack Christian cities on church feast days, knowing that many soldiers would be in church. He would generally accept a huge payment to leave his victims alone, only to come back later and demand more riches in exchange for leaving.
But as the extent of his supposed realm shows, he was also a gifted military leader. By 845, he was a powerful man. It is said he was always seeking new adventures because he was worried that his freebooting sons would do things that would outshine his own achievements.
 FranceIn 845 he sailed southward, looking for new worlds to conquer. With an alleged force of 120 ships and 5,000 Viking warriors, he landed in what is now France, probably at the Seine estuary, and ravaged West Francia, as the westernmost part of the Frankish Empire was then known. Rouen was ravaged and then Carolivenna, a mere 20 km from St. Denis. The raiders then attacked and captured Paris. The traditional date for this is 28 March, which is today referred to as Ragnar Lodbrok Day by certain followers of the Asatru religion. The King of West Francia, Charlemagne's grandson Charles the Bald, paid Ragnar a huge amount of money not to destroy the city. Ragnar Lodbrok, according to Viking sources, was satisfied with no less than 7,000 pounds of silver in exchange for sparing the city. However, that did not stop Ragnar from attacking other parts of France, and it took a long time for the Franks to drive him out.
Later, Ragnar's sons were to return for more booty. Among their feats was destroying the city of Rouen several more times. Ultimately, many of them settled there permanently, in a land that became known as Normandy (deriving from the expression "Nordmenn" , or 'Northmen' ('Norsemen'), which was - and indeed still is - both the name the Norwegians called themselves and also the name the Franks used for the Scandinavians).
 England and questions surrounding his deathAll sources agree that Ragnar ended his life in England. The widely accepted version is that Ragnar was shipwrecked on the Northumbrian shore; where he was captured and taken to the Northumbrian king Ã†lla.
Legend claims that Aelle ordered Ragnar thrown into a pit filled with poisonous snakes. As he was slowly being bitten to death, he is alleged to have exclaimed "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers!", referring to the vengeance he hoped his sons would wreak when they heard of his death.
Alternative versions of the story say that he landed by accident in East Anglia and there befriended King Edmund before being killed by a jealous courtier. The murderer escaped to Denmark and blamed Edmund for Lodbrok's demise.
The dating of Ragnar's death has been alternatively stated as 840 or 865. The earlier dating corresponds to events attached to Ragnar's legend in the saga. However, a later date better explains the attack on England by his sons in 865; supposedly to avenge their father's death. It is unlikely that the Great Heathen Army, led by the Sons of Ragnar, would have waited 25 years to take their vengeance.
 Death songMain article: KrÃ¡kumÃ¡l
As he was thrown into the snake pit, Ragnar was said to have uttered his famous death song: "It gladdens me to know that Baldrâ€™s father [Odin] makes ready the benches for a banquet. Soon we shall be drinking ale from the curved horns. The champion who comes into Odinâ€™s dwelling [Valhalla] does not lament his death. I shall not enter his hall with words of fear upon my lips. The Ã†sir will welcome me. Death comes without lamentingâ€¦ Eager am I to depart. The DÃsir summon me home, those whom Odin sends for me [Valkyries] from the halls of the Lord of Hosts. Gladly shall I drink ale in the high-seat with the Ã†sir. The days of my life are ended. I laugh as I die."
 LegacyOne Viking saga states that when his four sons heard the manner of his death, they all reacted in great sorrow. Hvitserk, who was playing tafl, gripped the piece so hard that he bled from his fingernails. BjÃ¶rn Ironside grabbed a spear so tightly that he left an impression in it, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, who was trimming his nails, cut straight through to the bone.
Although these stories may not be accurate, if there is any truth to them his death had serious consequences. His other sons, Ivar the Boneless (alias Hingwar) and Ubbe soon learned the details of their father's death and swore that they would avenge his killing, in time-honoured Viking tradition. In 866, Ivar and Ubbe crossed the North Sea with a large army (The Great Heathen Army), sacked York, met King Aelle in battle, and captured him. He was sentenced to die according to the custom of the blood eagle - an exceedingly painful death.
They then moved south to East Anglia, on the way attacking the monasteries of Bardney, Croyland and Medeshampstede where, according to tradition, their army slew 80 monks. Eventually they captured King Edmund and had him shot by archers and beheaded. These wars were a prelude to the long struggle of the Saxons of Alfred the Great against the Danes a generation later, which also included the leader named Guthrum, all of whom founded the Danelaw.
Ragnar's forays into France were traditional for the Danish monarchs, with such men as Gudfred, Harald Klak and Hygelac among his predecessors; Rollo of Normandy his future and ultimate successor of the Frankish policy in making the Danes fief-holders of Frisia. Danish policy towards France was also defensive, in the Danevirke's construction.
 MythologyBragi Boddason is said to have composed the RagnarsdrÃ¡pa for the Swedish king BjÃ¶rn at Hauge. However, this does not correspond to what we know about the historical Ragnar. It is consequently said that in the Norse sagas, he was identified with a Swedish king Ragnar (770-785), the son of Sigurd Ring. According to legend, he married Aslaug and became the son-in-law of Sigurd the VÃ¶lsung.
 In popular cultureIn The Vikings (1958 film), Ragnar, played by Ernest Borgnine, is captured by King Aella of Northumbria and cast into a pit of ferocious dogs. His son Einar (presumably a variation of the historical Ivar), played by Kirk Douglas, vows revenge and conquers Northumbria. 
In the PC game Civilization IV, included in the expansion packs Beyond the Sword and Warlords, Ragnar is the leader of the Viking civilization.
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