In the previous blog post, we have discussed three out of six famous sons of Ragnar Lothbrok. Ivar the Bonelesss was the leader of Great Heathen Army despite his physical imperfection, Hvitserk with family-orientated traits, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-eye. Three sons of Ragnar: Bjorn Ironside, Ubba, and Halfdan Ragnarsson will be the focus of this blog post.
Bjorn “Ironside” Ragnarsson was among great sons of Ragnar Lothbrok. Some sources mentioned him as the son of Ragnar and Aslaug while some claimed Ragnar and Lagertha the shieldmaiden. Whether it was Aslaug or Lagertha didn’t really matter because Bjorn followed the steps of his father to raid and wage war.
Bjorn was famous for his might and prowess in battle. If Ivar the Boneless was the military genius with wisdom and strategies, Bjorn embodied the physical power in battle.
Some sources mentioned Bjorn as a trickster for his cunning mind during his attempt to seize Luni. Luni was an Italian town that the Vikings had mistaken for Rome. Bjorn ordered his messenger to inform the bishop of Luni about the death of a Viking leader, saying that the dying leader’s last wish was to get baptized and convert into Christianity. The bishop of Luni didn’t hesitate a second opening the fort gate only to get seized by the Viking warriors.
The death of Ragnar agonized Bjorn so much that he held the spear tightly nearly breaking it. Legend had it that Bjorn joined his brothers to form Viking Heathen Army declaring war with Anglo-Saxon.
When researching about Bjorn Ironside, I feel like he was the embodiment of Thor Norse god of thunder and lightning. Thor was the son of Odin and Jord the giantess of Earth and he was the best Norse symbol of strength and physical power. Bjorn, in the meantime, was the son of Ragnar the offspring of Odin. Allegedly, Bjorn had a very strong arms which derived him the name “Ironside”.
Ubba was another son of Ragnar Lothbrok and Aslaug the Seeress. However, some records didn’t mention the name of Ubba’s mother leaving her identity controversial. In the tales of Ragnar’s sons, Ubba was a son of Ragnar. He was not mentioned as a king or to succeed to any kingdom so chances are that Ubba was the younger son of Ragnar.
Around the 9th century, Ubba was allegedly one of the commanders of the Viking Heathen Army that invaded Anglo-Saxon England.
The last in the list of sons of Ragnar Lothbrok is Halfdan Ragnarsson. This figure remains a mystery because many scholars believed he was actually Hvitserk – another son of Ragnar. Because sources mentioned Halfdan had no Hvitserk and the other way round.
Yet, he was also mentioned as a commander in Viking Great Heathen Army. This coalition finally split into two groups one of which followed Halfdan to go on raiding around some parts of Europe.
Irish sources mentioned the dominance of Halfdan Ragnarsson.