Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ragnvald I 'the Wise of More' Eysteinsson

Ragnvald I 'the Wise of More' Eysteinsson

  Earl Rognvald of More, received the Earldom of Orkney from King Harald as compensation for the loss of his son, Ivar Rognvald had no intentions of staying in the islands so passed the Earldom on to Sigurd, who became Earl Sigurd I of Orkney."  

Sigurd, 1st Jarl of Orkney probably died of an infected wound. He defeated the Scottish Earl Mælbrigte and had the severed heads of the vanquished strapped to the victor's saddles. Sigurd went to spur his horse, and struck his calf against a tooth sticking out of Mælbrigte's mouth. Sigurd's son Guthorm became 2nd Jarl of Orkney for a year, but died without issue.

Rognvald heard about these deaths and sent his son Hallad west to be 3rd Jarl of Orkney. Hallad was too weak to protect the Orkney farmers from raids so returned to Norway a laughing-stock. When two Danish Vikings Thorir "Tree-Beard" and Kalf "Scurvy" set up camp on the Islands Rognvald flew into a rage. He summoned his sons Thorir, Hrollaug and Einar to him, his eldest son Hrollager being on campaigne elsewhere.

Thorir was to stay in Norway and Hrollager was to go to Iceland. Einar promised that if he was made Jarl of Orkney that his father would never have to see him again. Rognvald agreed that this would make him happier, so made Einar Jarl of Orkney and gave him a ship.

Harald I "Haarragre"'s sons by Snæfrid, Haldan "Longleg" and Gudrod "Gleam" became arrogant. They killed Rognvald and usurped his lands. Harald I flew into a rage and set out after his rebel sons.

 Halfdan fled to Orkney and Gudrod gave himself up to his father.  Harald made Rognvald Jarl of North and South Mere and of Raumdall after his victory at Solskiel over Hunthjof, King of Mere, and Nokve, King of Raumdall.

When Harald had finally conquered all of Norway, it was Rognvald Eysteinsson, Mere-jarl, who cut Harald’s hair and gave him the new name, Harald Fine-hair."  

CONFLICT: AKA Rognvald Mere-Earl.   Acceded Abt 872  !NOTE: Royal & Noble Genealogical Data On the Eysteinsson, Ragnvald I the wise of More  Acceded: ABT 872 Died: ABT 894 Notes: AKA Rognvald Mere-Earl.  Father: Glumra, Eystein the Noisy, Jarl of the Uplanders, b. 788   Mother: Ragnvaldsdottir, Ascrida   Associated with , Groa   Child 1: Rognvaldsson, Hallad, Earl of orkney Child 2: Rognvaldsson, Turf-Einar, Earl of Orkney Child 3: Ragnvaldsson, Hrollaug   Married to Hrolfsdottir, Ragnhild (Hildr)   Child 4: Ragnvaldsson, Ivar Child 5: Ragnvaldsson, Rolf the Ganger, Duke of Normandy 1st, b. 846 Child 6: Ragnvaldsson, Thori the Silent, Jarl of More     !GENEALOGY: Royal Ancestors of Magna Charta Barons; Page 87; G929.72; C6943ra; Denver Public Library; Genealogy    

Harald Haarfagr.    ill about the Year of Grace 860 there were no kings in Norway, nothing but numerous jarls,--essentially kinglets, each presiding over a kind of republican or parliamentary little territory; generally striving each to be on some terms of human neighborhood with those about him, but,--in spite of "_Fylke Things_" (Folk Things, little parish parliaments), and small combinations of these, which had gradually formed themselves,--often reduced to the unhappy state of quarrel with them.

 Harald Haarfagr (fair hair) was the first to put an end to this state of things, and become memorable and profitable to his country by uniting it under one head and making a kingdom of it; which it has continued to be ever since.

His father, Halfdan the Black, had already begun this rough but salutary process,--inspired by the cupidities and instincts, by the faculties and opportunities, which the good genius of this world, beneficent often enough under savage forms, and diligent at all times to diminish anarchy as the world's worst savagery, usually appoints in such cases,--conquest, hard fighting, followed by wise guidance of the conquered;--but it was Harald the Fairhaired, his son, who conspicuously carried it on and completed it.

Harald's birth-year, death-year, and chronology in general, are known only by inference and computation; but, by the latest reckoning, he died about the year 933 of our era, a man of eighty-three.   The business of conquest lasted Harald about twelve years (A.D. 860-872?), in which he subdued also the vikings of the out-islands, Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides, and Man.

Sixty more years were given him to consolidate and regulate what he had conquered, which he did with great judgment, industry and success. His reign altogether is counted to have been of over seventy years.

The beginning of his great adventure was of a romantic character.--youthful love for the beautiful Gyda, a then glorious and famous young lady of those regions, whom the young Harald aspired to marry. Gyda answered his embassy and prayer in a distant, lofty manner: "Her it would not beseem to wed any Jarl or poor creature of that kind; let him do as Gorm of Denmark, Eric of Sweden, Egbert of England, and others had done,--subdue into peace and regulation the confused, contentious bits of jarls round him, and become a king; then, perhaps, she might think of his proposal: till then, not."

Harald was struck with this proud answer, which rendered Gyda tenfold more desirable to him. He vowed to let his hair grow, never to cut or even to comb it till this feat were done, and the peerless Gyda his own.

He proceeded accordingly to conquer, in fierce battle, a Jarl or two every year, and, at the end of twelve years, had his unkempt (and almost unimaginable) head of hair clipt off,--Jarl Rognwald(Ragnvald) (_Reginald_) of More, the most valued and valuable of all his subject-jarls, being promoted to this sublime barber function;--after which King Harald, with head thoroughly cleaned, and hair grown, or growing again to the luxuriant beauty that had no equal in his day, brought home his Gyda, and made her the brightest queen in all the north.

He had after her, in succession, or perhaps even simultaneously in some cases, at least six other wives; and by Gyda herself one daughter and four sons.   Harald Haarfagr had a good many sons and daughters; the daughters he married mostly to jarls of due merit who were loyal to him; with the sons, as remarked above, he had a great deal of trouble. They were ambitious, stirring fellows, and grudged at their finding so little promotion from a father so kind to his jarls; sea-robbery by no means an adequate career for the sons of a great king, two of them, Halfdan Haaleg (Long-leg), and Gudrod Ljome (Gleam), jealous of the favors won by the great Jarl Rognwald(Ragnvald). surrounded him in his house one night, and burnt him and sixty men to death there.

That was the end of Rognwald(Ragnvald), the invaluable jarl, always true to Haarfagr; and distinguished in world history by producing Rolf the Ganger, author of the Norman Conquest of England, and Turf-Einar, who invented peat in the Orkneys.

Whether Rolf had left Norway at this time there is no chronology to tell me. As to Rolf's surname, "Ganger," there are various hypotheses; the likeliest, perhaps, that Rolf was so weighty a man no horse (small Norwegian horses, big ponies rather) could carry him, and that he usually walked, having a mighty stride withal, and great velocity on foot.

One of these murderers of Jarl Rognwald quietly set himself in Rognwald's place, the other making for Orkney to serve Turf-Einar in like fashion. Turf-Einar, taken by surprise, fled to the mainland; but returned, days or perhaps weeks after, ready for battle, fought with Halfdan, put his party to flight, and at next morning's light searched the island and slew all the men he found.

As to Halfdan Long-leg himself, in fierce memory of his own murdered father, Turf-Einar "cut an eagle on his back," that is to say, hewed the ribs from each side of the spine and turned them out like the wings of a spread-eagle: a mode of Norse vengeance fashionable at that time in extremely aggravated cases!

Harald Haarfagr, in the mean time, had descended upon the Rognwald(Ragnwald) scene, not in mild mood towards the new jarl there; indignantly dismissed said jarl, and appointed a brother of Rognwald (brother, notes Dahlmann), though Rognwald had left other sons.

Which done, Haarfagr sailed with all speed to the Orkneys, there to avenge that cutting of an eagle on the human back on Turf-Einar's part. Turf-Einar did not resist; submissively met the angry Haarfagr, said he left it all, what had been done, what provocation there had been, to Haarfagr's own equity and greatness of mind.

Magnanimous Haarfagr inflicted a fine of sixty marks in gold, which was paid in ready money by Turf-Einar, and so the matter ended.    He was finally burnt in his own halls by Harald Harfairs sons, who thought he was too powerful. His own sons amply avenged him.
!NOTE: Submitted by Leo Van de Pas, Ancestors of Matilda of   Rognvald "The Wise"

EYSTEINSSON Earl of More and Romsdal, son of Eystein Ivarsson, and Ascrida Rognvaldsdatter, Countess of Oppland,was born about 830 in Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway. He died in 890/894 in Orkney, Orkney Islands, Scotland. He married Ragnhild (Hilda) HROLFSDATTER about 867 in Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway.  "On the voyage Sigurd’s brother, Earl Rognvald of More, received the Earldom of Orkney from King Harald as compensation for the loss of his son, Ivar. Rognvald had no intentions of staying in the islands so passed the Earldom on to Sigurd, who became Earl Sigurd I of Orkney."

"During his many campaigns, Harald allowed his hair to grow long and tangle into dread-locks, vowing that he would not cut his hair again until he was king of all Norway. Thus he had become known as Harald Mop-hair, at least behind his back.

At first, Harald ruled primarily in the Southlands and Uplands. Jarl Hakon and his comrade, Rognvald of Mere, had originally fought against Harald Mop-hair, but eventually they realized that they had more to gain as Harald’s allies than his enemies. Harald made Rognvald Jarl of North and South Mere and of Raumdall after his victory at Solskiel over Hunthjof, King of Mere, and Nokve, King of Raumdall.

When Harald had finally conquered all of Norway, it was Rognvald Eysteinsson, Mere-jarl, who cut Harald’s hair and gave him the new name, Harald Fine-hair."

 King Harald and the Establishment of the Earldom

If the details of the earliest Norse contact with Orkney are vague, the circumstances surrounding the founding of the Orkney earldom are no clearer.   Although the Orkneyinga Saga has no doubt as to the chain of events that led to the creation of the earldom, its version is historically dubious.

Written at least 300 years after the events it claims to portray, the saga account is highly suspect and very likely to be a literary creation.  It documents that Norway's first noteworthy dealings with Orkney involved the Norwegian King Harald Hárfagri (Fairhair), who set out to deal with renegade Vikings using the islands as a base for summer raids on Norway.

Heading 'west over sea', Harald's voyage of conquest saw him subduing Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides, before sailing as far south as the Isle of Man.

The voyage of conquest

On this expedition, the son of the Norwegian Earl Rognvald of Møre was killed. Rognvald was a powerful man who had aided in King Harald's efforts to unite Norway into one Kingdom. To recompense the Earl for the loss of his son, King Harald gave him Orkney and Shetland.  But Earl Rognvald had no interest in the islands. He already had an earldom back in Norway so passed Orkney and Shetland to his brother Sigurd - one of King Harald's warriors.

Before Harald returned to Norway, Sigurd was confirmed as earl - the Orkneyinga Saga's first earl of Orkney.  But the saga account of Harald Fairhair's voyage is of doubtful historical accuracy. It is not corroborated in any other non-saga source and is probably just a piece of creative writing based on scraps of oral tradition and other Icelandic saga accounts of similar voyages - in particular that of King Magnus Barelegs.

It seems likely that Harald's voyage was an literary invention, based on an Icelandic historical tradition that King Harald was the reason for the exodus of Norwegians from their home country. An event the Icelanders saw as heralding the discovery and eventual colonisation of Iceland.  Harald may well have been responsible for some later emigrations from Norway, but there is no way he could have been the cause of the earlier movements to Orkney.

 Harald only became King of a united Norway after the naval battle of Hafrsfjord. This battle took place around 892AD - one hundred years after the earliest Viking raids on Britain. His voyage to Orkney must therefore have taken place some time around this date, but the historical sources, such as the Irish Annals, make no mention of it.

An independent earldom?

 Contact between Orkney and Norway had probably been ongoing for some time prior to King Harald's supposed westward expedition. It is tempting to think of the Saga's Orkney based "Vikings" were perhaps political opponents of Harald, whose forceful subjugation of Norway had dispossessed a number of Norwegian landowners. Did they seek refuge with friends, families and allies who had already settled in the islands?

Another interesting hypothesis is that Earl Rognvald of Møre was actually the heir to an established independent power in Orkney. As such, Earl Sigurd the Mighty was not necessarily the first earl of Orkney - he was simply the first earl to make it into the surviving historical records.  Was Rognvald rewarded with lands in Møre and Romsdal after assisting Harald in his unification of Norway? And if so was Rognvald's claim to Orkney territories ratified by the King at the time? Hence the reference to Harald's conquest?

Earl Sigurd takes control

However the earldom began, by the time of Earl Sigurd we are heading into more reliable territory. With Orkney in his hands he had the means to expand his territory and soon took Caithness, Sutherland and sections of Argyll on the Scottish mainland.  But it was on one such raid into Scottish lands that Sigurd the Mighty fell - suffering blood poisoning after his encounter with the Pictish chieftain Maelbrigte Tusk. Click here for more details.  Wikipedia Redirected from Ragnvald Eysteinsson) 'Rognvald "The Wise" Eysteinsson' (son of Eystein Ivarsson) is the founder of the Earldom of Orkney in the Norse Sagas.

Three quite different accounts of the creation of the Norse earldom on Orkney and Shetland exist. The best known is that found in the ''Heimskringla'', but other older traditions are found in the ''Historia Norvegiae'' and the ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''. Contents Sagas ''Historia Norvegiae'' ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland'' Notes References Sagas The saga accounts are the best known, and the latest, of the three surviving traditions concerning Rognvald and the foundation of the Earldom of Orkney.

Recorded in the 13th century, their views are informed by Norwegian politics of the day. Once, historians could write that no-one denied the reality of Harald Fairhair's expeditions to the west recounted in ''Heimskringla'', but this is no longer the case. The Norwegian contest with the the Kings of Scots over the Hebrides and the Isle of Man in the middle 13th century underlies the sagas.[1]

In the ''Heimskringla'', Rognvald is Earl of Møre. He accompanies Harald Fairhair on his great expeditions to the west, to Ireland and to Scotland. Here, Rognvald's son Ivarr is killed. In compensation King Harald grants Rognvald the Orkneys and Shetlands. Rognvald himself returns to Norway, giving the northern isles to his brother Sigurd Eysteinsson[2]

The ''Heimskringla'' recounts other tales of Rognvald. It tells how he causes Harald Finehair to be given his byname Fairhair by cutting and dressing his hair, which had been uncut for ten years on account of Harald's vow never to cut it until he was ruler of all Norway,[3] and it makes him the father of Ganger-Hrólf, identified by saga writers with the Rollo (Hrólfr), ancestor of the Dukes of Normandy, who was established as Count of Rouen by King Charles the Simple in 931.[4]

 Earl Rognvald is killed by Harald's son Halfdan Hålegg. Rognvald's death is avenged by his son, Earl Turf-Einar, from whom later Orkney earls claimed descent, who kills Halfdan on North Ronaldsay.[5]

''Historia Norvegiae'' The ''Historia Norvegiae's account of Rognvald and the foundation of the Orkney earldom is the next oldest, probably dating from the 12th century. This account contains much curious detail on Orkney, including the earliest account of the Picts as small people who hid in the daytime, but it has little to say about Rognvald.  

 In the days of Harald Fairhair, king of Norway, certain pirates, of the family of the most vigorous prince Ronald [Rognvald], set out with a great fleet, and crossed the Solundic sea..., and subdued the islands to themselves. And being there provided with safe winter seats, they went in summer-time working tyranny upon the English, and the Scots, and sometimes also upon the Irish, so that they took under their rule, from England, Northumbria; from Scotland, Caithness; from Ireland, Dublin, and the other sea-side towns.[6]

This account does not associate Rognvald with the earldom, but instead attributes it to his anonymous sons. ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland'' ...for it was not long before this that there had been every war and every trouble in Norway, and this was the source of that war in Norway: two younger sons of Albdan, king of Norway, drove out the eldest son, i.e. Ragnall son of Albdan, for fear that he would seize the kingship of Norway after their father.

So Ragnall came with his three sons to the Orkneys. Ragnall stayed there then, with his youngest son. '''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''' , FA 330. Edited and translated by Joan N. Radnor.

The oldest account of the Rognvald and the earldom of Orkney is that found in the ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''. The annals survive only in incomplete copies made by Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh in the 17th century, but the original annals are believed to date from the lifetime of Donnchad mac Gilla Patraic (died 1039). The annals are known to have had an influence on later writings in Iceland. The annals make Rognvald the son of "Halfdan, King of Lochlann".

This is generally understood to mean Halfdan the Black, which would make the Rognvald of the annals the brother of Harald Finehair. However, the sagas claim that Rognvald's grandfather was named Halfdan.[7]

These events are placed after an account of the devastation of Fortriu, dated to around 866,[8] and the fall of York, reliably dated to late 867. However, such an early date makes it difficult to reconcile the saga claims that Harald Fairhair was involved in Rognvald's conquest of the northern isles. Harald Finehair's victory in the Battle of Hafrsfjord, which gave him dominion over parts of Norway, is traditionally dated to 872, but was probably later, perhaps as late as 900.[9]

What little is known of Scottish events in the period from the ''Chronicle of the Kings of Alba'' would correspond equally well with Harald's attacks on Scotland in the reign of Domnall mac Causantín (ruled 889-900).[10] However, this would not correspond with the sequence in the earliest account of the origins of the Orkney earldom, which places this a generation earlier.

Notes 1. Crawford, pp. 52-53. 2. Anderson, pp. 332-334; ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', c. 22. 3. ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', cc. 4 & 23. 4. ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', c. 24. 5. ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', cc. 29-30. 6. Anderson, pp. 330-331. 7. Crawford, pp. 53-54. 8. Anderson, p. 296; ''Annals of Ulster'', s.a. 865. 9. Crawford, p. 55-56. 10. Anderson, pp. 395-396. References  ★ Anderson, Alan Orr. ''Early Sources of Scottish History A.D 500-1286'', volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8 ★ Crawford, Barbara. ''Scandinavian Scotland.'' Leicester University Press, Leicester, 1987. ISBN 0-7185-1282-0 ★ Ó Corrain, Donnchad. "The Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the Ninth Century", ''Peritia'', vol 12, pp296-339. (etext (pdf) ★ Fragmentary Annals of Ireland ★ Radner, Joan N. "Writing history: Early Irish historiography and the significance of form", ''Celtica'', volume 23, pp. 312-325. (etext (pdf)) ★ Smyth, Alfred P. ''Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000.'' Reprinted, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1998. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7 ★ Sturluson, Snorri. ''Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway'', tranlated Lee M. Hollander. Reprinted University of Texas Press, Austin, 1992. ISBN 0-292-73061-6
 Earl Rognvald of More, received the Earldom of Orkney from King Harald as compensation for the loss of his son, Ivar
 Rognvald had no intentions of staying in the islands so passed the Earldom on to Sigurd, who became Earl Sigurd I of Orkney."




 Sigurd, 1st Jarl of Orkney probably died of an infected wound. He defeated the Scottish Earl Mælbrigte and had the severed heads of the vanquished strapped to the victor's saddles. Sigurd went to spur his horse, and struck his calf against a tooth sticking out of Mælbrigte's mouth. Sigurd's son Guthorm became 2nd Jarl of Orkney for year, but died without issue.

 Rognvald heard about these deaths and sent his son Hallad west to be 3rd Jarl of Orkney. Hallad was too weak to protect the Orkney farmers from raids so returned to Norway a laughing-stock.
 When two Danish Vikings Thorir "Tree-Beard" and Kalf "Scurvy" set up camp on the Islands Rognvald flew into a rage. He summoned his sons Thorir, Hrollaug and Einar to him, his eldest son Hrollager being on campaigne elsewhere.

Thorir was to stay in Norway and Hrollager was to go to Iceland. Einar promised that if he was made Jarl of Orkney that his father would never have to see him again. Rognvald agreed that this would make him happier, so made Einar Jarl of Orkney and gave him a ship.

 Harald I "Haarragre"'s sons by Snæfrid, Haldan "Longleg" and Gudrod "Gleam" became arrogant. They killed Rognvald and usurped his lands. Harald I flew into a rage and set out after his rebel sons. Halfdan fled to Orkney and Gudrod gave himself up to his father.

 Harald made Rognvald Jarl of North and South Mere and of Raumdall after his victory at Solskiel over Hunthjof, King of Mere, and Nokve, King of Raumdall. When Harald had finally conquered all of Norway, it was Rognvald Eysteinsson, Mere-jarl, who cut Harald’s hair and gave him the new name, Harald Fine-hair."



 CONFLICT: AKA Rognvald Mere-Earl.   Acceded Abt 872

 !NOTE: Royal & Noble Genealogical Data On the
 Eysteinsson, Ragnvald I the wise of More

 Acceded: ABT 872
 Died: ABT 894
 Notes:
 AKA Rognvald Mere-Earl.

 Father: Glumra, Eystein the Noisy, Jarl of the Uplanders, b. 788


 Mother: Ragnvaldsdottir, Ascrida


 Associated with , Groa


 Child 1: Rognvaldsson, Hallad, Earl of orkney
 Child 2: Rognvaldsson, Turf-Einar, Earl of Orkney
 Child 3: Ragnvaldsson, Hrollaug


 Married to Hrolfsdottir, Ragnhild (Hildr)


 Child 4: Ragnvaldsson, Ivar
 Child 5: Ragnvaldsson, Rolf the Ganger, Duke of Normandy 1st, b. 846
 Child 6: Ragnvaldsson, Thori the Silent, Jarl of More




 !GENEALOGY: Royal Ancestors of Magna Charta Barons; Page 87; G929.72;
 C6943ra; Denver Public Library; Genealogy





 Harald Haarfagr.


 ill about the Year of Grace 860 there were no kings in Norway, nothing but numerous jarls,--essentially kinglets, each presiding over a kind of republican or parliamentary little territory; generally striving each to be on some terms of human neighborhood with those about him, but,--in spite of "_Fylke Things_" (Folk Things, little parish parliaments), and small combinations of these, which had gradually formed themselves,--often reduced to the unhappy state of quarrel with them. Harald Haarfagr was the first to put an end to this state of things, and become memorable and profitable to his country by uniting it under one head and making a kingdom of it; which it has continued to be ever since. His father, Halfdan the Black, had already begun this rough but salutary process,--inspired by the cupidities and instincts, by the faculties and opportunities, which the good genius of this world, beneficent often enough under savage forms, and diligent at all times to diminish anarchy as the world's worst savagery, usually appoints in such cases,--conquest, hard fighting, followed by wise guidance of the conquered;--but it was Harald the Fairhaired, his son, who conspicuously carried it on and completed it. Harald's birth-year, death-year, and chronology in general, are known only by inference and computation; but, by the latest reckoning, he died about the year 933 of our era, a man of eighty-three.

 The business of conquest lasted Harald about twelve years (A.D. 860-872?), in which he subdued also the vikings of the out-islands, Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides, and Man. Sixty more years were given him to consolidate and regulate what he had conquered, which he did with great judgment, industry and success. His reign altogether is counted to have been of over seventy years.

 The beginning of his great adventure was of a romantic character.--youthful love for the beautiful Gyda, a then glorious and famous young lady of those regions, whom the young Harald aspired to marry. Gyda answered his embassy and prayer in a distant, lofty manner: "Her it would not beseem to wed any Jarl or poor creature of that kind; let him do as Gorm of Denmark, Eric of Sweden, Egbert of England, and others had done,--subdue into peace and regulation the confused, contentious bits of jarls round him, and become a king; then, perhaps, she might think of his proposal: till then, not." Harald was struck with this proud answer, which rendered Gyda tenfold more desirable to him. He vowed to let his hair grow, never to cut or even to comb it till this feat were done, and the peerless Gyda his own. He proceeded accordingly to conquer, in fierce battle, a Jarl or two every year, and, at the end of twelve years, had his unkempt (and almost unimaginable) head of hair clipt off,--Jarl Rognwald (_Reginald_) of More, the most valued and valuable of all his subject-jarls, being promoted to this sublime barber function;--after which King Harald, with head thoroughly cleaned, and hair grown, or growing again to the luxuriant beauty that had no equal in his day, brought home his Gyda, and made her the brightest queen in all the north. He had after her, in succession, or perhaps even simultaneously in some cases, at least six other wives; and by Gyda herself one daughter and four sons.

 Harald Haarfagr had a good many sons and daughters; the daughters he married mostly to jarls of due merit who were loyal to him; with the sons, as remarked above, he had a great deal of trouble. They were ambitious, stirring fellows, and grudged at their finding so little promotion from a father so kind to his jarls; sea-robbery by no means an adequate career for the sons of a great king, two of them, Halfdan Haaleg (Long-leg), and Gudrod Ljome (Gleam), jealous of the favors won by the great Jarl Rognwald. surrounded him in his house one night, and burnt him and sixty men to death there. That was the end of Rognwald, the invaluable jarl, always true to Haarfagr; and distinguished in world history by producing Rolf the Ganger, author of the Norman Conquest of England, and Turf-Einar, who invented peat in the Orkneys. Whether Rolf had left Norway at this time there is no chronology to tell me. As to Rolf's surname, "Ganger," there are various hypotheses; the likeliest, perhaps, that Rolf was so weighty a man no horse (small Norwegian horses, big ponies rather) could carry him, and that he usually walked, having a mighty stride withal, and great velocity on foot.

 One of these murderers of Jarl Rognwald quietly set himself in Rognwald's place, the other making for Orkney to serve Turf-Einar in like fashion. Turf-Einar, taken by surprise, fled to the mainland; but returned, days or perhaps weeks after, ready for battle, fought with Halfdan, put his party to flight, and at next morning's light searched the island and slew all the men he found. As to Halfdan Long-leg himself, in fierce memory of his own murdered father, Turf-Einar "cut an eagle on his back," that is to say, hewed the ribs from each side of the spine and turned them out like the wings of a spread-eagle: a mode of Norse vengeance fashionable at that time in extremely aggravated cases!

 Harald Haarfagr, in the mean time, had descended upon the Rognwald scene, not in mild mood towards the new jarl there; indignantly dismissed said jarl, and appointed a brother of Rognwald (brother, notes Dahlmann), though Rognwald had left other sons. Which done, Haarfagr sailed with all speed to the Orkneys, there to avenge that cutting of an eagle on the human back on Turf-Einar's part. Turf-Einar did not resist; submissively met the angry Haarfagr, said he left it all, what had been done, what provocation there had been, to Haarfagr's own equity and greatness of mind. Magnanimous Haarfagr inflicted a fine of sixty marks in gold, which was paid in ready money by Turf-Einar, and so the matter ended.


 He was finally burnt in his own halls by Harald Harfairs sons, who thought he was too powerful. His own sons amply avenged him.

 !NOTE: Submitted by Leo Van de Pas, Ancestors of Matilda of


 Rognvald "The Wise" EYSTEINSSON
 Earl of More and Romsdal, son of Eystein Ivarsson, and Ascrida Rognvaldsdatter, Countess of Oppland,was born about 830 in Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway. He died in 890/894 in Orkney, Orkney Islands, Scotland. He married Ragnhild (Hilda) HROLFSDATTER about 867 in Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway.
 "On the voyage Sigurd’s brother, Earl Rognvald of More, received the Earldom of Orkney from King Harald as compensation for the loss of his son, Ivar. Rognvald had no intentions of staying in the islands so passed the Earldom on to Sigurd, who became Earl Sigurd I of Orkney."
 "During his many campaigns, Harald allowed his hair to grow long and tangle into dread-locks, vowing that he would not cut his hair again until he was king of all Norway. Thus he had become known as Harald Mop-hair, at least behind his back. At first, Harald ruled primarily in the Southlands and Uplands. Jarl Hakon and his comrade, Rognvald of Mere, had originally fought against Harald Mop-hair, but eventually they realized that they had more to gain as Harald’s allies than his enemies. Harald made Rognvald Jarl of North and South Mere and of Raumdall after his victory at Solskiel over Hunthjof, King of Mere, and Nokve, King of Raumdall. When Harald had finally conquered all of Norway, it was Rognvald Eysteinsson, Mere-jarl, who cut Harald’s hair and gave him the new name, Harald Fine-hair."


 King Harald and the Establishment of the Earldom

 If the details of the earliest Norse contact with Orkney are vague, the circumstances surrounding the founding of the Orkney earldom are no clearer.

 Although the Orkneyinga Saga has no doubt as to the chain of events that led to the creation of the earldom, its version is historically dubious. Written at least 300 years after the events it claims to portray, the saga account is highly suspect and very likely to be a literary creation.

 It documents that Norway's first noteworthy dealings with Orkney involved the Norwegian King Harald Hárfagri (Fairhair), who set out to deal with renegade Vikings using the islands as a base for summer raids on Norway.

 Heading 'west over sea', Harald's voyage of conquest saw him subduing Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides, before sailing as far south as the Isle of Man.

 The voyage of conquest

 On this expedition, the son of the Norwegian Earl Rognvald of Møre was killed. Rognvald was a powerful man who had aided in King Harald's efforts to unite Norway into one Kingdom. To recompense the Earl for the loss of his son, King Harald gave him Orkney and Shetland.

 But Earl Rognvald had no interest in the islands. He already had an earldom back in Norway so passed Orkney and Shetland to his brother Sigurd - one of King Harald's warriors. Before Harald returned to Norway, Sigurd was confirmed as earl - the Orkneyinga Saga's first earl of Orkney.

 But the saga account of Harald Fairhair's voyage is of doubtful historical accuracy. It is not corroborated in any other non-saga source and is probably just a piece of creative writing based on scraps of oral tradition and other Icelandic saga accounts of similar voyages - in particular that of King Magnus Barelegs.

 It seems likely that Harald's voyage was an literary invention, based on an Icelandic historical tradition that King Harald was the reason for the exodus of Norwegians from their home country. An event the Icelanders saw as heralding the discovery and eventual colonisation of Iceland.

 Harald may well have been responsible for some later emigrations from Norway, but there is no way he could have been the cause of the earlier movements to Orkney. Harald only became King of a united Norway after the naval battle of Hafrsfjord. This battle took place around 892AD - one hundred years after the earliest Viking raids on Britain. His voyage to Orkney must therefore have taken place some time around this date, but the historical sources, such as the Irish Annals, make no mention of it.

 An independent earldom?

 Contact between Orkney and Norway had probably been ongoing for some time prior to King Harald's supposed westward expedition. It is tempting to think of the Saga's Orkney based "Vikings" were perhaps political opponents of Harald, whose forceful subjugation of Norway had dispossessed a number of Norwegian landowners. Did they seek refuge with friends, families and allies who had already settled in the islands?

 Another interesting hypothesis is that Earl Rognvald of Møre was actually the heir to an established independent power in Orkney. As such, Earl Sigurd the Mighty was not necessarily the first earl of Orkney - he was simply the first earl to make it into the surviving historical records.

 Was Rognvald rewarded with lands in Møre and Romsdal after assisting Harald in his unification of Norway? And if so was Rognvald's claim to Orkney territories ratified by the King at the time? Hence the reference to Harald's conquest?

 Earl Sigurd takes control

 However the earldom began, by the time of Earl Sigurd we are heading into more reliable territory. With Orkney in his hands he had the means to expand his territory and soon took Caithness, Sutherland and sections of Argyll on the Scottish mainland.

 But it was on one such raid into Scottish lands that Sigurd the Mighty fell - suffering blood poisoning after his encounter with the Pictish chieftain Maelbrigte Tusk. Click here for more details.


 Wikipedia

 Redirected from Ragnvald Eysteinsson)
 'Rognvald "The Wise" Eysteinsson' (son of Eystein Ivarsson) is the founder of the Earldom of Orkney in the Norse Sagas. Three quite different accounts of the creation of the Norse earldom on Orkney and Shetland exist. The best known is that found in the ''Heimskringla'', but other older traditions are found in the ''Historia Norvegiae'' and the ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''.

 Contents
 Sagas
 ''Historia Norvegiae''
 ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''
 Notes
 References
 Sagas

 The saga accounts are the best known, and the latest, of the three surviving traditions concerning Rognvald and the foundation of the Earldom of Orkney. Recorded in the 13th century, their views are informed by Norwegian politics of the day. Once, historians could write that no-one denied the reality of Harald Fairhair's expeditions to the west recounted in ''Heimskringla'', but this is no longer the case. The Norwegian contest with the the Kings of Scots over the Hebrides and the Isle of Man in the middle 13th century underlies the sagas.[1]
 In the ''Heimskringla'', Rognvald is Earl of Møre. He accompanies Harald Fairhair on his great expeditions to the west, to Ireland and to Scotland. Here, Rognvald's son Ivarr is killed. In compensation King Harald grants Rognvald the Orkneys and Shetlands. Rognvald himself returns to Norway, giving the northern isles to his brother Sigurd Eysteinsson[2]
 The ''Heimskringla'' recounts other tales of Rognvald. It tells how he causes Harald Finehair to be given his byname Fairhair by cutting and dressing his hair, which had been uncut for ten years on account of Harald's vow never to cut it until he was ruler of all Norway,[3] and it makes him the father of Ganger-Hrólf, identified by saga writers with the Rollo (Hrólfr), ancestor of the Dukes of Normandy, who was established as Count of Rouen by King Charles the Simple in 931.[4]
 Earl Rognvald is killed by Harald's son Halfdan Hålegg. Rognvald's death is avenged by his son, Earl Turf-Einar, from whom later Orkney earls claimed descent, who kills Halfdan on North Ronaldsay.[5]
 ''Historia Norvegiae''

 The ''Historia Norvegiae's account of Rognvald and the foundation of the Orkney earldom is the next oldest, probably dating from the 12th century. This account contains much curious detail on Orkney, including the earliest account of the Picts as small people who hid in the daytime, but it has little to say about Rognvald.

 In the days of Harald Fairhair, king of Norway, certain pirates, of the family of the most vigorous prince Ronald [Rognvald], set out with a great fleet, and crossed the Solundic sea..., and subdued the islands to themselves. And being there provided with safe winter seats, they went in summer-time working tyranny upon the English, and the Scots, and sometimes also upon the Irish, so that they took under their rule, from England, Northumbria; from Scotland, Caithness; from Ireland, Dublin, and the other sea-side towns.[6]


 This account does not associate Rognvald with the earldom, but instead attributes it to his anonymous sons.
 ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''

 ...for it was not long before this that there had been every war and every trouble in Norway, and this was the source of that war in Norway: two younger sons of Albdan, king of Norway, drove out the eldest son, i.e. Ragnall son of Albdan, for fear that he would seize the kingship of Norway after their father. So Ragnall came with his three sons to the Orkneys. Ragnall stayed there then, with his youngest son.
 '''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''' , FA 330. Edited and translated by Joan N. Radnor.

 The oldest account of the Rognvald and the earldom of Orkney is that found in the ''Fragmentary Annals of Ireland''. The annals survive only in incomplete copies made by Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh in the 17th century, but the original annals are believed to date from the lifetime of Donnchad mac Gilla Patraic (died 1039). The annals are known to have had an influence on later writings in Iceland.
 The annals make Rognvald the son of "Halfdan, King of Lochlann". This is generally understood to mean Halfdan the Black, which would make the Rognvald of the annals the brother of Harald Finehair. However, the sagas claim that Rognvald's grandfather was named Halfdan.[7]
 These events are placed after an account of the devastation of Fortriu, dated to around 866,[8] and the fall of York, reliably dated to late 867. However, such an early date makes it difficult to reconcile the saga claims that Harald Fairhair was involved in Rognvald's conquest of the northern isles.
 Harald Finehair's victory in the Battle of Hafrsfjord, which gave him dominion over parts of Norway, is traditionally dated to 872, but was probably later, perhaps as late as 900.[9] What little is known of Scottish events in the period from the ''Chronicle of the Kings of Alba'' would correspond equally well with Harald's attacks on Scotland in the reign of Domnall mac Causantín (ruled 889-900).[10] However, this would not correspond with the sequence in the earliest account of the origins of the Orkney earldom, which places this a generation earlier.
 Notes

 1. Crawford, pp. 52-53.
 2. Anderson, pp. 332-334; ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', c. 22.
 3. ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', cc. 4 & 23.
 4. ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', c. 24.
 5. ''Saga of Harald Fairhair'', cc. 29-30.
 6. Anderson, pp. 330-331.
 7. Crawford, pp. 53-54.
 8. Anderson, p. 296; ''Annals of Ulster'', s.a. 865.
 9. Crawford, p. 55-56.
 10. Anderson, pp. 395-396.

 References


 ? Anderson, Alan Orr. ''Early Sources of Scottish History A.D 500-1286'', volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8

 ? Crawford, Barbara. ''Scandinavian Scotland.'' Leicester University Press, Leicester, 1987. ISBN 0-7185-1282-0

 ? Ó Corrain, Donnchad. "The Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the Ninth Century", ''Peritia'', vol 12, pp296-339. (etext (pdf)

 ? Fragmentary Annals of Ireland

 ? Radner, Joan N. "Writing history: Early Irish historiography and the significance of form", ''Celtica'', volume 23, pp. 312-325. (etext (pdf))

 ? Smyth, Alfred P. ''Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000.'' Reprinted, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1998. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7

 ? Sturluson, Snorri. ''Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway'', tranlated Lee M. Hollander. Reprinted University of Texas Press, Austin, 1992. ISBN 0-292-73061-6
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