Monday, December 15, 2014

Sigurd Snake-eye or Serpent in the Eye


Sigurd Snake-eye was one of the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok and Kraka. When his father died, he inherited Skåne, Halland, the Danish islands, and Viken. He was considered to be the grand-father of Gorm the Old.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sigurd Snake-in-the-eye (Old Norse: Sigurðr ormr í auga) was one of the four sons of Ragnar Lodbrok. What some would say what "set him apart from his brothers" was that he was born with the image of theOuroboros, as some would see a "snake biting its own tail, encircling the pupil of his left eye" type of mark. This had been prophesised by his mother Kraka - Aslaug, the daughter of the Valkyrie Brynhildr. As a boy Sigurd was close to his father and accompanied Ragnar on a hazardous expedition through Russia to the Hellespont. Later on in life he is said to have sojourned for a time in Scotland and the Scottish Islands.

In 865 King Ella of Northumbria killed Ragnar Lodbrok in a pit of serpents. When Ragnar was suffering in the pit he is reputed to have exclaimed: "How the young pigs would squeal if they knew what the old boar suffers!"

And soon his sons did know, as King Ella was foolish enough to send an embassy to acquaint them of the fact. When the brothers heard of their father's death Sigurd is said to have cut himself to the bone with a knife he held in his hand and his brother Björn Ironside gripped his spear so tightly that the imprint of his fingers was left in the wood.

Sigurd and his brothers swore they would avenge his killing in time-honoured Viking tradition. The legend says that their first attempt failed, but through the treachery of the oldest brother, the notoriously cruel and cunning Ivar the Boneless, Ella was duped into a battle he could not win. In 866 they crossed the North Sea with a large army. This Great Heathen Army sacked York, met King Ella in battle and captured him. They sentenced him to die according to the custom of Rista Blodörn (Blood Eagle), an exceedingly painful death. It consisted of cutting away the ribs from the spine and pulling the lungs backward through the cavities formed to form the shape of an eagle.

1 Sigurd's descendants
1.1 Harthacanute and his descendents
1.2 Aslaug and her son Sigurd Hart
2 Sources

Sigurd's descendants[edit]

Ragnarssona þáttr informs that when his father died, he inherited Zealand, Scania, Halland, the Danish islands, and Viken. He married Blaeja, the daughter of king Ælla of Northumbria and they had the childrenHarthacanute and Aslaug, who was named after her grandmother Aslaug.
Harthacanute and his descendents[edit]

Harthacanute succeeded Sigurd as the king of Zealand, Scania and Halland, but he lost Viken. He was the father of Gorm the Old, the king of Denmark. Gorm succeeded his father as king and married Thyra, the daughter of the Jutish chieftain Harald Klak. When Harald died, Gorm took his kingdom too and united Denmark.

Harald succeeded his father as king and married Gyrid of Sweden. They had a son named Sweyn Forkbeard. Sweyn succeeded his father as king and married Gunhild. They had a son named Cnut the Great. Sweyn also ruled England in his lifetime and established the Danish Empire. When Sweyn died, his elder son Harald Svendsen became King Denmark as England's former king Ethelred reclaimed it. However as Harald did not marry, his brother Cnut the great became king, re-established the Danish Empire and married Emma of Normandy. They had a son named Harthacnut. When Cnut died, Harthacnut became king of the Danish Empire, however, he lost England to Edward the confessor in 1042. As he did not get married, Sigurd's bloodline ended.
Aslaug and her son Sigurd Hart[edit]

Sigurd's daughter Aslaug married Helgi the Sharp (the great-great-grandson of king Ring of Ringerike) of the Dagling dynasty. They had the son Sigurd Hart, who married Ingeborg, the daughter of the Jutishchieftain Harald Klak. Sigurd Hart and Ingeborg had the children Guttorm and Ragnhild. When his uncle king Fróði of Ringerike died, Sigurd Hart went to Norway to succeed him as king.

Ragnarssona þáttr and Heimskringla relate that a berserker from Hadeland named Haki (Hake) killed Sigurd Hart, but lost a hand in the fight. Then Haki went to Sigurd Hart's residence at Stein and took Sigurd's children Ragnhild and Guttorm. Haki returned with the children and all the loot to Hadeland. Before Haki (Hake) recuperated from his wounds and could marry the 15 year old Ragnhild, she was captured a second time, by Halfdan the Black. Halfdan and Ragnhild were the parents of Harald Fairhair.

Archaeologia, or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity, Volume 24

Society of Antiquaries of London

The Society, 1832 - Great Britain

As early as the beginning of the ninth century, Ragnar Lodbrog is reported to have visited the Hellepont, and before the middle of the eleventh century the expedition of Harald Hardraad to the East, his amour with the Empress Zoe, and his escape from prison by means of the Varangian guards, are matters of historical record. The early establishment of thes Varangians as the Imperial Guard, (who were, undoubtedly, Scandinavians, and who play so principal a part in Sir Walter Scott's recent novel of Count Robert.) would of itself argue an intimate connexion between the Greeks and Northmen, and this is corroborated by perpetual notices in the Sagas. The share also taken by the Northmen in the first Crusade, is an additional argument of the acquaintance with the oriental world. But as the game of chess certainly passed from Asia to Europe, and probably through more channels than one, it is of very minor importance to inquire more minutely form what quarter the inhabitants of the North received it. In proof of the ancient usage of chess among them, I shall therefore content myself by adducing such passabes of the old northern writers as have occurred to me in this inquiry. In the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrog, printed in Biorner's collection, and in an ancient account of the Danish invasions of Northumberland in the ninth century, intitled Nordymbra, it is stated, that after the death of Ragnar, messengers were sent to his sons in Denmark by King Aella, to communicate the intelligence, and to mark their behavior when they received it. They were found thus occupied:"Sigurd Snake's-eye played at chess(sitia at hnef-table) with Huitserk the Bold; but Bjorn Ironside was polishing the shaft of a spear in the middle of the hall. As the messengers proceeded with their story, Huitserk and Sigurd dropped their game (lata thegar falla nithr taflit), and listened to what was said with great attention; Ivar put various questions; and Bjorn leant on the spear he was furbishing. But when the messengers came to the death of the chief, and told his expiring words, that the young boars would gnash their tusks (literally, grunt) if they knew their parent's fate, Bjorn grasped the handle of his spear so tight, with emotion, that the marks of his fingers remained on it, and when the tale was finished, dashed it to pieces. Huitserk compressed a chessman he had taken so forcibly with his fingers, that the blood started forth from each; whilst Sigurd Snake's -eye, paring his nails with a knife, was so wrapt up in attention, that he cut himself to the bone without feeling it."

Fragments of English and Irish history in the ninth and tenth century: in two parts

John Nichols

Printed by and for John Nichols, 1788 - Great Britain The sons of Ragnar Lodbrook infested many regions, as England, France, Italy, and Lombardy. It is said that they came at last to the town called Lucca, which they took; and proposed to go to Rome and subdue it. Their actions are famous above all that spoke the Danish tongue.

Being returned to Denmark, they divided their inheritance. Biorne Ironside had the kingdom of Upsal, all Sweden, and the subject regions.

Sigurn Snake's-eye had Seland with Sconen, Halland, Vik, and Agdes even to Lidandesness, with a part of Upland. Huitserk had Reidgothland, and Vindland.

Sigurd Snake's-eye married Blaea, daughter of king Ella, by whom he had Aflauga and Knut.

Aflauga, twin with her brother, was the mother of Sigurg the Stag, the father of Ragnhilda, the mother of Harald Harfagre, first king of all Norway.

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