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  • Bjorn Ironside : History and legends

    December 11, 2019 5 min read

    Björn Ier : Histoire et légendes

    Björn I was a legendary king of Sweden who lived in the 9th century. He would have been the first ruler of the Munsö dynasty.

    The saga of Hervararar ok Heiðreks (The saga of Hervör and Heidrek) relates that Eysteinn Beli was killed by Björn and his brothers as told in the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok , and they conquered the whole of Sweden. When Ragnar dies, Björn Ironside inherits Sweden. He had two sons, Refil and Erik Björnsson, who became the next kings of Sweden.


    Bjorn Ironside

    Ragnarssona þáttr (The Tale of the Sons of Ragnar) relates that he was the son of the Norse king Ragnar Lothbrok and Aslaug , and had the brothers Hvitserk,Ivar the Boneless and Sigurd Serpent's Eye , and half-brothers Fridleif, Eric and Agnar.


    Bjorn a fearsome Viking leader

    Bjorn Ironside was one of the leading Viking raiders from the mid-850s until 862. In the year 856-7 he was on the Seine and his name is associated with Vikings who established or recaptured a base on the island of Oissel where they were finally besieged by Charles the Bald. They managed to lift the siege after 12 weeks.

    Later, Bjorn and Hastein went on a four-year cruise with 62 ships to Spain, North Africa and Italy and possibly further east. Two of their ships laden with gold, silver and prisoners were captured by the Moors off the Spanish coast.

    Bjorn and his ships sailed up the rivers to Seville. Then across the Strait of Gibraltar to Algeciras to plunder. They then traveled along the North African coast to the Cabo Tres Forcas region where they rounded up prisoners for ransom and took a few who ended up in Ireland.

    Then comes the return to the Spanish coasts of Murcia, the Balearic Islands, the south of France and Narbonne, then the wintering on the island of Camargue, in the Rhône delta.

    Bjorn and his army attacked Arles, Nimes and Valencia, but took a beating from the Franks and drove to the Ligurian Riviera, then attacked Pisa and Alexandria to the east, attacked Luna mistakenly thinking it was Rome, and in 861 they were back in Gibraltar where the Moorish fleet defeated them. The survivors reach Navarre and seize Pamplona. In 862, about twenty of the 62 ships returned safe and sound to the mouth of the Loire.

    Bjorn Ironside

    Bjorn led the great Viking raid around Spain in the Mediterranean, 859. Bjorn Ironside certainly played an important role in France. His father Ragnar Lothbrok can be identified in contemporary Frankish annals with his surname Lodbrok translated to Hoseri (in German Hosen), meaning fur or leather breeches.

    Variations are Ogier and Oschery. He operated from the Seine to the Spanish border from 840 to 851. He conquered Aquitaine from the Franks, and he used Bordeaux as a stronghold for years. This conquest, one among others, included Poitou, which in the sagas is called Peita. Saxo says Petiæ and that Ragnar has conquered Petiæ. This is confirmed in the annals. It is the district of the Loire region. In Western Europe, his sons are more reported. Ragnar Lodbrok himself operated more in Eastern Europe.


    Bjorn in vikings

    How does Michael Hirst, the creator of Vikings , use real history to inform the show? The drama is based on the legendary tale of Ragnar Lodbrok (spelled "Lothbrok" ​​in the series) and his sons and it's a story full of real life characters and events. The historical accuracy of this data has been explored over countless airtime seasons. But how much does the actual story affect the show?

    As Vikings gears up for its Season 6 return with an intense trailer and teases aplenty, it's sure to spark curiosity about the show's historical background. As Bjorn begins his first season as the new King of Kattegat, another chapter begins! When asked if there were any powerful historical figures he used to help script the upcoming journey of Bjorn , the creator of Vikings , Michael Hirst replied:

    Not specifically, but I'm a history buff and I read a lot of historical characters and periods. In the end, I have thoughts for Napoleon, in particular. I have thoughts about Hitler or Churchill... But I don't base any of my characters specifically on historical figures. In fact, I start with research and what we know about these real people, even if the details are few and far between. »


    What does this mean for Bjorn's life on the Ironside as the Vikings continue? Fans will have to wait and see, but it doesn't seem like what Google tells you about Bjorn will necessarily be the fate Vikings goes with for Ragnar's son. The same goes for many characters in the series. It wouldn't be the first time Vikings has taken a narrative detour, but Michael Hirst says he always bases the research behind his idea formulation on historical facts, according to his comments to Variety.

    bjorn and ragnar

    According to legend, Bjorn is actually Ragnar's son by Aslaug and not Lagertha. Had Vikings stuck to those words, fans would have lost Bjorn 's unbreakable bond with his mother. So a few changes should keep the Vikings version of events fresh. The Vikings creator explained how details about the real Bjorn shaped the narrative. Michael Hirst went on to give an example of how this works.


    We know that Bjorn has gone on an adventure in the Mediterranean, that he has attacked Moorish places in Spain. He reached the desert. I can therefore deduce certain aspects of his life and his psychology. I can construct an image of what I imagine Bjorn the Viking would have been. »


    What a three-dimensional image! The Vikings spent time developing Bjorn 's adventurous side, which he shared with his father, Ragnar. At the start of Season 6, Bjorn will take on the responsibility of being King, an arole that has already been teased to exact a heavy toll on him as he navigates his new duties.

    As a series, Vikings has been a combination of myth, legend, and history. The viewer undoubtedly feels that all of the characters have been viscerally cultivated. I find it fascinating that the creator of Vikings mentions using what is known of Bjorn 's exploits to ward off his psychology.


    In many ways, the Vikings are a mosaic made up of historical, legendary, and deductive pieces. The show stuck very close to the general arc of Ragnar's story, including his apparent death by snakes. Season 6 will reveal what will become of the show's other characters, as it will be the series' last. Ivar is heading to new places and might meet a new familiar face, so stay tuned for that as the real story will hopefully continue to play a part.

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