Ellen Lloyd - AncientPages.com - Aslaug was sad and furious when she learned about the death of her husband’s first-born sons Eirik and Agnar. She loved them just as much as she her own sons. To know that Eirik and Agnar had met such a painful death angered her more than anything. Revenge was now the only option. She gathered her sons, explained the situation and together they planned vengeance.
Aslaug and her sons sailed to Sweden and punished the man responsible for the death of Eirik and Agnar. When Aslaug’s husband Ragnar Lodbrok heard about how his wife had gone behind his back, he was by no means happy. Did Aslaug perhaps have another motive of more personal nature when she sought revenge?
Ragnar Lodbrok’s Sons Were Also Famous Viking Warriors
Many are familiar with the adventures of famous Viking Ragnar Lodbrok, but stories about his sons are equally fascinating.
Ragnar Lodbrok had several sons and everyone of them was a powerful warrior and intriguing personality.
Known as the legendary and fearless Sea King of the North, Ragnar Lobdrok became a hero among his people, and one of the most famous Viking warriors. However, Lodbrok who considered himself to be a direct descendant of mighty God Odin, disliked competition and he always feared one of his sons would overshadow his own heroic deeds.
As a father, Lodbrok naturally wanted his sons to become sons to be strong and courageous warriors, but at the same time he always feared that they could become more popular and successful than he was. This led to that his sons had to prove themselves strong without Lodbrok’s help.
Ragnar Lodrok wanted to kill his son Ivar the Boneless against Aslaug's wishes. Read more
Lodbork’s son Bjorn Ironside is today remembered for his cunning tactics when his Viking warriors captured Luna, the ancient city of Etruria, Italy. Another son of Lodbrok, Sigurd “Snake-In-The-Eye” was also a unique individual.
When Lodbrok met his third wife Aslaug she said that she would bear him a child whose eye would bear the image of a serpent. When Aslaug’s prophecy was fulfilled, she gave birth to a boy who had the image of a snake encircling the pupil and he was named Sigurd “Snake-in-the-Eye.”
Lodbrok’s First-Born Sons Eirik And Agnar Attack King Bele
In the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, an Icelandic saga of the 13th century it is written that before Ragnar married Lagertha and later the VölvaAslaug, he had two sons with Thora, his first wife. The two boys, Eirik and Agnar were very young when their mother Thora died.
Lodbrok’s third wife, Aslaug took his first-born children into her heart and treated them as her own.
As the story goes, one day Lodbrok took his Viking warriors and crossed the Baltic Sea to conquer new lands. Before embarking on the journey, he asked his good and trusted friend King Östen Bele to protect the upper part of Sweden from his sons. King Bele did as he was told, but when Lodbrok’s oldest sons Eirik and Agnar paid him a visit, problems arose. Eirik claimed that he wanted to marry King Bele’s daughter. This was hardly a union based on love. It was rather a desire to gain power and control over land. Eirik demanded to let Lodbrok’s sons rule over upper part of Sweden.
His request made local chieftains furious, and they had no intentions to collaborate in any way. As a result of tis a fierce battle broke out. Agnar was killed and his army was defeated.
King Bele Shows Mercy And Makes An Offer But Eirik Wants To Be Executed
Eirik was captured and could easily have been executed, but King Bele was a peaceful and good-hearted man who showed mercy. He felt sorry for the Lodbrok’s son whose brother was now dead.
King Bele offered Eirik not only freedom, but also his daughter and a fortune. The offer did not suit Eirik who was an impulsive but also proud man. He followed the Vikings’ traditions and put honor above everything else.
Eirik said that he wanted to be executed with a spear and his dead body must be placed on the battlefield among the fallen Viking warriors.
As previously mentioned on Ancient Pages, a true Viking warrior’s greatest wish was to die in battle. Dying fighting guaranteed a place in Valhallawhere might god Odin ruled and where fallen Viking heroes dwell after death.
Perhaps Eirik fought that Valkyries, the choosers of the slain would find his body and bring him to Valhalla.
Before Eririk died he sent a message to his stepmother Aslaug informing her about what had happened. He knew that she would demand revenge for his and Agnar’s death. Eirik was correct.
Aslaug’s Revenge On King Bele
When Aslaug learned about the death of Eirik and Agnar she gathered her own sons, and traveled under a different name, Randalin to Sweden. Her army consisted of 1500 Viking warriors and the destination was Kin Bele’s fort.
When the two Viking armies met a battle broke out. It lasted for many hours, until finally King Bele’s army was defeated and the Viking Chief had to surrender.
Lodbrok Doesn’t Appreciate Vengeance Behind His Back
Ragnar Lodbrok did not appreciate Aslaug’s actions. He was far furious that his own wife had gone behind his back and punished his good friend King Bele. How did Aslaug dare to launch an attack without asking him, the great Viking warrior?
Of course, was really bothered Lodbrok was that his sons’ latest battle against King Bele would undermine his own military achievements.
Ragnar Lodbrok with his warriors. Credit: History Channels Vikings Series
So, he quickly decided to gather an army, sail to England and conquer new a land. Aslaug warned Lodbrok against the journey, but he refused to listen. The Sea King of the North took his warriors and set foot on England’s coast. Needless to say, that his plundering in England was unwelcome.
It took a while, but eventually the Anglo-Saxon Christian King Aella of Northumbria captured Ragnar Lodbrok and executed by throwing him into a pit filled with poisonous snakes.
One can ask whether Aslaug’s revenge on King Bele was really motivated by the love for Eirik and Agnar or hatred based on past events. Before Ragnar married Aslaug, King Bele tried to persuade Lodbrok to reject Aslaug and marry Ingeborg, a Swedish princess instead.
It should be mentioned that the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok is a sequel to the Völsungs Saga.