Since the Vikings series, broadcasted on History Channel, the Vikings have become more popular than ever.
So they should be.
In the past the Vikings were portrayed in many ways. The most classical and somewhat cliché way, is that of the barbarian type warrior with horns on his helmet, drinking beer when they could and slaying everything that was in their way.
Although that last bit can't really be denied. Vikings were quite ruthless.
Another type of Viking you might know is the type portrayed in the comics made by Marvel. Not that long ago a movie got released called "Thor: Ragnarok" where an attractive blonde male superhero with a cape is carrying Mjölnir (Thor's hammer) ...
The truth however is that Vikings worked hard to earn their living. One might be able to compare the Vikings to the Scots when they were suppressed by the english in the 13th century. But I might insult some people, so I leave that aside.
Most of the times the Vikings were supporting their own community. One that grew over the years enormously. Vikings explored and raided and then they left to where they came from so that they could sustain their own community even more. I don't want to get political here, but it's the same that happened to other countries that got 'discovered', the only thing is, the Vikings didn't stay! Vikings stayed loyal to their community, so they returned to their loved ones.
Because of this urge for adventure and exploration the Vikings became very skilled in what they did. They became good fighters, good ship builders and they didn't shy away from a good trade. As one might know, the Vikings sailed to England, France and even to parts of the Mediterranean Sea.
Besides fear, the Vikings earned a lot of respect from other countries. They were strong, skilled and even righteous. In this article I'll describe the most respected and famous Vikings of all time.
Viking Number 10 - Eric Haraldsson
This hardcore Viking was also nicknamed Eric Bloodaxe. As most Vikings did, Eric Bloodaxe "embarked on a career of international piracy", in other words, he was a true Viking raider. For about 4 years he spent raiding the Baltic coasts and those of Denmark, Frisia and Germany. In the remaining four years he raided the coasts of Lappland, Bjarmaland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France. Later he became the king of Norway with a little help by killing the competition; his half-brothers. Hence the name "Bloodaxe".
Viking Number 9 - Harald Hardrada
Hardrada was a Viking who ruled Norway from 1046 to 1066 as Harald the 3rd. Before his time as a king he went to war with his half brother, the king at that time, when he was 15. When they lost, Harald fled to modern Ukraine, spending 15 years there and also in the Byzantine Empire where Hardrada became a mercenary and military commander in the Kievan Rus' and the Varangian Guard.
In 1046 he went back to Norway to reclaim the Norwegian throne and earned the name Hardrada, meaning 'hard ruler'. He got this name because of his wide reputation as a war lord.
Viking Number 8 - Sweyn Forkbeard
The Viking Sweyn Forkbeard was king of Denmark during 986 to 1014 and father of Harald the 2nd. In the mid 980's he rebelled against his father, Harald Bluetooth. Forkbeard snatched the throne and Harald got exiled and died shortly afterwards. In 1000 Sweyn ruled the majority of Norway and became the first Danish King of England after repeatedly invading the country.
Viking Number 7 - Freydís Eiríksdóttir
Freydís Eiríksdóttir was born around 970 and daughter of Erik the Red. Freydís became famous because she fought of enemies herself while being pregnant. She was a strong willed woman who joined several exploration missions.
Viking Number 6 - Gunnar Hamundarson
Gunnar Hamundarson was an Icelandic leader in the 10th century. People described him as nearly invisible in battle. According to the Njáls saga he was a powerful athletic man. He was a skilled archer and his favorite weapon was the spear and could jump his own height in full body armor.
Viking Number 5 - Bjorn Ironside
Bjorn was a legendary king of Sweden who lived in the 9th century. Bjorn was a powerful Viking leader and naval commander and joined his legendary father, Ragnar Lothbrok, who initiated the raids in France. Bjorn spent most of his life raiding and exploring. He sailed along the coasts of France, Spain, Italy and was one of the few Vikings who sailed to the north of Africa.
Viking Number 4 - Ragnar Lothbrok
Ragnar Lodbrok on number 4.
Yes, I know ... he is my number one as well.
Especially after the Vikings Series. Ragnar Lothbrok, also spelled Ragnar Lodbrok which is according to the experts the correct way of spelling his name, has initiated many raids against England and France. His sons swore revenge on King Aella who executed Ragnar Lothbrok by throwing him into a pit of snakes.
Viking Number 3 - Erik the Red
Erik the Red or his real name Erik Thorvaldsson, was a Norse explorer and is remembered as the founder of the first settlement in Greenland. Erik the Red's father was exiled from Norway for manslaughter. Erik the Red was about ten years old and joined his family to settle in Iceland. Around 982 Erik the Red got exiled from Iceland for killing Eyiolf the Foul.
Viking Number 2 - Ivar the Boneless
Ivar the Boneless, also called Ivar Ragnarsson, the son of Ragnar Lothbrok according to Ragnar's tale. Why he was called 'the boneless' isn't certain. The sagas describe him as lacking bones, or having an imperfect bone formation. Despite his disability, even though he was carried by his men to fight, he used his mind and intelligence to devise cunning strategic plans and tactics.
Viking Number 1 - Egill Skallagrimsson
Egill Skallagrimsson lived from 904 to 995 and was a poet, a farmer and a warrior. His Viking berserk behavior started early when he was seven years old. Egil was cheated in a game with the local boys. In order to get equal, Egill made and axe split the skull of the boy who cheated him. Egill had to flee Norway because the king started to dislike him and this gave Egill the chance to raid and pillage and kill more, even the son of King Eirik and Queen Gunnhildr.