Who is Lagertha?

Lagertha in series Vikings (Alert SPOILERS!)

''VIKINGS'' The famous TV series of History channel premiered in 2013, written and created by Michael Hirst, depicts the character of Lagertha as an shieldmaiden.

Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is an incredibly popular character on Vikings who possess a huge fan base of the series. In the whole series, she is pictured as a fierce woman with a brave heart and a true shieldmaiden.

Fans are so heartbroken at the brutal murder of white-haired Lagertha in the 6th season by her stepson Ivar.

In the series, Lagertha is the first and beloved wife of Ragnar Lorthbrok and has two children including a son Bjorn.

However, the real-life and incidents recorded in the 13th century by Saxon history are somehow different from what is fictionalised in the series.

 

The real Lagertha (according to Saxo Grammaticus):

Lagertha, who hails from a noble family, lives in the valley of Gaula Western Norway. She is a legendary Viking shieldmaiden known from Saxo Grammaticus' early 13th-century CE Gesta Danorum. In this Latin work and in Danish history, she is portrayed as the first wife of Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Viking king said to have lived during the 9th century CE.

According to the Gesta (9.4.1–9.4.11), Lagertha's expeditions as a warrior began when Frø, king of Sweden, invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king Siward. Frø put the women of the dead king's family into a brothel for public humiliation.

Knowing of this, Ragnar Lorthbrok came with an army to avenge his grandfather Siward. Many of the women Frø had ordered to be disguised in men's clothing and fought on Ragnar's side. Chief among them, and a key to Ragnar's victory was Lagertha. Saxo pictures her as:

''…a skilled amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All marvelled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman. (IX).''

Impressed by her chivalry, initially, Ragnar courted her from afar, and to embrace her, he had to fight a bear and a hound, kept by Lagartha to guard her. He proved his legendary skills and speared one and strangled the other to death. Lagertha became Ragnar's prize, and in their subsequent marriage, they had two unnamed daughters as well as a son, Fridleif.

All her life she stood firm by Ragnar's side even when she left him after he married Thora Borgarhjört, daughter of the Swedish king. She aided him with a famous fleet of 120 ships when he was stuck in the battle of Denmark.

According to Saxo Grammaticus, she quarreled with her second husband Sigvard (Earl of Hedeby) upon returning to Norway and slew him with a spearhead she concealed in her gown. Saxo concludes that she then "usurped the whole of his name and sovereignty; for this most presumptuous dame thought it pleasanter to rule without her husband than to share the throne with him"

In Saxo's chronicles, Lagertha fulfils the role contrary to be expected of women of that era, which is more legendary, The Warrior Woman. Unfortunately, there are no accounts of how and when the real Lagertha actually died. Though, her death is believed to be around mid of the 9th century.

The Key differences between Vikings' Lagertha and Saxo's include that Lagertha meets Ragnar while helping him win a battle. They also have three children – two daughters and the son, who is not Bjorn. Ragnar and Lagertha also divorce in Saxo's tale. However, Ragnar leaves Lagertha for King Herodd's wife, Thora, and not Aslaug, as was the case in Vikings.


--

 

Click here to discover our tribute to Lagertha with our Lagertha collection


1 comment

  • J ai adoré leur épisodes je vivait avec eux entre eux et parmi eux épisodes part épisode resteront encrée a jamais dans mon imagination

    Vanbellinghen Jacqueline

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

x