The story of our family...for my sons

Monday, July 9, 2012

Harald the Old

Harald the Old, my 43rd great grandfather (6th century, 7th century) only appears by name in Hversu Noregr byggdist, but his father, sons and their descendants played a central role in the politics of Scandinavian legends.

The Skjöldunga saga tells that the same Valdar (i.e. Harald's father) disputed that Rörek, the cousin of Hróarr (Hroðgar) succeeded Hrólfr Kraki (Hroðulf) as the king of the Daner. After the war, Rörek took Zealand, while Valdar took Scania. If based on the same tradition as Hversu Noregr byggdist, Valdar had the right to claim the throne being the son of the former king Hróarr (Hroðgar).

In his Ynglinga saga, Snorri Sturluson wrote that Halfdan the Valiant (i.e. Harald the Old's son) was the father of Ivar Vidfamne. He had a brother who was king Guðröðr of Scania. Guðröðr married Åsa, the daughter of the Swedish king Ingjald Ill-ruler and she made Guðröðr murder Halfdan. Later, she was the cause behind Guðröðr's death as well, and had to escape back to her father. People afterwards called her Åsa Ill-ruler like her father Ingjald.

Halfdan's son Ivar Vidfamne mustered a large army and besieged Ingjald and his daughter at Ræning, whereupon the two committed suicide by burning themselves to death inside the hall.

Whereas Hversu and Ynglinga saga don't inform about Halfdan's mother (i.e. who presumably was Harald's wife), Hervarar saga provides the information that she was Hild, the daughter of the Gothic king Heiðrekr Ulfhamr, the son of Angantyr who defeated the Huns.

It then tells that Halfdan had the son Ivar Vidfamne, who attacked Ingjald Ill-ruler, which led to Ingjald's suicide by burning down his own hall at Ræning together with all his retinue. After this, Ivar Vidfamne conquered Sweden.

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