Halfdan Ragnarsson
Halfdan Ragnarsson was a Viking chief and one of the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok
Ragnar Lodbrok
Ragnar Lodbrok was a Norse legendary hero from the Viking Age who was thoroughly reshaped in Old Norse poetry and legendary sagas.-Life as recorded in the sagas:...

 with Aslaug
Aslaug, Aslög, Kraka, Kráka or Randalin, was a queen of Scandinavian mythology who appears in Snorri's Edda, the Völsunga saga and the saga of Ragnar Lodbrok.-The Legendary Aslaug:...

. It has been suggested that Halfdan is the same person as Ragnar's son Hvitserk
Hvitserk was one of the legendary sons of the 9th-century Norse king Ragnar Lodbrok and his wife Kraka, attested to by the Ragnarssona þáttr. Since he is not mentioned in any source that mentions Halfdan Ragnarsson, some scholars have suggested that they are the same individual.After having...


Halfdan pillaged with his brothers Ivar Ragnarsson
Ivar the Boneless
Ivar Ragnarsson nicknamed the Boneless , was a Viking leader and by reputation also a berserker. By the late 11th century he was known as a son of the powerful Ragnar Lodbrok, ruler of an area probably comprising parts of modern-day Denmark and Sweden.-Invader:In the autumn of AD 865, with his...

 and Ubbe Ragnarsson
Ubbe Ragnarsson
Ubbe, Ubba or Hubba Ragnarsson was a Norse leader during the Viking Age. Ubbe Ragnarsson was one of the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok and, along with his brothers Halfdan and Ivar the Boneless, a leader of the Great Danish Army....

, and later became a leader of the Great Heathen Army
Great Heathen Army
The Great Heathen Army, also known as the Great Army or the Great Danish Army, was a Viking army originating in Denmark which pillaged and conquered much of England in the late 9th century...

. The army first landed in England in East Anglia
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

 during 865. Halfdan is listed as one of the commanders of the Vikings at The Battle of Ashdown
Battle of Ashdown
The Battle of Ashdown, in Berkshire , took place on 8 January 871. Alfred the Great, then a prince of only twenty-one, led the West Saxon army of his brother, King Ethelred, in a victorious battle against the invading Danes.Accounts of the battle are based to a large extent on Asser's "Life of...

 on 8 January 871. Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch still to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself...

 led the West Saxon army in a victorious battle against the invading Danes.

Halfdan was the ruler of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 871–872 where he had coins made. In 875, he joined his brothers in conquering the Kingdom of Northumbria
Northumbria was a medieval kingdom of the Angles, in what is now Northern England and South-East Scotland, becoming subsequently an earldom in a united Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. The name reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary.Northumbria was...

. He was widely unpopular due to his alleged cruelty. He was expelled from York and died during a new Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 expedition in 877.

The sources regarding Halfdan are scant and partly contradictory. Ragnarssona þáttr
Ragnarssona þáttr
Ragnarssona þáttr, Þáttr af Ragnars sonum or the Tale of Ragnar's sons is a short story on Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons.-Ragnar Lodbrok:When Sigurd Ring dies, Ragnar succeeds him as the king of Sweden and Denmark...

 or The Tale of Ragnar's Sons is the primary source regarding Hvitserk. .

Related sources

  • Kirby, D. P. The Earliest English Kings (London: Unwin, 1991)
  • Higham, N. J. and Sutton, Alan. The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100 (Sutton Publishing. 1993)
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