The most famous viking of all time is without a doubt Ondaric, or as he was known in his own culture, Odin. He lived during the 8th century AD in what we know now as France. When he was young, he traveled with his father to visit other tribes for trade. They eventually settled down in what is now Germany where they opened up an ironworks.
Odin grew up speaking both German and Norse languages. As he got older, he began exploring different cultures through traveling and reading. This made him very familiar with Christianity, Judaism, and Persian religions.
He learned about many great mythologies such as those of Greece and Rome, which are also considered Western Civilization heroes.
After becoming rich enough, he retired and devoted himself to learning more about religion. It is said that he studied over 70 faiths before choosing one.
Before he was called King Harold, before he went on to be known as Hardrada, his name was Hafdruðhlaups or Hafdrúdnir. He grew up in what is now Norway’s Trondheim region, which at that time belonged to Sweden.
His father was Ketilbjarnarson, who fought for Gunnar of Hlidarend in Scotland against Canute the Great back when England wasn’t even part of Europe! His mother died when he was twelve years old, so he lived with his uncle while studying under several different teachers.
He trained hard in weapons and horse riding and became very skilled. When he turned eighteen, he left home to go fight in Germany where there were lots of tribes and people looking to start new kingdoms. It was probably because he made such an impression during his training that they asked him to lead them instead of someone else!
After winning some battles and establishing himself as a strong leader, he returned to Scandinavia and married Sigrid, daughter of Erik Påbba of Lade. They had two sons together but she died giving birth to their third child. She was only twenty-one years old.
When her son was five years old, he received the throne name Harald after his paternal grandfather, and he took over rule of most of Norway. The parts of Norway not controlled by other members of his family joined his empire.
The most famous Vikings are typically considered to be either Harald Hardrada or Erik the Red, but there is one person who is sometimes overlooked when it comes to this distinction- Bjarni “Bjorn” Ironsides.
It seems ridiculous now, but before we discuss why he is not as well known today as some of our other featured vikings, let us take a look at his life.
He was born in approximately 860 AD in what is present day Iceland. His father was named Thorir and his mother was named Hafdrunn, both of which mean “Thunderstorm” and “Stormy One” respectively.
His family lived in an area that would later be called Hvalfjordur (the fjord of wolves), where they raised sheep. He had two older brothers named Gunnar and Freysteinn, who were ten years his senior.
When he was twenty-one years old, Bjorn left home with only his horse and his sword. He did not have much money nor food, so he made sure he would survive by herding livestock and hunting for game.
After six months, he met another man traveling from Greenland back towards Norway.
The first known person to use the name “Viking” was an Icelandic sailor named Egil Skallagrimsson, who lived in the late ninth century or early tenth century. Before that people referred to these Scandinavian raiders as Varangians — which means “foreigner warriors.”
The word vik is derived from the old Norse for “visitor” or “traveller.” So, the Vikings were actually referring to themselves as visitors or travelers!
Thule-Sithar raider clans are often credited with giving rise to modern day Scandinavia and Iceland. These clan members would leave their homes looking for new lands to conquer and resources to pillage.
Some experts believe that this process of migration contributed to the growth and spread of Germanic languages across Northern Europe. This includes the evolution of the Swedish language we know today!
Erik the Red was one of the most famous Vikings. He spent his life exploring North America and establishing settlements there. Many historians consider him to be the founder of the state of Alaska.
He also founded what would later become New York City and parts of Canada. It's no wonder he earned his nickname of Eskimo. His descendants still live here to this very day.
The most famous Norse explorer was probably Icelandic poet-historian Leif Erikson, also known as Vespucci or Vesúspacho in his native country. He is best known for traveling to what are now called America and naming it after himself – this includes not only his home state of Iceland but also Greenland and possibly some other islands he visited there!
He made this journey around 830 AD and returned home eight years later in 840. During that time, he explored parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Canada and gathered many stories about Native Americans living along coastlines.
These stories included descriptions of people with white skin and blond hair who lived in large tribes where women did not work outside the house. There were also tales of tall, powerful men with long beards and dark complexions. Some said they ate human flesh while others described them as peaceful.
It is unknown if these accounts influenced Leif’s decision to explore North America more than twice as long as any European before him and whether he interacted with any natives at all. What we do know however, is that none of his ships survived his return voyage so no physical remains exist to prove his presence beyond written records.
His writings mention several different groups of natives which suggest he either didn't meet anyone else or that he mixed up whom he spoke to.
The most famous of all Viking names is that of Hrolf Kraki, also known as Hafdreikr or Hafodraíkr in Old Norse. He was born around 912 AD in what is now Denmark to parents who were both named Gisli.
His father died when he was young so his mother took him and her two sons into exile in Scotland where she remarried. There they lived as Gaelic speaking Scots for several years before returning home.
When he was fifteen, he left with his step-father and stepsister to sail west looking for adventure. They traveled through Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and then spent three months sailing along the Danish coast before arriving at Funen Island in present day Denmark.
He stayed there while raiding and trading with local people until he received word that his half brother had been murdered. His half brothers’ widow offered to help him take revenge but only if he helped look after her son instead.
Her son was just five years old at the time and she wanted to make sure he got good care. After some persuasion, Hrolf agreed to be his guardian and took him back to their homeland.
There he raised him as his own child and gave him his name. When he was sixteen, he made his first big raid by himself across the border into Germany. On the way back, he stopped in Frisia where he picked up more slaves and plunder.
The most famous Viking of all time is arguably not someone who fought in many large scale battles or led any armies, but instead spent his life traveling around Scandinavia doing what he loved - exploring.
He lived from 860 to 940, which makes him an adult during some of the most influential times in European history. His travels took him across Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, where he explored natural wonders, founded cities, and left stories that have been passed down through generations.
Born into one of the powerful families in Iceland, he was sent away as a child due to poor health. This allowed him to grow up with relatives he had never met before, creating strong bonds that lasted his whole life. He traveled frequently because this was how society worked back then- nobles would be given land and money to travel and explore, and he always wanted for food so he got a job!
When he was twenty years old he set off on a voyage to Greenland along the North Sea. There he made several discoveries including finding a long lost letter written by Charlemagne telling the Norse about Spain and Portugal being part of their empire.
This inspired him to lead a group of fifty men on an expedition to find those lands and add them to their empire, making him the first known person to hold that title. When they returned home two years later he was awarded the rank of earl and gave his family the last name of Earle (or Earl).
One of the most famous Vikings was named Bjarnarhjórð (or Björn Thor, to use his full name). He lived in Iceland and is considered one of the country’s greatest heroes.
Bjarnarhjórð was born around 872 AD into an already wealthy family. His father was Hafþórr, who served as chief judge for the island kingdom Reykjavik at that time.
He had two older brothers and three sisters. All four children became very well-known people in Icelandic history.
After attending regular school, Bjarnarhjórð dropped out to pursue other interests instead. These included sailing and swimming across the ocean and exploring new lands.
When he was 19 years old, he left home with nothing but some clothes and a small amount of money. He traveled west towards England, then south along the coast of France before heading inland through Germany.
It took him several months to reach Prague, where he worked as a farm hand. There, he met many foreigners from different cultures and nationalities. This exposure to different lifestyles helped shape his own future career choices.
Three years later, he returned home to Iceland.
The most famous of all Vikings was not Thor, Hrothgar or Geirthwulf but rather an Icelandic man named Eystein Skjalgsson. He lived in what is now called Sagaholm, which is now known as Reykjavik.
Eystein spent his early years living with his father at Litla-Stokk in Hafnarfjordur before moving to Reykjavík when he was five. There he grew up speaking both Icelandic and Norse (Old Norwegian), and later Old Danish.
He went on to become one of Iceland’s greatest poets and writers. Many of his poems are about love and nature and how we connect to each other and our surroundings.
His work has been translated into many languages including English, French and German. Some of his best loved poems include ‘Tune’, ‘The Guest’ and ‘I Do Not Like To Talk About My Past Sins’.