This Hero really existed! It was he, rather than his father, who made frequent raids in West Francia, England, towards the Mediterranean Sea. By looting, killing to stop his activities but also by tolerating Christianity, he allowed his men to settle among him. He is the founder of the Munsö dynasty, a line of Swedish kings ranging from mythical to historical characters.
The end of the fifth season of 'Vikings' has left viewers shocked, surprised and eager to live the outcome of the series or, which is the same, the sixth season of it. We are coming to the end of the story of Ragnar Lothbrok, his sons, Lagertha and company. And, curiously, we still want to know more. (Beware, this news contains spoilers).
That's why we decided to dive the Internet and rescue the real stories of the most important characters in the series. And, to the astonishment of some, we wanted to start with Björn Ironside for a very clear reason. In the already mentioned last chapter of the fifth season, we hear how the Oracle assures him that his fame will surpass that of his father, something that has already been told to us before and that may come to surprise.
Is it true that Björn Ironside's fame surpassed that of Ragnar? What really happened to the eldest son, what did he do to overcome his father's legend? After much research, we have discovered that the truth is not too distant from what we see in 'Vikings', but there are differences. And we want you to know them.
Indeed, Björn Ragnarson, also known as Björn Ironside (nickname he received when he was never wounded on the battlefield), was a well-known Viking warrior who came to extend the power of this people from Europe and Africa. His skills in battle and at sea led him to be known in every corner where the Viking influence reached.
He was the son of Ragnar Lothbrok and Aslaug, and this is where we find one of the main differences with respect to 'Vikings'. In the series, Björn is also Ragnar's first-born, but his mother is Lagertha. In fact, he meets Aslaug as well as his own father and witnesses the birth of that love. According to the different legendary sagas in which she appears, this princess is the one who gives her life.
Returning to the similarities, Björn Ironside travelled the Mediterranean with an enormous army, accompanied by one of his supposed brothers. On that trip, our protagonist attacked cities in Spain, Italy, Algeria... He deceived rulers throughout the area, increased their fame and wealth, but... ended up being defeated.
It was Byzantium's army that, when Björn was returning with his army to the area of Gibraltar, surprised the Viking and destroyed a large part of his fleet, which was reduced to more than 40 ships. It was this defeat that brought him back to Scandinavia, where he lived the rest of his life amidst wealth, exercising the role of Jarl and occupying the position left by his father (who died by order of the king of Northumbria, a murder that was avenged by the sons of Ragnar, who killed King Aelle by the method of the blood eagle).
Björn Ironside's exploits in the Mediterranean are endless, but in our research we have come across one that has especially caught our attention. Remember that chapter in 'Vikings' in which Ragnar fakes his death to enter Paris and, once inside, loot the city? Well, that story actually belongs to his son.
When Björn arrived at what he thought was Rome (which was actually the village of Luni), he was unable to circumvent his defences using traditional methods. So he decided to fake his death and conversion to Christianity, asked to be buried near the Church and entered Luni in a coffin. In this way, when he was in the Church, surrounded by bishops and others, he 'awoke from his lethargy' and achieved his goal, looting the place.
Another example of the small, but remarkable, differences that exist between the official story, to call it in a way, of these mythical characters and what we see in 'Vikings'.
Björn Ironside is also regarded as the first member of the Munsö Dynasty, from which many Danish kings come, and became king of Sweden, a title later held by his sons. His fame and esteem among the Vikings was, as we say, much greater than that of Ragnar Lothbrok himself, something that we are already warned in this last chapter of 'Vikings' and that, probably, we will see reflected in the sixth and last season of the series.
Point of culture:
We have selected for you a very good introduction to Nordic culture
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