Halfdan Ragnarsson

Deceased Person

– 0877


Who was Halfdan Ragnarsson?

Halfdan Ragnarsson, or Halfdene to the Anglo-Saxons, was a Viking chief and one of the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok with Aslaug. It has been suggested that Halfdan is the same person as Ragnar's son Hvitserk.

Halfdan pillaged with his brothers Ivar Ragnarsson and Ubbe Ragnarsson, and later became a leader of the Great Heathen Army. The army first landed in England in East Anglia during 865.

Halfdan led the Danes in the taking of Reading in and inflicted defeat on Alfred the Great when the Saxons attempted to retake it. However he is also listed as one of the commanders of the Vikings four days later at The Battle of Ashdown on 8 January 871 when Alfred led the West Saxon army in a victorious battle. However, the Danes inflicted more defeats on Alfred and Halfdan became the ruler of London 871–872 where he had coins made.

In 875, he joined his brothers in conquering the Kingdom of Northumbria. He was widely unpopular due to his alleged cruelty. He was expelled from York and died during a new Viking expedition in 877.

The sources regarding Halfdan are scant and partly contradictory. Ragnar Lodbrok's Saga refers only to the name "Hvitserk" and does not mention the name "Halfdan" at all.

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on July 23, 2013


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