History Channel: Vikings Fury From the North (Rollo Extract of Hrolf Ragnvaldsson)





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Published on Mar 1, 2010

Rollo of Normandy holds a particular fascination for me as an example of somebody who left virtually no trace on the historical record, and yet around whom a vast body of legend arose from founding Normandy in France, intermarriage with French Royalty to being the forefather of today's British Monarchy, William the Conqueror and Richard Lionheart. All from being outcasted wrongfully from More, Norway by King Harald Fairhair or at least that's what Norwegians like to believe...

Rollo was a Viking leader of contested origin. Norwegian and Icelandic historians identified this Rollo with a son of Ragnvald Eysteinsson, Earl of Møre, in Western Norway, based on medieval Norwegian and Icelandic sagas that mention a Ganger Hrolf (Hrolf, the Walker). The oldest source of this version is the Latin Historia Norvegiae, written in Norway at the end of the 12th century. This Hrolf fell foul of the Norwegian king Harald Fairhair, and became a Jarl in Normandy. The nickname of that character came from being so big that no horse (or at least not the Norwegian ponies of that era) could carry him.

The question of Rollo's Danish or Norwegian origins was a matter of heated dispute between Norwegian and Danish historians of the 19th and early 20th century, particularly in the run-up to Normandy's 1000-year-anniversary in 1911. Today, historians still disagree on this question, but most would now agree that a certain conclusion can never be reached. Or is this a fact?

A Norwegian team tracing the unique mjtuated Y-chromosome in Norwegian men's DNA claim to be able to solve this now 1,000 year old riddle between Denmark and Norway.

In Norwegian Aftenposten here:


In English here:


In short they hope to take organic samples from the tombs of William the conquerer's cousins bouried in Gloucester Cathedral in UK.

Google searches for Rollo turn up astonishing numbers of pages, most of which are the genealogies of people claiming Rollo as an ancestor. What little information about Rollo that is contained on many of these pages is fanciful at best, taking the later legends as gospel truth. Frustrated by the lack of good sources for accurate information about Rollo derived from contemporary historical records, We decided to strat this group as a starting point. Please join us here:


We hope this could be a forum for compiling historical and arceological evidence along with plausible assumptions for the life of this astonishing character called Rollo.

Any feedback is heartily encouraged, and scholars of early Normandy with an interest in Rollo are encouraged to submit material here: gangerhrolf@gmail.com


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