Vikings: 9 Characters That Were Based on Real Historic Figures

Vikings on the History channel has a rep for being historically accurate. Here's 9 warriors, kings and queens who were based on real historic figures

The story writers of the series of Vikings pride themselves on building their successful narrative on historical accounts of the mighty warriors who terrorized seas and conquered territories in the 9th century. Fans of the hit series will be pleased to know that not only are the characters believable and entertaining to watch, but they are based on actual people who once raided territories and enjoyed success. They can be found in the archives of history!

Here are 10 intriguing characters from the show who feature in the history books and who might just be worth a second glance.

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9 Ragnar Lothbrok

Ragnar Lothbrok is a fierce Viking who leads raids into England and France, to eventually become King. The series’ main protagonist is based on a legendary Viking ruler, king and hero, who went by the same name. This legendary Viking was described in Old Norse poetry and has featured in several well-known sagas. The screen Ragnar was married to Lagertha, with whom he had a son, Bjorn; and is now married to Aslaug (with whom he has had four sons).

The historic Ragnar was also a successful, feared Viking who fathered many sons and was married three times. Lagertha was his first wife and Aslaug, his third.

8 Lagertha

Despite being a woman, Lagertha is a force to be reckoned with on screen. She is a fighter and fierce warrior. She was married to Ragnar and they had a son Bjorn Ironside. According to historical legend, she was a Norwegian Viking, who was born in AC 795 and died in the middle of the 9th century.

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Records show she was a member of the Norwegian King Siward's court. These legends also depict her as every bit as feisty as her screen counterpart. It is recorded that Ragnar was impressed by the courage and that he killed a hound and a dog to win her affections.

7 Rollo

Rollo is Ragnar Lothbrok's younger brother, who later becomes the Duke of Normandy, marrying the French Princess Gilsa. In the series, he has a tattoo depicting a scene from North Mythology and worships Thor.

According to history, Rollo was, as his series counterpart, the husband of French Princess Gilsa, and he was the 1st Duke of Normandy. Records have stated he was the leader of Viking settlers in a charter in the 9th century, and that he reigned over parts of Normandy in this same century. He was succeeded by his son, William Longsword.

6 Aslaug

This 'seer' who has the ability to access the future through her dreams and visions, is the second wife of Ragnar Lothbrok in the onscreen series, Vikings. According to history, however, she is Ragnar Lothbrok's third wife. Historic documents also record her as having had great beauty, which attracted Ragnar.

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They are believed to have had four sons, Sigurd, Bjorn, Ivar and Hvitserk. In the movie, these four sons are also depicted.

5 Bjorn Ironside

Son of Lagertha and Ragnar, fans of the series first meet Bjorn as a little boy. Through the series, viewers watch him develop into an adventurous and curious warrior, to become an effective Viking in his own means.

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He goes onto help his father in many raids and conquests throughout England and France, proving to be every bit as successful as his dad. History records Bjorn as a legendary Swedish king, who lived during the 9th century. Just as in the show, the real Bjorn was successful at raiding and conquering territory. Records depict him as the first ruler of the Munso Dynasty.

4 Ivor the Boneless

Ivar the Boneless is mostly showcased in the series as a kid. He is shown as having physical ailments which leave Ragnar on tenterhooks around him. When he is finally shown as a young man in the series, his character is portrayed as being manipulative and cruel, but also highly intelligent. The historic Ivor was, in fact, one of the greatest Viking leaders who ever existed, recorded as being a great commander of the Great Heathen Army.

He was indeed a ruthless warrior, much as his cruel depiction in the Vikings series. It is recorded that he had a physical condition, called brittle bone disease, perhaps the reason for his name.

3 Aethelwulf

In the show, he is the son of King Ecbert, who is being groomed to become the future king. Aethelwulf. Aethelwulf, also spelled Ethelwulf, was a historic figure from the 9th century, an acclaimed Anglo-Saxon king in England, and King Alfred the Great's father.

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He led the West Saxons and allied his kingdom of Wessex with Mercia. Through strategic alliances, he was able to withstand the onslaught of the Danish Vikings.

2 Emperor Charles

This complex, troubled emperor takes full credit for the defeat of the Vikings in the series. Still, viewers will remember him as hiding in cowardice during the battle which he uses as a feather in his own cap to display his potency as a leader.

History records refer to the emperor as 'Charles the Simple', explaining that he was king of West Francia, living in the end of the period of Viking raids.

1 Sigurd Snake in the Eye

Sigurd is the son of Ragnar, so-called 'Snake in the Eye' because he was born with astigmatism in one eye, in the shape of a snake. According to historical records, he was the son of Ragnar, who was born with a mark in his eye. This mark was described as the Ouroboros, which is a snake biting its own tail.

Even as a boy, Sigurd accompanied his dad on expeditions. It is believed that he lived his later years in Scotland and the Scottish Islands.

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