List of Famous Vikings

The Most Powerful and Influential Vikings in History

“Better to fight and fall
than to live without hope.”
—Völsunga Saga (13th Century)

Ragnar Lothbrok

Country of Origin: Sweden Most Notable Event: Sack of Paris

Ragnar Lothbrok (c. 9th Century)

Danish and Swedish King. What separates the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok from other Viking myths and legends—and which leads some historians to insist that he was an actual historical figure—is that a handful of known historical figures claimed that Ragnar Lothbrok was their father. Known as the “Sons of Ragnar,” these Vikings included Ivar the Boneless, Bjorn Ironside, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, all fierce Viking warriors who left their own mark on the world.

List of Famous Vikings:

Norse Explorers, Raiders, Merchants, Pirates, and Seafaring People from Scandinavia

  1. Ragnar Lothbrok (circa 9th century): According to legend, Ragnar Lothbrok (or Regner; also Ragnar Lodbrok or Lodbrog) was the most famous Viking of his age. And he remains one of the greatest heroes of Viking history. To learn more about Ragnar Lothbrok, check out Classic Influence Podcast CIP 023: Construct Your Own Heroic Life History: Ragnar Lothbrok, The Everlasting Legend of the Viking Leader
  2. Lagertha the Shieldmaiden (c. 9th century): Believed to be a Viking shield-maiden, a ruler in Norway, and the first wife of the famous Viking Ragnar Lothbrok.
  3. Naddodd of Agder(Died c. 825): Naddodd is credited with the discovery of Iceland. Naddodd was believed to be related to two other famous Viking explorers, Erik the Red and his son, Leif Erikson
  4. Björn Ironside Ragnarsson (c. 9th century): Believed to be the first ruler of the Swedish Munso dynasty. Björn Ironside was one of the six sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
  5. Ivar the Boneless (c. 800-873): A legendary Viking leader who, also known as Ivar Ragnarsson, is believed to be one of the six sons of Ragnar Lothbrok. Ivar the Boneless is known for his invasions of England and Ireland. Historians believe he was named Ivar the Boneless because he had brittle bone disease.
  6. Halfdan Ragnarsson (Died in 877): Also known as Hvitserk (“Whiteshirt”), Halfdan is believed to be one of the six sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
  7. Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye Ragnarsson (circa mid-to-late 9th century): Viking warrior and Danish king, believed to be one of the six sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
  8. Ubba Ragnarsson (c. 9th century): Famous Viking warrior and one of the commanders of the Great Heathen Army. Ubba is also believed to be one of the sons of the famous Ragnar Lothbrok
  9. Hasting (c. 9th century): Also known as Hastein, Hæsten, and even Alsting, Hasting was a famous Viking leader who is known for leading, with Björn Ironside and 62 Viking longships, one of the longest, most spectacular Viking expeditions in history. Hasting also claimed to be one of the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok, but some historians question his claim. In their four-year long odyssey, these two seafaring, glory-driven, profit-seeking Viking leaders sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean, leading raids and capturing cities along the North African coast, and into Spain, Italy, and possibly farther still. Hasting is also famous for faking his death in order to penetrate the impenetrable fortifications of what he and Björn Ironside (allegedly) believed to be the great ancient city of Rome, but turned out to be Luna (Luni, Italy)—which so angered the ruthless, glory-seeking Viking chieftain that he slaughtered every man in the city for his own error. Some historians say it was Björn Ironside who faked his death and was permitted a Christian burial within the walls of the city. Whichever Viking leader it was, it was a ploy to get inside and sack the city, which worked horrendously well. Some historians and archaeologists doubt that the Vikings mistook Luna for Rome, arguing that that bit was added on later to discredit the “heathen conquerors.”
  10. Olaf the White (Born c. 820): Olaf the White was born in Ireland. Some sources claim he was a descendant of Ragnar Lothbrok. In 853, Olaf was named King of Dublin. Olaf ruled jointly with another Viking named Imar, who some historians argue is Ivar Ragnarsson (i.e. Ivar the Boneless).
  11. Guthrum (c.835-890): Born in Denmark, Guthrum was a Viking raider and conqueror who became King of East Anglia in England between 878 until his death in 890. As one of the main leaders of the Vikings’ Great Summer Army, Guthrum fought against Alfred the Great of Wessex for years, often winning great victories, before he was finally defeated at the Battle of Edington in 878 and persuaded by Alfred to accept peace. Guthrum agreed to be baptized as part of the terms of surrender and Alfred became his godfather. Guthrum ruled East Anglia well until his death, issuing coins in his baptismal name, Æthelstan.
  12. Rollo of Normandy (c.835/870-928/933): One of the most famous Viking leaders in history and the founder and first ruler of Normandy, a region of Northern France. He was a great Viking warrior who famously secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil. After Rollo successfully besieged Paris and won a victory at Chartres in 911, Charles the Simple, the King of West Francia, offered Rollo his daughter Gisela’s hand in marriage along with considerable wealth, titles and lands if, in exchange, Rollo would agree to be baptized and, henceforth, protect the realm from other Viking raiders and external threats. The plan worked. Rollo, the fox, became the game warden, a hero in West Francia, and the first Duke of Normandy.
  13. Harald Fairhair (c. 850-932): First King of Norway (872-930). Also known as Harald Finehair, some historians
  14. Eric Bloodaxe (Died c. 954): Probably born c. 910 A.D., Eric Haraldsson or Eric of Norway was a 10th-century Norwegian ruler who was believed to briefly serve as the King of Norway (931-933). Eric Bloodaxe was also the King of Northumbria, a kingdom in northern England, from 947 to 948 A.D., and again from 952 to 954. He was the son of Harald Fairhair.
  15. Haakon the Good (c. 920-961): Haakon Haraldsson was the son of Harald Fairhair and Thora Mosterstong. He reigned as the third king of Norway from c. 935 to 961. King Harald was 70 years old when he fathered Haakon the Good, according to Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), the Icelandic historian, poet, and politician who wrote the Saga of Harald Fairhair. Haakon the Good is also remembered for his efforts to introduce Christianity to Norway.
  16. Egil Skallagrímsson (c. 904-995): was a Viking Age war poet, sorcerer, berserker, and farmer
  17. Erik the Red (c. 950-1003) Erik Thorvaldsson or Erik the Red was a Norse explorer who is believed to have founded the first settlement in Greenland, according the Icelandic sagas. He was also the father of another famous Viking explorer, Leif the Lucky Erikson.
  18. Olaf Tryggvason (c. 960s-1000): Also known as Olav Tryggvasson, he was the King of Norway (995-1000) and the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair (1st king of Norway)
  19. Sweyn Forkbeard (963-1014): King of Denmark (986-1014), Sweyn Forkbeard was the father of Harald II of Denmark, Cnut the Great, and Queen Estrid Svendsdatter, a Danish princess, a Russian princess and a duchess of Normandy by marriage.
  20. Leif Erikson (c. 970-1020): Known as “Leif the Lucky” Erikson (or Eiriksson), the famous Norse explorer and son of Erik the Red is believed to be the first European to discover North America, predating Columbus by nearly 500 years. There is some archaeological evidence that he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, an area on the coast in North America, circa 1000 A.D.
  21. Freydís Eiríksdóttir (Born c. 970) daughter of Erik the Red, Freydís is believed to have accompanied her brother Leif Erikson in the earliest European explorations of North America, becoming one of the first colonists in Vinland. Freydís Eiríksdóttir is mentioned in both of the Vinland sagas, the Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Erik the Red. Freydís was a bold and strong-willed woman known for defying the odds.
  22. Thorkell the Tall (c. late 900s): Believed to be one of the first mentors of Canute the Great.
  23. Gunnar Hámundarson (c. 10th century): Described as a god-like warrior who was invincible in battle, Gunnar Hámundarson features prominently in the thirteenth-century Icelandic saga known as Njáls Saga
  24. Canute the Great (Died c. 1035): Also known as Cnut or Knut, Canute was one of the greatest Vikings in history. Canute was King of England (1016-1035), King of Denmark (1018-1035), and King of Norway (1028-1035), together these three kingdoms were known as the North Sea Empire.
  25. Harald Hardrada (1015-1066): Harald Hardrada (“Hard Ruler”) Sigurdsson, also known as Harald of Norway was the King of Norway from 1046 until 1066, when he was defeated at the Battle of Stamford Bridge by Harold Godwinson—Godwinson was defeated and killed just a few weeks later by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, bringing an end to the Viking Age.