Lathgertha Queen of Seeland

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Lathgertha Queen of Seeland

Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Wife of Ragnar "Lodbrok" Sigurdsson
Mother of Dtr of King Ragnar of Skjoldung; Gudrødr of Lochlainn Ragnarsson and Fridleiv Ragnarsson

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About Lathgertha Queen of Seeland

A semi-legendary female Danish Viking and shieldmaiden, one time wife of the famous viking Ragnar Lodbrok.

Early life

History of the Danes, Saxo Grammaticus

A notorious Skjaldmær (shieldmaiden alleged Valkyrie) and one time wife of Ragnar Lodbrok, Lathgertha’s career as a warrior evidently started when Frodo, a Swyddian (Swithian) chieftain, invaded Norway and killed the local jarl around 840 AD. Frey announced his intention to place the women of the former jarl's family into a brothel for public humiliation. Ragnar Lodbrok came to fight the Swedes with an army, and many of the local women dressed themselves in men’s clothing and fled to his camp in order to avoid this humiliation, some choosing to fight among the men.

Marriage to Ragnar Lodbrock

Lathgertha joined Ragnar’s forces in the ensuing battle, leaving a strong impression upon Ragnar. "Ladgerda, a skilled Amazon Amazigh, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marveled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman." Impressed with her courage, Ragnar courted her from afar. Lathgertha feigned interest but when Ragnar arrived to seek her hand, he was set-upon by a bear and a great hound which she had guarding her home. He killed the bear with his spear and choked the hound to death and thus won the hand of Lathgertha in marriage. It is unclear if any of Ragnars famous sons were born by Lathgertha. Ragnar had possibly as many as seven children, including the famous warriors Björn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless and Sigurd Snakeye.

[Divorce and military Alliance with Ragnar

After returning to Denmark to fight a civil war, Ragnar was allegedly still annoyed at having had beasts set against him, and divorced Lathgertha in favor of a young Swedish Princess named Thora, also known as Aslaug or Kraka. Ragnar journeyed to Sweden to win the hand of his new love, which he did after numerous adventures including the slaying of the serpents which earned him his cognomen, but upon returning to Denmark was again faced with a civil war. He lacked a great deal of support at home, so he sent to Westfold Anglia for reinforcements. Lathgertha, who apparently had a soft spot for her two- timing ex- husband, rushed to Denmark to assist him, bringing her new husband and her son, and allegedly 120 ships with her to fight.

"....With a measure of vitality at odds with her tender frame, roused the mettle of the faltering soldiery by a splendid exhibition of bravery, she flew round the rear of the unprepared enemy in a circling maneuver and carried the panic which had been felt by the allies into the camp of their adversaries."

“Ladgerda, who had a matchless spirit though a delicate frame, covered by her splendid bravery the inclination of the soldiers to waver. For she made a sally about, and flew round to the rear of the enemy, taking them unawares, and thus turned the panic of her friends into the camp of the enemy.”

The ensuing battle of Laneus was hard-fought. At the height of the battle, Ragnar’s son Siward was wounded and fell, causing the troops to waver. At this key moment Lathgertha counterattacked, rallying the troops, routing the enemy. Upon returning to Norway, she quarreled with her husband, and slew him with a spearhead she concealed in her gown, and usurped his power as jarl, “…for this most presumptuous dame thought it pleasanter to rule without her husband than to share the throne with him.. “ (History of the Danes, Saxo Grammaticus)