Halfdan "the Old"

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Halfdan "the Old" Hringsson, King of Ringerike

Also Known As: "Halvdan", "Halfdan The Old", "The /Old/", "the Old", "the /Old/", "Halfdan the Old", ""The Old""
Birthplace: Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
Death: Died in Buskerud, Norway
Place of Burial: Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
Immediate Family:

Son of Hring Raumsson, King of Ringerike and NN Vifilsdatter, Queen of Ringerike
Husband of Almveigu Eymundsdatter, Princess of Novgorod
Father of Dag I "the Great" Halvdansson, King of Ringerike; Skelfi Halfdansson; Bragi Halvdansson Halfdansson; Sigar Halvdansson of Ringerike; Nevil Halvdansson of Ringerike and 13 others
Brother of Eymund Hringsson, King of Novgorod (Holmgård)

Occupation: King of Ringerike
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Halfdan "the Old"


The sources for Halfdan are the "Skaldaskaparmål", "Ættartalur" and "Hversum Noregr Byggdist".

He is not to be confused with Halfdan Gamle, son of Sveidi, from the Orkney saga.

King Halfdan Hringsson "the Old" In Ringerik - was born about 0450 in Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway. He is the son of Hring Raumsson.

King Halfdan married Almveigu Eymundsdatter about 0479 in Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway. Almveigu was born about 0455, lived in Holmgarth, Novgorod, Russia. She is the daughter of King Eymund In Holmgard.

According to the sagas, Halfdan had 18 sons, nine of them born at a single birth. Quoth Wikipedia:

       the first, Thengil [Thengill], who was called Thengil of Men;
       the second, Ræsir;
       the third, Gram [Gramr];
       the fourth, Gylfi;
       the fifth, Hilmir;
       the sixth, Jöfur [Jǫfurr];
       the seventh, Tyggi;
       the eighth, Skyli or Skúli;
       the ninth, Harri or Herra.

These nine brothers became so famous in foraying that, in all records since, their names are used as titles of rank, even as the name of King or that of Jarl. They had no children, and all fell in battle.

Halfdan and his wife had nine other sons also; these were:

  • Hildir, from whom the Hildings are come;
  • Nefir, from whom the Niflungs sprang;
  • Audi [Auði], from whom the Ödlings [Ǫðlingar] are come;
  • Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended; (Skelfir in the "Ættartalur" from "Hversum Noregr Bygdist")
  • Dag [Dagr], from whom come the Döglings [Dǫglingar];
  • Bragi, from whom the Bragnings are sprung (that is the race of Halfdan the Generous (Hálfdanr inn mildi);
  • Budli [Buðli], from whom the Budlungs [Buðlungar] are come (from the house of the Budlungs Atli and Brynhild [Brynhildr] descended);
  • the eighth was Lofdi [Lofði], who was a great war-king (that host who were called Lofdar [Lofðar] followed him; his kindred are called Lofdungs [Lofðungar], whence sprang Eylimi, Sigurd Fáfnir's-bane's mother's sire);
  • the ninth, Sigar [Sigarr], whence come the Siklings: that is the house of Siggeir [Siggeirr], who was son-in-law of Völsung [Vǫlsungr],—and the house of Sigar, who hanged Hagbard [Hagbarðr].

Halfdan the Old (Old Norse Hálfdanr gamli and Hálfdanr inn gamli) was an ancient, legendary king from whom descended many of the most notable lineages of legend. A second Halfdan the Old is the purported great-grandfather of Ragnvald Eysteinsson.


The eddic poem Hyndluljód states in verses 14–16:

"Of old the noblest of all was Áli,

Before him Halfdan, foremost of Skjöldungs [Skjǫldungar];

Famed were the battles the hero fought,

To the corners of heaven his deeds were carried.

"Strengthened by Eymund [Eymundr], the strongest of men,

Sigtrygg [Sigtryggr] he slew with the ice-cold sword;

His bride was Álmveig [Álmveigr], the best of women,

And eighteen boys did Álmveig bear him.

"Hence come the Skjöldungs, hence the Skilfings,

Hence the Ödlings [Ǫðlingar], hence the Ynglings,

Hence come the free-born, hence the high-born,

The noblest of men that in Midgard dwell:

And all are thy kinsmen, Óttar, thou fool!"

Though Halfdan is himself called a Skjöldung in verse 14, in verse 16 the Skjöldungs are named instead as one of the families that sprang from Halfdan's marriage with Álmveig.


Halfdan and his sons

The Ættartolur, the genealogies appended to the Hversu Noregr byggdist in the Flatey Book introduce Halfdan the Old as the ruler of Ringiríki (a territory including modern Ringerike and Valdres in Oppland). Halfdan is here the son of King Hring (eponym of Ringeríki) by the daughter of a sea-king named Vífil (Vífill). Hring was son of Raum the Old (eponym of Raumaríki) by Hild (Hildr) the daughter Gudröd the Old (Guðrǫðr inn gamli). Raum the Old was son of Nór (Nórr) (the eponym of Norway). See Nór for further details about Nór and his ancestry and descendants.

In his sacrifice Halfdan requested a lifetime of 300 years like that of his ancestor Snær. The form Tiggi appears instead of Tyggi in the list of the first nine sons. The list of the second nine sons has Skelfir instead of Yngvi and the form Næfil (Næfill) instead of Nefir. The order of the names is the same and it is explained that Hildir, Sigar, and Lofdi were war-kings; Audi, Budli, and Næfil were sea-kings, while Dag, Skelfir, and Bragi remained on their lands.


Halfdan married Almveigu /Eymundsdatter/, daughter of Eymund /Unknown/ and Unknown, about 0479 in Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway. (Almveigu /Eymundsdatter/ was born about 0455 in Holmgarth, Novgorod, Russia.)


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Halfdan "the Old"'s Timeline

Buskerud, Norway
Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
Age 28
Age 30
Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
Age 42
Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
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Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
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Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
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Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway
Age 52
Ringerike, Buskerud County, Eastern Norway Region, Norway