Harald Hardrada

This video history has a couple of 'stretchers,' as Fritz Leiber put it, but for the most part it is accurate.

I'm a bit familiar with the history. When I lived in China I wrote a book, just for fun, on the Varangian Guard in Byzantium. I felt a kind of kinship to them, being in a very different and very old civilization. You could hardly get books to read in English at that point, although I'm sure it's better now. The ones you could get were all classics to avoid them being current-service Western propaganda, so it was a great time for me in that I read Moby Dick, and Ivanhoe, and Waverly, and many other great books I'd never gotten around to before.

So I'd say the stretchers are the idea that the Hardrada went to Vinland, for example; some of his exploits against the Arabs may be overstated. But he did have exploits against the Arabs, and he did venture widely. His is an interesting story, well worth knowing.


Lars Walker said...

Someone came up with a theory recently (it may have been in a book; I forget). He thinks that it was no coincidence that Harald Hardrada and William the Bastard attacked England at almost the same time. In this view, they were in cahoots. Harald H. was to hit England in the north, and keep Harold Godwinsson occupied, and William would then hit in the south, forcing the English to divide their forces. But in the event, Harald Hardrada was killed and his army massacred, but William still reaped almost the same benefit, in facing a depleted and weary English army. And when he won at Hastings, there was no longer any need to divide the spoils, or even to give Harald Hardrada any credit.

Ymar Sakar said...

It is more likely that they were racing each other to get the strongest claim on their titles.

They really can't divide up the spoils if they are fighting for the same primary title at the time.

In a free for all, the last two standing will usually be decided by who has fresher troops still left.

Coordinating combined assaults was too improbable for that time period. Even the japanese imperial navy couldn't do it at L gulf.


What makes the alliance theory more plausible is that the King of England wasn't in a regency or bereft of an adult sitting on the throne. The timing itself is suspicious. But multiple claimants fighting each other for the same primary title wasn't too uncommon. The timing looks suspicious, while at the same time being too precise, due to the bridge, for coordination. Unless they had supernatural C3.

Ymar Sakar said...

As for the Chinese, there are data points connecting them to the Tower of Babel and some Hebrew histories.

Specifically, the fiery flying serpent mentioned in various Hebrew texts is depicted, complete with feet even, as the flying divine dragons of Eastern era.

That's not the only clue leading back to the Tower of Babel origin point.

What the japanese call sennen, or the Chinese call divine sages or gods, were said to live up to a thousand years old.

Curiously, Hebrew history texts also had the Patriarchs living nearly a thousand years old...

The Eastern golden or black dragons could talk too. The Varangians, when they came to the capital of the Christian state religion and Empire, would have found various Christian myths strangely similar to their own backstory.