Honor, Virtus et Potestas

Archive for May, 2013

The Unknown Hero

By Jefferson P Webb

vikingsAlthough the names of heroes throughout history have been recorded in both the written traditions of literate cultures, and oral tales of illiterate cultures, there is one hero whose name remains lost to us. His brief mention in the primary sources of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and the Saga of Harald Hardrada speak of his courage and of his incredible martial skill, but his name is unknown to us. What we do know is that according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, this warrior was a Viking of Norwegian origin who fought at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066.1 He fought in the Viking army of King Harald Hardrada against the Saxon army of King Harold Godwinson. After the death of Hardrada of Norway, the Viking army was in flight in what was described as a disorganized, perhaps even panicked retreat. In the midst of the Vikings’ retreat, one Viking warrior held his position on a small bridge that has been called Stamford Bridge in what has been speculated to have been a move to buy time for the other Vikings to regroup and reform a new battle line to face the advancing Saxon assault. Another explanation for his actions could be one of religious belief and a desire to die courageously rather than die on the run in retreat of an enemy. Whichever the case may be, the warrior commonly referred to as “The Viking of Stamford Bridge” made the incredibly brave decision to fight the Saxons alone as the Saxons moved to cross the small “bottle-neck” the bridge created in the movement of the Saxon army. (more…)

Advertisements