Halvdan "Svarte (the Black)" Gudrødsson

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Excerpt from Wikipedia.

Halfdan the Black Gudrødsson (Old Norse: Hálfdan svarti, Norwegian: Halvdan Svarte) was the father of the first King of Norway Harald I and of the House of Yngling.

His father was King Gudröd the Hunter, and his brother Olaf Geirstad-Alf.

The sagas (see external links, below) tells that Halfdan's mother was named Åsa. She was the daughter of King Harald of Agder. When Halfdan's father was killed, Åsa took the 1 year-old Halfdan and returned to Agder, where Halfdan was raised.

In 838, when he was eighteen years old, Halfdan became king of Agder. He quickly began adding to his kingdom, through political negotiation and military conquest. He divided the kingdom of Vestfold with his brother Olaf and, through military action, persuaded King Gandalf of Vingulmark to cede half his kingdom.

Next, Halfdan subdued an area called Raumarike. To secure his claim to Raumarike, Halfdan first defeated and killed the previous ruler, Sigtryg Eysteinsson, in battle. He then defeated Sigtryg's brother and successor Eystein, in a series of battles. This established Halfdan's claim not only to Raumarike, but also to half of Hedemark, Sigtryg and Eystein's core kingdom.

Halfdan's first wife was Ragnhild, daughter of King Harald Gulskeg (Goldbeard) of Sogn. Halfdan and Ragnhild had a son named "Harald" after his grandfather, and they sent him to be raised in his grandfather's court. Harald Gulskeg, being elderly, named his grandson as his successor, shortly before his death. Ragnhild died shortly after her father, and the young king Harald fell sick and died the next spring. When he heard about his son's death, Halfdan traveled to Sogn and laid claim to the title of king. No resistance was offered, and Halfdan added Sogn to his realm.

The sons of Gandalf of Vingulmark, Hysing, Helsing, and Hake, attempted to ambush Halfdan at night, but he escaped into the forest. After raising an army, he returned to defeat the brothers, killing Hysing and Helsing. Hake fled the country, and Halfdan became king of all of Vingulmark.

Halfdan's second wife was also named Ragnhild. She was the daughter of Sigurd Hjort, king of Ringerike. She was kidnapped from her home by Hake, a "berserker" who encountered her father in Hadeland and killed him. In turn, Halfdan had her kidnapped from Hake, so that he could marry her. Ragnhild and Halfdan had a son who was also named Harald.

Halfdan died when he fell through the ice of lake Randsfjorden and drowned. The ice on the lake had been weakened by cattle dung, after a hole was cut in the ice for the cattle to drink. Each of the districts of his kingdom wanted to claim his grave. In the end, it was agreed to divide his body into four pieces so each district could bury a piece of it, resulting in four different Halfdan's Mounds.


Gudrød "the Hunter" Halvdansson Veidekonge
Åsa Haraldsdotter



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