The Siege of Paris: A Day to be Remembered

siege of paris

The Siege of Paris: Sacked by Vikings

The notorious Viking hero, Ragnar Lodbrok is part legend and part historic fact. His tales of conquest and adventure are weaved into Norse mythology and history books, so it can sometimes be hard to decipher what is real and what is made-up. The one aspect of Ragnar’s story that is not disputed is the Siege of Paris in the year 845.

A God Amongst Men

Ragnar thought of himself as a direct descendent of the Norse god Odin. This was not a surprising declaration for such a leader of his caliber to make. He led the Vikings on a rampage against the English and French, despite being outnumbered significantly because of the sheer speed of the infamous Viking ships who ruled the open waters. This is why they were able to take on Paris and win.

When Ragnar and his fleet of 120 ships set south for his siege of Paris, his army navigated the Seine River into France, ransacking everything in their path before marching onto Paris. King Charles the Bald tried to stop them along the way, but his men were not successful and they all were ordered to be hung by Ragnar.

While victory appeared inevitable, Ragnar and his army were set back by a plague that fell upon the entire troop. Only after fasting were they able to shake off the plague and continue onward to overtaking the capital. King Charles the Bald was able to persuade Ragnar and his army to leave only after paying a ransom of over five tons of silver and gold.

The Siege of Paris is a Tale to be Remembered

siege of paris 2

A map of Paris circa 800 A.D.

The History Channel has a historical drama based on the Vikings, which follows the story of Ragnar Lodbrok. It shows a close-up view of what Ragnar’s life would have been like as a man of legend. His larger-than-life character is a great source of entertainment, but also providing real historical context of how the Vikings lived, what the world was like back in the 800’s, and how much Norse mythology was involved in the shaping of their history.

The siege of Paris is one his most the iconic events of the Vikings’ historical timeline; Ragnar’s story ends in England, where he was stranded by a shipwreck and discovered by King Aella. Stories conflict on how exactly it happened, but he died shortly after his capture.

It’s stories like these that point out the flaws and beauty of ancient history. There are often varying tales of the same story that historians claim to be truth. Ragnar is one of the most popular viking heroes in ancient history, due to his charismatic qualities and his innate nature to discover and conquer new challenges. When it comes to interesting tales of self-determination and the art of war, Ragnar is one of the most interesting in human history.

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