There’s nothing like a hot, historical hero. History Channel’s Vikings dishes up interesting men, dancing a fine line between cultural accuracy and stretching true history.
History Channel’s Vikings opens at the end of the 8th century. Viewers get lots of hints that the show is setting up Rollo Lothbrok as the famed Rollo/Robert of Normandy, first Duke of Normandy (established AD 911) and not to distant ancestor to William the Conqueror.
Are you catching onto the time spread?
Take a look at this video clip and you’ll see one part of the “stretching true history.”
Did you catch Rollo’s baptism name? Robert. Hmmmm… In another episode, Rollo asks about the lands to the south…Frankia.
Want to know the real scoop? Here it is (and the real history is just as entertaining as the Vikings clip).
Early in the 10th Century…
On the Seine River, wily raider Rollo and his Viking warriors camped out, planning to take silver and gold like usual from Paris. But, Charles the Simple, King of the Franks (as France was then known) was struck with an idea:
Why not ask the raiders to be his neighbors?
Charles would gain a “defensive buffer” between him and other sea invaders, and what a beautiful buffer the king offered. Normandy. But, wouldn’t that put the fox in charge of the chicken coop? Tempting Parisian wealth would be that much closer to the Viking.
Rollo was no fool. He took the offer.
Maybe land’s worth more than silver and gold?
To seal the deal, Charles offered his daughter in marriage to Rollo, requested conversion to Christianity, and by the way, change your name to Robert. Rollo agreed.
During a celebratory event, the bishops decided Rollo should kiss the foot of Charles. Meant as a sign of submission, some postulate the Franks wanted payback — they wanted the Vikings humiliated.
No kiss to the foot, no land.
The real Rollo was crafty as a fox, ever adaptable in politics. He conferred with his men in the back of the hall and offered up one of his warriors to kiss the kingly foot.
The warrior approached Charles seated on his throne, but he failed to bend. The king realized he’d have to meet the proud Norseman part way, so he lifted his foot. The Viking grabbed the foot, raised it high to his mouth, and knocked Charles off his arse.
The hall erupted with laughter. The Franks quit messing with the Vikings, and Rollo took leadership of his vast domain AD 911.
Under Rollo’s rule, the region prospered.
Vikings intermarried. They took on the language of the region (mixed with their own). And, Rollo made Rouen his city center. His strong presence turned the oft-attacked area into a peaceful place.
From raiders to businessmen and landowners, Vikings settled in, adapting to their new home. The Norse leader ran a prosperous town emporium and marketplace. Normandy even boasted a coin mint as Europe moved toward a system of currency.
Maybe you can put the fox in charge of the chickencoop.
Thanks for stopping by Embracing Romance today. I’ve included an excerpt to my Viking romance, Norse Jewel, a tale of Hakan, a wolf-eyed Viking chieftain and Helena, his Frankish thrall. Click this for an excerpt and to enter the rafflecopter giveaway.