Harald Hardrada of Norway

25 Sep 2020  Fri

Harald Sigurdsson was King of Norway from 1046 to 1066. His harsh suppression of lesser Norwegian chieftains cost him their military support in his unsuccessful struggle to conquer Denmark.

The son of Sigurd Sow, a chieftain in eastern Norway, and of Estrid, mother of the Norwegian king Olaf II Haraldsson, Harald fought at the age of 15 against the Danes with Olaf II in the celebrated Battle of Stiklestad (1030) in which Olaf was killed. He then fled to Russia, where he served under the grand prince of Kiev, Yaroslav I the Wise, whose daughter Elizabeth he later married.

Before becoming king, Harald had spent around fifteen years in exile as a mercenary and military commander in Kievan Rus' and of the Varangian Guard in the Byzantine Empire.

Penny minted by Harald, with triquetra on the obverse, used both by Christians and in Norse paganism. It was used on coins in Denmark by Cnut the Great and his sons, and Harald probably adopted it as part of his claim to the Danish throne.

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

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