Ragnar Lodbrok or Lothbrok (Old Norse: Ragnarr Loðbrók, ”Ragnar Shaggy-Breeches”) was a legendary viking leader and hero of Old Norse poetry and sagas from the Viking age. According to this traditional literature, Ragnar distinguished himself by many raids against Francia and Anglo-Saxon England, during the 9th century.
According to traditional sources, Ragnar was:
son of the Swedish king Sigurd Hring and a relative of the Danish king Gudfred;
married three times, to the shieldmaiden Lagertha, the noblewoman Thóra Borgarhjǫrtr and Aslaug (also known as Kráka, Kraba and Randalin), a Norse queen;
the father of historical viking figures including Ivar the Boneless, Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Hvitserk, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye and Ubba;
captured by King Ælla of Northumbria and died after Ælla had him thrown into a pit of snakes, and;
avenged by the Great Heathen Army that invaded and occupied Northumbria and adjoining Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
According to the antiquarian Hilda Ellis Davidson: ”certain scholars in recent years have come to accept at least part of Ragnar’s story as based on historical fact”. Historian Katherine Holman, however, concludes that ”although his sons are historical figures, there is no evidence that Ragnar himself ever lived, and he seems to be an amalgam of several different historical figures and pure literary invention.”