HUNDING'S SAGA: MAPPING HIS EXPLOITS, Following Hunding between Jorvik and Miklagard

The Eastern Sea and river courses through the east to Miklagard

A magnet for all true Viking entrepreneurs, traders and freebooters (pirates) alike - the Eastern Sea (Baltic) led to the rivers, the cities such as Holmgard, Koenungagard, Miklagard and Baghdad - yes, even Baghdad!
A magnet for all true Viking entrepreneurs, traders and freebooters (pirates) alike - the Eastern Sea (Baltic) led to the rivers, the cities such as Holmgard, Koenungagard, Miklagard and Baghdad - yes, even Baghdad!
To pass between river heads or around rapids, rocks and waterfalls crews had to take their ships out of the water after first taking down masts and rigging. At a price men were there or nearby to help, sometimes with oxen to move laden vessels
To pass between river heads or around rapids, rocks and waterfalls crews had to take their ships out of the water after first taking down masts and rigging. At a price men were there or nearby to help, sometimes with oxen to move laden vessels

Ribe, an early trading port of the west coast of Jylland (Jutland) was Hunding's first port of call after leaving the shelter of the elderly couple who took him

Ribe was built by an inlet on the west coast of Jylland (jutland), across the peninsula from his (fictitious but believable) fishing hamlet of Sonderstrand, the lower foreshore.
Ribe was built by an inlet on the west coast of Jylland (jutland), across the peninsula from his (fictitious but believable) fishing hamlet of Sonderstrand, the lower foreshore. | Source

Dansk - Engelsk; Danish - English

Here's a guide to the map above, of Ribe on the western coast of Jylland (Jutland) - terminology is in Dansk (Danish):

'Syd for aaen' (pron: sued for awe-n). means 'south of the river', just as 'Nord for aaen' means north of the river;

'Faestningsvaerk' (pron: festningsverk) means defensive works;

'Bygroeft' (pron: 'y' as the 'Umlaut' U in German or as in the ending of 'Whitby' = Bygreft) is the town ditch or dyke;

'Middelalder' (pron. double 'd' as 'tt' (heavy tongue, swallow the single 'd') is Middle Ages

'Og' (pron. 'ouh' or 'ow');

'Punkter' (pungter) is points;

'Vigtige' (viytiye) is important;

'Vikingertid' is Viking period/age (literally 'Viking time');

'Vold' is embankment, (swallow the 'd' = 'vol'),

Not only... but also. The real Norsemen didn't just raid, they also plied a trade, traded or ploughed. Take a look at the real world of the Northern lands, how they made a living. The Viking Achievement covers traders, raiders, craftsmen and kings with b/w images, diagrams and maps. my copy, printed in the 1980s had been thumbed through that often I treated myself to the new, updated edition. A good investment to study a bygone era so often misunderstood, so well covered here by Paul Foote and David Wilson

Scenes from the Jorvik Viking Centre at Coppergate, central York Y01 9WT, 01904 615505

Craftsman outside his workshop
Craftsman outside his workshop | Source
Jorvik fishmonger - you get the smells, talking and background noises
Jorvik fishmonger - you get the smells, talking and background noises | Source
Feeding the geese - honking and wing beats included in the sound effects
Feeding the geese - honking and wing beats included in the sound effects | Source
And just passing through... When I went several years ago you travelled around the museum in six-seater 'cars' on rails. Times change, now it's 'ski lifts'. What hasn't changed is the quality of conversation, if you understand Old East Norse [Danish]
And just passing through... When I went several years ago you travelled around the museum in six-seater 'cars' on rails. Times change, now it's 'ski lifts'. What hasn't changed is the quality of conversation, if you understand Old East Norse [Danish] | Source

Hunding's saga brings you from Jylland by Jorvik to the Sorte Hav (Black Sea, pron.'Sorte How'), back through the Oestsjaen (pron. 'Oest-syaien', Eastern Sea)

Hunding Hrothulfsson is no foundling. His family life is broken by a chance raid on his fishing hamlet on the east coast of Jylland (Jutland) late in the 10th Century. Between leaving his native Denmark for the distant shores of Northumbria - Jorvik (York) in particular - and making landfall in the land of the Rus prince Vladimir to sell swords made by the Northumbrian swordsmith Wulfstan, Hunding meets many characters who shape the saga.

Begin reading from when the Jomsvikings take his mother and his childhood sweetheart as slaves in episode 1. Read on as Hunding meets his crew-mates and then his employer, the trader Osferth. Osferth's daughter Wulfwila becomes his lover - unknown to her father and mother - but is put out by his wish to sail to the east with Lifing to sell Wulfstan's swords. Escaping the clutches of the Jomsvikings with his loyal crewmen he sails on to the Danish island of Bornholm. They fall foul of King Svein's tax collector and are forced to leave again, this time for Gotland. A meeting with Gauti - the Allfather in another guise - and a risky crossing of the Eastern Sea (Baltic) brings them to Holmgard, the Norsemen's name for Novgorod.

Here they were accused of stealing Prince Vladimir's diadem and faced being locked away. One of the crew was about to die by drowning in the River Volkhov. Hunding had an idea. He challenged Lifing to a 'holmgang', a duel in a staked-out area on an island. Only one rule: the first to leave the area marked out for the fight loses - for whatever reason. Lifing lost to an acclaimed warrior as well as a trader, his master Osferth's right-hand man.

Prince Vladimir feasted his new guests and had Lifing held over, but he had a task for Hunding, a prank really, to steal a small crown from the Emperor Basil. On their way south between the Volkhov and the Dvina Tofig and Sverri came across an old friend, and between the next two rivers a longer overland crossing took them days longer before they were afloat again in the river Dnieper down to the Black Sea... All that was between them and Miklagard now was a few hundred miles of sea.

This takes you from episodes 1 to 25 Subsequent episodes are added all the time. Watch this space...


Not just for children. Adults can learn about how our Norse forebears lived and worked, warred or weathered the times. With no central heating, no running hot water, no tv or computers, what did they do for entertainment? Look through the pages and see...

Follow Hunding's adventures across the known world

The sail is lowered as Hunding's ship 'Braendings Slange' draws forward to new shores for the night
The sail is lowered as Hunding's ship 'Braendings Slange' draws forward to new shores for the night
Early morning in the haven, cheer for the day?
Early morning in the haven, cheer for the day?
Braendings Slange underway again - where to now?
Braendings Slange underway again - where to now?

A Norseman's Outlook on his World

[*Leave a comment in the box when you've read each of the episodes. Tell me if you find the thread too hard to follow. First read the introduction page: HUNDING UNCOVERED to gain an understanding of the age and the place names. Print the page if you wish, and refer to it as you work your way through. After a few episodes you won't need the sheets any more].

Come, fellow Vikings, follow me, open-armed into the hereafter and take what comes without flinching! A man must think of what his fellows will one day say about him. Should he wish an easy living, men will remember him less easily than had he battled through life with a cheery grin and a good word for his foe!

Odin takes care of the fleet of foot with equal cheer by leading him to Hel's embrace - he who runs lives too long to be his maker's son.

Sail on, brave warrior, hold hard the steerboard arm to find new lands and hold fast to them by the sweat on your brow, that your sons - and their sons - do well by you!

Follow the creation of a ship as it would have been built in the Viking Age with the tools they used. One of the ships sunk in the Roskilde Fjord to keep 'Hardradi' at bay in the mid-11th Century proved to have been built from Irish timber, culled from woodland near Dublin. 'Sea Stallion' ('Sae Hest' as it would have been then) was sailed from the Roskilde Ship Museum via Norway, the Northern Isles and the Hebrides to Dublin amid a tumultuous welcome. Relive the experience in these pages in full colour, with exploded diagrams and terminology..

Breaking the blows

Shieldwall - defensive strategy that will hold off any disconcerted attack, and used against another shieldwall leads to push and shove
Shieldwall - defensive strategy that will hold off any disconcerted attack, and used against another shieldwall leads to push and shove | Source
Combat skills - the time for honing skills needed during the raiding season, the 'viking' season was winter
Combat skills - the time for honing skills needed during the raiding season, the 'viking' season was winter | Source
Again, skills being honed for 'the season' - a mantnever knew who or what he would be up against
Again, skills being honed for 'the season' - a mantnever knew who or what he would be up against | Source

Paul Foote and David Wilson came together to share their knowledge of the Viking world with you. The rise of statehood in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the Norseman's way with words the sword and axe, culture, beliefs and outlook on the world.

Ideal Birthday/Christmas/Father's Day gift for the Viking in your clan - keep the man in your life quiet for an hour or two - daily.

The episodes:

The first episode sets the scene, from then on through each episode the story follows consecutively. To get the best from 'Hunding's Saga' read each part, because otherwise - even with the notes - you might not be able to understand how it unfolds. Some pages are longer than others, but in general they're no longer than a half hour read. If you're familiar with the material, the history and the geography it should be easy, although with the occasional maps and the storyline it shouldn't be too hard to get into. To the saga, then:

1. Unfolding the Saga

2. Jorvik Beckons

3. Master Osferth

4. Wulfwila, the Cool One,

5. The Bait

6. Braendings Slange

7. Weighing Anchor

8. Taking Flight

9. Bornholm

10. Meeting Gauti

11. Estland

12. Lying Low

13. Eastern Lord

14. Betrayed

15. Chained!

16. The Bargain

17. River Ways

18. Down to the Black Sea

19 Over-king

20 Foes without - and within

21 Saving Hunding

22 The Prize

23 The Deed

24 Homeward Bound

25 Gaining the Eastern Sea

26 Gauti foresees Hunding with a Princess

27 Red Sails in the Sunset!

28 Rognvald

29 (Selling) A Crown at Kaupang

30 Kerteminde Fjord

31 Gyrth's Tale

32 Roskilde

33 Gunnlaug's Bed

34 Knut's Fleet

35 The Ruse

36 Ironside Fights On

37 Assandun and a Crown

38 Eadmund Agrees To Share His Kingdom

39 (Back To) Jorvik At Last

40 Knut Summons Hunding to Roskilde

41 Gunnlaug's Lure

42 Hunding's son Ivar - or Ulf's?

43 Bad Tidings

44 Jarl Ulf

45 Hunding Befriends Ivar

46 Leaving Roskilde

47 Hunding takes Ivar to Bosanham

48 The Pain

49 Gauti Greets Ivar

50 Holmgard

51 The Prince

52 Cornered on Lake Ilmen

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