RAGNAR LODBROK AND HIS HEIRS

Extracted  from ‘The Historians History of the World’ – 1909

Ragnar Lodbrok and his heirs

The remarkable history of this Scandinavian adventurer has been so obscured by conflicting traditions and poetical embellishments as to create considerable difficulty in reconciling the chronology and other circumstances of his life with the accounts given in the Frankish and Anglo-Saxon annals.

The anachronism is generally explained by supposing two piratical chiefs of the same name, although this seems hardly consistent with the Sagas and other ancient Icelandic writings. All the northern chronicles agree in the main particulars related of the prince who reigned in Denmark and Sweden  in the latter part of the eighth century, and who could not, therefore, be the formidable invader that infested France and England about the middle of the ninth. It is not improbable, however, that the chieftain whose  exploits have been confounded with those of the more ancient Ragnar, was a prince of Jutland, whose real name was Ragenfrid, or Regnier, who became a  seaking on being expelled from his dominions in the time of Harold Klak (827), and subsequently invaded France under the reign of Louis le Debonnaire.

Without venturing to narrate the wars and piracies of this redoubted monarch, or the extraordinary feats of courage ascribed to him by Saxo we may record what tradition states as to the cause and singular manner of his death. While ruling his dominions in peace, his jealousy was excited by rumours of the daring achievements of his sons in various regions of Europe; and he determined to undertake an expedition that should rival their name. Two vessels were built of immense size, such as had never  before been seen in the North. ” The arrow,  the signal of war, was sent through all his kingdoms, to summon his champions to arms. With this apparently inadequate force he set sail, contrary to the advice of his queen, Aslauga, who presented him with a magical garment to ward off danger.

After suffering from storms and shipwreck, he landed on the coast of Northumberland, which had been so often ravaged by his predecessors. Jura, the Saxon king of that country, collected his forces to repel the invader. A battle ensued, wherein the valiant Dane, clothed in his enchanted robe, and wielding the huge spear with which he had slain the guardian serpent of the princess Thora, four times pierced the enemy’s ranks, dealing death on every side, whilst his own person was invulnerable. But the contest was unequal; his warriors fell one by one around him, until he was at last taken prisoner, stripped of his miraculous vest, and thrown alive (as the Saga relates), by order of (CHECK), into a dungeon full of serpents, in the midst of which he expired with a laugh of defiance, chanting the famous death-song called the Lodbrokar-cruidaf or Biarkcanal, which he is alleged to have composed in that horrible prison.

This ancient lay mentions his ravaging the coast of Scotland, and his battle with three kings of Erin at Lindis Eiri. The English chronicles also allude to the same invasion, when they relate that the monastery of St. Cuthbert, in the isle of Lindisfarne (Holy Island), was plundered in 793 by a band of pagan rovers from Denmark and Norway; and that their leader was taken the following year, and put to death in a cruel manner by the natives.

The life of this hero is represented as an uninterrupted course of wise measures, noble actions, and glorious victories; for not only did the British Isles quail at the terror of his name — the prowess of his arms was also felt by the Saxons, Russians, and Greeks on the distant Hellespont.

At the time when the father perished, the sons were engaged in foreign piracies; and the first news of his tragical fate they received after their return, while feasting in their hall, from the messengers sent by Jura to propitiate their anger. The Saga-men have carefully preserved their names, and the pastimes in which they were engaged. Sigurd Snogoje (Snake-eye) CHECK red at chess with Huitserk the Brave, whilst Bjorn Ironside polished the die of his spear. Ivar diligently inquired what kind of death Ragnar had suffered; and when the deputies narrated the dreadful story, and mentioned the words of the expiring king, “how the young cubs would rage when they learned their sire’s fate,” the youths ceased their amusements, and vowed instant revenge. An expedition, led by eight crowned heads and twenty jarls, and composed of the various Scandinavian tribes, was again directed against England. In a battle which took place at York, the Anglo-Saxons were entirely routed; Jura, being made prisoner, was subjected to the most barbarous treatment. According to a strange and savage custom of the vikings, the sons of Lodbrok ordered the figure of an eagle to be cut in the fleshy part of his back, the ribs to be severed from the spine, and the lungs extracted through the aperture. After this victory Northumbria appears no more as a Saxon kingdom; Ivar took possession of the sovereignty, while the rest of the Northmen wasted and conquered the country as far as the mouth of the Thames.

Sigurd Snake-eye inherited the Danish crown, but was slain in a battle with the Franks (803 A.D.), after extending his sway over all Jutland, CHECK, Halland, and part of Norway. Bjorn was placed on the throne of Sweden; and a third brother Gottrik (Gudrod or Godefrid), became king of Jutland, which again asserted its independence. The latter prince, by attempting to expel a troublesome colony of the Abodriti, planted on the Elbe by Charlemagne, involved himself in a quarrel with that powerful emperor, who was then carrying on a bloody war of extermination against the pagan Saxons, for refusing to be converted to Christianity. Gottrik for some time harassed his imperial adversary; and appearing with a fleet of two hundred barks on the coast of Friesland, he landed at three different points, dispersed the natives, slew their duke, Rurik, and levied an assessment of 100 pounds weight of silver, which the Frisians brought to his treasury and threw into a copper basin in his presence. Judging from the sound that the tributemoney was debased with alloy, he ordered every coin to be confiscated that did not ring to his satisfaction.

This daring marauder even attempted to take the emperor by surprise, in his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle; but he was himself cut off in the midst of his designs (810 A.D.) by the hand of aassassin. Charlemagne entered into a treaty with Hemming, the nephew and successor of Gottrik (813 A.D.), which stipulated that the Eider should form the boundary between Denmark and the Frankish Empire — the Danes thus abandoning all their conquests southward of that limit Harde-Knud, the heir of Sigurd, being young at the time of his father’s death, was left to the guardianship of his uncle Gottrik, regent of the kingdom.

During the prince’s minority, grievous commotions had arisen. Jutland threw off its allegiance, and the sovereignty was fiercely contested between the sons of Gottrik and Harold Klak, a petty king of Schleswig, and father of Rurik, who had taken violent possession of Friesland. He was repeatedly driven from his dominions, and his flight became remarkable as the means of shedding the first rays of Christianity over the pagan darkness of the North. In the peace which Charlemagne had concluded with Hemming, that politic conqueror did not attempt to impose his religion upon the Danes, which would have been rejected by them as a badge of slavery. However anxious to reclaim them from their wild and barbarous habits, he was unwilling to excite a spirit of hostility that might have spread to the bordering nations, by interfering with their obstinate attachment to idolatry.The achievement of this desirable object was reserved for his son and successor. Louis le D6bonnaire, whose court at Ingelheim, on the Rhine, was visited (826 A.D.), by the exiled prince of Jutland, accompanied with his Queen, his sons, and a numerous retinue, in a fleet of a hundred galleys. Here the solicitations of the emperor and his prelates induced Harold to
renounce the errors of paganism. His wife and children, and many of his followers, were baptised, having solemnly abjured, according to a rude formula still extant, ” the works and words of the devil, of Thor, and
Woden, and Saxon Odin, with all the evil spirits, their confederates.”

After the ceremony, the royal convert proceeded in his white garments to the imperial palace, where he received rich baptismal presents of mantles, jewels, armour, and other gifts. The day was ended with a magnificent festival, in which every means were lavished to impress the Danes with a lively idea of the pomp and splendour of the Romish religion, as well as the wealth and power of the Franks.

Why atheists are excluded from joining the Knights Templar or the Freemasons

THE GRAND ENCAMPMENT.

SPECIAL ASSEMBLY,

FEB. 14,1866.

A Special Assembly of the GRAND ENCAMPMENT OF
KNIGHTS TEMPLARS AND APPENDANT ORDERS OF MASSACHUSETTS
AND RHODE ISLAND was held in the city of
Boston on Wednesday, February 14, 1866.
Formed in due array, and opened the Grand Encampment
in Ample Form at 7 o’clock, P.M.

Present.

M.E. Rev. Sir CHARLES HENRY TITUS . . . . Grand Master.
R.E. Sir WILLIAM WILSON BAKER Deputy Grand Master.
R.E. Sir CHARLES WHIT LOCK MOORE (P. G. M.) as Grand Generalissimo.
R.E. Sir BENJAMIN DEAN Grand Captain-General.
R.E. Rev. Sir WILLIAM SPRAGUE STUDLBY . . Grand Prelate.
R.E. Sir WILLIAM BULLOCK BLANDINO . . . Senior Grand Warden.
R.E. Sir WILLIAM STEELE SHURTLEFF . . . . Junior Grand Warden.
R.E. Sir WILLIAM PAR KM AN Grand Treasurer.
R.E. Sir SOLON THORNTON Grand Recorder.
R.E. Sir SETH PERKINS MILLER Grand Sword-Bearer.
Sir WILLIAM DAVIS STRATTON as Grand Standard-Bearer.
R.E. Sir HORACE DANIELS Grand Warder.
R.E. Sir HENRY PHELPS PERKINS Grand Capt. of Guard.
R.E. Sir EDMUND DANA BANCROFT Grand Lecturer
R.E. Sir WINSLOW LEWIS, M.D Past Grand Master.
R.E. Sir WILLIAM SEW ALL GARDNER . . . . Past Grand Master.
RE. Sir EBEN FLAOO GAY Grand Sentinel.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GRAND ENCAMPMENT [ FEB 1866.]

OF MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND. 

The Grand Master stated that the business to be transacted
at this Assembly was the constituting of Hugh de Payens
Encampment of Melrose, and installing its officers.
The Senior Grand Warden announced that the Knights of
the new Encampment were formed in due array in their
Asylum.The Grand Encampment proceeded in procession to the
new Asylum, where Hugh de Payens Encampment was
solemnly constituted.
The Grand Master installed Sir LORIN L. FULLER,
M.E. Grand Commander of Hugh de Payens Encampment.
The Deputy Grand Master installed the remaining officers.

The Grand Master delivered the following Address to the
new Encampment: —

OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF HUGH DE PAYENS ENCAMPMENT,—

I congratulate you upon this happy consummation of your
zealous and well-directed labors. You are now legally constituted
as an Encampment of Knights Templars and the Appendant
Orders, and your officers have been installed in accordance with
time-honored usage. You are now fully authorized to do and
perform all things properly appertaining to such an organization;
and it is not often that we find so vigorous a manhood, — a fullgrown
Encampment, — in the hour of its first recognition as a
legally constituted body. Like Minerva, you come forth in full
strength, and fully armed for the work and conflict of your Templar
life. Your care in selecting proper material for your membership,
the generous zeal you have manifested in perfecting your
organization, your earnest solicitude for the honor and prosperity
of the Order, as represented by you, give us ample assurance that
your present worthy position will be faithfully maintained in your
future history.

You have been fortunate in your selection of the distinctive
title by which you will be known in our Order. There is much
in a name. True, our great poet has said, —

“The rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

1866.] OF MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND. 5

But who would consent to have the sweet aroma of this lovely
flower married to an ugly name ? You would hardly persuade a
loving, patriotic, Christian mother to name her infant boy Judas
Iscariot. Good deeds, which never die, have made illustrious
the names of individuals the world delights to honor. You honor
the name of our founder and first Grand Master, in the title of
your Encampment; and his worthy deeds and noble character
will reflect honor upon this young and vigorous body that so
worthily bears it.
New England has many beautiful villages, the pride and boast
of her people. Among them all, but few, if any, can be found
more desirable than your beautiful Melrose ; near enough to the
city for you to enjoy Metropolitan privileges, yet sufficiently remote
from its crowded streets, noise, and confusion, to enjoy at 
your homes a quiet residence and the social pleasures of village
life. Its very name suggests the sweetness of honey combined
with the pleasant perfume of flowers ; and it is very gratifying to
see that so many of those fair flowers of your lovely village grace
and adorn your present assemblage by their presence.
At first view it seems unfortunate that you should have suffered
the loss by fire of your very neat, well-arranged, tasteful, and
commodious hall; and it is indeed a serious loss to you and the
fraternity of your village. But even this loss may be overruled
for your ultimate advantage. You have the men, the means, and
the talent to furnish, for future accommodation, rooms that may
in some respects be even more desirable than those in the beautiful
hall you have lost. Therefore, I deem words of good cheer
and hearty congratulation fully appropriate to-night, notwithstanding
your temporary inconvenience from the loss of your masonic
rooms.It will be your care to maintain the purity, integrity, and honor
of those illustrious and magnanimous orders of Christian knighthood
; in your work, to hold fist the form of sound words, and
conserve the original integrity of our sublime ritual; you are not
to perpetuate grammatical errors, or rhetorical blunders, which
may have arisen from the ignorance or carelessness of some former
lecturer or worker of these Orders, but you arc enjoined, as a sacred
trust, to preserve the simplicity, the fulness, and the impressiveness

of our ancient ritual. I have reason to know that under the 

instructions of the eminent Mason and Templar who has led you

while under Dispensation, you have been properly directed in
this respect; and I have no reason to doubt but you will be as
faithfully conducted in your present perfected organization.

We should never lose sight of the fact that our Institution is
founded upon the Christian religion and the practice of the Christian
virtues. To be good and true is the impressive lesson we are
taught in these last, as well as in the first degree of Masonry.

While the ceremonies and lessons of our Order teach us to look
to our glorified Emanuel as the hope and refuge of men, they
also inculcate a nobility of manhood, an honorable and upright
life, securing to us that strong consolation and peace of mind the
world can neither give nor take away. For this reason we love
and cultivate these Orders. We find that their manifest tendency
is to instruct, enlighten, elevate, and ennoble our manhood. We
find the elements of true manliness, a nobility of character,
in the patience and perseverance, the courage and constancy, the
faith and humility here inculcated. The lesson of truth, the
foundation of every virtue, is here impressively taught us. It may
be stated as the universal conviction of the members of our Order,
that should we fully comply with the wise precepts here presented,
we should develop the highest style of the true man. No manhood
can be perfected that ignores the religious element; but this
is judiciously combined with the moral lessons enforced in the
instructions of Templar Masonry. What was faintly shadowed
forth in the three symbolic degrees we find here fully and satisfactorily
developed. The New Testament is now combined with
the Old, and the lessons of both conspire to perfect our manhood.

Hence the care you have felt it necessary to exercise in selecting
candidates for those religious orders. As no atheist can be
admitted to the first step in Masonry, so only, those who have
faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah, and the
revealed Emanuel, can properly be admitted to the Asylum of
your Encampment.