Today's Featured Biography
Rollo The Ganger
When King Harold the Fair-haired, in 872 a.d., had united all the scattered earldoms of Norway under his own sway, he issued a stringent order forbidding pillaging within his kingdom under penalty of outlawry. The custom of sailing out into the world as a viking and plundering foreign lands, was held to be a most honorable one in those days; and every chieftain who wished to give his sons the advantages of "a liberal education" and foreign travel, strained his resources in order to equip them for such an expedition. But the Norwegians of the ninth century had as yet no national feeling; and they regarded King Harold's prohibition against plundering their own shores as absurd and arbitrary. Rollo or Rolf, the son of the king's best friend, Ragnvald, Earl of Moere, undertook to disregard the order. Coming home from a cruise in the Baltic and being short of provisions, he landed in the south of Norway and made havoc among the coast dwellers. The king, determined to make an end of the nefarious practice, kept his word and outlawed him.
Rollo, being unequal to a struggle with the king, betook himself to the Hebrides, where a number of other Norse chieftains had sought a refuge from similar persecutions. His great strength and sagacity, no less than his distinguished birth, secured him a favorable reception and much influence. He was so tall that no Norwegian horse could carry him, for which reason he was compelled always to walk, and was surnamed Rollo the Ganger, or ...
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