Lagertha Name Meaning & Origin

Lagertha

Pronunciation: n/a

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Her name as recorded by Saxo, Lathgertha, is likely a Latinisation of the Old Norse Hlaðgerðr (Hladgerd).1 It is frequently rendered in English-language sources as "Lagertha", and has also been recorded as Ladgertha, Ladgerda or similar.

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Lagertha was, according to legend, a Viking shieldmaiden from what is now Norway, and the onetime wife of the famous Viking Ragnar Lothbrok. Her tale, as recorded by the chronicler Saxo in the 12th century, may be a reflection of tales about Thorgerd (Þorgerðr Hölgabrúðr), a Norse deity.

Lagertha's tale is recorded in passages in the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum, a 12th-century work of Danish history by Saxo Grammaticus.2 According to the Gesta (¶ 9.4.1–9.4.11), Lagertha's career as a warrior began when Frø, king of Sweden, invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king Siward. Frø put the women of the dead king's family into a brothel for public humiliation. Hearing of this, Ragnar Lodbrok came with an army to avenge his grandfather Siward. Many of the women Frø had ordered abused dressed themselves in men's clothing and fought on Ragnar's side.1 Chief among them, and key to Ragnar's victory, was Lagertha. Saxo recounts:

Ladgerda, a skilled Amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marvelled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.

Impressed with her courage, Ragnar courted her from afar. Lagertha feigned interest and Ragnar arrived to seek her hand, bidding his companions wait in the Gaular valley. He was set upon by a bear and a great hound which Lagertha had guarding her home, but killed the bear with his spear and choked the hound to death. Thus he won the hand of Lagertha in marriage. According to Saxo, Ragnar had a son with her, Fridleif, as well as two daughters, whose names are not recorded.2

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Lagertha, Character from History Channel's television series "Vikings"
Lagertha Oversees Dispute by Trevor Morris

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