Rudolf Haraldsson

Rudolf Haraldsson

Rudolf (died in June 873) was a Viking in Frisian lands. He was the son of Harald, who was the brother of Rorik of Dorestad. [cite journal|author=Simon Coupland |title=From poachers to gamekeepers: Scandinavian warlords and Carolingian kings |url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0254.00019 |journal=Early Medieval Europe |year=1998 |volume=7 |pages=101-103] [cite web|author=Luit van der Tuuk|url=http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Hrodulfr.htm |title=Hróðulfr |work=Gjallar: Noormannen in de Lage Landen ]

Rudolf was baptized, but it is not clear when. He appear in history 864 when he demanded payment of Lothair II of Lotharingia. He had a bad reputation, because of his continued raids in West Francia, Frisia and England.

By the Treaty of Meerssen in 870, Charles the Bald became his new feudal lord. He was present at talks between Charles and Rorik in 872, but Charles did not trust him. In June 873 he went on a raid in the territory of Louis the German, to Oostergo in order to recover Danegeld (tribute) by force. The Frisians refused to pay. A battle ensued and several hundred raiders were reportedly killed, including Rudolf and the Frisians won.

Historicity

His payment by Lothair is reported in an 864 entry of the Annales Bertiniani:"Lothar, son of Lothar, raised 4 denarii from every manse in his whole kingdom, and handed over the sum in cash, plus a large quantity of flour and livestock and also wine and cider, to the Norseman Hróðulfr, son of Haraldr, and his men, all this being termed a payment for service." [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AB.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Bertiniani, 864 entry] ]

Rulolf seems to have entered negotiations with Charles the Bald in 872, according to two entries of the Annales Bertiniani for that year. "On 20 January he [Charles the Bald] left Compendio and went to the monastery of [name missing in surviving manuscripts] to hold talks with the Norsemen Hrørek and Hróðulfr." ... "In October he [Charles the Bald] came by boat down the Meuse to Maastricht and held talks with the Norsemen Hrørek and Hróðulfr who had come up the river to meet him. He gave a gracious reception to Hrørek who had proved loyal to him, but Hróðulfr he dismissed empty-handed, because he had been plotting acts of treachery and pitching his demands too high. Charles prepared his faithful men for defense against treacherous attacks of Hróðulfr. Then he rode back by way of Attigny to St. Medard's Abbey,where he [Charles] spent Christmas." [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AB.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Bertiniani, 872 entry] ] The "Hrørek" of the text was his presumed uncle Roric.

The invasion of Oostergo by Norsemen seems to be mentioned in an 873 entry of the Annales Fuldenses:"In June Hróðulfr (Latin: Hruodolfus), a certain Norseman of royal stock, who had often raided Charles' kingdom with pillage and arson, led a fleet into the kingdom of King Louis, in Albdag's county [Oostergo] and sent messengers ahead with a demand that the inhabitants of the region should pay him tribute. When they replied that they were not bound to pay tribute to anyone except to King Louis and his sons, and that they would not agree to his demands in this matter under any circumstances, he was enraged, and in his pride swore that after all the males had been killed the women and children with all their movable wealth should be taken off into captivity not knowing of the revenge which was to pursue him from heaven. He at once invaded their lands and began to make war against them. They, however, invoked the Lord, who had so often preserved them from their enemies, and opposed their evil enemy in arms; battle was joined and Hróðulfr himself fell first, and with him eight hundred men." [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AF.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Fuldenses, 873 entry] ]

"But the rest, since they could not reach their ships, took refuge in a certain building. The Frisians laid siege to this and took counsel with each other as to what should be done with them. Different people had said different things, when a Norseman who had become a Christian and had long lived among these Frisians and was the leader of their attack, addressed the others as follows: 'O my good fellow-soldiers, it is enough for us to have fought thus far, for it is not due to our strength but to God's that we few have prevailed against so many enemies. You know that we also are absolutely exhausted and many of us are seriously wounded, those who lie here within are in desperation. If we begin to fight against them, we shall not defeat them without bloodshed; if they turn out to be stronger - for the outcome of battle is uncertain - then perhaps they will overcome us and depart in safety, still able to do us harm. It seems more sensible to me therefore, that we should take hostages from them and allow some of them to leave unwounded for the ships. We will meanwhile retain the hostages until they send us all the treasure which they have in the ships, and they will first take an oath that they will never return to King Louis's kingdom.' The others agreed to this plan, and after taking hostages allowed some to leave for the boats. These sent back a really immense treasure and received their hostages back, after first, as I have said, taking an oath that they would never again return to King Louis's kingdom. Then they departed with great shame and loss, and without their leader, to their own country." [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AF.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Fuldenses, 873 entry] ]

A brief description of the event is also given in an 873 entry of the Annales Bertiniani:"Meanwhile the Norseman Hróðulfr (Latin: Rodulfus), who had inflicted many evils on Charles's realm, was slain in the realm of Louis with 500 and more of his accomplices. Charles got reliable news of this as he remained in his position in Angers." [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AB.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Bertiniani, 873 entry] ] The Annales Xantenses report: "Hróðulfr (Latin:Ruodoldus), nephew (Latin:nepos) of the mentioned tyrant (Rorik of Dorestad), who plundered many regions across the sea and the kingdom of the Franks from all directions and awfully plundered Gaul and almost entire Frisia (came to him). In the same region in the pagus Oostergo he was nimbly killed with 500 men by the very same people and, although he has been baptized, he finished his doggish life by a deserved death." [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AX.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Xantenses, 873 entry] ]

Another victory of the Frisians against the Norsemen is mentioned in an 876 entry of the Annales Fuldenses:"The Frisians known as Westerners fought with the Norsemen and were victorious and took away all the treasures which the Norsemen had collected together in plundering various places and divided them up among themselves." However the entry does not name the leader of the Frisians. [ [http://home.tiscali.nl/gjallar/Bronnen_AF.htm Norsemen in the Low Countries:Extracts from the Annales Fuldenses, 876 entry] ]

References


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