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Feature: Sigurd Gets a Mighty Bitey!

Feature: Sigurd Gets a Mighty Bitey!
February 25
12:05 2022

Sigurd the Mighty

By John Christian Hopkins

When your name is Sigurd the Mighty people might expect great things from you.

Sigurd Eysteinsson (875-892) was no different. He was the second Earl of Orkney, an early Viking leader in Scotland. After getting a foot in the door, Sigurd went on to capture most of the country.

He was still a teenager!

It all started around 872 when Norseman King Harald Fairhair captured the islands of Orkney and Shetland thanks to the timely assistance of Rognvald Eysteinsson. But Rognvald’s son was killed in the fighting and, as a reward, Harald named Rognvald “Jarl” (earl) of the two islands.

But Rognvald preferred fighting to governing so, with King Harald’s permission, he eventually passed the title of Jarl to his brother.

Little is known of Sigurd’s rule. However, like his older brother, Sigurd preferred conquest. With the aid of Thorstein the Red, Sigurd soon invaded and conquered northern Scotland.

His battle exploits turned him into a legend.

His own deceit would prove his undoing.

Sigurd became embroiled in a dispute with a Scottish nobleman called Mael Brigte, the Buck-Toothed. At an impasse Sigurd challenged his rival to meet on the field of combat to settle their differences.

It was agreed that each ruler would bring 40 men to the battlefield.

But Sigurd was not only a legendary warrior – he was a liar, too.

He showed up for the battle with 80 men easily defeated Mael Brigte’s forces. But victory wasn’t enough to Sigurd. Remember he was only 17.

He cut his enemy’s head off and tied it to his saddle and started home to show-off his grisly trophy.

But, remember, Mael Brigte was called the Buck-Toothed. As the dead man’s head was flopping around on the galloping horse, the oversized teeth bit into Sigurd’s leg.

Infection soon set in and Sigurd the Mighty was no more. He had won the battle, but lost the war.

(Featured image provided by Pixabay)

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