“Vikings” is a scripted drama that has run on the History Channel for two seasons depicting the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, a ninth century Norse chieftain. SyFy’s Blastr indicated in a Monday story that season three is going to go big in depicting the beginning of the Viking age. It will cherry pick history, compressing some events into the lifetime of one man.
“So far, the characters in Vikings have raided England multiple times, and season 3 promises to eventually see 9th century France as a target, where the Vikings will take a fleet of 100 ships into battle. Hirst also hopes to tell the stories of how the Vikings traveled as far west as Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada”
To be sure he first Viking raids in France predated the events of the series, but went into high gear during it. In the middle of the 9th Century the raids escalated into a virtual invasion with Viking armies reaching as far as Paris. Eventually, by about 911, the French King Charles the Simple ceded parts of northern France to the Vikings, who eventually became Christianized Normans.
However the Viking voyages to North America took place much later, in the late tenth century, under Leif Erikson. The first Viking settlement of Iceland took place in the late ninth century. The Vikings reached Greenland in the late tenth century under Leif’s father, Erik the Red. Michael Hirst, the show runner of “Vikings,” promises even more mayhem, thanks to Ragnar’s now grown son. Bjorn. “Bjorn [played by Alexander Ludwig] sailed to the Mediterranean, and sailed to Spain and attacked what he thought was Rome. He attacked a city in Italy while being pursued by Mediterranean pirates.”
In fact the historical Bjorn did loot and pillage his way around Spain, through the straits of Gibraltar, hence to Pisa in Italy which he sacked. He was told that Rome, the central city of Christendom, was within easy reach. Keenly aware that Rome would be a rich prize, he marched forth. Unfortunately he was misled and found himself sacking the relatively unimportant town of Luna instead, under the mistaken impression that it was Rome.
In any case, it looks like “Vikings,” which returns to air in 2015, will have more of the sex and violence that has characterized both the show and the Viking age.