The Norse had no last names so used nicknames to specify which Harald, Olaf, or Sven. Some nicknames were graphic, referring to genitals or, say, skull splitting. Others were funny: Furbreeches, the Amorous, or Lousebeard. Many were simply descriptive, Forkbeard, Thinhair, Bluetooth. Women’s nicknames included Horsegelder, Shipbreast, and one of my favorite ancestors, Aud the Deepminded. Odd that Aud’s nickname is so exalting. Cnut the Great and Aud are the only very positive ones I’ve come across. Aud’s father was Ketil Flatnose who made himself a king by conquering the Hebrides and Isle of Man. Her husband was […]
My latest Sea Secrets talk led me to the discovery of a sordid ruckus in the family tree. Somewhere in the late 700s, King Gudrod “the hunter” got his heart set on King Redbeard’s daughter, Asa. Redbeard told Gudrod to go sit on his sword.* Gudrod took the setback like a true Viking and stormed Redbeard’s kingdom. He ran Redbeard through* and took Asa back to his own kingdom. Asa bore him a son then bribed a squire to make her a widow. Well played Asa! Wish we could do lunch. *Poetic license invoked.