The Early Kings of Norway: Also an Essay on the Portraits of John Knox

By Thomas Carlyle | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II. .
ERIC BLOOD-AXE AND BROTHERS

IN such violent courses Haarfagr's sons, I know not how many of them, had come to an untimely end; only Eric, the accomplished sea-rover, and three others remained to him. Among these four sons, rather impatient for property and authority of their own, King Harald, in his old days, tried to part his kingdom in some eligible and equitable way, and retire from the constant press of business, now becoming burdensome to him. To each of them he gave a kind of kingdom; Eric, his eldest son, to be head king, and the others to be feudatory under him, and pay a certain yearly contribution, an arrangement which did not answer well at all. Head- KingEric insisted on his tribute; quarrels arose as to the payment, considerable fighting and disturbance, bringing fierce destruction from King Eric upon many valiant but too stubborn Norse spirits, and among the rest upon all his three brothers, which got him from the Norse populations the surname of Blood-axe, 'Eric Blood-axe,' his title in history. One of his brothers he had killed in battle before his old father's life ended; this brother was Bjorn,

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