Saturday, September 29, 2012

Skald and Warrior...

I have painted the Gripping Beast Egil Skallagrimson mini here are some pictures and a short re-cap of Egils saga...

Egil Skallagrimson (ca 910 - ca 990 ) was a Islandic Skald (Poet) and Warrior you can read about him in the "Egils saga".

Egill was born in Iceland, the son of Skalla-Grímr Kveldúlfsson and Bera Yngvarsdóttir, and the grandson of Kveld-Úlfr ("Evening Wolf"). When Grímr arrived in Iceland, he settled at Borg, the place where his father's coffin landed. Grímr was a respected chieftain and mortal enemy of King Harald Fairhair of Norway.

Egill composed his first poem at the age of three years. He exhibited berserk behaviour, and this, together with the description of his large and unattractive head, has led to the theory that he might have suffered from Paget's disease. This is corroborated by an archeological find of a head from the Viking era which is likely to be Egill's. 

At the age of seven, Egill was cheated in a game with local boys. Enraged, he went home and procured an axe, and returning to the boys, split the skull of the boy who cheated him, to the teeth. After Berg-Önundr refused to allow Egill to claim his wife Ásgerðr's share of her father's inheritance, he challenged Önundr to a holmgang. 

Egill had five children with Ásgerðr Björnsdóttir: Þorgerðr Egilsdóttir, Bera Egilsdóttir, Böðvar Egilsson, Gunnar Egilsson and Þorsteinn Egilsson.

Later, after being grievously insulted, Egill killed Bárðr of Atley, a retainer of King Eirik Bloodaxe and kinsman of Queen Gunnhildr, both of whom spent the remainder of their lives trying to take vengeance. Seething with hatred, Gunnhildr ordered her two brothers to assassinate Egill and his brother Þórólfr, who had been on good terms with her previously. However, Egill slew the Queen's brothers when they attempted to confront him. 

That same summer, Harald Fairhair died. In order to secure his place as sole King of Norway, Eirik Bloodaxe murderered his two brothers. He then declared Egill an outlaw in Norway. Berg-Önundr gathered a company of men to capture Egill, but was killed in his attempt to do so. Before escaping from Norway, Egill also slew Rögnvaldr, the son of King Eirik and Queen Gunnhildr. He then cursed the King and Queen, setting a horse's head on a Nithing pole and saying,

"Here I set up a níð-pole, and declare this níð against King Eiríkr and Queen Gunnhildr," — he turned the horse-head to face the mainland — "I declare this níð at the land-spirits there, and the land itself, so that all will fare astray, not to hold nor find their places, not until they wreak King Eiríkr and Gunnhildr from the land." He set up the pole of níð in the cliff-face and left it standing; he faced the horse's eyes on the land, and he carved runes upon the pole, and said all the formal words of the curse. (ch. 57).

Gunnhildr also put a spell on Egill, which made him feel restless and depressed until they met again. 

Soon afterwards, Eiríkr and Gunnhildr were forced to flee to the Kingdom of Northumbria by Prince Hákon. In Saxon England, they were set up as King and Queen of Northumbria in rivalry with King Athelstan of England. Ultimately, Egill was shipwrecked in Northumbria and came before Eiríkr's court, where he was promptly sentenced to death. However, Egill had already composed a drápa in Eiríkr's praise the night before. Therefore, when Egill recited it the King's presence, Eiríkr grudgingly allowed his mortal enemy to leave with his head still on his shoulders (see "Head Ransom", below).

Egill also fought at the Battle of Brunanburh in the service of King Athelstan. 

Ultimately, Egill returned to his family farm in Iceland, where he remained a power to be reckoned with in local politics. He lived into his eighties and died shortly before Iceland converted to Roman Catholicism. Before Egill died he buried his silver treasure near Mosfellsbær. In his last act of violence he murdered the servant who helped him bury his treasure. When a Roman Catholic chapel was constructed at the family homestead, 

Egill's body was re-exumed by his son and re-buried near the altar.


  1. Nice looking figure there.


  2. Nice figure and good recap of Egil's Saga. I need to re-read it.

  3. Sounds like a chaming guy to meet...

  4. These Nordic sagas are... in any case thanks for that. The figure is really well painted, as usual otherwise

  5. sounds like a nice bloke, like the story, and nice paintjob too.


  6. Hi,

    Thanks for the biography.
    I think this one really deserve to be entitled the name of avenger...
    I love the part with the horse headed pole. It would deserve some kind of mini...
    I'll also have a close look at this Battle of Brunanburh. Looks to be quite interesting for background purposes.


  7. Great looking figure and a very interesting read about this chap.

  8. A great looking figure and a damned good read as well, I didn't realise he fought at Brunanburh though.

  9. What a really nice model, and his history is very interesting too.