King Harald I Hårfagre (Fairhair) Halvdansson of Norway
- Born: Abt 850, Norway
- Marriage (1): Svanhild Øysteinsdatter about 884
- Marriage (2): Åsa Håkonsdatter about 875 in Norway
- Marriage (3): Snefrid Svåsesdatter about 875 in Norway
- Marriage (4): Åshild Hringsdatter Of Ringerike about 908 in Norway
- Marriage (5): Gyda Eiriksdatter about 880 in Norway
- Marriage (6): Ragnhild Den Mektige Eiriksdatter about 922 in Norway
- Marriage (7): Tora Mosterstang about 926 in Norway
- Died: 933, Hogaland, Norway about age 83
- Buried: 933, Karmtsund, Norway
King Harald I Hårfagre is Eric & Evan Obrock's 33rd great grandfather. Harald was the first King over all of Norway. Harald inherited three small domains in eastern, central, and western Norway from his father, Halfdan the Black, and set out to conquer the rest of the country, spurred-according to the saga tradition-by the refusal of another petty king's daughter to marry him until all of Norway was under his sway. After many years of campaigning, during which the chieftains of western Norway offered the most stubborn resistance, Harald gained his final victory in the Battle of Hafrsfjord, which probably took place around 885, although it may have been some years later. Once in power, Harald ruled with a strong hand and consolidated his realm. One result of his firm rule was the acceleration of the immigration that had begun shortly before to pioneer settlements in Iceland. Many chieftains also fled to the Western (British) Isles, from where they and their kinsfolk in the Orkneys, Shetlands, and Hebrides raided the Norwegian coast. Harald was finally compelled to send a punitive expedition across the North Sea to flush out these Vikings. For the same purpose he entered into an alliance with King Athelstan of England; but he made no actual conquests. In his old age Harald abdicated in favor of his eldest legitimate son, Eric Bloodaxe, who was deposed by his half brother Hakon I after a few years of misrule.
From Snorre Sturlasson: Harald Hårfagre's Saga:
3. OF GYDA, DAUGHTER OF EIRIE. King Harald sent his men to a girl called Gyda, daughter of King Eirik of Hordaland, who was brought up as foster-child in the house of a great bonde in Valdres. The king wanted her for his concubine; for she was a remarkably handsome girl, but of high spirit withal. Now when the messengers came there, and delivered their errand to the girl, she answered, that she would not throw herself away even to take a king for her husband, who had no greater kingdom to rule over than a few districts. "And methinks," said she, "it is wonderful that no king here in Norway will make the whole country subject to him, in the same way as Gorm the Old did in Denmark, or Eirik at Upsala." The messengers thought her answer was dreadfully haughty, and asked what she thought would come of such an answer; for Harald was so mighty a man, that his invitation was good enough for her. But although she had replied to their errand differently from what they wished, they saw no chance, on this occasion, of taking her with them against her will; so they prepared to return. When they were ready, and the people followed them out, Gyda said to the messengers, "Now tell to King Harald these my words. I will only agree to be his lawful wife upon the condition that he shall first, for my sake, subject to himself the whole of Norway, so that he may rule over that kingdom as freely and fully as King Eirik over the Swedish dominions, or King Gorm over Denmark; for only then, methinks, can he be called the king of a people."
4. KING HARALD'S VOW. Now came the messengers back to King Harald, bringing him the words of the girl, and saying she was so bold and foolish that she well deserved that the king should send a greater troop of people for her, and inflict on her some disgrace. Then answered the king, "This girl has not spoken or done so much amiss that she should be punished, but rather she should be thanked for her words. She has reminded me," said he, "of something which it appears to me wonderful I did not think of before. And now," added he, "I make the solemn vow, and take God to witness, who made me and rules over all things, that never shall I clip or comb my hair until I have subdued the whole of Norway, with scat (1), and duties, and domains; or if not, have died in the attempt." Guthorm thanked the king warmly for his vow; adding, that it was royal work to fulfil royal words.
ENDNOTES: (1) Scat was a land-tax, paid to the king in money, malt, meal, or flesh-meat, from all lands, and was adjudged by the Thing to each king upon his accession, and being proposed and accepted as king.
9. KING HARALD'S HOME AFFAIRS. King Harald then returned to Throndhjem, where he dwelt during the winter, and always afterwards called it his home. He fixed here his head residence, which is called Lade. This winter he took to wife Asa, a daughter of Earl Hakon Grjotgardson, who then stood in great favour and honour with the king. ...
18. HRANE GAUZKE'S DEATH. King Harald went far and wide through Gautland, and many were the battles he fought there on both sides of the river, and in general he was victorious. In one of these battles fell Hrane Gauzke; and then the king took his whole land north of the river and west of the Veneren, and also Vermaland. And after he turned back there-from, he set Duke Guthorm as chief to defend the country, and left a great force with him. King Harald himself went first to the Uplands, where he remained a while, and then proceeded northwards over the Dovrefjeld to Throndhjem, where he dwelt for a long time. Harald began to have children. By Asa he had four sons. The eldest was Guthorm. Halfdan the Black and Halfdan the White were twins. Sigfrod was the fourth. They were all brought up in Throndhjem with all honour.
21. HARALD'S MARRIAGE AND HIS CHILDREN. ... King Harald had many wives and many children. Among them he had one wife, who was called Ragnhild the Mighty, a daughter of King Eirik, from Jutland; and by her he had a son, Eirik Blood-axe. He was also married to Svanhild, a daughter of Earl Eystein; and their sons were Olaf Geirstadaalf, Bjorn and Ragnar Rykkil. Lastly, King Harald married Ashild, a daughter of Hring Dagson, up in Ringerike; and their children were, Dag, Hring, Gudrod Skiria, and Ingigerd. It is told that King Harald put away nine wives when he married Ragnhild the Mighty. So says Hornklofe: -- "Harald, of noblest race the head, A Danish wife took to his bed; And out of doors nine wives he thrust, -- The mothers of the princes first. Who 'mong Holmrygians hold command, And those who rule in Hordaland. And then he packed from out the place The children born of Holge's race." King Harald's children were all fostered and brought up by their relations on the mother's side. Guthorm the Duke had poured water over King Harald's eldest son and had given him his own name. He set the child upon his knee, and was his foster-father, and took him with himself eastward to Viken, and there he was brought up in the house of Guthorm. Guthorm ruled the whole land in Viken and the Uplands, when King Harald was absent.
21. HARALD'S MARRIAGE AND HIS CHILDREN. When King Harald had now become sole king over all Norway, he remembered what that proud girl had said to him; so he sent men to her, and had her brought to him, and took her to his bed. And these were their children: Alof -- she was the eldest; then was their son Hrorek; then Sigtryg, Frode, and Thorgils.
Harald married Svanhild Øysteinsdatter, daughter of Øystein Glumra "The Noisy" Ivarsson Earl Of Upland and Ascrida (Aseda) Ragnvaldsdatter Countess Of Oppland, about 884. (Svanhild Øysteinsdatter was born about 860 in Maer, Nord-Trondelag, Norway.)
Harald next married Åsa Håkonsdatter about 875 in Norway. (Åsa Håkonsdatter was born about 862 in Norway.)
Harald next married Snefrid Svåsesdatter, daughter of Finnen Svase and Unknown, about 875 in Norway. (Snefrid Svåsesdatter was born about 860 in Norway.)
Harald next married Åshild Hringsdatter Of Ringerike, daughter of Ring Dagsson Of Ringerike and Unknown, about 908 in Norway. (Åshild Hringsdatter Of Ringerike was born about 870 in Norway.)
Harald next married Gyda Eiriksdatter, daughter of Eirik Of Hordaland and Unknown, about 880 in Norway. (Gyda Eiriksdatter was born about 850 in Norway.)
Harald next married Ragnhild Den Mektige Eiriksdatter about 922 in Norway. (Ragnhild Den Mektige Eiriksdatter was born about 872 in Norway.)
Harald next married Tora Mosterstang about 926 in Norway. (Tora Mosterstang was born about 900 in Norway.)