On This Day In The Viking Age
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15 August


778 – Battle of Roncevaux Pass

This battle is the stuff of legends. It is described in the Song of Roland (part of the Matter of France, or Carolingian cycle). Roland is at the rear of Charlemagne’s army on its way to Spain. After a betrayal, his men are caught in an ambush by the Basques in Roncevaux Pass. Roland and his men die, Charlemagne and his army arriving too late. No Vikings involved, but one of the most famous battles around the beginning of the Viking Age.

Source: YouTube / The Archaeology Channel

946 – Coronation of Eadred I of England

The son of Edward the Elder who most of his short reign conquering and reconquering Northumbria on the Vikings. He fights Eric Bloodaxe as well as Olaf Sihtricsson. He probably died of a chronic digestive illness.


1038 – Death of Stephen of Hungary

Stephen I was the first king of Hungary, converted to Christianity and actively promoted the religion in his country. He married Gisela who was a descendant of the Ottonian dynasty via her father and of the Welf dynasty via her mother. After a long and rather impressive career, he died after which immediately succession disputes caused decades of unrest and violence.


1057 – Death of Macbeth, King of Scotland

Macbeth had a strong claim to the Scottish throne, but had to leave it to Duncan I. Famously, Shakespeare suggested that he or his wife had the king killed. However, Duncan died more heroically battling the man who would succeed him. Macbeth died seventeen years later at the Battle of Lumphanan.

See the British Library blog about the difference between the play and the real story.
Or, if you want to know all the differences, see No Sweat Shakespeare!

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