Rollo (Old Norse: Hrolfr; c. 860 – c. 932), also known as Rollo Stoutheart, was a Viking leader who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region in northern France. He was the son of Rognvald Eysteinsson, a petty king of Møre and the brother of Gurim.
Rollo later went on to become one of the leaders of the Siege of Paris in 885. He was also the founder of the House of Normandy, which produced numerous kings of England, including William the Conqueror.
Rollo was born in Norway to Rognvald Eysteinsson, a petty king who ruled the region of Møre in the northernmost of western Norway, and had a brother named Gurim. In Rollo's teenage years, Rognvald was acquainted and had disagreements with Kjotve the Cruel, a petty king of Agder in southern Norway. Rognvald refused to bow his head and serve under Kjotve, which led the latter to send his man to eliminate Rognvald at some point while Rollo was out hunting. Subsequently, after also losing Gurim to Kjotve's men, Rollo fled from Norway and resided in Francia, vowing revenge for his family's death. During his stay in the kingdom, Rollo met and had a brief romantic relationship with the noblewoman Estrid, who was later betrothed to the ealdorman of Essex Birstan.
A few years later, Rollo returned to Norway to seek revenge against Kjotve, but later learned he had been eliminated by Eivor Varinsdottir of the Raven Clan from a rival kingdom. He subsequently travelled to England and by 875, became a captain and led his own group of Vikings, including Lork and Gerhild. He also frequent the brothel in Colcestre.
Behind the scenes
Historically, Rollo's origin have been a subject of debate amongs historians, with numerous contradicting sources which states he originates from either Denmark or Norway. His family is also debated with no clear distinction. However, in Valhalla, the ship stories of Rollo's father and Gurim is likely based on the source provided by Dudo of Saint-Quentin, while Rollo's father being Rognvald is likely based on the Orkneyinga saga.