Rollo (Old Norse: Hrolfr; c. 860 – c. 932), also known as Rollo Stoutheart and his baptized name of Robert, was a Viking leader who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region in northern France.
The son of Rognvald Eysteinsson, a petty king of Møre and the brother of Gurim, 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 Ake, Lork and Gerhild. He also frequented the brothel in Colcestre.
Kidnap of Estrid
Later that year, Rollo and his band were hired by Estrid as part of her scheme to be "kidnapped" and return to Francia, which failed after the guards discovered the plan. After some time, Estrid, resolved to return to Francia, enlisted the aid of the Viking shieldmaiden Eivor Varinsdottir to work with Rollo in her next plan. Rollo was found by Eivor in the brothel, who introduced herself as an ally to the noble lady. When guards came to interrogate Rollo for his previous kidnap attempt, Eivor assisted him in escaping the brothel and the city, defeating numerous guards in the process.
Rollo and Eivor regrouped at his Viking camp outside the city, which came under raid by Wessex soldiers. The two arriving to find Ake with a both Lork and Gerhild tied up, one of them having betrayed the band to the soldiers. Eivor aided Rollo in identifying the traitor, before following him to rescue his band at Port Walton. Once his men were rescued, Rollo accepted Eivor's request to once again aid Estrid in his kidnapping plan, this time during the Lammas festival in the city.
Behind the scenes
Historically, Rollo's origin have been a subject of debate amongst historians, with numerous contradicting sources stating he originated from either Denmark or Norway. His family is also debated over with no clear distinction. However, in Valhalla, the ship stories on Rollo's father and Gurim are likely based on the source provided by Dudo of Saint-Quentin, while Rollo's father being Rognvald is likely based on the Orkneyinga saga.
Rollo came to prominence for his role in the siege of Paris between 885 and 886 alongside Sinric and Sigfred, an event which led King Charles the Fat to pay Rollo and the Vikings to sail elsewhere and raid Burgundy. Despite this, he does not appear in the 2021 downloadable expansion The Siege of Paris which depicts this.
- Echoes of History (first mentioned)
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (first appearance)
- The Siege of Paris (concept art only)