Today marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Stamford Bridge, fought on the 25th of September 1066. It is seen by many as the ‘End of the Viking Age’.
On that day, the Norwegian king Harald Hadråda was slain by the Saxon army of Harold Godwinson. Yet, the most remarkable warrior of the battlefield remains unnamed. According to the Saxons, a single warrior defended a bridge over the river Derwent, giving the rest of the Norse army time to arm themselves. (It was an exceptional hot day, so the Vikings did not wear their mails or hauberks, which was a heavy disadvantage when they where attacked by surprise.) It is said that that one man held the entire Saxon army back for over half an hour by defending that choke-point. He did not stop until a soldier with a pike swam under the bridge and stabbed him with from below.
This painting is an interpretation of the battle by Peter Nicolai Arbo, painted in 1870.