I just read about a legendary Scandinavian battle with such a delightful assortment of names that it was too good to ignore. Naturally I’ll be adding it to Chapter 7 of my European history. It will read as follows:
The Vikings believed that if they fought bravely in this life, they would fight alongside the gods at Ragnarok, the great battle they believed would take place at the end of time. Accordingly, the sagas glorified combat above all other deeds, and if these legends can be trusted, the battle of Bravoll, fought in eastern Gotland around 700 A.D., was the greatest Viking battle of all. Because Scandinavian records are so sketchy at this early date, all we know for sure is that the battle was fought between Harald Wartooth and his nephew, Sigurd Hring, over who would be king of both Denmark and Sweden. The way the sagas described it, an all-star cast of champions fought and died at Bravoll, making it a real-world version of Ragnarok; the participants even included several female warriors, called "shield maidens." Readers will love the names of the Vikings who were there: Dag the Stout, Egil the Squinting, Erling the Snake, Gerdar the Glad, Glismak the Good, Grette the Evil, Hadd the Hard, Hothbrodd the Indomitable, Hrolf the Woman-Loving, Hrut the Rambler, Odd the Wide-Traveling, Svein Reaper, and Thorleif Goti the Overbearing.