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List of legendary kings of Denmark

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Title: List of legendary kings of Denmark  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ragnar Lodbrok, Gefjon, Prologue (Prose Edda), Horik I, Battle of Finnsburg
Collection: Danish Monarchs, Danish People, Lists of Danish People, Lists of Monarchs, Mythological Kings of Denmark
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of legendary kings of Denmark

The legendary kings of Denmark are the predecessors of Gorm the Old, half history and half legend. The accounts of the Danish kings are confusing and contradictory, and so this presentation tries to separate the various sources from each other. They sometimes mention the same kings.


  • Before Gorm 1
  • Rig and Scylding line 2
  • Adam of Bremen 3
  • Gesta Danorum 4
  • Chronicon Lethrense 5
  • Beowulf 6
  • Gróttasöngr 7
  • Skjöldunga saga (partial list) 8
  • Sögubrot 9
  • Ynglinga saga 10
  • Other sources 11
  • See also 12

Before Gorm

  • Harthacnut (da: Hardeknud) the father of Gorm the Old according to multiple sources, the main question is whether he was king of Denmark or only king of Zealand and Scania. His parentage is also desputed, as either from an unknown king Sweyn, or from either Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye or king Erik, both said to be children of Ragnar Lodbrok.
  • Sigtrygg king in the early 10th century, and either deposed by Harthacnut or contemporary depending on sources. Likely had base in Schleswig, but the extend of his realm is unknown. Son of Gnupa.
  • Gnupa father of Sigtrydd, according to one source shared the power with his brother Gyrd. According to Gesta Danorum, he was defeated as one of the minor border kingdoms by Gorm when he united Denmark, though that conflicts with Gnupa's son being deposed by Gorm's father according to other sources.
  • Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye (da: Sigurd Orm-i-øje or Snogeøje). Mentioned by Chronicon Roskildense and Ragnarssona þáttr. Said to be king of Zealand and Scania, and son of Ragnar Lodbrok.
  • Ragnar Lodbrok was a legendary king probably in the 9th century, is mentioned in multiple sources, but the sources are wildly inconsistent.
  • Horik I said to have been the sole king of Denmark in the middle of the 9th century, and son of Sigfred.
  • Harald Klak King in Jutland in the beginning of the 9th century.
  • Gudfred (da: Godfred or Gøtrik) a Danish king in the beginning of the 9th century. Said to be father of Ogier the Dane (da: Holger Danske), and son of Sigfred.
  • Sigfred Danish king the end of the 8th century. Reported to have assisted the Saxons against the Charlemagne.

Rig and Scylding line

Early kings of the Rig and Scylding lines, mentioned by multiple sources

  • Dan mikilláti, son of Danp - (He is brother-in-law of Domar.)
  • Fróði mikilláti, son of Dan Mikillati
  • Halfdan, son of Fróði
  • Hroðgar (Roar), 6th century?, son of Halfdan
  • Halga (Helge), 6th century?, son of Halfdan
  • Hrólfr Kraki, son of Helga

After Hrólf Kraki no two sources give the same succession.

Adam of Bremen

Adam of Bremen mentions several kings from the 10th century preceding Gorm the Old. He claims Svend Estridson as his source. Many of these are also confirmed by other sources.

Gesta Danorum

The kings from Saxo Grammaticus' chronicle Gesta Danorum ("Deeds of the Danes").

Chronicon Lethrense

The kings from the Chronicle of Lejre.


The kings in epic poem Beowulf


The kings in the poem Gróttasöngr

  • Skjöldr
  • Friðleifr
  • Fróði

Skjöldunga saga (partial list)

The kings of the saga of the Scylding family.


Sögubrot or Sǫgubrot af nokkrum fornkonungum Dana ok svíaveldi is an Old Icelandic saga fragment which is believed to be a part of the original Skjöldunga saga. The fragment begins in the middle of a discussion between the Scanian king Ivar Vidfamne and his daughter Auðr.

Kings of the whole of Denmark or individual Danish regions, which appear in Sögubrot
  • Helgi, (joint ?) king of Zealand
  • Hrœrekr Ringslinger (brother of Helgi), king / (co-kingship) of Zealand
  • Ivar Vidfamne (the father-in-law of Hrœrekr), King of Scania - later King of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and parts of several adjoining countries.
  • Harald Wartooth (grandson of Ivar), he became king after Ivar (possibly identical with the "former" or "senior" King Harald mentioned in connection with the royal Danish brothers Anulo and Harald in the Royal Frankish Annals)
  • Hring or Sigurd Hring (nephew of Harald Wartooth), at first king of Sveariket (Beowulf: Swēorice; oldest Swedish form: Swerike), later also king of Denmark (could possibly be identical with king Sigfred).
  • At the end of Sögubrot is mentioned Ragnar (Ragnarr) as a son of Sigurd Hring. From other known sources it must be concluded that this Ragnarr is the famous Viking king Ragnar Lodbrok.

Ynglinga saga

The kings of the saga of the Ynglinga family.

  • Skjöldr
  • ...
  • Frið-Fróði
  • ...
  • Danr hinn mikilláti
  • Fróði hinn mikilláti eða friðsami
  • Hálfdan
  • Friðleifr
  • Áli hinn frækni
  • ...
  • Fróði hinn frækni
  • ...
  • Helgi Hálfdanarson
  • Hrólfr kraki

Other sources

  • Chlochilaicus: 6th century killed by Theuderic I during a Viking raid in ca 516, mentioned as a Dane though that might have been be a mistake on the author's part. He is called 'Rex Getarum' (King of The Geats) in most accounts and is thought to be Hygelac, mentioned in Beowulf as the King of Geatland.
  • Fróði: 6th century or 7th century
  • Ongendus (Angantyr): mention early 8th century
  • Siger: mention 8th century
  • Sigfred (Sigfred/Sigurd): mention 776, d. before 804
  • Gudfred (Godfred): latest 804 – d. 810
  • Hemming: d. 811
  • Anulo (Anulo/Ring): d. 812
  • Sigfrid (Sigfred/Sigurd): d. 812
  • Harold: 812–815, died in exile
  • Eric (Horik/Erik): o. 812, d. 854
    • Halfdan (Halvdan) o. 812, possibly died in exile
  • Eric the Child (Horik/Erik Barn): c. 854, mention 864, possibly d. 873
  • Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye (Sigurd Orm i Øje): mention 873, d. 903, do coin money by East Anglia
  • Guichtlac: King of the Danes in antiquity. Cited In Book III of the Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffry of Monmouth.

For later Danish monarchs whose existence is verified, see List of Danish monarchs

See also

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