King Harald Hardrada of Norway1016 – 1066

Harald Hardrada


Father – Sigurd Syr
Mother – Asta Gudbrandsdatter
Spouse РEllisif of Kiev, Tora Torbergsdatter
Children – Ingegerd, Maria, Magnus, Olaf


1015 or 1016
Born the son of Sigurd Syr ruler of Ringeske region of Norway and Asta Gudbrandsdatter. He was half-brother to King Olaf II.
1028 (Date unknown)
Harald’s half-brother, Olaf, was forced into exile following a revolt which led to the throne being taken by Cnut.
1030 (Spring)
Olaf returned to Norway and was met by Harald and several hundred loyal supporters.
1030 (29th July)
Battle of Stiklestad – Harald fought alongside Olaf against Canute’s forces but they were defeated. Olaf was killed and Harald badly wounded.
1030 (late)
Following defeat at Stiklestad Harald could not stay in Norway and so he exiled himself.
1031 (early)
Harald and his loyal men reached the court of Yaroslav I in Kiev.
1031 (early)
Harald became a commander in Yaroslav’s army
1034 (date unknown)
Harald and his forces left Kiev and joined the army of the new Byzantine Emperor, Michael IV.
1035 (during)
Harald joined the Byzantine Varangian Guard and saw action against the Arabs.
1035 (12th November)
Canute died and Olaf’s son Magnus I became King of Norway.
1038 (during)
Harald remained with the Varangian Guard and fought in a campaign to recover Sicily from the Saracens.
1041 (Spring)
Harald went to Lombardy, Italy to put down a Norman-Lombard revolt.
1041 (17th March)
Harald and the Varangian Guard were defeated at the Battle of Olivento
1041 (4th May)
Harald and the Varangian Guard were defeated at the Battle of Montemaggiore
1041 (late)
The Varangian Guard was recalled to Constantinople and then deployed to Bulgaria.
1041 (10th December)
Michael IV died and was succeeded by Michael V
1042 (During)
There were a series of conflicts between Michael V and Michael IV’s Empress Zoe
1042 (18th April)
Michael V banished Empress Zoe, a move which resulted in a popular uprising against the Emperor. Harald joined the revolt.
1042 (June)
Empress Zoe was restored to the throne and Harald requested a release from service. Although this was refused Harald escaped and returned to Kiev.
1042 (8th June)
Harthacnut, King of England died. Although Harthacnut had promised the English throne to Harald’s nephew Magnus, Edward the Confessor, son of Aethelred the Unready, became King
1044 or 1045 (date disputed)
Married Ellisif (Elizabeth) daughter of Yaroslav I of Kiev
1045 (During)
Made the journey back to Norway.
1046 (Date unknown)
A daughter, Ingegerd, was born to Harald and Ellisif
1046 (Date unknown)
Reached an agreement to share the rule of Norway with Magnus I
1047 (Date assumed)
A daughter, Maria, was born to Harald and Ellisif
1047 (25th October)
Magnus died leaving Harald sole ruler of Norway.
1048 (Summer or Autumn)
Harald made the first of a series of raids on Denmark hoping to take the Danish throne from Sweyn Estridsson.
1048 (Date unknown)
Harald married Tora Torbergsdatter daughter of one of the most powerful men in Norway
1048 (Date unknown)
A son, Magnus, was born to Harald and Tora
1050 (Date unknown)
A son, Olaf, was born to Harald and Tora
1062 (9th August)
Battle of Nisa – a naval battle between Harald Hardrada (Norway) and Sweyn Estridsson (Denmark). Although Harald won the battle so many Danes escaped that the result was inconclusive.
1064 (date unknown)
Harald and Sweyn reached a peace agreement
1064 (approximately)
Harald knew that the English King Edward the Confessor had no children to succeed him. He believed that he had a legitimate claim to the English throne through the promise made to Magnus I by Harthacnut in 1040 that the throne would pass to him on Harthacnut’s death.
1066 (4th or 5th January)
Edward the Confessor died
1066 (6th January)
Harold was crowned King Harold II
1066 (late January)
Harald learned that Harold had been crowned King of England and began preparing an invasion.
1066 (Summer)
Harald allied himself with Tostig Godwinson, Harold Godwinson’s brother who had been banished by Harold in 1065. He communicated with Tostig who was in Scotland.
1066 (30th August)
Harald set sail from Norway towards the northern Scottish islands where he recruited reinforcements.
1066 (8th September)
Harald and Tostig invaded the north of England. They sailed through the Humber estuary and up the River Ouse.
1066 (9th September)
Harald and Tostig began raiding villages and towns as they marched to take York.
1066 (20th September)
Battle of Fulford
Earl Morcar of Northumbria and Earl Edwin of Mercia met the combined forces of Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson at Fulford but were defeated by the invaders.
1066 (24th September)
Harald Hardrada took the city of York.
1066 (25th September)
Battle of Stamford Bridge
Harold Godwinson’s English reached the north and surprised Harald Hardrada and Tostig who were completely unprepared for battle. The English had to cross a small bridge which legend states was defended by a very large Viking. The English had to get under the bridge and kill him by thrusting a sword upwards. Once the bridge was cleared the English army defeated the Norwegians, many of whom had not put on their protective chain mail or armour. Harald Hardrada was killed around midday. Tostig Godwinson was offered a pardon but he refused and the fighting continued until Tostig was killed in the early evening.


Published May 30, 2015 @ 1:45 pm – Updated –¬†Nov 27, 2019 @ 10:16 am


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015 – 2019). King Harald Hardrada of Norway. Available: Last accessed February 19th, 2020