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 On the 20th of September 1066 a battle was fought on the outskirts of the village of Fulford in northern England the English Earl's edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria had hastily gathered their forces together along with the local Lords of the north to mount a defense against this last great Viking invasion of England these were no mere raiders facing them across the fields to the combined might of the kingdom of Norway along with its allies and the Scottish Isles and also the recently deposed English Earl of Northumbria the brother of the new king kostik Godwinson

 The English struck first advancing on the Norwegians before they could fully deploy but this wasn't the Norwegian Kings first battle he was Harald Hardrada the famous Viking who had spent his entire lifetime adventuring and battling all over the known world from modern-day Palestine to Italy to Russia to Ukraine he had carved out a fortune from the blood of his enemies and fought against far greater men than a pair of mere English Earl's after the battle was joined on both sides harald charge into the weakest english point along with his best soldiers his elite housecarls

 Who had been lying in wait and together they routed the English forces completely within days he had taken York long with stronghold sympathetic Scandinavians and he began to make his preparations for the inevitable attack which would soon come from the English King in London only two decades earlier England had been ruled by Knut himself for Scandinavia and Harald likely wanted to restore the great northern sea Empire which Knut had ruled over which consisted of Norway Denmark and England Harald was a scowled a warrior poet who recorded his own deeds for posterity he was an adventurer the atypical Viking and one of the last of a dying breed Harald had been born long before the events of 1066 in ring Greek Norway in 1015 he was the youngest half-brother of King Olaf haraldson who in turn could trace his lineage back to Harald fairhair the first king of Norway Harald was by no means guaranteed any sort of leadership in typical Viking fashion he tended to act rashly and rebellious Lee in his youth he was ambitious as opposed to his two older brothers who were more grounded and mostly concerned with keeping what they already had following the revolt in 1028 King Olaf was to post forced into exile by a popular uprising in support of Knut of England for two years

 He raided the coastline until he returned to Norway in 1030 with a massive army what happened next is unclear as Olaf may have simply died or been assassinated but after he was sainted later chroniclers claimed that he died in a great last stand which was fought at sticklers dad on the 29th of July 1030

 Harald just 15 years old at the time is said to have a master force of 600 men to support his half-brother in his fight to reclaim the throne in the ensuing carnage olaf was killed and Harald not badly wounded is said to have been evacuated by his followers to a remote farm in eastern Norway where he recovered from his wounds from there he traveled east to find his fortune across the mountains into Sweden finally arriving a year later in the Scandinavian Slavic Kingdom of the kiev and ruse in the modern-day ukraine the kingdom of the ruse had been established well over a century earlier by scandinavian explorers and warriors who had carved themselves out one of the largest and most powerful states in europe and over time merged somewhat with the local Slavic population to create a truly unique culture Grand Prince Yaroslav the wives whose Swedish wife Inga guard was a distant relation of Harold's and who had also been an ally of his late brother Olaf welcomed him and his men with open arms Yaroslav was in need of military leaders at the time immediately put the young eager warrior to work in his army he took part in campaigns in its the polls in 1031 and likely against the nomadic pechenegs from the eastern steppe land after a few years however Harald seems to have grown Restless again and he asked for permission to go south to the great city.

 That the Vikings called Mick Lagarde by far one of the largest and most prosperous in the world at the time

 We know the city by a different name the capital of the eastern Roman Byzantine Empire Constantinople by the time Harald arrived in Constantinople like moths to a flame Scandinavians had been attempting to gain access to the great city and access its untold riches for nearly 200 years at first led by the princes of the Kiev in ruse they had attempted invasion on numerous occasions

 But conclusively failed to breach the impenetrable defenses that they found within a few generations however as more and more Scandinavians became Christianized and more receptive to the Byzantines they sought a different way into the city began to offer their services to the Emperor in return for payment of course by 988 under the service of battle the second one of the greatest Byzantine emperors an elite cadre of Nordic warriors who pledged their allegiance and over the next 300 years they would serve as the most elite force within the Byzantine army they were known as the Varangian guard heralds joined a long line of Scandinavians 

Who had been entering the service of emperors for generations and according to the sagas he quickly became a high-ranking commander of great renown in reality this is rather unlikely as at the time Harald was still a minor nobleman from Norway who was yet to make a name for himself nevertheless over his decade-long service to the Byzantines he did undoubtedly rise in status over time to become a great leader in guard in his first year of service as the Byzantines pushed the Arabs back out of Asia Minor Harald campaigned as far as the Euphrates in modern-day Syria where according to later chronicles he participated in the capture of 80 Arab strongholds he again fought against the nomadic Pechenegs as well as the powerful Bolger state to the north of the empire as well as seeing substantial combat in Sicily and southern Italy fighting against both the Arabs and later the Normans led by William iron arm he even likely traveled to Jerusalem although historians debate whether this was on a diplomatic mission or on a military campaign during his decade serving the Empire Herald survived several usurpations of power the sagas note that aside from the significant spoils of battle he acquired on three separate occasions he participated in palace plunder a term which implies either the pillaging of the palace treasury on the death of the Emperor or perhaps the disent of funds to the Varangians by the new emperor in order to ensure their loyalty Harald certainly amassed a huge fortune during his time with the guard much of which he had shipped back to his ally Yaroslav in Kiev for safekeeping during the last civil conflict the guards loyalties were split down the middle Harold was fortunate enough to join the winning side supported the ultimately successful rebels the Emperor Michael v was blinded and overthrown as was Byzantine custom if some source is saying that Harold did the blinding himself when the new Empress - Zoe refused to let Herod leave her service he took two boats and escaped north into the Black Sea losing one of the ships to the great iron change crossed the harbor in the process Harold now an experienced warrior and a man of thirty was going home he would win himself a kingdom or he would die in the process he arrived back in Scandinavia around 1046 which in his absence had become the domain of the king Magnus the good an illegitimate son of Ola who had succeeded Knut with the help of the Norwegian Nobles over the next few months Harald now with an army and much support managed to win joint leadership of Norway without fighting a single battle under this diplomatic compromise the two kings were jointly rule Norway although Magnus kept control of Denmark although technically allowed to one another the two kings held different courts didn't interact each time they did the sources report the violence very nearly broke arms upon Magnus his death in late 10:47 however Harald could finally rule over Norway as the sole king for the next two decades Harald raided Denmark to scare the local population into joining him rather than King Sweyn s tourism he also launched several ultimately unsuccessful full-scale invasion such as one in 1062 which resulted in an epic sea battle at nisa by most accounts Harold's domestic rules seem to have been largely successful and he earned the title Hardrada meaning hard ruler or stern counsel during this period he standardized the currency streamlined the infrastructure of the relatively young country using techniques of rule that he had witnessed under the Byzantines he initiated vast extensive trade networks throughout Europe and beyond with the help of his Byzantine and ruse allies true tis adventuring nature he also explored the lands to the north of his kingdom and may have even sought out the mysterious realm of inland modern-day North America which had been discovered a generation earlier he did record discovering an unforgiving frosted land to the north which may have either means foul Bart or the Novaya Zemlya archipelago of modern-day Russia for 1066 after the death of the last eligible claimant to the house of Wessex Edward the Confessor Harold sought to take England for himself and reform the northern sea Empire which Knut advendio the new English King Harold Godwinson an influential noble whose family have grown strong limb - Knut was an illegitimate choice in Harold's eyes when the Kings brother Tostig was exiled and lost his earldom of Northumbria in 1065 he sought revenge arriving in Harold's Court not long afterwards were together.

 They hashed a daring plan to seize the throne of England after extensive preparations they landed on the coast of England September 1066 with around 10 to 15,000 men and a fleet of some 300 ships they enjoyed success at first and after Fulford his men were in high spirits they could relax for a while knowing that Harold's forces must surely be days away if they were coming at all after all Duke William of Normandy himself descended from Norseman also had plans for England without warning on a 25th of September a massive English force arrived Godwinson had assembled huge army and made the distance from the south in just a matter of days an incredible feat and they took the old Viking completely by surprise Harold's men had no time to prepare both here in his army were not even wearing their chainmail vests when the English attacked despite an epic last stand on a bridge by one of Harold's berserkers the English crossed over wiped out Harold's forces killing both him antastic in the process the sources recount how in true Viking fashion Harold was killed early in the battle by an arrow to the throat as he swung his great 200 sword around aggressively in a berserker rage the last great Viking ruler who was dead and after well over 200 years of supremacy in the British Isles never again would a scandinavian army defeat an English war .......................