Gunnar Víking Ólafsson, ‘earl’ of the Viking association Einherji in Reykjavík, will play King Haraldur ‘harðráði’ Sigurðsson of Norway in the recreation of the 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge, where Haraldur lost against King Harold Godwineson of England.
A festival to remember the battle is planned annually on September 25, the day the battle took place centuries earlier, and Gunnar is to play one of the leads in the coming years, Morgunblaðið reports.
Gunnar has been promoting Icelandic Vikings and claims to be a descendant of some famous historical characters, including the man he has been hired to portray.
“The Icelandic Vikings are popular among modern Vikings and tales are often being told about them rather than Vikings of other nationalities,” stated Gunnar.
At Stamford Bridge in 1066, the Norwegian king’s plans to occupy England were shattered. “He was going to conquer England and arrived with 15,000 people in 300 ships,” said Gunnar.
“The battle was much bigger than the Battle of Hastings. Haraldur first attacked Fulford and they say that he and his warriors killed so many that the ground was covered in bodies from Fulford and York,” he went on.
However, at Stamford Bridge, Harold Godewineson conquered the Norwegian army, slaying Haraldur ‘harðráði.’ “The English want to make this forgotten battle better known than the Battle of Hastings because they want to promote their king’s victory,” Gunnar concluded.
Harold Godewineson was later killed at the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066.