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Rollo: The Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy

Marija Georgievska

Rollo was the Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region of France.

It is believed that Rollo was born in the latter half of the 9th century somewhere in Scandinavia. Details of his origins and parentage are obscure.

Rollo on the Six Dukes statue in Falaise town square. Photo Credit

Rollo on the Six Dukes statue in Falaise town square. Photo Credit

He emerged as the outstanding personality among the Norsemen who had secured a permanent foothold on a Frankish soil in the valley of the lower Seine.

 

Rollo took the baptismal name Robert.

Rollo took the baptismal name Robert.

Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, ceded them lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now the city of Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his brigandage and provide the Franks with his protection against further incursion by Norse war bands.

And ever since, these lands have been called Normandy, the land of the Northmen. For formal recognition of the lands he possessed, Rollo agreed to be baptized and took the baptismal name Robert.

He was called Rollo the Walker because he was such a giant that no horse strong enough to carry him could be found, and therefore he always had to walk.

He was called Rollo the Walker because he was such a giant that no horse strong enough to carry him could be found, and therefore he always had to walk.

He and his men gradually took on the religion of the Franks which was Christianity, abandoning their pagan beliefs in the Norse Gods, although some people believed that this was only done to gain the trust of the king.

 

Statue of Rollo in Rouen. Photo Credit

Statue of Rollo in Rouen. Photo Credit

The lands that were ceded to Rollo were called feuds and these lands were governed by the Feudal system, which was adopted in every country of Europe in the Middle Ages.

As a ruler, Rollo determined to change his people’s habits. Having been a robber himself he knew what a shocking thing it was to ravage and plunder. He made strict laws and hanged robbers. His duchy thus became one of the safest parts of Europe.

Rollo's grave at the Cathedral of Rouen. Photo Credit

Rollo’s grave at the Cathedral of Rouen. Photo Credit

Rollo had a son William Longsword with the Poppa, a daughter of Berenger, Count of Rennes.

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In 912 Longsword succeeded Rollo and became the second ruler of Normandy.