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Old November 8th, 2012, 02:26 AM   #101

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(including one written shortly after the Danish Viking invasion of York in Great Britain called The Viking Chronicles)
Do you mean the Primary Chronicle and Danish invasion of York in 1069?

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Old November 8th, 2012, 02:37 AM   #102

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Originally Posted by starkodder View Post
Indeed. He simply had black hair.
Indeed. "...the black" as in "Black Holger" or something similar is a common occurring nickname for people that had black hair or more than average swarthiness in Denmark well up into the 20th century.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 03:12 AM   #103

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Indeed. "...the black" as in "Black Holger" or something similar is a common occurring nickname for people that had black hair or more than average swarthiness in Denmark well up into the 20th century.
There are as well a white and a black ewald, there is Olaf gudredsson, called Olaf the Black, and probably some more.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:35 AM   #104
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OK, we are talking about Halfdan Svarte Gudrödsson, purportedly king of the Vestfold, in what's today Norway, in the 800's, descended from the Ynglinga kings of Old Uppsala, and thus of the god Yngve Frey himself, according to Snorri Sturlusson's "Heimskringla"?

Well, according to Snorri, a good Christian (if Icelandic, and thus living and literally dying by the sword more than most at the time), the gods themselves were just men, come from Asia. Maybe someone wants to make something of that?

Otherwise most modern scholarly opinions I could find seem slanted towards simply writing Halfdan Svarte, king of the Vestfold, off as imaginary. As such he can of course be provided with the heritage of one's choice.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #105

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Outlandish as it seems there is a book based on this theory. What are your thoughts on this?

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The Hreimskringla (Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, written c.1225) states clearly that
"Halfdan grew up..., and soon became stout and strong; and, by reason of his black hair, was called Halfdan the Black."
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Old November 9th, 2012, 07:25 AM   #106

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The Hreimskringla (Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, written c.1225) states clearly that
"Halfdan grew up..., and soon became stout and strong; and, by reason of his black hair, was called Halfdan the Black."
Exactly. It really is as straight up as that. But a lot of people feel the Hreimskringla is dubious, or they feel that he was called "the black" due to his skin colour and it was so commonplace among the vikings to see dark skinned people that it was omitted. (It is crazy in my opinion.) Although even if his family tree is perhaps not as correct as one would think it is, the fact of the matter remains that there is nothing at all within it that could even remotely suggest that his nickname came at the result of having dark skin. He was a white man with the uncommon (in the area) feature of having black hair.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 12:13 PM   #107

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Dear Forum,
I thought I would respond to thins because it involves my family genealogy. My surname of Holder is a derivation of the Old Danish word Haldar which means Half Dark. Haldar was a son of Haldan or Halfdan as you have her the Old Danish word for half is hal (pronounced hall)Halfdan means half dane or half danish and refers to his Norwegian-Danish ancestry previously noted in the forum.I also agree with other comments in the forum accept those who claim Halfdan or Haldan as it should be was "half dark" or black although he may have had dark hair some original Danes had dark hair ,ther was also blond and red hair. It was not Halfdan or Haldan who was half dark; but his son Haldar or as you might put it Halfdar who was half dark/black It appears the novel that started this uses a little dramatic license, for the most part true, but missing one important facet, which I will try to correct for you.
This which I am about to impart comes from our family genealogy "The Holders of Holderness" as recorded by a noted ancestor and biologist Christopher Fredrick Holder in the late 19th early 20th century from various historic documents (including one written shortly after the Danish Viking invasion of York in Great Britain called The Viking Chronicles)and family sagas. It has been verified in a recent 21 Century DNA test conducted with thousands of Holders around the world (including myself)over 85% of which can trace their origins to Haldan through Haldar who is one of his sons.
Haldan or Halfdan (as you've been calling him)at one time got into a bit of trouble killing another Dane in a fit of anger. He was expelled and exiled from Denmark and travelled much of eastern Europe arriving finally in what is now Turkey and working as a bodyguard for a homosexual Turkish prince.
The Turks at the time were Christian and had to do 7 days of penance for killing someone; but since as a Viking Halfdan had no such aversion he took the position of the Turkish prince's bodyguard. As a Turkish prince the prince was often gifted wives; but since the price was homosexual the prince had no use for them. Halfdan of course being a Viking had no aversion to wives either so he developed a relationship with one such royal gift a Nubian princess from a kingdom in Africa( if memory serves she was from Ethiopia.
They fell in love and soon the princess was pregnant and since Haldan was clearly not Turkish it would be hard to explain why the child was paler then a Turkish-Ethiopian hybrid and since the dalliance was clearly a perceived insult to the Turkish prince (homosexual or not). Haldan was forced to kill the Turkish prince, a number of the princes other bodyguards in the process, defending the Ethiopian Princess and his child. Halfdan and the princess stole away taking the princes horses and princesses jewels with them and made haste back to Denmark to take his chances with his fellow Danes.
Along the way Halfdan's son was born and named Haldar(half dark). Halfdan with his bride, the Ethiopian princess returned to Denmark to raise their son Haldar as a Viking. The other Danes did view Haldan's wife and son a little differently because they were an oddity to Danes who had rarely if ever saw a black and mulatto before; since Haldan's journey was the first ever taken by a Dane who returned home. Maybe they were afraid of them;However it's doubtful since Danish Viking mothers were just as fearsome as their husbands if their families were threatened.
Haldar would later join his father on various expeditions and I'm sure if his wife was threatened by her Danish neighbors she probably followed and colonized as they went along colonizing The British Isles, Ireland, France (where they instituted the practice of Dan-gild(or Dane gold meaning extortion), Germany and as far as Moravia.
Therefore to summarize and bring to the current day: Halfdan was half Norwegian-half Dane and it was his son Haldar or I suppose to other writers in this forum "Halfdar" who was half dark, that half being Ethiopian. Within another 600-800 years this would be repeated as another ancestor would travel to The New World settling in the Caribbean and starting a Sugar Plantation and Boat building business and sire a whole new line of Haldars(or Holders as it became anglicized)of which US Attorney General Eric Holder is a descendent and probably a pretty good representation of what Haldar looked like (if you can envision him with longer hair).
I hope this has been helpful to you it's in the wee hours of the morning here and it's been a long day. I hope this puts the issue to rest. Thank you!
1. Your source, "The Holders of Holderness" was written by Charles Frederick Holder, not Christopher. It can be read here: The Holders of Holderness; a history and genealogy of the Holder family with especial reference to Christopher Holder, head of the American Quaker branch;

2. I wonder if you have read the book yourself, for it says nothing at all about what you post - no Halfdan, no adventures in the Turkish court, no suggestion that 'Haldar' means 'half-dark'. What it does say is that 'Holder' means 'stronghold' and that the family tradition is that a Danish ancestor settled in Britain c.500 (which is long before Halfdan the Black was born).

3. Just to clear up about Halfdan's name: Halfdan was of part Danish ancestry, but his grandfather was also called Halfdan, as were two other of his more remote ancestors. Halfdan is the name of a C6th Danish king in the poem Beowulf. It was not given to Halfdan just because he was half-Dane. It was a fairly common name.

4. I'd like to know the source of your story about Halfdan and the Ethiopian princess. Interesting as it is, it reads very much like a later Medieval Romance. Vikings did enter the service of the Turkish rulers, but wouldn't the 'Turkish prince' really be the Byzantine Emperor? There are elements in it similar to the Arthurian Romance 'Parzival', wherein the knight Gahmuret travels from his home to an African Islamic kingdom, defends the Queen there from attack, and then has a son by her who is born with skin that is part black and part white (like a magpie's plumage), called Feirefiz. Feirefiz becomes a great king, and in the Romance is half-brother to Parzival, travels to his father's kingdom with an army, later becomes a Christian, sees the Holy Grail, and is the father of Prester John.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 01:11 AM   #108

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Originally Posted by Thegn Ansgar View Post
Exactly. It really is as straight up as that. But a lot of people feel the Hreimskringla is dubious, or they feel that he was called "the black" due to his skin colour and it was so commonplace among the vikings to see dark skinned people that it was omitted. (It is crazy in my opinion.) Although even if his family tree is perhaps not as correct as one would think it is, the fact of the matter remains that there is nothing at all within it that could even remotely suggest that his nickname came at the result of having dark skin. He was a white man with the uncommon (in the area) feature of having black hair.
The rush to claim it can only be in reference to "black hair" seems odd to me. Mainly because we don't know whether Halfdan the Svarti existed or not. But also because there are clear documented cases of dark-skinned peoples in the north. I provided one example in the Heljarskin twins, notably Giermundr Heljarskin. The name Heljarskin ("hell skin," literally 'black as hell') clearly had nothing to do with hair color.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 03:33 AM   #109

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The rush to claim it can only be in reference to "black hair" seems odd to me. Mainly because we don't know whether Halfdan the Svarti existed or not. But also because there are clear documented cases of dark-skinned peoples in the north. I provided one example in the Heljarskin twins, notably Giermundr Heljarskin. The name Heljarskin ("hell skin," literally 'black as hell') clearly had nothing to do with hair color.
Except, it seems unlikely at all in relation to Halfdan's skin colour, on the basis that his son, Harald Fairhair has both been depicted as a white skinned individual, rather than mixed.

Both of Halfdan's parents were of white skin, as were their ancestors. It's not a rush to claim it can only be in reference to "black hair", on the basis of Svarti. It's deducing that it can only be in reference to "black hair", because that is the only situation which doesn't require ridiculous mental gymnastics. Repeatedly the Norse referred to people with black skin as "Blaumenn". Halfdan is never referred to by this word, at all. This, plus the fact that both of his parents were not black skinned, his son was not mixed or black skinned, but had extremely fair skin and hair and eyes, suggests that his nickname can only refer to two things. Hair colour, or personal disposition. There is nothing within Halfdan's family history that can suggest or even hint at him even remotely having dark skin.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 04:25 AM   #110

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Originally Posted by Thegn Ansgar View Post
Except, it seems unlikely at all in relation to Halfdan's skin colour, on the basis that his son, Harald Fairhair has both been depicted as a white skinned individual, rather than mixed.

Both of Halfdan's parents were of white skin, as were their ancestors. .
Excellent points. Also to note that Halfdan family ancestors (from his father side) were from the Ynglinga clan, who were one of the oldest known Viking families, and heavily associated with the Goddess Freya. If they were indeed black skinned, then surely some evidence would have been documented, despite the semi legendary status of the family and some of its members.

The best source for this family is the Ynglinga saga
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