Vikings: Amazon Prime release trailer for final season
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The Christian monk Athelstan (played by George Blagden) was taken as a slave by Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) in the first season of Vikings. Although he played a key role in the early instalments of the popular History series, some fans have spotted a huge mistake with the character’s origins.
Athelstan’s role in the first three seasons of Vikings has come under fire from history buffs who tuned into the popular series.
Fans have already spotted a number of factual inaccuracies in the six seasons of Michael Hirst’s epic medieval drama.
There have now been claims that Athelstan’s ‘Saxon’ label from his Viking captors was actually incorrect.
Due to his roots in Northumbria, some viewers have claimed that the Anglo-Saxon settler was actually more Angle than Saxon.
Although the all encompassing term refers to the various groups of Germanic people who settled in Great Britain, Saxons actually settled in more southern parts of England.
Alternatively, the Angles established the kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia in what we now know as the North and Midland areas of the country.
As Athelstan is established to have arrived from Northumbria, Ragnar and the rest of the Vikings were actually wrong to refer to the monk as a Saxon.
One recent article in Screenrant highlighted their mistake and explained more.
They said: “Like the Saxons, the Germanic Angles have a history in England that dates back centuries, but they’re generally said to have originated in modern Denmark.
“Meanwhile, the Saxons typically migrated from what’s now Northern Germany, off the coast of the North Sea.”
Despite their language barrier and cultural and religious differences, Athelstan and the Vikings may have been closer in origin than they thought.
The article added: “Given the geographic closeness of his apparent Danish lineage, it’s possible Athelstan is closer to his Viking friends than realized.”
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The journey from Denmark to Norway would have been much longer in the age of Vikings, of course.
Even so, Ragnar should have eventually realised his mistake given his close proximity to the birthplace of Athelstan’s ancestors.
Unfortunately, the character’s conception as an amalgamation of several different figures from history and legends makes him predisposed to these sorts of historical liberties.
For example, King Ecbert’s constant praise of Athelstan’s seemingly singular command of Latin as a rare and valuable skill wouldn’t actually have been the case when the series was set.
Screenrant pointed out: “Ecbert’s claim of the monk’s uncommon knowledge of Latin is not true; at least not during this era.
“In fact, Latin was quite common amongst the clergy and religious scholars of the late eighth century.”
Thankfully, most viewers didn’t rely on Vikings for pure historical fact, and the series remained one of the History Channel’s most compelling original shows until the end.
Vikings seasons 1-6 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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