Rollo of Normandy holds a particular fascination for me as an example of somebody who left virtually no trace on the historical record, and yet around whom a vast body of legend arose during the two centuries after his own. This is no doubt due to the retroactive magnitude of his accomplishments; although the Rollonid Principality upon Rollo’s death must have seemed ephemeral, within a century it had become Normandy, and the origin of so great a nation needed to be explained in terms of the greatness of its founder. Thus, “our” Rollo was born; not an unrepentant pagan adventurer who somehow managed to gain sway over the Viking population of a Frankish city, but a noble Christian (more or less) who single-handedly built a Frankish principality.

Google searches for Rollo turn up astonishing numbers of pages, most of which are the genealogies of people claiming Rollo as an ancestor. What little information about Rollo that is contained on many of these pages is fanciful at best, taking the later legends as gospel truth. Frustrated by the lack of good sources for accurate information about Rollo derived from contemporary historical records, I decided to build this site as a starting point. It contains scholarly essays on Rollo as historical and literary figure; a brief bibliography of primary and secondary sources for Rollo; links to other sites that deal with Rollo in a relatively substantive manner; and, for fun, a section on Rollo of Fargo.

Any feedback is heartily encouraged, and scholars of early Normandy with an interest in Rollo are encouraged to submit material for this site. I will gladly run anything that meets normal academic standards, whether it fits my view of Rollo or not. I also would consider a page of criticisms of my views as expressed in these pages. All correspondence may be addressed to rob@mnmicro.net .

I hope you enjoy my Rollo pages!

The history of Rollo — Essays on the historical Rollo

Rollo of Fargo — The amazing and utterly true saga of Rollo’s journey to North Dakota

Rollo bibliography — Primary and secondary materials for the life and posterity of Rollo

Rollo links — Links to Rollo sites on the internet

Roman de Rou — Information on a new translation and edition of the 12th-century epic poem on Rollo and his descendants

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