One of the oldest of all Nordic-Viking names, “Rolf” came from “Hrodwulf,” a Dark Ages appellation when mostly pagan names tended to extol virtues. One of the most famous kings of antiquity, Rolf (also called Rollo) gained renown in warfare by assembling the most celebrated warriors of the North known as Rolf’s Twelve Champions. Rolf became to the North what King Arthur had accomplished for Britain and Charlemagne for France. His memory is honored by making the toast “Skoal!” at ceremonies and festive events.
Equally famous was “Rolf the Ganger,” or “Marching Rolf,” a Viking chief who sailed the Seine and surrounded Paris. Finally defeated by King Charles the Simple of France, Rolf was granted land in northwestern France on the condition he would defend it and the river from other Vikings. Rolf fulfilled the arrangement, which allowed him to expand the allotment at the expense of neighboring French lords. Known as a Norman, a contraction of “Northman,” Rolf became ruler of Normandy, acquiring the title “The Dane,” first Duke of Normandy.