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Who is General George Maniakes?

Leo Suter plays Harald Sigurdsson in Season 1 of Vikings Valhalla on Netflix
Leo Suter plays Harald Sigurdsson in Season 1 of Vikings Valhalla. Credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

SPOILER WARNING: This article discusses the historical exploits of George Maniakes and Harald Sigurdsson which could lead to potential spoilers for the TV show Vikings: Valhalla.

With the recent casting announcement from Florian Munteanu as General George Maniakes In Netflix’ Vikings: Valhalla, many viewers are wondering who this historical figure really is and how he will influence the storyline in seasons 2 and 3.

Considering Vikings: Valhalla is currently delving into the stories of the Viking Age Leif Ericson (Sam Corlett), Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) and Harold Sigurdson (Leo Suter) it is surprising to see a Greek character who was a prominent general of the Byzantine Empire.

So who was George Maniakes and why was he confused with the Vikings?

George Maniakes took over Sicily

According to the historian’s hutGeorge Maniakes was a Greek general who briefly succeeded in taking the island of Sicily from the Arabs between 1038 and 1041. Harald Sigurdsson, the leader of his Varangian Guard at the time, helped with this conquest.

This is probably his most famous achievement under the Byzantine Empire. It also led to him becoming the Katepan of Italy in 1042.

Things didn’t go well for George after that, however. Since he received the recognition of Emperor Constantine IX. Unrewarded for his success, George turned on Constantine, and he and his Varangian guard revolted.

In 1043 his troops clashed near Thessaloniki with those loyal to Constantine and George was killed. After that the uprising stopped.

Both Maniace and the fortress of Castello Maniace in Sicily are named after George Maniakes.

Sam Corlett as Leif Erikson and Leo Suter as Harald Sigurdsson as seen in Season 1 of Netflix' Vikings: Valhalla
Sam Corlett as Leif Erikson and Leo Suter as Harald Sigurdsson as seen in Season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla. Credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

George Maniakes in the Viking Sagas

After deadline, George is known as the Emir. However, in Viking sagas he was referred to as Gyrgir (also Gyrge and Gyrger in some translations) and appeared in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla (also known as The Lives of the Norse Kings).

The section of this book dealing with Harald Sigurdsson is called Harald Hardrade, which was another name for the famous Viking figure.

This story describes how Harald travels to Greece and meets with George, who is referred to as a “relative” of Queen Zoe the Mighty. This happened after the fall of King Olaf, who is also Harald’s brother in Vikings: Valhalla, which will give viewers a clue as to what will happen in Season 2.

Harald became the leader of the Varangian Guard under George and helped bring down a Sicilian city through the use of sport during a long siege.

Yes, you read it right.

According to the legends, Harald instructed his men to play sports outside the city walls. Considering that sieges are long and tedious, many crowded inside to watch the events unfold, and this led to the city’s guards being lazy when it came to protecting the walls – sometimes even letting them the gates open.

Eventually Harald conquered the city thanks to this drop in protection and the open gate.

Fans of the interesting record the attack on London Bridge Season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla can now look forward to this rather ingenious battle plan, which is expected to take place in Season 3.

Vikings: Valhalla Season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix. Season 2 will air in 2023.

https://www.monstersandcritics.com/tv/vikings-valhalla-who-is-general-george-maniakes/ Who is General George Maniakes?

Callan Tansill

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