Eric Haraldsson (Eric, anglicised form of Old Norse: Eiríkr; died 954), nicknamed ‘Bloodaxe’ (blóðøx), was a 10th-century Scandinavian ruler. He is thought to have had short-lived terms as King of Norway and possibly as the last independent ruler of the kingdom of Northumbria (c. 947/8–948 and 952–5).
Distinct from the king of Norway of the Norse sagas, a member of the Fairhair dynasty, the historical Eric of Northumbria has recently been argued to have actually belonged to the Uí Ímair (House of Ivar), a distinct dynasty long established in the British Isles by the time of his rule.
The little historical data which is available has been used by historians to reconstruct a narrative of his life and career. There is a distinction between contemporary or near contemporary sources for Eric's period as ruler of Northumbria, and the entirely saga-based sources that detail the life of Eric of Norway, a chieftain who ruled the Norwegian Westland in the 930s. Norse sources have identified the two as the same since the late 12th century, and while the subject was controversial among early modern historians, most historians have identified the two figures as the same since W. G.