Vikings follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok: the greatest hero of his age. The series tells the saga of Ragnar's band of Viking brothers and his family as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes. As well as being a fearless warrior, Ragnar embodies the Norse traditions of devotion to the gods: legend has it that he was a direct descendant of Odin, the god of war and warriors.
The inspiration behind this series is the Thracian Gladiator Spartacus, who led a slave uprising against the Roman Republic. The Thracians had been persuaded by Claudius Glaber to serve as auxiliaries in the Roman legions in a campaign against the Getae, who had often plundered Thracian lands. However after Glaber reneges on the deal and switches his attentions from the Getae to attack Mithridates in Asia Minor, the Thracians feel betrayed and mutiny. Captured by Glaber, Spartacus is condemned to death as a Gladiator, whilst his wife Sura is condemned to slavery.