Kings & Queens

The wooden carvings inside the Braathens aircraft are one of the most fascinating facet's of Braathens as Airline. Just like the names of the aircraft, these carvings are a synonym for Braathens as a regional Norwegian Airline with lots of pride, tradition and a proud history. Each aircraft in Braathens Fleet bears the name of an old Norwegian King or Queen. Created by the Norwegian artist Kai Asphaug, each of the Carvings is unique and represents a very special sequence from the life of the respective kings. Unfortunately, this tradition was not continued when the -700s were introduced, and no such carvings exits for the Queens. The interested reader will find more details about the life's of the Kings and Queens in the Saga's of Heimskringla. As these words are written, the carvings are removed from more and more aircraft.


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Halvdan Svarte

ca. 820 - ca. 860

Halvdan was the son of Gudrød Veidekonge and Åsa.

Snorre's Saga tells us that :

...by reason  of his black hair, he was called Halvdan Svarte (the Black)...

Halvdan was king over Ringerike and possibly also over Hadeland. He is described as a strong and stout man, who fought fiercely in his battle, and mostly was victorious.

Halvdan died when he sunk into the ice while crossing a frozen lake with a sleight. This last scene is also illustrated in the wooden artwork, which is currently inside LN-BRR.

There is a very interesting point in Halvdan's Saga.

For Vikings, dreaming and having dreams (=visions) was an important thing. Snorre tells us that Halvdan never had any dreams. So he went to a man called Thorleif Spake (the Wise) who told him to sleep in a swine-sty. And there, the following dream was revealed to Halvdan:

...He thought he had the most beautiful hair, which was all in ringlets; some so long as to fall upon the ground, some reaching to the middle of his legs, some to his knees, some to his loins or the middle of his sides, some to his neck, and some were only as knots springing from his head.  These ringlets were of various colours; but one ringlet surpassed all the others in beauty, lustre, and size.  This dream he told to Thorleif, who interpreted it thus: -- There should be a great posterity from him, and his descendants should rule over countries with great, but not all with equally great, honour; but one of his race should be more celebrated than all the others.  It was the opinion of people that this ringlet betokened King Olav the Saint

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Harald Harfågre (Luva/Lufa)

865-933

The Uniter of Norway

Harald Harfågre is one of the most shining persons in Norwegian History. He is seen as the Uniter of the Norway, which was previously separated into many smaller kingdoms.

Harald is described to be well liked by his mother, but not by his father Halvdan Svarte.

He invented new taxes and gave strong power to Earls as long as they provided him with armed men and supplies in war times. Many people fled from mainland Norway during his reign. Island, the Shetlands and the Orkney's were settled during his time as a consequence of the flight.

Harald obviously was an ancient Womanizer. He has as many as 13 children, and of course, not all of them were from the same mother. When Harald became old, he divided his kingdom again so that every son got his part and became king of his own. His Son Eirik was appointed the Supervisory king.

NO Picture yet!

Snorre's Saga about Harald Harfågre is relatively short compared to later kings. Mainly, he describes the battles that Harald fought. However, one interesting point I picked out: Harald wanted to marry a Princess Gyda, and sent out men to bring her to his residence. Gyda refused to come with them and told the messengers:

..."Now tell to King Harald these my words.  I will only agree to be his 1awful wife upon the condition that he shall first, for my sake, subject to himself the whole of Norway, so that he may rule over that kingdom as freely and fully as King Eirik over the Swedish dominions, or King Gorm over Denmark; for
only then, me thinks, can he be called the king of a people."...


This was of course an extreme affront to the king, but Harald said:

..."This girl has not spoken or done so much amiss that she should be punished, but rather she should be thanked for her words.  She has reminded me," said he, "of something which it appears to me wonderful I did not think of before.  And now," added he, "I make the solemn vow, and take God to witness, who made me and rules over all things, that never shall I clip or comb my hair until I have subdued the whole of Norway, with scat, and duties, and domains; or if not, have died in the attempt."...

Well Harald did so and became the Single-King over all of Norway after the Battle at Hafrsfjord. During these years, he also got the epithet Lufa, which means long matted hair. But after he was victorious, he took Gyda as wife and clipped his hair, and it was the Earl Ragnvald who gave him the Name Harald "Harfågre" which means "fair hair"

What do we learn of this? Behind every great man, there is a great woman...

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Eirik Blodøks

933-935

 

Eirik was one of many sons of King Harald Harfågre. He was appointed supervisory king when his father got older. Cause he didn't want to share the power over Norway with his brothers, he killed them with an axe after his fathers death, and by reason of that, he was called Eirik Blodøks (the bloody axe).

Eirik wasn't well liked by the people, and that may be a reason why we see no single saga for him.

 

 

The first kings lived long before Snorre, and he simply wrote down the Sagas that were told from generation to generation. A few poems about Eirik can be found in other Sagas. It is also told that Eirik become disliked because of the bad influence of his wife Gunnhild.

Eirik was expelled from Norway by his brother Håkon den Gode. He went to England and became king over Northumberland. It is interesting to note that the king of England by that time was Adelstein, the foster-father of Håkon den Gode. He decided that Eirik should be king as he was a son of King Harald Harfågre.

When King Adelstein died, Eirik began war against the new king. He gathered a strong force, but he was defeated as he marched to much inland from the sea.

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Håkon den Gode (Adelsteinfostre)

935-961

 

Håkon was another son of Harald Harfågre who became king when he arrived from England. He was the foster son of Adelstein, and is also referred as "Aldesteinfostre".

The bondes were slaves under Eirik Blodøks and Håkon promised them to give back their udal rights. He must have been a very strong leader and Snorre writes that he was met with the same support everywhere he went. Håkon was able to gather a strong army in a very short time and so could expel Eirik Blodøks from the country.

Håkon got his epithet because the time of his reign was a long time of peace and steadiness for the people, especially after the troublesome time under Eirik Blodøks

Håkon was certainly a strong leader and he defended the country against the Danes who were ravaging it and went himself with a strong army to Denmark and plundered there. He was killed by the sons of Eirik Blodøks who were seeking revenche in the Battle at Fitjar.

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Harald Gråfell
(II. Eiriksson)

961-976

 

Harald was the son of Eirik Blodøks and came to power by defeating Håkon den Gode in the Battle of Fitjar.

 

The following episode from Snorre describes the epithet of Harald:

...King Harald had generally his seat in Hordaland and Rogaland, and also his brothers; but very often, also, they went to Hardanger. One summer it happened that a vessel came from Iceland belonging to Icelanders, and loaded with skins and peltry. 

They sailed to Hardanger, where they heard the greatest number of people assembled; but when the folks came to deal with them, nobody would buy their skins.  Then the steersman went to King Harald, whom he had been acquainted with before, and complained of his ill luck.  The king promised to visit him, and did so.  King Harald was very condescending, and full of fun.  He came with a fully manned boat, looked at the skins, and then said to the steersman, "Wilt thou give me a present of one of these gray-skins?"  "Willingly," said the steersman, "if it were ever so many."  On this the king wrapped himself up in a gray-skin, and went back to his boat; but before they rowed away from the ship, every man in his suite bought such another skin as the king wore for himself.  In a few days so many people came to buy skins, that not half of them could be served with what they wanted; and thereafter the king was called Harald Gråfell (Grayskin). ...
 

Harald had learned the lessons of the past and when he came to power, the most powerful men in the country were either killed or replaced with men loyal to him. There was open stride between Harald and Sigurd Jarl Håkonsson (Denmark) and in order to secure peace, Harald agreed to let the son of Sigurd, Håkon Ladejarl, rule over Trøndelag area.

Harald was a strong ruler, he even improved the power of the king and conquered Viken, which is today's Olso-Akerhus area.

 

Harald met his final fate after a complot between Håkon Ladejarl and Harald Blåtann lured him to come to Denmark, where he was killed in a Battle near Limfjorden.

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Olav Tryggvason

995-1000

 

The Founder of Trondheim


 

Olav is reported to be a very strong stout and clever king. He was the son of Tryggve Olavsson.
Olav tried to Christianise the country by force, which in return gave him much trouble with the local leaders, who were still believing in the old religions.

Olav had his head quarters at Nidaros, which is today's Trondheim, This was, most certainly, not by surprise, as he was allianced with Erling Skjalgsson who was residing at Sola

Olav gained many  properties from raids to England and later from the so called "Danegjelden" which the English King paid to him just to keep him away from the country. So Olav gained money and power without having to sail to England and having to fight.

 

One should treat the Saga's of Olav Tryggvason with greatest caution, as they describe him larger than life.

 

Olav was killed in the Battle at Svolder, where he fought against Olav Svenske, Svein Tjugeskjegg and Eirik Håkonsson Ladejarl.

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Erling Skjalgsson

975-1028

Erling was local chief in the Sola-area, and so Braathens decided to promote the anniversary in 1996 by naming an aircraft after this king.

Erling was married to Astrid, the sister of King Olav den Hellige, and is reported to have had a strong alliance with Olav Tryggvason.

Erling came into conflict with Olav den Hellige when Olav claimed to be the single king of Norway. Erlings father was king over Rogaland, and subsequently Erling demanded this right for himself. The marriage with Olav's sister certainly was a try to make peace between these two kings, but it didn't last long.

Olav was Christianising the whole country, and Erling was representing the old Åsa-religions. Erling was Christianized before his marriage, but always kept close to the old religions. When Olav denied Erling the right to freely sell grain, Erling went out with a strong army of 1000 (!!!) men against Olav and surrounded Olav while he was praying inside the church of Avaldnes on Karmøy. This was of cause questioning the power of King Olav.
 

The final fate of Erling Skjalgsson is legendary. Erling fought extremely bravely in this battle on Baknafjord and was the only one of this army left. King Olav offered him Pardon. Erling responded proudly: "Face to face will eagles meet!" He than laid down his helmet and his sword. King Olav slashed his neck with his axe saying: "Thus I brand the betrayer of the king." In that moment, one of Erling biggest opponents, his second cousin Aslak Fitjaskalle, rushed forward and split Erlings skull with his axe. Erling died instantly and fell over .
King Olav cried: "Now you have struck Norway out of my hands." In the Saga, the killing of Erling Skjalgsson with the axe sealed Olav's own fate and only one and a half year later Olav den Hellige was killed in the battle of Stiklestad.

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Olav den Hellige

1015-1030

 

Saint Olav - The Patron Saint of Norway

Olav came to power at the age of 20 and was soon at war with the old regional kings. His quarrel with Erling Skjalgsson was lengthy and Olav tried to resolve this by marrying his sister to Erling.

Olav however didn't acknowledge the power of Erling Skjalgsson and tried to strengthen the power of himself as the sole king. This soon resulted in open adversary.

Olav tried to Christianize the country, and he did this with the sword in his hand. This of course gave even stronger opinion from Local chieftains like Erling Skjalgsson, who represented the old Åsa-Religions. Even the Law-Structure was changed so that everything fitted the Christian Law.

The interesting thing about Olav is that he got he epithet after his death. Olav was defeated by the Danes, and it is said that the killing of Erling Skjalgsson 2 years earlier sealed Olav's own fate. After the Battle at Stiklestad, where Olav was killed on 29th of July 1030, Olav was buried. After a year, the body was again brought back to the surface and it was found that his hair and his nails had grown. Furthermore, there was talk about miracles at the place he was buried.
Even his opponents agreed that he must have been a holy man and so Bishop Grimkel was asked to go to Trondheim and officially declare Olav Haraldsson a Saint. Interestingly, what Olav couldn't achieve during his life-time, now came to be: He was accepted all over and since then, Olav den Hellige
became Patron Saint of Norway.

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Magnus den Gode

1035-1047

 

Magnus was the son of Olav den Hellige and at the time, when his father fell at Stiklestad, he was in Jaroslav, which is in today's Russia. In 1035, Kalv Arnesson, the leader of the bondes, came to Jaroslav and brought him back to Norway, where he was declared king.

 

At the same time, Knut den Mektige, the King of Denmark, died. This opened the door to peace between Magnus and Harde-Knut from Denmark. This is interestingly the first time that Norway was recognised as a Kingdom by it's neighbours.

 

After Harde-Knut died in 1042, open war began between Magnus and the new Danish King Svein Estridsson.

 

 

The wars against Denmark lead 1046 to the agreement between Magnus and his fathers Brother Harald. Magnus shared his power in return for half of all properties of Harald. This should begin a period of more than 100 years of splitter kingdoms and several kings at the same time.

Even though he got the Epithet "Den Gode" for he was described as a mild and fair ruler.

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Harald Hardråde

1046-1066

The last Viking

Harald was a strong warrior, he had already fought with Olav den Hellige at Stiklestad, and there-after he gained rich properties when he served the emperor of Bezants. Look carefully at the Carving and notice the Bezantian helmet!

Harald became king after King Magnus den Gode shared his power in return for money in 1046 after long years of war against the Danes. After Magnus death Harald became sole king of Norway as Magnus den Gode had no sons.
Harald Hardråde means as much as "Hard Ruler" which can easily explain his bad reputation...

Harald continued the war against Denmark until 1064. The war against Denmark resulted also in quarrel with the ark-bishop of Bremen and finally with the pope. This was the first time that the Norwegian church and the Pope confronted, and subsequently resulted in that the Norwegian church was put under the control of the King.

Harald was a hard ruler, and his opponents were unscrupulously killed. Harald himself died in the Battle at Stamford Bridge, during a raid to England.

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Magnus Haraldsson

1066-1069

 

 

Magnus reign was rather short as he died after only 3 years of rule. Magnus shared during his reign the power with his brother Olav Kyrre, who became sole king after Magnus' death.

 

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Olav Kyrre
(Bonde / Mundus)

1067-1093

 

The Founder of Bergen

 

Olav became king together with his Brother Magnus after the death of his father Harald. After the death of Magnus, Olav became sole king.

His Epithet "Kyrre" means as much as "The Peaceful". Olav was unlike his father not going to war with England, but instead signed a peace-treaty with William the Conqueror and also with the Danish king Svein Estridarson.

This also resulted in easier relations with the Bishop of Bremen, who had been upset about Harald Hardråde. It is also said that Olav himself was a very religious man.

Furthermore, we know about Olav that he was a well educated king, able to read. This is remarkable, since he was the first king who was able to read. Olav's reign was a long and peaceful period and the people gained great wealth under his reign.

Sometimes, Olav is also called "Bonde" ("Farmer"), which refers to the fact that he often stayed on one of his Gårds (Farms). The third Epithet "Mundus" means as much as "The Elegant" and the Saga's tell us that Olav took some efforts in order to bring foreign civilisation to Norway. This is covering both manner and clothing's.

Olav died in 1093 at Haukabø and was buried in the church in Trondheim that he had ordered to be built.

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Magnus Barfot

1093-1103

 

Magnus was the son of Olav Kyrre and took the reign after his father died 1093. He was quarrelling with Håkon Magnusson (Toresfostre) until Håkon died in 1095.


Magnus enlarged the country, the Orkney's, The Hebrides and the Isle of Man fell under his reign. He was a strong king and great warrior and is compared to Harald Hardråde.


The war against Sweden was resolved by the marriage of Magnus to Queen Magrete Ingesdatter, which resulted in Peace.

 

Magnus died during the Battle at Ulster in 1103 when he tried to conquer Ireland. He went west in 1102 and had his residence for quite some time in Dublin.

Snorre tells us the following story about how Magnus got his epithet:

...People say that when King Magnus came home from his Viking cruise to the Western countries, he and many of his people brought with them a great deal of the habits and fashion of clothing of those western parts.  They went about on the streets with bare legs, and had short kirtles and over-cloaks; and therefore his men called him Magnus Barefoot or Bareleg.  Some  called him Magnus the Tall, others Magnus the Strife-lover...

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Øystein Magnusson

1103-1123

 

After the death of Magnus Barfot in Ireland Øystein and his brothers Sigurd and Olav became kings. Olav died before he was grown up.

Øystein got known because he raised a lot of buildings like harbours, sea-bridges and churches. Under his reign, Bergen was enlarged and became the most important town along the coast.

He also simplified together with his brother many laws and eased some of the burdens that the people had to bear previously, and that made both brothers well liked among the people.

 

Generally, the time was rather peaceful and helped Øystein a lot. But it is indeed remarkable to see that during his reign, the strong tax incomes were used predominantly for peaceful purposes.

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Sigurd Jorsalfar

1103-1130

 

Sigurd became king over Norway together with his Brother Øystein. He had been on the raid to Ireland.

 

He had been in fact been king of the Isle of Man from 1102 on.

 

Sigurd's Epithet "Jorsalfar" means as much as "the man who went to Jerusalem".
Sigurd spent long time of his life outside Norway. He took with him 60 Ships and 5000 men on his Crusade. For that times, an enormous armada!

 

Just like his brother Øystein, people remember Sigurd because of the peaceful time of his reign that gave wealth to the people.

 

 

Sigurd came back from his Crusade after 3 long years and thereafter, many new churches were raised all over the country. New Bishops were set to Stavanger, on the Faeroe-Islands as well as on Greenland. Sigurd was the driving force of the upturn of the church during his reign.

In 1130 Sigurd died in Oslo and was buried in Hallvard-Church, one of the churches that were built under his reign.

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Magnus den Blinde

1130-1139

 

Magnus was the son of Sigurd Jorsalfar and became king when Sigurd died. At the same time was also the brother of his father, Harald Gille, declared king and that ended in quarrels between Magnus and Harald.

Magnus was married to Kristin Knudsdatter and so became involved into the fight for the Danish throne. King Erik Emune had to flee from Denmark and lived some time at Magnus place, but soon there was quarrels and Erik went on to Harald Gille.

 

The quarrels between Magnus and Harald Gille soon lead to open adversary and soon there was war. Magnus was victorious in the beginning and Harald fled to Denmark.

Harald Gille got men and arms in Denmark and returned to Norway. He captured Magnus in Bergen and Magnus was blinded, castrated and the man of Harald axed one foot of Magnus so that he never could become king again. Then, he was sent to a monastery at Munkholmen near Nidaros (today's Trondheim)

Sigurd Slembe, a son of Magnus Barfot, gathered men around him and demanded to be king as he was son of Magnus Barfot. That led to war between Harald Gille and Sigurd and in 1137, Sigurd took Magnus out of the Monastery. Together, they fought against Harald, but were defeated and flew to Denmark. Magnus got help from Erik Emune in Denmark but was again defeated and finally fell in his final Battle at Hvaler.

Magnus time as king started a time that is today known as fratricidal wars and lasted until 1228.

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Sigurd Slembe

 

The Pretender to the Throne

 

Actually, Sigurd is referred in Heimskringla very badly. He was the man who killed Harald Gille, the current king. Sigurd is described as the Pretender to the Throne, as he claimed to be a son of Magnus Barfot.

Sigurd Slembe supported Magnus den Blinde and brought him back from his exile. However, Magnus was defeated and Sigurd was taken prisoner.

After the killing of Harald Gille, Sigurd Slembe didn't become king as the people didn't want a king that killed a man asleep. So the sons of Harald Gille became kings.

 

His death is described in the most painful way one can think of. The men of the King took cruel revenche for the killing of King Harald.

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Harald Gille
 (IV. Magnusson)

1130-1136

 

Harald lived his youth in Ireland and came back to Norway at the end of Sigurd Jorsalfar's reign. He claimed to be king since he was the son of Magnus Barfot.

His epithet "Gille" comes from "Gilla Christ" which means God's servant. There are several points in his Saga that hint on why he was called like that. I think, the most obvious is that one that he promised a church to be built in case that he would be victorious in the Battle against Magnus den Blinde.

After a defeat, Harald got a new army in Denmark and defeated Magnus den Blinde in Bergen.

After Magnus was prisoned in a monastery, Harald was sole king. In 1136, another son of Magnus Barfot showed up: Sigurd Slembe. Harald denied Sigurd the power as king because of the accusations of a murder. Instead, Harald arranged the murder of Sigurd Slembe. However, Sigurd managed to escape and came back.

Sigurd convinced some of Harald's men to follow him and so Harald Gille was killed while he was sleeping.

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Inge Krokrygg

1136-1161

 

Inge was the son of Harald Gille and became king together with his brothers Sigurd Munn and Øystein Haraldsson after his father was killed.

During the first years, all three were too young to reign themselves, so the earls in fact ruled the country.

After he was grown up, he had quarrels with Sigurd Slembe and Magnus den Blinde. Finally, Inge won but he got heavily injured.

His Epithet "Krokrygg" means simply "hunchback"

Inge also had a war with his brothers Øystein and Sigurd. Inge was lured to Bergen by his brothers. Inge had a strong force with him and when they met with their armies Sigurd was killed. Øystein came to Bergen a few days later and had to make a deal with the king. As he didn't keep his part of the deal, the brothers again went to war and Øystein was killed in 1157 by Simon Skalp.

 

However, the peace didn't last long and Inge was killed in the Battle on the frozen Oslofjord against Håkon Herdebrei

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Sigurd Munn

1136-1155

 

Sigurd was the oldest son of Harald Gille and came to power when his father was willed. Like his two other brothers, he didn't really want to share the power and soon after they had grown up, war began among the three brothers.

Sigurd and Øystein allied against Inge as they thought that he wouldn't be a suitable king.

They lured Sigurd to Bergen, but Sigurd came with a big army as he heard rumours of this and Sigurd was defeated and killed in the Battle.

Snorre tells us that Sigurd was a smart king, of good manners and fine shape and was good looking, however, he had an ugly mouth and so he was called Sigurd Munn

 

 

The early years of his reign were very peaceful, the country was in fact reigned by the earls. In Nidaros (today's Trondheim) an arch-bishop was set into position.

Sigurd never married, but he is said to have had a lot of affairs, which resulted in many children.

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Øystein Haraldsson

1142-1157

 

Øystein was the third of the sons of Harald Gille.

In 1153 Øystein went with ships and men to the Orkneys and forced the local Jarl to accept his role as ruler over the Orkneys. From that time on, the Orkneys were in fact part of Øystein's kingdom. Thereafter he continued with raids along the English and Scottish coast.

When Øystein came back to Norway, the quarrels between him and his 2 half-brothers loomed to open war. After the killing of Sigurd Munn, Øystein went to Viken (today's Oslo area) and Inge went to Trøndelag.

However, peace didn't last very long and Øystein attacked men loyal to Inge.  Next summer, the kings meat at Lindesnes and agreed on an agreement to save peace.

In that agreement, Øystein had agreed to pay high compensation to Inge, which he never did.

In 1157, war broke out between the two brothers and Øystein  had to flee since Inge had a much stronger army. Øystein was captured and by Simon Skalp, who was in fact his own brother-in-law. He was crucified and for many centuries Øystein was admired as a holy man because of the way he died.

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Håkon Herdebrei

1157-1162

 

Håkon was the son of Sigurd Munn and he became king after his uncle king Øystein died in 1157. As Håkon by that time only was 10 years old, he didn't rule the country by himself, it was rather though Sigurd Håvardsson.

Håkon's Epithet "Herdebrei" means as much as "Broad-shouldered" and has no reference in the Saga, but one can assume that he was a strong man.

Håkon had strong support in the Trondheim area, and they went to Viken, but had to retreat as King Inge's men were stronger in force.

There was open war between the two kings, and after an early defeat, Håkon managed to gain victory. Gregorius, one of King Inge's most loyal men, fell.

Later King Inge was killed in the Battle on the Ice of the Oslofjord.

 

 

 

Håkon was now sole king of Norway. He gathered all the sons of his father Sigurd and his uncle Øystein around him to support him

After the death of King Inge, Erling Skakke, who had been a loyal servant to King Inge, gathered a strong force of men loyal to Inge. in 1161, he made his 5 years old son Magnus Erlingsson king, as he was a son of the daughter of Sigurd Jorsalfar. Erling also gained support from the King of Denmark.

Only one year later, in 1162, Håkon and Erling met in a naval battle near Sekken, and here Håkon was killed when he entered the ship of Erling Skakke.

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Magnus Erlingsson

1161-1184

 

Magnus was the son of Erling Skakke and Kristin Sigurdsdatter, the daughter of King Sigurd Jorsalfar. He became king at the age of 5, but it was mainly his father that took the reign during the first years.

 

The remarkable thing about Magnus Erlingsson is that he is the first king in Norway that was officially crowned. This took place in Bergen in 1164.

 

Magnus and his father Erling Skakke weren't well liked by the people as they put a lot of burdens on them. This was in the end the beginning of their own downturn.

Magnus and Erling Skakke had to defend themselves against Sverre Sigurdsson, who came from the Faeroe Islands. In 1084 Magnus and many of his men fell in the Battle of Fimreite.

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Sverre Sigurdsson

1177-1202

 

Sverre was the son of Sigurd Munn and grew up on the Faeroe Islands, most likely in a monastery. It is said that he even was educated as a priest.

Already in 1176 Sverre went to Norway and demanded to be king as he was the son of Sigurd Munn.

Erling Skakke denied him to be king and favoured his own son Magnus Erlingsson.

In 1177 he became king and started his war against Magnus by defeating Magnus men at Trondheim. Later, Sverre was himself defeated, but he managed to come back a year later and than he managed to stick to the power and held Nidaros (Trondheim) all winter.

 

 

 

In 1179, he defeated Erling Skakke and in 1184, he was victorious in the Battle of Fimreite, where Magnus Erlingsson fell. Much of his success is due to the fact that Sverre did have a good knowledge. He was the first to build fortresses of stone, and he used to have the best equipped men in his army.

However, his time was unsteady and not very peaceful. Sverre is not well like by his people and has no real influence and power as king except for the Trondheim area, where he was residing. Especially in Viken (Oslo area) opposition was strong.

Sverre died in 1202 in Bergen.

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Håkon Sverresson

1202-1204

 

Håkon had a short reign of only 3 years. He was the only son of King Sverre and came to power upon his farther's death.

 

Håkon managed to settle an agreement with the church that gave both sides the possibility to interpret it very much in their own favour. In fact, he acknowledged the power of the church.

 

He also settled agreements with the local chiefs and his reign was a very peaceful time.

 

Under his reign, the hope for peace grew, but it was ended after Håkon was poisoned by his mother-in-law Margrete Eriksdatter around new-years day in 1204.

 

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Inge Bårdsson

1204-1217
 

Inge Bårdsson was the son of Bård Guttormsson and Cecilia, daughter of King Sigurd Munn. He became king with the support of the Birkebeiners, and by overthrowing Håkon Galen.

 

Inge ruled only over a part of Norway, and in 1206 Håkon IV. Håkonsson also became king over the rest of the country. Interestingly, there were no quarrels because of this.

Inge himself is described as a rather weak ruler, as he had to share his power with his half-brothers Skule and Håkon Galen, who were very powerful men in the background, with Håkon leading the army of Inge.

Under Inge's reign the local chieftains, Earls and Jarls got stronger influence. This rather happened due to the fact that the Earls and Jarls joined forces to make demands and have greater influence over The King

Inge reign was a rather peaceful period, and this was achieved by marriages and other tricks. Håkon Galen became a Jarl, which gave him stronger influence, and the kings daughter Kristin was married to the King Fillipus. After Håkon's death in 1214, Inge took over the rule of Western Norway, which Håkon had ruled before. Even though, there were revolts and the great power of Håkon and Skule let them over throne King Inge from time to time, which
undermined Inge's position as King.

Inge became sick and died in 1217.

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Håkon IV. Håkonsson

1223-1263

 

Håkon was the son of Håkon Sverresson and Inga. He was crowned in Bergen in 1247 and after the death of King Inge Bårdsson, a period of more than 100 years of quarrels for the throne came to an end.

Håkons first years were a fight for the throne as some questioned his right as king until Skule Bårdsson was killed in 1240.

In 1223 the church went out and supported his claim for the throne and in 1225 Håkon had a military campaign to Värmtland that helped to cement his own power.

 

Håkon build a lot of castles, churches and residences all over the country.

Håkon also issued a new law which regulated the succession to the throne. In that, it was written "God chose us to rule because of our ancestors. This is of course the beginning of the principle of heir to the throne.

Under Håkon's reign, agreements with Lübeck and Novgorod were settled, which subsequently saw Bergen become a part of the Hanse, the leading trade union of the middle-ages.

Håkon died in 1263 in Kirkwall on the Orkney Island after a campaign against the Scottish King.

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Magnus Lagabøter

1263-1280

 

Magnus Epithet "Lagabøter" means as much as law-mender. He had strong influence on many laws and reformed them. The "landslov" was one of them, manifesting the principle of heir to the throne.


Magnus ended the war the Scottish king by settling an agreement which the Isle of Man and the Shetlands fell under Scottish reign. As a kind of compensation, the Scottish king had to pay a fee. Interestingly, after a few years, the payments stopped and it didn't end up in war.

Håkon also introduced new classes with rights and duties. This can be seen as a rather modern law-structure.

Magnus died in 1280 and was buried in Bergen.

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Eirik Magnusson

1280-1299
 

Erik was the son of Magnus and he was officially sole king, even though his brother Håkon had almost the same amount of power and influence.
 

Erik tried to enlarge his influence by setting limits to existing trade contracts with the Cities of Wismar and Lübeck. He failed, and already in 1280 it became clear that the German cities allied would have an enormous power, which later resulted in the Hanse-Alliance.
 

Erik married Margrete Alexandersdatter in 1281 and he got a dowry of 14.000 Mark Sterling, an astronomically high sum given that the Kings annual tax income was less than 3000 Mark Sterling

Erik was also called "Prestehater" which means as much as "priest hater".

Erik died in 1299.

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Håkon V. Magnusson

1299-1319

 

Håkon was the second son of Magnus Lagabøter and became king after his brother Erik died in 1299. He had been Jarl over Oslo, the Orkneys and Oppland from 1280, after his fathers death.

Håkon was a strong ruler, who strengthened the power of the crown against the earls and the church. This wasn't of course well liked by the pope.

Håkon also continued the long standing conflict with Denmark way until 1309, when a peace treaty was settled in Copenhagen.

Håkon continued the policy of having the Hanse as the preferred trade-partner in Norway. This of course did cause trouble with the English traders. The relations to England got even worse when Håkon supported the Scottish in their uprising against the English Crown.

 

 

 

Håkon was the last in the line of male successors of Harald Harfågre. As his marriage was not resulting in sons, the dynasty died.

Håkon foresaw this and changed the law so that the son of his daughter Ingeborg, Magnus Eriksson to become King, not only over Sweden, but also over Norway. Norway enters as a result of that a long time of foreign rule.

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Ingeborg Eriksdatter

 
 

Ingeborg was the daughter of the Danish King Erik Plogpennig and Jutta of Saxonia. Her marriage to Magnus Lagabøter was yet another attempt to make peace between the two countries by arranged marriage.
 

After the death of Magnus Lagabøter Ingeborg is believed to have taken stronger influence in the politics. During the 1280s, quarrels broke out between Norway and the German trade cities, which ended up in a defeat for Norway. The German cities joined forces with the Danish King and forced Norway to re-instate the old trade laws. This can be seen as a first taste of the political power that the Hanse-Alliance later would get.
 

Ingeborg Eriksdatter died in 1287.

 

 

 
 

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Ragnhild Eriksdatter

 

Ragnhild was the wife of Harald Harfågre and is in Snorre's Saga also called Ragnhild the Powerful. Harald Harfågre had had many wife's and can be seen as an ancient Woman-Izer. Anyway, when he married Ragnhild he gave 9 other wife's (of him) their marching orders.

 

 

 

 
 

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Astrid Olavsdatter

 

Astrid was the wife of Olav den Hellige, and the sister of Ingegerd, which Olav wasn't allowed to marry as he was seen as a non suitable King for her.

 

 

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Margrete Skulesdatter

 

Margrete was the daughter of Skule Bårdsson, the brother of King Inge Bårdsson. She married in 1225 Håkon IV Håkonsson.
 

Margrete and Håkon had four children, one daughter (Kristin) and three sons, Olav, Magnus and Håkon.

 

 

 

 
 

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Gunnhild Gormsdatter

 

Gunnhild Gormsdatter was the sister of the Danish King Harald Bluetooth. She was married to Eirik Blodøks. The marriage was an attempt to safeguard the Norwegian monarchy against the danish interest.
 

Gunnhild is in the Saga's described as a very evil person. Eirik Blodøks shall have become a bad king due to her bad influence.
 

After the death of Eirik Blodøks in 954, she went back with her sons to Norway and began an uprising against Håkon den Gode, until Håkon was killed in the Battle at Fitjar.

 

 

 
 

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Tyra Haraldsdatter

 

Tyra Haraldsdatter was a Danish princess and was initially married against her wish to King Burislav of Wendland. (Wendland is the area south of Tallin and Riga in the Baltic region)
 

She fled from there and finally ended up in Norway, where she married Olav Tryggvason.

 

 

 

 
 

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Ingerid Svendsdatter

 

Ingerid was the daughter of the Danish King Svend Estridsson and she was married to Olav Kyrre. The time of Olav and Ingerid is described as a very peaceful time in Norwegian history that gave the people lots of wealth.

 

 

 

 
 

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Margrete Ingesdatter

 

Margrete was the daughter of the Swedish King Inge Steinkilsson. She married Magnus Barfot in 1101. The marriage was an important political issue as it secured peace between Norway and Sweden.
 

As Magnus died already in 1103, Margrete married again, this time with the Danish King Niels Svendsson.

 

 

 
 

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Kristin Knudsdatter

 

Kristin Knudsdatter was the daughter of Knud Lavard, the duke of Schleswig and the father of the Danish King Valdemar the Great.
 

Kristin was married to Magnus den Blinde, but the marriage failed and Magnus send Kristin back to Denmark.

 

 

 
 

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