List of legendary kings of Sweden

The legendary kings of Sweden are the Swedish kings who preceded Eric the Victorious, according to sources such as the Norse Sagas, Beowulf, Rimbert, Adam of Bremen and Saxo Grammaticus, but who are of disputed historicity because the sources are more or less unreliable, and sometimes contradictory. They are called sagokonungar or sagokungar in Swedish, meaning "Saga kings" according to the etymology given by SAOB.

The first Kings attested in contemporary sources are those mentioned in the Vita Ansgari. However, very little is known about the extent of their rule. The first king attested in more than one source was Eric the Victorious, who lived around 970–995. He was succeeded by his son King Olof Skötkonung (late-960s – circa 1020), who also is the first king we know ruled over both parts of Svealand and Götaland. Earlier kings often only ruled over parts of the present territory of Sweden, and so their validity as 'kings of Sweden' may be questioned.[1][not specific enough to verify] However, according to the Viking sagas, those territories were sometimes united under a single ruler.

In sources such as Heimskringla and Ynglinga saga there appear early Swedish kings who belong in the domain of mythology. From about the 6th century, these kings are gradually succeeded by semi-legendary kings with at least partial claim to historicity, who were all depicted as descendants of the House of Ynglings/Scylfings, either in direct royal line, or through the House of Ragnar Lodbrok and the house of Skjöldung (Scylding).

A historical basis of some of the mythological kings was one of the last of Thor Heyerdahl's archeo-anthropological theories, as in The Search for Odin. Such suggestions are generally considered speculative, not scientific, but while there is no historiographical tradition that would confirm the historicity of Swedish kings prior to the 6th century, it is safe to assume that the Suiones, as a tribe mentioned by Tacitus in the 1st century AD, did have kings (Common Germanic *kuningaz) during the prehistoric period.

House of Ynglings/Scylfings[edit]

The list is mainly based on the Ynglinga saga, in turn based on the Ynglingatal. In addition, Snorri uses a king Gylfe in his prologue to his Edda.

The genealogy is traced to Odin himself (as are the Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies). Odin is euhemerised as an Asian noble with a genealogy going back to the Trojans. King Fjölnir, the 4th generation after Odin, in the Grottisongr is named a contemporary of Caesar Augustus, placing him late in the 1st century BC. The kings following Fjölnir based on internal chronology would then span the 1st to 7th centuries AD.[2] The later Yngling kings of the Vendel Period (6th to 7th century) may well correspond to historical rulers, even if biographical detail from the Heimskringla has to be considered legendary; the kings Egil, Ottar and Ale are also attested in Beowulf. After Ingjald, Snorri does not relate any further stories of Swedish kings, and follows the descendants of the house to Norway.

House of Ivar Vidfamne[edit]

These are kings who succeeded the Yngling dynasty and who were part of the legends of Harald Hildetand and Ragnar Lodbrok. Björn Ironside is considered to be the founder of the next dynasty. According to the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, Sigurd Hring belonged to the Ynglings and he was the son of Ingjald. The sagas, on the other hand, give his father as Randver, variously the son of Ráðbarðr, King of Garðaríki, or of Valdar, Viceroy of Denmark, or of Hrœrekr Ringslinger, King of Denmark and Zealand.

House of Munsö (8th to 10th centuries)[edit]

The sources for the period are conflicting, but the kings Bern and Anund named in the only contemporary account, Rimbert's Vita Ansgari, seem to correspond to Björn at Hauge and Anund Uppsale. Suggestions for explanations of the inconsistencies have been to stipulate a tradition of co-rulership where two brothers were elected kings at the same time. The sources only seem to mention the details when there was civil war (Björn at Hauge and Anund Uppsale) or problems of succession (Eric the Victorious, Olof (II) Björnsson and Styrbjörn Starke).

The line of Swedish kings is continued in List of Swedish monarchs.

Gesta Danorum[edit]

Certain kings of Sweden appear in the Danish Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus. Of these, some (for example Athisl/Adils, Hunding/Fjölnir, Halfdan, Sigurd Hring, Ragnar Lodbrok and Erik and Alrik) are based on the same traditions as the West Norse Ynglingatal, Ynglinga saga and Historia Norwegiae. Moreover, the dynasties are the same, i.e. the descendants of the god Frey (i.e. the Ynglings) and intermediary Skjöldungs.[3]

However, there are many differences. These differences are not only due to a considerable distance in time from the kings they describe and to the traditions being kept in different parts of Scandinavia. Whereas Ynglingatal glorifies the Norwegian kings by their Swedish origins, Saxo's Swedish kings are there to glorify the Danes by being dominated by them, the task of which might have needed some fictional creativity from Saxo's side and/or Danish bias and tradition. On the other hand, in some sources the Ynglings did not solely rule Norway after ruling Sweden and so describes kings following Ingjald as kings of Sweden and Norway Ynglings as well as Norway.

This list is incomplete:

Johannes Magnus[edit]

Johannes Magnus in his Historia de omnibus Gothorum Sveonumque regibus (published posthumously in 1554) lists Gustav Vasa (r. 1521–1523) as the 143rd and Eric the Victorious (Ericus Victoriofus, the first Swedish king who can unambiguously be regarded as historical[5]) as the 110th Swedish king, in a list beginning with Magog ("2259 BC"). Magnus inserts 49 kings and 20 centuries between Odin (Othen, 9th, "1866–1746 BC", with a reign of 120 years) and Fjölnir of the House of Yngling (Fliolmus , 59th, "AD 265–273") where the Old Norse tradition has only two or three (Freyr, Njördr, Yngvi):

  1. Magog (2259 BC)
  2. Suenno (2217 BC)
  3. Gethar (Göthar I, 2161 BC)
  4. Ubbo [sv] (2101 BC)
  5. Siggo (2000 BC)
  6. Ericus (1990 BC)
  7. Uddo (1921 BC)
  8. Alo (1896 BC)
  9. Othen (Odin, 1866 BC)
  10. Carolus (Carl I, 1746 BC)
  11. Biorno (Björn I, 1695 BC)
  12. Gethar (Göthar II, 1599 BC)
  13. Siggo (Sigge II, 1570 BC)
  14. Berico (1511 BC)
  15. Humpulphus (1471 BC)
  16. Humelus (1367 BC)
  17. Gothilas (1292 BC)
  18. Sigthunius (1246 BC)
  19. Scarinus (1213 BC)
  20. Sibdagerus (1173 BC)
  21. Asumundus (1113 BC)
  22. Uffo (1065 BC)
  23. Hunding (1021 BC)
  24. Regnerus (Regner I, 973 BC)
  25. Hothebrotus (944 BC)
  26. Attilus (Adils I, 879 BC)
  27. Hotherus (830 BC)
  28. Rodericus (752 BC)
  29. Attilus (Adils II, 668 BC)
  30. Botuildus (638 BC)
  31. Carolus (Carl II, 596 BC)
  32. Grimerus (548 BC)
  33. Tordo (508 BC)
  34. Gotharus (Göthar III, 389 BC)
  35. Adulphus (315 BC)
  36. Algothus (292 BC)
  37. Ericus (Eric II, 263 BC)
  38. Lindormus (209 BC)
  39. Alaricus and Gefsillus (177 BC)
  40. Ericus (Eric III, 75 BC)
  41. Getricus (4 BC)
  42. Haldanus (Haldan I, 42 AD)
  43. Vilmerus (70 AD)
  44. Nordianus (82 AD)
  45. Sivardus (Sifvar I, 103 AD)
  46. Carolus (Carl III, 130 AD)
  47. Ericus (Eric IV, 169 AD)
  48. Haldanus (Halvdan II, 181 AD)
  49. Euginus (194 AD)
  50. Ragnaldus (202 AD)
  51. Amundus (220 AD)
  52. Hacho (Hakon I, 225 AD)
  53. Sivardus (Sifvar II, 234 AD)
  54. Ingo (240 AD)
  55. Nearchus (246 AD)
  56. Frotho (Frode I, 255 AD)
  57. Urbanus (Urban I, 257 AD)
  58. Ostenus (Öste I, 262 AD)
  59. Fliolmus (Fjölnir, 265 AD)
  60. Svercherus (Sveigðir, 273 AD)
  61. Valander (Vanlandi, 276 AD)
  62. Visbur (282 AD)
  63. Domalde (288 AD)
  64. Domar (307 AD)
  65. Attilus (Adils III, 314 AD)
  66. Dignerus (336 AD)
  67. Dagerus, 341 AD)
  68. Alaricus (Alrik II, 356 AD)
  69. Ingemarus (Ingemar I, 367 AD)
  70. Ingellus (378 AD)
  71. Germundus (382 AD)
  72. Haquinus, Ringo (Hakon II, 387 AD)
  73. Egillus (399 AD)
  74. Gotharus (Göthar IV, 405 AD)
  75. Fatho (421 AD)
  76. Gudmudus (427 AD)
  77. Adelus (433 AD)
  78. Oftanus (Östen II, 437 AD)
  79. Ingemarus (Ingemar II, 453 AD)
  80. Holstanus (455 AD)
  81. Biorno (Björn II, 460 AD)
  82. Raualdus (Ragnvald I, 464 AD)
  83. Suartmanus (481 AD)
  84. Tordo (Tord II, 509 AD)
  85. Rodulphus (519 AD)
  86. Hathinus (527 AD)
  87. Attilus (Adils IV, 547 AD)
  88. Tordo (Tord III, 564 AD)
  89. Algothus (Algöt II, 582 AD)
  90. Gostagus, Oftanus (Östen III, 606 AD)
  91. Arthus (630 AD)
  92. Haquinus (Hakon III, 649 AD)
  93. Carolus (Carl IV, 670 AD)
  94. Carolus (Carl V, 676 AD)
  95. Birgerus (Birger I, 685 AD)
  96. Ericus (Eric V, 700 AD)
  97. Torillus (717 AD)
  98. Biornus (Björn III, 764 AD)
  99. Alaricus (Alrik III, 776 AD)
  100. Biornus (Björn IV, 800 AD)
  101. Bratemundus (824 AD)
  102. Sivardus (Sigurd III, 827 AD)
  103. Herotus (842 AD)
  104. Carolus (Carl VI, 859 AD)
  105. Biornus (Björn V, 868 AD)
  106. Ingevallus, Ingellus (883 AD)
  107. Olaus (891 AD)
  108. Ingo (Inge II, 900 AD)
  109. Ericus (Eric VI Weatherhat, 907 AD)
  110. Ericus Victoriofus (Eric VII the Victorious, 917 AD)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harrison, pp. 16-19
  2. ^ The date of Eadgils is inferred from the date of Hygelac's raid on Frisia (c. 516) For more information see e.g. Birger Nerman's Det svenska rikets uppkomst, Elisabeth Klingmark's Gamla Uppsala, Svenska kulturminnen 59, Riksantikvarieämbetet (2013), Lars Ulwencreutz, The Royal Families in Europe vol. 5 (2013), p. 472.
  3. ^ Troels Brandt Danernes Sagnhistorie København, 2015, ISBN 87-990289-0-5
  4. ^ a b The Danish History, Book One.
  5. ^ Lindkvist, Thomas (2003), "Kings and provinces in Sweden", The Cambridge History of Scandinavia, p. 223., ISBN 0-521-47299-7