Saturday, 17 December 2016

Anund Jacob, Magnus I Olafsson

Anund Jacob or James, Swedish: Anund Jakob was King of Sweden from 1022 until around 1050. He is believed to have been born on July 25, in either 1008 or 1010 as Jakob. When the Swedish Thing was to elect him the co-ruler of Sweden, the people objected to his non-Scandinavian name. They then gave him the pronomen Anund.
Anund Jacob
 The line of kings appended to the Westrogothic law says that he was called Kolbränna ("Coal-burner") as he had the habit of burning down the houses of his opponents.

His political agenda included maintaining the balance of power in Scandinavia, which is why he supported the Norwegian kings Olaf II and Magnus I against Denmark's king Cnut the Great during the 1020s and 1030s. At the Battle of the Helgeå, Anund and Olaf were either victorious over or defeated by Cnut.

When Magnus I became king of Norway and Denmark in 1042, Anund Jakob supported him until the death of Magnus in 1047. Anund Jakob's reign has traditionally been dated from 1022 to approximately 1050, but there is a great uncertainty over the year he died. He was probably alive 1049, and his brother and successor Emund is certain to have ruled Sweden in the summer of 1060.

According to Gudmund Jöran Adlerbeth of the Swedish Academy, not long after 1024 the king (as Jakun), blind and dressed in a gold suit, led a Swedish expedition eastward to the other side of the Baltic Sea and provided military reinforcements to his brother-in-law Yaroslav I the Wise in a battle against Mstislav of Chernigov.

Magnus Olafsson (Old Norse: Magnús Óláfsson, Norwegian and Danish: Magnus Olavsson; c. 1024 – 25 October 1047), better known as Magnus the Good (Old Norse: Magnús góði, Norwegian and Danish: Magnus den gode), was the King of Norway from 1035 and King of Denmark from 1042, ruling over both countries until his death in 1047. He was an illegitimate son of Olaf II of Norway, but fled with his mother when his father was dethroned in 1028.
Magnus I Olafsson
 He returned to Norway in 1035 and was crowned king at the age of 11. In 1042, he was also crowned king of Denmark. Magnus ruled the two countries until 1047, when he died under unclear circumstances. After his death, his kingdom was split between Harald Hardrada in Norway and Sweyn Estridsson in Denmark.

Magnus was an illegitimate son of King Olaf Haraldsson (later St. Olaf), by his English concubine Alfhild, originally a slave (thrall) of Olaf's queen Astrid Olofsdotter. Born prematurely, the child was weak and unable to breathe for the first few minutes, and he was probably not expected to survive. Olaf was not present at the child's birth, and his Icelandic skald Sigvatr Þórðarson became his godfather. In a hasty baptism, Sigvatr named Magnus after the greatest king he knew of, also Olaf's greatest role model, Karla Magnus, or Charlemagne. Against the odds, Magnus went on to grow strong and healthy, and he became of vital importance to Olaf as his only son.

Olaf was dethroned by the Danish king Cnut the Great in 1028, and he went into exile with his family and court, including the young Magnus. They travelled over the mountains and through Eidskog during the winter, entered Värmland, and were given shelter by a chieftain called Sigtrygg in Närke. After a few months, they departed Närke, and by March went eastwards towards Sigtuna, where the Swedish king Anund Jacob had left them a ship. The party thereafter sailed through the Baltic Sea and into the Gulf of Finland, eventually landing in Kievan Rus' (Garðaríki).

 They made their first stop at Staraya Ladoga (Aldeigjuborg) to organise the further journey. From there they travelled southwards to Novgorod (Holmgard), where Olaf sought assistance from Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Yaroslav, however, did not want to become directly involved in the Scandinavian power-struggles, and declined to help. After some time, in early 1030, Olaf learned that the Earl of Lade Håkon Eiriksson, Cnut's regent in Norway, had disappeared at sea, and gathered his men to make a swift return to Norway. Magnus was left to be fostered by Yaroslav and his wife Ingegerd.

In early 1031, a party including Magnus's uncle Harald Sigurdsson (later also to be king and then known as Harald Hardrada) arrived to report the news of his father's death at the Battle of Stiklestad. For the next few years, Magnus was educated in Old Russian and some Greek and was trained as a warrior. After Cnut's death in 1035, the Norwegian noblemen did not want to be under the oppressive rule of his son Svein and his mother Ælfgifu (known as Álfífa in Norway) any longer.
Magnus I Seal
Einar Thambarskelfir and Kalf Arnesson, who had both sought to be appointed regents under Cnut after Olaf's death in 1030 (Cnut instead appointed Svein and Ælfgifu), went together to Kievan Rus' to bring the boy back to rule as the King of Norway. After receiving the approval of Ingegerd, they returned with Magnus to Sigtuna in early 1035, and received backing from the Swedish king, brother of Magnus's stepmother Astrid. Astrid immediately became an important supporter of Magnus, and an army was gathered in Sweden, headed by Einar and Kalf, to place Magnus on the Norwegian throne.

Sweyn increased the pressure on Magnus from his base in Scania, but by late 1046, Magnus had driven Sweyn out of Denmark. However, on October 25, 1047 he died suddenly while in Denmark, either in Zealand or in Jutland, either in an accident or of a disease; accounts vary. Reports include falling overboard from one of the ships he was mustering to invade England and drowning, falling off a horse, and falling ill while on board a ship. He is said to have made Sweyn his heir in Denmark, and Harald in Norway; some say in a deathbed statement. Magnus was buried with his father in the cathedral at Nidaros, modern Trondheim.

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