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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035

1. Eiríkr blóðøx Haraldsson (r. c. 929-34)
2. Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1014)
3. Hákon I inn góði Haraldsson (r. c. 934-c. 961)
4. Hákon jarl Eiríksson (r. c. 1014-c. 1015)
5. Hákon jarl Sigurðarson (r. c. 970-c. 995)
6. Hálfdan svarti Guðrøðarson (c. 820-c. 860)
7. Haraldr II gráfeldr Eiríksson (r. c. 961-c. 970) and the Eiríkssynir
8. Haraldr I hárfagri Hálfdanarson (r. c. 860-c. 932)
9. Óláfr II inn helgi Haraldsson (r. c. 1015-1030)
10. Óláfr I Tryggvason (r. c. 995-c. 1000)
11. Rǫgnvaldr heiðumhæri Óláfsson (later ninth century)
12. Sveinn Alfífuson (r. 1030-1035)
13. Sveinn jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1015)

(Vol. I. Poetry for Scandinavian Rulers 1: From Mythological Times to c. 1035 > 8. Volume Introduction > 4. Biographies > 4.1. Ruler biographies > 4.1.a. Kings and jarls of Norway > 13. Sveinn jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1015) )

13. Sveinn jarl Hákonarson (r. c. 1000-c. 1015)

Sveinn features less prominently in the sources than his half-brother Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson (q. v.), though it seems that he too fought at Hjǫrungavágr (Liavågen) c. 985 and at Svǫlðr c. 1000, and shared power in Norway after Svǫlðr. On Eiríkr’s departure to England (c. 1014), Sveinn ruled for up to two years with his nephew Hákon Eiríksson. Supported by the chieftains Erlingr Skjálgsson (see ‘Biographies of other dignitaries’) and Einarr þambarskelfir, Sveinn seems to have resisted Óláfr Haraldsson (q. v.), for instance by burning down the Christian settlement of Niðaróss (Nidaros, Trondheim) c. 1014 and engaging with him at Sauðungssund (Sauesund). Óláfr eventually defeated Sveinn’s forces at the battle of Nesjar c. 1016. Sveinn fled east (sources differ as to the destination), and never returned. See Anon Nkt 25-7II (c. 1190); Theodoricus (MHN 24-5, 27-8; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 18-21); Ágr (ÍF 29, 18, 211-6; Ágr 2008, 24-5, 27); Fsk (ÍF 29, 129, 131-2, 164, 167, 172-8; Finlay 2004, 102-3, 130, 133, 139-42); Hkr (ÍF 27, 39, 52-69, 71-2; Hollander 1964a, 266-7, 275-85, 287-8). In Skáldatal (SnE 1848-87, III, 257, 266, 281), the 761ax redaction names Bersi Skáld-Torfuson as skald to Sveinn jarl (assigned to Hákon jarl Eiríksson in U); Eyjólfr dáðaskáld and Skúli Þorsteinsson are assigned in U to Sveinn, but in error for Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson.

Events documented in poetry: Sveinn’s burning of Niðaróss (Trondheim) c. 1014 (ÞSjár Klœingr); the battle of Nesjar c. 1016 (Bersi Ólfl 1-3). See also poetry for Hákon jarl Sigurðarson, Eiríkr jarl Hákonarson and Óláfr Haraldsson.

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