- Project Runeberg -  The History of the Swedes /
42

(1845) Author: Erik Gustaf Geijer Translator: John Hall Turner
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - III. Establishment of Christianity. Contests of the Swedes and Goths for Supremacy. A.D. 800—1250

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Ingé marched with his household-men and an
army, although but small in number, eastwards to
Smaland, thence to East-Gothland, and so on to
Suithiod. He marched continually day and night,
and came unexpectedly upon Swen one morning,
surrounded the house, set fire thereto, and burned
all that were within. Swen came forth and was
there slain. Then Ingé again recovered the kingship
over the Swedes, and raised up the Christians
anew, governing the realm to his latest day, and
dying a natural death. Halstein was also son of
Stenkil, and was king together with his brother
Ingé.” It is doubtless by this relation that more
recent historians have been induced to ascribe to
the king the destruction of the idol temple in
Upsala, although of this old writers say nothing.

Inge waged war with the Norwegian king,
Magnus Barefoot [1], who claimed the land between the
Vener lake, the Göta river and the sea, as
belonging to Norway, and obliged him to abandon
this pretension. At a personal conference of the
three Scandian sovereigns (Eric Eiegod of Denmark
was also present), held in Konghall in the
year 1101, a peace was concluded [2]. This
reconciliation was strengthened by the marriage of
Magnus with Ingé’s daughter Margaret, who thence
received the surname of Fridkulla (the maid of
peace). Another of his daughters was married to
a Russian grand-duke [3]. To what period his life
was prolonged is not known [4]. Probably the
defection of the Jemtelanders to Norway in the year
1111, would not have been left unpunished if it
had occurred under his reign. The sagas celebrate
him as a gracious and mighty king, the
strongest and tallest of men. The Upper Swedes
rose in rebellion against him, alleging as their
grievance that he did not keep to the old law of
the land. The West Goths allege that he ruled
over Sweden with rigorous hand, but never
violated the laws observed in each individual
province [5]. The testimonies of Pagans and Christians
differ upon this point. His brother Halstan
survived him, and was succeeded by his own sons,
whence it is probable that the son whom some
accounts give to Ingé died before him.

The sons of Halstan, who reigned conjointly after
their father and uncle, were called Philip and Ingo,
but have left to history little beside their names.
The former died in 1118 [6]; the year of the latter’s
decease is unknown, but in 1129 he had already a
successor. That conspiracies were formed against
him may be concluded from the manner of his
death. He expired of poison, “brought to his end
by an ill draught.” He was the last of his house
on the male side, and with him the progeny of
Stenkil became extinct, of which the Table of Kings
in the Westgothic law attests that it had ever
gone well with the realm of Sweden so long as this
family reigned.

In the royal house of Denmark there still existed
descendants of this line on the female side, through
Margaret Fridkulla, daughter of Ingo the elder,
who after a long and childless wedlock with the
Norwegian sovereign, her first husband, married
Nils Swenson, king of Denmark, and bore him a
son called Magnus. This prince, of traitorous
memory, by the hereditary estates of his mother,
and his descent from the family of Stenkil,
acquired in West-Gothland influence sufficient to
procure his election to the throne upon the death
of Ingé, a choice which incensed in the highest
degree the people of Upper Sweden. Saxo, who
wrote towards the end of the same century, and
whose testimony respecting these times is perfectly
trustworthy, says [7]; “The Goths, venturing to offer
the supreme power to Magnus, and passing over
the Swedes, who alone possessed the right of
conferring it, attempted to raise their own importance
at the expense of the prerogative of their
neighbours. But the Swedes, despising this usurpation,
did not suffer their own privilege to be diminished
by the envy of an inferior people. Fixing their
gaze on the shadow of their ancient power, they
declared the title of king, prematurely usurped, to
be invalid, and themselves elected a new sovereign
who was forthwith slain by the Goths, and by his
death left the kingship open to Magnus.” Who
this sovereign was, the old catalogues inform us;
they mention after Ingo a king Ragwald, surnamed
Short-head (Knaphöfde), of whom they remark,
that he came audaciously and arrogantly to the
diet of the West Goths, without receiving their
hostages, and not as the law prescribed, and
therefore they slew him for the disrespect he had shown
to the nation. This befel in the year 1129 [8]. He
was a son of Olave Näskonung, who himself appears
as king in some catalogues, and thus, notwithstanding
the power of Stenkil’s family, must have
governed independently some portion of the
kingdom. The Danish prince appears hardly to have
reached the threshold of his reign; he murdered
in 1131 his cousin Canute Laward [9], who was
venerated as a saint after death, and fell three years
afterwards in the civil war which this homicide
produced in Denmark. But in 1133 a new election
had already taken place in Sweden, by which
Swerker was called to the throne.

By the conversion of Blot-Swen’s family to Christianity
the Pagans had now lost the last support of
their cause. This prince, set up by them as the
antagonist of Ingo the elder, had a son named Kol,
who, notwithstanding the disastrous fate of his
father, obtained after some time the sovereignty
of Upper Sweden; for he is mentioned as king,
with the remark that the Swedes styled him “happy
in harvests,” to denote the plenty which they
enjoyed under his reign. He is said to have become
a Christian in his old age, and to have died in


[1] So named because in his wars in Scotland he adopted
the garb of the Scottish Highlanders.
[2] See the Chronology to the third volume of the Sagas of
the Kings, Copenhagen edition.
[3] Mistislav. The sagas call him Harald. The Russian
annals inform us that his wife Christina died in 1122.
[4] His tombstone in the Abbey Church of Warnhem in
West-Gothland, which invents a date for his death, in 1064,
is of a much more recent period.
[5] Table of Kings, W. L.
[6] Are Frode, Schedæ.
[7] L. xiii.
[8] Of the two dates, 1130 and 1139, given for this event, the
latter is, beyond doubt, an error of the pen for 1129.
[9] Laward is lord (Hlaford, Anglo-Sax.). Canute was son
of Eric Eiegod (the good), duke of Sleswick, and king or
prince of the Obotrites, or Slavons of Wagria. Magnus was
jealous of his designs, real or pretended, on the Danish
crown. His son was afterwards Valdemar I. of Denmark,
called the Great. See Dahlmann, History of Denmark, i.
218—228. Trans.

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