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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Magnús inn góði Óláfsson — MgóðII


Vol. 2, 5-7 —  — ed. Kari Ellen Gade



Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘(Biography of) Magnús inn góði Óláfsson’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 5-7.

See ‘Royal Biographies’ in Introduction to this volume.


Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 > 8. Introduction > 5. Biographies > 1. Royal Biographies > 1. Kings of Norway > l. Magnús I inn góði Óláfsson (Mgóð) (r. 1035-47)

Sagas: Mgóð, HSig, MH (Ágr, Flat, Fsk, H-Hr, Hkr, Mork, Theodoricus).

Magnús inn góði ‘the Good’, the only son of Óláfr Haraldsson (S. Óláfr; see Genealogy II.1 in ÍF 28), was fostered in Russia at the court of Jaroslav (Jarizleifr) of Novgorod and his wife, Ingigerðr, the daughter of the Swedish king Óláfr sœnski ‘the Swede’. Five years after the death of his father at the battle of Stiklestad (29 July 1030), Magnús was summoned to Norway by Norwegian magnates and elected king. Upon the death of Hǫrðaknútr Knútsson (8 June 1042), Magnús laid claim to the throne of Denmark, and he ruled the two kingdoms until his death in Denmark (25 October 1047), despite the military opposition from Sveinn Úlfsson, later king of Denmark. When Magnús’s uncle, Haraldr harðráði, returned from his sojourn in Byzantium in 1046, he and Magnús ruled Norway jointly for one year (1046-7). See Anon Nkt 33-5, Theodoricus (MHN 44-6, 48-51, 54-5; McDougall and McDougall 1998, 33-5, 37-9, 43-4), Ágr (ÍF 29, 32-7; Ágr 1995, 46-55), Mork (Mork 1928-32, 1-56, 89-148; Andersson and Gade 2000, 89-129, 151-87), Fsk (ÍF 29, 207-26, 239-49; Finlay 2004, 167-81, 192-200), Hkr (ÍF 28, 3-67, 94-107; Hollander 1991, 538-76, 592-600), Flat (Flat 1860-8, III, 251-88, 306-32), H-Hr (Fms 6, 3-124, 176-237). See also ÓH (ÍF 27, 414-15; Hollander 1991, 536-7), Knýtl (ÍF 35, 128-33; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1986, 44-7), Orkn (ÍF 34, 54-6, 63-5, 70-1, 75-8; Hermann Pálsson and Edwards 1987, 57-8, 63-4, 68, 71-4). Two lausavísur are attributed to Magnús (Mgóð Lv 1-2).

Events documented in poetry: Magnús’s return from Russia to Norway via Sweden in 1035, the exile of the then regent, Sveinn Knútsson (Álfífuson), and Magnús’s election as king of Norway (Sigv Lv 29-30I; BjHall Kálffl 6I; ÞjóðA Magnfl 1-3; Arn Hryn 4-8; Arn Magndr 1-4); Magnús’s high-handed treatment of the Norwegian farmers and the ensuing exile of his counsellor, Kálfr Árnason (BjHall Kálffl 7I; Þflekk Lv; Sigv Berv; Kolgr Ól); his journey to Denmark in 1042 to claim the Danish throne (ÞjóðA Magnfl 4; Arn Hryn 9-10; Arn Magndr 5-7); Sveinn Úlfsson’s oath of allegience (ÞjóðA Magnfl 5); Magnús’s battles against the Wends in Wollin, Rügen and Lyrskovshede in 1043 (ÞjóðA Magnfl 6-7; Arn Hryn 11-13; Arn Magndr 8-11; Þfagr Sveinn 1); his campaigns against Sveinn Úlfsson in Denmark in 1043-4 (Okík Magn 1; ÞjóðA Magnfl 8-19; ÞjóðA Magn 1-14; Arn Hryn 14-15; Arn Magndr 12-18); his campaign against his uncle, Haraldr harðráði, in 1045 (ÞjóðA Frag 1); his reconciliation with Haraldr in 1046 (ÞjóðA Sex 10; Bǫlv Hardr 7); his dealings with Haraldr (Mgóð Lv 1; Hharð Lv 3) and his love for an unnamed woman (Mgóð Lv 2); his death in Denmark in 1047 and his funeral voyage and burial (Okík Magn 2-3; ÞjóðA Lv 1; Anon (MH)). See also ÞjóðA Run 4.

other information

Magnús inn góði Óláfsson (Mgóð)

11th century

Skj AI, 330; BI, 304

volume 2

main editor: Kari Ellen Gade


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