Halsten Stenkilsson

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Halsten Stenkilsson
King of Sweden
Reign c. 1067–c. 1070
Predecessor Eric and Eric
Successor Håkan the Red
(as King of Gothenland)
Anund Gårdske
(as King of Svealand)
King of Sweden
with Inge the Elder
Reign c. 1079–after 1081
Predecessor Håkan the Red
Successor Inge the Elder
(as King of Gothenland)
Blot-Sweyn
(as King of Svealand)
Born c. 1050
Died unknown, after 1081
Issue Philip of Sweden
Inge the Younger
House Stenkil
Father Stenkil
Mother Ingamoder Emundsdotter

Halsten Stenkilsson, English exonym: Alstan[1][2] (Old Icelandic: Hallstein[3]) was a king of Sweden, son of King Stenkil and a Swedish princess. He became king some time after his father Stenkil's death (1066), and he may have ruled together with his brother Inge the Elder.[4][5][6] The date of his death is not known.[5]

Brief kingship[edit]

Little is known of his time as king.[5] In a scholia in the work of Adam of Bremen, he is reported to have been elected king after the violent death of two pretenders,[5] but took over a highly volatile situation. While he was clearly a Christian like his father and brother, his influence may have been limited, since Adam relates that Christianity was so disturbed that the bishops appointed by the Archdiocese of Bremen did not even dare to travel to Sweden.[7]. He was deposed after a short while, in the late 1060s or early 1070s, and replaced by a princeling from Gardariki, Anund.[5][6]

Possible later reign[edit]

That he later on ruled together with his brother Inge has some support from a papal letter from 1081, by Pope Gregory VII, which refers to two kings with the initials A and I, and where they are called kings of Västergötland[5] (rege wisigothorum[8]). However, the king "A" could also be Håkan the Red.[9] His co-rulership with his brother Inge is also mentioned in the Hervarar saga.[4] In the regnal list of the Westrogothic law, he is said to have been courteous and cheerful, and whenever a case was submitted to him, he judged fairly,[5][6] and this was why Sweden mourned his death.[5] He was the father of the co-rulers Philip and Inge the Younger.[4][5][6]

The Hervarar saga, which is one of the few sources about the kings of this time, has the following to tell:

Hallsteinn hét sonr Steinkels konungs, bróðir Inga konungs, er konungr var með Inga konungi, bróður sínum. Synir Hallsteins váru þeir Philippus ok Ingi, er konungdóm tóku í Svíþjóð eptir Inga konung gamla.[3]

King Steinkel had, besides Ingi, another son Hallstein who reigned along with his brother. Hallstein's sons were Philip and Ingi, and they succeeded to the Kingdom of Sweden after King Ingi the elder.[4]

Notes and references[edit]

Halsten
Born: c. 1050 Died: after 1081
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Eric and Eric
King of Sweden
c. 1067–c. 1070
Succeeded by
Håkan the Red
as King of Gothenland
Succeeded by
Anund Gårdske
as King of Svealand
Preceded by
Håkan the Red
King of Sweden
c. 1079–after 1081
with Inge the Elder
Succeeded by
Inge the Elder
as King of Gothenland
Succeeded by
Blot-Sweyn
as King of Svealand