Kingdom of Norway (872–1397)
The term Norwegian Realm and the Old Kingdom of Norway, refer to the Kingdom of Norway's peak of power at the 13th century after a long period of civil war before 1240. The kingdom was a loosely unified nation including the territory of modern-day Norway, modern-day Swedish territory of Jämtland, Herjedalen and Idre and Särna, as well as Norway's overseas possessions, settled by Norwegian seafarers for centuries before being annexed or incorporated into the kingdom as'tax territories'. To the North, Norway bordered extensive tax territories on the mainland. Norway, whose expansionalism starts from the foundation of the Kingdom in 872, reached the peak of its power in the years between 1240 and 1319. At the peak of Norwegian expansion before the civil war, Sigurd I led the Norwegian Crusade; the crusaders won battles in the Balearic Islands. In the Siege of Sidon they fought alongside Baldwin I and Ordelafo Faliero, the siege resulted in an expansion of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.. Leif Erikson, an Icelander of Norwegian origin and official hirdman of King Olaf I of Norway, explored America 500 years before Columbus.
Adam of Bremen wrote about the new lands in "Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum" when meeting Sweyn I of Denmark, but no other sources indicate that this knowledge went farther into Europe than Bremen, Germany. The Kingdom of Norway was the second European country after England to enforce a unified code of law to be applied for the whole country, called Magnus Lagabøtes landslov; the secular power was at its strongest at the end of King Haakon Haakonsson's reign in 1263. An important element of the period was the ecclesiastical supremacy of the archdiocese of Nidaros from 1152. There are no reliable sources for. Uppsala was established and was the third metropolitan diocese in Scandinavia after Lund and Nidaros; the church participated in a political process both before and during the Kalmar Union that aimed at Swedish side, to establish a position for Sweden in Jämtland. This area had been a borderland in relation to the Swedish kingdom, in some sort of alliance with Trøndelag, just as with Hålogaland.
A unified realm was initiated by King Harald I Fairhair in the 9th century. His efforts in unifying the petty kingdoms of Norway, resulted in the first known Norwegian central government; the country however fragmented soon, was again collected into one entity in the first half of the 11th century. Norway has been a monarchy since Fairhair; when Harald Fairhair became king of Norway after the battle at Hafrsfjord, he looked west to the isles, colonised by Norwegians for a century and by 875 the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland had been brought under his rule and given to Ragnvald Eysteinsson, Jarl of Møre. Iceland was more reluctant to give up their independent rule, so the Icelandic saga author Snorri Sturluson was given royal invitation to the court of King Haakon Haakonsson and was there convinced that Iceland was by right Norwegian. So began the Age of the Sturlungs, a time of political strife in Iceland, the Sturlungs worked for bringing Iceland to Norwegian rule and spread propaganda through their position at the Althing and resorted to violence before, in 1262, the Old Covenant was signed, which brought total Norwegian rule over the island.
In Ranríki Konunghella was built as a royal city alongside Biorgvin. It remained Norwegian until the 1658 Roskilde treaty. Herjárdalr remained so for five centuries. Jamtaland started paying taxes to Norway during the 13th century and was absorbed into a part of the mainland territory the same century, it was occupied by the Swedish during the Nordic Seven Years' War, but returned to Denmark-Norway as a result of the Stettin treaty of 1570. Idre and Særna, Norwegian since the 12th century, were conquered by Sweden during the Hannibal controversy. Ranríki, Herjárdalr, Idre and Særna were permanently surrendered to Sweden by the Peace of Brömsebro the 13th of August 1645. Viken, counties under Borgarþing: Ránríki Vingulmórk Vestfold Grenafylki Oppland, counties under Heiðsævisþing: Heinafylki Haðafylki Raumaríki Guðbrandsdalir Eystridalir Vestlandet, counties under Gulaþing: Sunnmærafylki Firðafylki Sygnafylki Horðafylki Rygjafylki Egðafylki Vøllðres HaddingjadalrTrøndelag, counties under Frostaþing: Raumsdølafylki Norðmørafylki Naumdølafylki Sparbyggjafylki Eynafylki Verdølafylki Skeynafylki Stjórdølafylki Strindafylki Gauldølafylki OrkdølafylkiRest of Norway, counties not attached to a thing: Jamtaland Herdalir Háleygjafylki Finnmòrk, as the areas north of Malangen, present-day Murmansk in Russia, parts of northern Lapland in Finland.
From the 600s Western Norwegian fish farmers began an exodus the nearby islands in the North Sea and Shetland on to the Western Isles like the Hebrides and Man, westward to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Some of these islands were inhabited when the Norwegians arrived, but the local population was displaced or assimilated by the Norwegian immigrants; the islands' populations had a Norwegian ancestry, who kept in touch with the homeland over the North Sea. These Norwegian developed had their own chiefs or kings by Norwegian pattern, subject to the Norwegian royal power when it got national authority. Norw
Sigurd Håkonsson was a Norwegian nobleman and Jarl of Lade in Trøndelag. Sigurd Håkonsson Ladejarl was the son of the first Jarl of Lade. In 900, Håkon came into conflict with Atle Mjove over Sogn and fought a battle at Fjaler, in which Håkon was killed. Upon reaching maturity, Sigurd inherited his father's position. Sigurd Håkonsson was married to Bergljot Toresdatter, daughter of Tore Teiande Ragnvaldsson and Ålov Årbot Haraldsdatter. In 892, Tore Ragnvaldsson became Jarl of Møre after the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson. During the reign of King Haakon I of Norway, Sigurd had an influential position as the king's friend and adviser, he sought in particular to mediate between the king and the people during the king's attempt to introduce Christianity. After the death of Haakon at the Battle of Fitjar in 961, Harald Greycloak, the son of Eirik Bloodaxe and his brothers became kings of Norway. In autumn 962, Sigurd Håkonsson and his warriors were burnt to death by Harald Greycloak, while staying the night at Aglo, in modern-day Skatval in the municipality of Stjørdal.
Sigurd was killed as part of Harald's effort to reunite all of Norway under his rule. In 970, his killing was avenged by Sigurd's son, Haakon Sigurdsson, who had become an ally of King Harold Bluetooth. Sigurd had Kormákr Ögmundarson as a court poet. Fragments of Kormákr's lay on Sigurd Håkonsson, Sigurðardrápa, are preserved in Skáldskaparmál and in Heimskringla; the primary records are from the Heimskringla by Snorri Sturlasson. Hollander, Lee M; the Sagas of Kormák and The Sworn Brothers Hreinsson, Viðar The Complete Sagas of Icelanders - Volume I ISBN 9979-9293-1-6 Stenersen, Øyvind. The History of Norway ISBN 8280710418 Thuesen, Nils Petter. Norges historie ISBN 978-8292870518]
Olaf Trygvasson was King of Norway from 995 to 1000. He was the son of Tryggvi Olafsson, king of Viken, according to sagas, the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair, first King of Norway. Olaf is seen as an important factor in the conversion of the Norse to the Roman Catholic religion. Many of these new converts were converted under threat of violence, he is said to have built the first Christian church in Norway, in 995, to have founded the city of Trondheim in 997. A statue of Olaf Tryggvason is located in the city's central plaza. Historical information on Olaf is sparse, he is mentioned in some contemporary English sources, some skaldic poems. The oldest narrative source mentioning him is Adam of Bremen's Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum of circa 1070. In the 1190s, two Latin versions of "Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar" were written in Iceland, by Oddr Snorrason and by Gunnlaugr Leifsson - these are now lost, but are thought to form the basis of Norse versions. Snorri Sturluson gives an extensive account of Olaf in the Heimskringla saga of circa 1230, using Oddr Snorrason's saga as his primary source.
Modern historians do not assume that these late sources are accurate, their credibility is debated. The most detailed account is named Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta and is recorded in the Flateyjarbók, in the early 15th-century Bergsbók; the account in this article is based on the late sagas. There is the place of Olaf's birth; the earliest Norwegian written source, the Historia Norwegiæ of the late twelfth century, states that Olaf was born in the Orkney Islands after his mother fled there to escape the killers of Olaf's father. Another late 12th-century source, Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum, states that Olaf's mother fled to Orkney with Olaf when he was three years old for the same reason. All the sagas agree that Olaf came to Kievan Rus' the court of Vladimir I of Kiev; the version in Heimskringla is the most elaborate, but the latest, introduces elements to the story that are not found in earlier sources. It states that Olaf was born shortly after the murder of his father in 963, while other sources suggest a date between 964 and 969.
The dates cast doubt over Olaf's claim to be of Harald Fairhair's kin, the legitimacy of his claim to the throne. Snorri Sturluson claims in Olaf Tryggvson's saga that Olaf was born on an islet in Fjærlandsvatnet, where his mother Astrid Eiriksdottir, daughter of Eirik Bjodaskalle, was hiding from her husband's killers, led by Harald Greycloak, the son of Eirik Bloodaxe. Greycloak and his brothers had seized the throne from Haakon the Good. Astrid fled to her father's home in Oppland went on to Sweden where she thought she and Olaf would be safe. Harald sent emissaries to the king of Sweden, asked for permission to take the boy back to Norway, where he would be raised by Greycloak's mother Gunhild; the Swedish king to no avail. After a short scuffle Astrid fled again; this time their destination was Gardarike, where Astrid's brother Sigurd was in the service of King Valdemar. Olaf was three years old; the journey was not successful: in the Baltic Sea they were captured by Estonian vikings, the people aboard were either killed or taken as slaves.
Olaf became the possession of a man named Klerkon, together with his foster father Thorolf and his son Thorgils. Klerkon considered Thorolf too old to be useful as a slave and killed him, sold the two boys to a man named Klerk for a ram. Olaf was sold to a man called Reas for a fine cloak. Six years Sigurd Eirikson traveled to Estonia to collect taxes for King Valdemar, he saw a boy. He asked the boy about his family, the boy told him he was Olaf, son of Tryggve Olafson and Astrid Eiriksdattir. Sigurd went to Reas and bought Olaf and Thorgils out from slavery, took the boys with him to Novgorod to live under the protection of Valdemar. Still according to Heimskringla, one day in the Novgorod marketplace Olaf encountered Klerkon, his enslaver and the murderer of his foster father. Olaf killed Klerkon with an axe blow to the head. A mob followed the young boy as he fled to his protector Queen Allogia, with the intent of killing him for his misdeed. Only after Allogia had paid blood money for Olaf did the mob calm down.
As Olaf grew older, Vladimir made him chief over his men-at-arms, but after a couple years the king became wary of Olaf and his popularity with his soldiers. Fearing he might be a threat to the safety of his reign, Vladimir stopped treating Olaf as a friend. Olaf decided that it was better for him to seek his fortune elsewhere, set out for the Baltic. Heimskringla states that after leaving Novgorod, Olaf raided ports with success. In 982 he was caught in a storm and made port in Wendland, where he met Queen Geira, a daughter of King Burizleif, she ruled the part of Wendland in which Olaf had landed, Olaf and his men were given an offer to stay for the winter. Olaf accepted and after courting the Queen, they were married. Olaf began to reclaim the baronies. After these successful campaigns, he began raiding again both in Gotland. Holy Roman Emperor Otto II assembled a great army of Saxons, Franks and Wends to fight the Norse pagan Danes. Olaf was part of this army. Otto's army met the armies of King Harald Bluetooth and Haakon Jarl, the ruler of Norway under the Danish king, at Danevirke, a great wall near Schleswig.
Bjarmaland was a territory mentioned in Norse sagas since the Viking Age and in geographical accounts until the 16th century. The term is seen to have referred to the southern shores of the White Sea and the basin of the Northern Dvina River as well as some of the surrounding areas. Today, those territories comprise a part of the Arkhangelsk Oblast of Russia. According to the Voyage of Ohthere, the Norwegian merchant Ottar reported to king Alfred the Great that he had sailed for 15 days along the northern coast and southwards arriving at a great river the Northern Dvina. At the estuary of the river dwelt the Beormas, who unlike the nomadic Sami peoples were sedentary, their land was rich and populous. Ohthere did not know their language but he said that it resembled the language of the Sami people; the Bjarmians told Ohthere about their country and other countries. Several expeditions were undertaken from Norway to Bjarmaland. In 920, Eric Bloodaxe made a Viking expedition, as well as Harald II of Norway and Haakon Magnusson of Norway, in 1090.
The best known expedition was that of Tore Hund who together with some friends, arrived in Bjarmaland in 1026. They started to trade with the inhabitants and bought a great many pelts, whereupon they pretended to leave, they made shore in secret, plundered the burial site, where the Bjarmians had erected an idol of their god Jómali. This god had a bowl containing silver on his knees, a valuable chain around his neck. Tore and his men managed to escape from the pursuing Bjarmians with their rich booty; the name Bjarmaland appears in Old Norse literature referring to the area where Arkhangelsk is presently situated, where it was preceded by a Bjarmian settlement. The first appearance of the name occurs in an account of the travels of Ohthere of Hålogaland, written in about 890; the name Permians is found in the oldest document of the Rus', the Nestor's Chronicle. The names of other Uralic tribes are listed including some Samoyedic peoples as well as the Veps, Cheremis and Chudes; the place-name Bjarmaland was used both by the German historian Adam of Bremen and the Icelander Snorri Sturluson in Bósa saga ok Herrauðs, reporting about its rivers flowing out to Gandvik.
It is not clear if they reference the same Bjarmaland as was mentioned in the Voyage of Ohthere, however. The name of the Bjarmian god Jómali is so close to the word for "god" in most Finnic languages that Bjarmians were a Finnic group. In fact, languages belonging to other language groups have never been suggested within serious research. Olaus Magnus located Bjarmaland in the Kola Peninsula in his Carta marina et descriptio septentrionalium terrarum, while Johannes Schefferus identified it with Lappland. Bjarmians cannot be connected directly to any existing group of people living today, but it is that they were a separate group of Finnic speakers in the White Sea area. Toponyms and loan words in dialects in northern Russia indicate that Finnic speaking populations used to live in the area. Russian chronicles mention groups of people in the area associated with Finno-Ugric languages. Accordingly, many historians assume the terms beorm and bjarm to derive from the Uralic word perm, which refers to "travelling merchants" and represents the Old Permic culture.
However, some linguists consider this theory to be speculative. Recent research on the Uralic substrate in northern Russian dialects suggests that several other Uralic groups besides the Permians, lived in Bjarmaland, assumed to have included the Viena Karelians and Kvens. According to Helimski, the language spoken c. 1000 AD in the northern Archangel region, which he terms Lop', was related to but distinct from the Sami languages proper. That would fit Ottar's account perfectly. Bjarmian trade reached southeast to Bolghar, by the Volga River, where the Bjarmians interacted with Scandinavians and Fennoscandians, who adventured southbound from the Baltic Sea area. Modern historians suppose that the wealth of the Bjarmians was due to their profitable trade along the Northern Dvina, the Kama River and the Volga to Bolghar and other trading settlements in the south. Along this route, silver coins and other merchandise were exchanged for pelts and walrus tusks brought by the Bjarmians. In fact, burial sites in modern Perm Krai are the richest source of Sasanian and Sogdian silverware from Iran.
Further north, the Bjarmians traded with the Sami. It seems that the Scandinavians made some use of the Dvina trade route, in addition to the Volga trade route and Dnieper trade route. In 1217, two Norwegian traders arrived in Bjarmaland to buy pelts; the second trader who remained was killed by the Bjarmians. This caused Norwegian officials to undertake a campaign of retribution into Bjarmaland which they pillaged in 1222; the 13th century seems to have seen the decline of the Bjarmians, who became tributaries of the Novgorod Republic. While many Slavs fled the Mongol invasion northward, to Beloozero and Bjarmaland, the displaced Bjarmians sought refuge in Norway, where they were given land around the Malangen fjord by Haakon IV of Norway in 1240. More important for the decline was that, with the onset of the Crusades, the trade routes had found a more westerly orientation or shifted to the south; when the Novgorodians founded Velikiy Ustiug, in the beginning of the 13th century, the Bjarmians had a serious
Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson was a king of Denmark and Norway. He was the son of King Gorm the Old and of Thyra Dannebod. Harald ruled as king of Denmark from c. 958 – c. 986. Harald introduced Christianity to Denmark and consolidated his rule over most of Jutland and Zealand. Harald's rule as king of Norway following the assassination of King Harald Greycloak of Norway was more tenuous, most lasting for no more than a few years in the 970s; some sources say his son Sweyn Forkbeard forcibly deposed him from his Danish throne before his death. Harald's name is written as runic haraltr: kunukʀ in the Jelling stone inscription. In normalized Old Norse, this would correspond to Haraldr konungr, i.e. "Harald king". The Latinized name as given in the medieval Danish chronicles is Haraldus Gormonis filius; the given name Haraldr is the equivalent of Old English Hereweald, Old High German Heriwald, from hari "army" and wald- "rule". Harald's name is inscribed on the so-called Curmsun disc, rediscovered in 2014, as +ARALD CVRMSVN + REX AD TANER + SCON + JVMN + CIV ALDIN, i.e. "Harald Gormson, king of Danes, Jumne, Oldenburg".
The first documented appearance of Harald's nickname "Bluetooth" is in the Chronicon Roskildense, alongside the alternative nickname Clac Harald. Clac Harald appears to be a confusion of Harald Bluetooth with the legendary or semi-legendary Harald Klak, son of Halfdan; the byname is given as Blachtent and explicitly glossed as "bluish or black tooth" in a chronicle of the late 12th century, Wilhelmi abbatis regum Danorum genealogia. The traditional explanation is that Harald must have had a conspicuous bad tooth that appeared "blue". Another explanation, proposed by Scocozza is; the Bluetooth wireless specification design was named after the king in 1997, the Bluetooth logo consists of a Younger futhark bindrune for his initials, H and B. During his reign, Harald oversaw the reconstruction of the Jelling runic stones, numerous other public works; the most famous is fortifying the fortress of Aros, situated in a central position in his kingdom in the year 979. Some believe these projects were a way for him to consolidate economic and military control of his country and the main city.
Ring forts were built in five strategic locations with Aarhus in the middle: Trelleborg on Zealand, Borrering in eastern Zealand, Nonnebakken on Funen, Fyrkat in Himmerland and Aggersborg near Limfjord. All five fortresses had similar designs: "perfectly circular with gates opening to the four corners of the earth, a courtyard divided into four areas which held large houses set in a square pattern." A sixth Trelleborg of similar design, located at Borgeby, in Scania, has been dated to about 1000 and may have been built by King Harald and a second fort named Trelleborg is located near the modern town of Trelleborg in Scania in present-day Sweden, but is of older date and thus pre-dates the reign of Harald Bluetooth. He constructed the oldest known bridge in southern Scandinavia, the 5 meters wide, 760 meters long Ravning Bridge at Ravning meadows. While quiet prevailed throughout the interior, he turned his energies to foreign enterprises, he came to the help of Richard the Fearless of Normandy in 945 and 963, while his son conquered Samland, after the assassination of King Harald Greycloak of Norway, managed to force the people of that country into temporary subjugation to himself.
The Norse sagas present Harald in a rather negative light. He was forced twice to submit to the renegade Swedish prince Styrbjörn the Strong of the Jomsvikings- first by giving Styrbjörn a fleet and his daughter Thyra, the second time by giving up himself as hostage, along with yet another fleet; when Styrbjörn brought this fleet to Uppsala to claim the throne of Sweden, Harald broke his oath and fled with his Danes to avoid facing the Swedish army at the Battle of Fýrisvellir. As a consequence of Harald's army having lost to the Germans at the Danevirke in 974, he no longer had control of Norway, Germans settled back into the border area between Scandinavia and Germany, they were driven out of Denmark in 983 by an alliance of Obodrite soldiers and troops loyal to Harald, but soon after, Harald was killed fighting off a rebellion led by his son Sweyn. He is believed to have died in 986. According to Adam of Bremen he died in Jumne/Jomsborg from his wounds. Based on the Curmsun Disc inscription, Swedish archaeologist Sven Rosborn proposes that Harald may have been buried in the church of Wiejkowo, close to Jomsborg.
From 1835 to 1977, it was wrongly believed that Harald ordered the death of the Haraldskær Woman, a bog body thought to be Gunnhild, Mother of Kings until radiocarbon dating proved otherwise. The Hiddensee treasure, a large trove of gold objects, was found in 1873 on the German island of Hiddensee in the Baltic Sea, it is believed. King Harald Bluetooth's conversion to Christianity is a contested bit of history, not least because medieval writers such as Widukind of Corvey and Adam of Bremen give conflicting accounts of how it came about. Wid
Haakon the Good
Haakon Haraldsson Haakon the Good and Haakon Adalsteinfostre, was the king of Norway from 934 to 961. He was noted for his attempts to introduce Christianity into Norway. Haakon is not mentioned in any narrative sources earlier than the late 12th century. According to this late saga tradition, Haakon was the youngest son of King Harald Fairhair and Thora Mosterstang, he was born on the Håkonshella peninsula in Hordaland. King Harald determined to remove his youngest son out of harm's way and accordingly sent him to the court of King Athelstan of England. Haakon was fostered by King Athelstan, as part of an agreement made by his father, for which reason Haakon was nicknamed Adalsteinfostre. However, Haakon is not mentioned in any contemporary Anglo-Saxon sources, historians of Athelstan, such as William of Malmesbury, make no reference to Haakon. According to Norwegian royal biographies from the late 12th century, the English court introduced him to the Christian religion. On the news of his father's death, King Athelstan provided Haakon with ships and men for an expedition against his half-brother Eric Bloodaxe, proclaimed king of Norway.
At his arrival back in Norway, Haakon gained the support of the landowners by promising to give up the rights of taxation claimed by his father over inherited real property. Eric Bloodaxe soon found himself deserted on all sides, saved his own and his family's lives by fleeing from the country. Eric fled to the Orkney Islands and to the Kingdom of Jorvik meeting a violent death at Stainmore, Westmorland, in 954 along with his son, Haeric. In 953, Haakon had to fight a fierce battle at Avaldsnes against the sons of Eric Bloodaxe. Haakon won the battle. One of Haakon's most famous victories was the Battle of Rastarkalv near Frei in 955 at which Eric's son, died. By placing ten standards far apart along a low ridge, he gave the impression that his army was bigger than it was, he managed to fool Eric's sons into believing. The Danes were slaughtered by Haakon's army; the sons of Eric returned in 957, with support from King Gorm the Old, King of Denmark, but were again defeated by Haakon's effective army system.
Three of the surviving sons of Eric Bloodaxe landed undetected on the coast of Hordaland in 961 and surprised the king at his residence in Fitjar. Haakon was mortally wounded at the Battle of Fitjar after a final victory over Eric’s sons; the King’s arm was pierced by an arrow and he died from his wounds. He was buried in the burial mound in the village of Seim in Lindås municipality in the county of Hordaland. Upon his death his court poet, Eyvindr Skáldaspillir, composed a skaldic poem Hákonarmál about the fall of the King in battle and his reception into Valhalla. After Haakon's death, Harald Greycloak, the eldest surviving son of Eric Bloodaxe, ascended the throne as King Harald II, although he had little authority outside western Norway. Subsequently, the Norwegians were tormented by years of war. In 970, King Harald was tricked into coming to Denmark and killed in a plot planned by Haakon Sigurdsson, who had become an ally of King Harald Bluetooth. Haakon's Park is the location of a statue of King Haakon sculpted by Anne Grimdalen.
During 1961, the statue was erected opposite Fitjar Church for the one thousand-year commemoration of the Battle of Fitjar. Håkonarspelet is a historical play written by Johannes Heggland in 1997. Haakon is a major character in Mother of Kings by Poul Anderson. Haakon is the protagonist in God's Hammer by Eric Schumacher; this article contains information from "Haakon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Birkeli, Fridtjov Norge møter kristendommen fra vikingtiden til ca. 1050 ISBN 9788203087912 Enstad, Nils-Petter Sverd eller kors? Kristningen av Norge som politisk prosess fra Håkon den gode til Olav Kyrre ISBN 9788230003947 Krag, Claus Vikingtid og rikssamling 800–1130 ISBN 9788203220159 Sigurdsson, Jon Vidar and Synnøve Veinan Hellerud Håkon den gode ISBN 9788243005778 van Nahl, Jan Alexander. "The Medieval Mood of Contingency. Chance as a Shaping Factor in Hákonar saga góða and Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar". In: Mediaevistik, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Medieval Research 29. Pp. 81–97.
Saga Hákonar góða Hákonarmól
Gudrød the Hunter
Gudrød the Hunter known as Gudrød the Magnificent, is a legendary character portrayed in the Norse sagas as a Norwegian petty king in the early 9th century. According to the sagas, he was the father of Halfdan the Black, thus the grandfather of Harald Fairhair, the first king of unified Norway, he is considered by modern historians to be of a more mythical nature than other ancestors of Harald and Halfdan, he can not be identified historically. Historians have in turn made a number of proposals seeking to identify him with various would-be contemporary historical figures. Gudrød was a member of the House of Yngling, he was the son of Halfdan the Mild, king of Romerike and Vestfold, Liv, daughter of King Dag of Vestmar. Gudrød is mentioned in the skaldic poem Ynglingatal, Snorri Sturluson elaborates on Gudrød's story in Heimskringla. According to Snorri, Gudrød was called both "the Magnificent" and "the Hunter", while Ynglingatal only refers to him as "the Magnificent". While Gudrød is portrayed as a king in Oppland in some older texts, Snorri writes that he was a king in Vestfold.
Gudrød first married Alfhild, a daughter of Alfarin, king of Alfheim. Gudrød inherited half the province of Vingulmark, they had Olaf Geirstad-Alf. When Alfhild died, Gudrød sent his men to the king of Agder, Harald Granraude, to propose a marriage with his daughter Åsa; when Harald declined, Gudrød decided to take Åsa by force. They arrived at night; when Harald realised that he was being attacked, he assembled his men and fought well, but died together with his son Gyrd. Gudrød thereafter married her, they had the son Halfdan the Black. In the fall, when Halfdan was a year old, Gudrød was having at a feast in an otherwise unknown location called "Stivlesund", he was drunk and in the evening, as he was walking on the gangway to leave the ship, an assassin thrust a spear through Gudrød, killing him. Gudrød's men killed the assassin, who turned out to be Åsa's page-boy. Åsa admitted. After Gudrød was killed, Åsa took the 1 year-old Halfdan and returned to Agder, where Halfdan was raised. Krag, C. Ynglingatal og Ynglingesaga: en studie i historiske kilder Salvesen, A. transl.