Coat of arms of Norway
The coat of arms of Norway is a standing golden lion on a red background, bearing a golden crown and axe with silver blade. The coat of arms is used by the King, the Parliament, the Supreme Court, which are the three powers according to the Constitution, it is used by several national and local authorities that are subordinate to the aforementioned, for example the County Governors and both the district courts and the courts of appeal. Since 1905, two parallel versions exist: the more elaborate version used by the King and the simpler one used by the State; the arms in banner form serve as basis for the monarch's flag, known as the Royal Standard. In addition, there are former and existing lands, organisations and families who have been granted the right to bear the coat of arms or derivations of this. Unless granted, it is illegal to use the coat of arms; the arms has its origin in the 13th century, at first just as a golden lion on a red shield, with the silver axe added late in the century, symbolising Olaf II as the Eternal King of Norway.
In origin the arms of the Sverre dynasty, the coat of arms became quartered with that of the Bjälbo dynasty when the Sverre lineage was extinct in 1319, the Sverre coat of arms figured as part of the further divisions of the coats of arms of Norwegian kings during the early modern period. The Sverre coat of arms was regarded as representing the Norwegian monarchy in the late 15th century, it came to be used to represent Norway on coins and in seals during the union with Denmark and the 19th-century personal union with Sweden, its 13th-century origins placing it among the oldest state coats of arms which remain in contemporary use; the axe tended to be depicted as a curved pollaxe or halberd from 1500 until 1844. The 1844 design approved by king Oscar I reverted to the depiction of a battle-axe as shown in medieval designs. After the dissolution of the union with Sweden in 1905 a medieval-type escutcheon and charge was designed by Eilif Peterssen. Peterssen's design would be used until 1937 when it was re-designed by state archivist Hallvard Trætteberg, resulting in a markedly different, more simplified design style.
Peterssen's design has, been retained in the Royal Standard and coat of arms. The Lion of Norway has been a embraced symbol for centuries; this popularity is, not least, visible in older folk art. The design of the coat of arms is derived from that of the Sverre dynasty. Hallvard Trætteberg in 1814 suggested that Sverre, king between 1184 and 1202, had a lion in his coat of arms, although there is no direct attestation. Snorre Sturlason claims that a golden lion on a red background was used in 1103 by King Magnus III, the son of King Olav III. Gustav Storm in 1894 concluded. Storm explained that the claimed lion in King Magnus's coat of arms is unknown both in the older Saga literature and in other contemporary sources, it is possible that Snorre, who wrote under the instruction of the King, attributed King Sverre's coat of arms to earlier Kings of Norway. A lion is shown on the coat of arms in the seal of Earl Skule Bårdsson, dated 1225, who had relations to the royal family. Haakon Haakonson the Old had a lion in his seal, shown as lying between the feet of the seated king.
A royal coat of arms with a lion is seen on the seal of Haakon Haakonson the Young, dated 1250. The first instance of the lion bearing an axe is found in a seal of Eric II. In 1280, either King Magnus VI or the guardianship of his son Eric Magnuson let the lion be equipped with a crown of gold and in the foremost paws an axe of silver; the axe was a symbol of Saint Olaf, i.e. King Olaf II, by inserting it into the coat of arms it symbolised that the King was the rightful heir and descendant of the'Eternal King of Norway'. With the death of King Haakon V in 1319, the reign of the Sverre dynasty came to an end; the Throne and thus the Royal Coat of Arms was inherited by Magnus VII, a maternal grandson of Haakon V and who himself belonged patrilineally to the family known as the Bjälbo dynasty. Subsequently, Norway remained in personal union with neighbouring countries; when acting as the ruler of one particular country, the sovereign would use the arms of that kingdom. When acting as sovereign of the united kingdoms, he would marshal the escutcheon by quartering.
This was a tendency in Europe in general. The first union kings placed the Royal Coat of Arms in the first quarter of the quartered coat of arms. At the beginning of the Kalmar Union, Norway as a hereditary kingdom was considered more important than Sweden and Denmark, which were still electoral kingdoms. King Eric III of Pomerania placed his Norwegian Coat of Arms in an inescutcheon, superimposed on the coats of arms of his other realms. However, the Norwegian Coat of Arms would be degraded, so that the Coat of arms of Denmark would occupy the first field, whilst Norway's was placed in the second. In 1450, Count Christian of Oldenburg and of Delmenhorst became King of Norway, he was King of Denmark since 1448, in 1457, he became King of Sweden as well. Norway's coat of arms was placed in the lower dexter field and, when Sweden left the Kalmar Union in 1523, in the upper sinister field; the latter lasted until 1814. Varying from time to time, the Kings between 1450 and 1814 bore the coats of arms of the following kingdoms, people
Harald Fairhair is portrayed by medieval Icelandic historians as the first King of Norway. According to traditions current in Norway and Iceland in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, he reigned from c. 872 to 930. Two of his sons, Eric Bloodaxe and Haakon the Good, succeeded Harald to become kings after his death. Most of Harald's biography remains uncertain, since the extant accounts of his life in the sagas were set down in writing around three centuries after his lifetime. Indeed, although it is possible to write a detailed account of Harald as a character in medieval Icelandic sagas, his life is described in several of the Kings' sagas, none of them older than the twelfth century. Their accounts of Harald and his life differ on many points, but it is clear that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Harald was regarded as having unified Norway into one kingdom. Old Norse hár translates straightforwardly into English as'hair', but fagr, the adjective of which fagri is a form, is trickier to render, since it means'fair, beautiful'.
Although it is convenient and conventional to render hárfagri in English as'fair-hair', in English'fair-haired' means'blond', whereas the Old Norse clearly means'beautiful-haired'. Accordingly, some translators prefer to render hárfagri as'the fine-haired' or'fine-hair' or even'handsome-hair'. Through the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries, historians broadly accepted the account of Harald Fairhair given by Icelandic sagas. However, Peter Sawyer began to cast doubt on this in 1976, the decades around 2000 saw a wave of revisionist research that suggested that Harald Fairhair did not exist, or at least not in a way resembling his appearance in sagas; the key arguments for this are as follows: There is no contemporary support for the claims of sagas about Harald Fairhair. The first king of Norway recorded in near-contemporary sources is Haraldr Gormsson, claimed to be the king not only of Denmark but Norway on the Jelling stones; the late ninth-century account of Norway provided by Ohthere to the court of Alfred the Great and the history by Adam of Bremen written in 1075 record no King of Norway for the relevant period.
Although sagas have Erik Bloodaxe, who does seem to correspond to a historical figure, as the son of Harald Fairhair, no independent evidence supports this genealogical connection. The twelfth-century William of Malmesbury does have a Norwegian king called Haraldus visit King Æthelstan of England, which chimes with saga-traditions in which Harald Fairhair fostered a son, Hákon Aðalsteinsfóstri, on Æthelstan, but William is a late source and Harald a far from uncommon name for a Scandinavian character, William does not give this Harald the epithet fairhair, whereas he does give that epithet to the Norwegian king Haraldr Sigurðarsson. Although Harald Fairhair appears in diverse Icelandic sagas, few if any of these are independent sources, it is plausible that all these were participating in a shared textual tradition begun by the earliest Icelandic prose account of Harald, Ari Þorgilsson's Íslendingabók. Dating from the early twelfth century, this was written over 250 years after Harald's supposed death.
The saga evidence is pre-dated by two skaldic poems, Haraldskvæði and Glymdrápa, which have been attributed to Þorbjörn hornklofi or alternatively to Þjóðólfr of Hvinir, are according to the sagas about Harald Fairhair. Although only preserved in thirteenth-century Kings' sagas, they might have been transmitted orally from the tenth century; the first describes life at the court of a king called Harald, mentions that he took a Danish wife, that he won a battle at Hafrsfjord. The second poem relates a series of battles won by a king called Harald. However, the information supplied in these poems is inconsistent with the tales in the sagas in which they are transmitted, the sagas themselves disagree on the details of his background and biography. Meanwhile, the most reliable manuscripts of Haraldskvæði call the poem's honorand Haraldr Hálfdanarson rather than Haraldr hárfagri, Glymdrápa offers no epithet at all. All the poems show is that there was once a king called Haraldr. Sources from the British Isles which are independent of the Icelandic saga-tradition, are earlier than the sagas, do attest to a king whose name corresponds to the Old Norse name Haraldr inn hárfagri—but they use this name of the well attested Haraldr Sigurðarson.
These sources include manuscript D of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the related histories by Orderic Vitalis, John of Worcester, William of Malmesbury. Thus the Icelandic saga-tradition of Harald Fair-Hair can be seen as part of an origin myth created to explain the settlement of Iceland in which a cognomen of Haraldr Sigurðarson was transferred to a fictitious early king of all Norway. Sverrir Jakobsson has suggested that the idea of Iceland being set
House of Griffin
The House of Griffin or Griffin dynasty was a dynasty ruling the Duchy of Pomerania from the 12th century until 1637. The name "Griffins" was used by the dynasty after the 15th century and had been taken from the ducal coat of arms. Duke Wartislaw I was the first historical ruler of the Duchy of Pomerania and the founder of the Griffin dynasty; the most prominent Griffin was Eric of Pomerania, who became king of the Kalmar Union in 1397, thus ruling Denmark and Norway. The last Griffin duke of Pomerania was Bogislaw XIV, who died during the Thirty Years' War, which led to the division of Pomerania between Brandenburg-Prussia and Sweden. Duchess Anna von Croy, daughter of Duke Bogislaw XIII and the last Griffin, died in 1660; the dynasty is known by two names, after their primary fief, Griffin, after their coat of arms, which had featured a griffin since the late 12th century: The first verifiable use of the griffin as the dynasty's heraldic emblem occurred in a seal of Casimir II, Duke of Pomerania, which showed the imaginary beast within a shield, was attached to a document dated 1194.
The name Pomerania comes from Slavic po more, which means " along the sea". The origins of the Griffins are not clear. Most theories derive them from either local Slavic nobility or a cadet branch of the Polish house of Piasts. Medieval Polish chronicler Jan Długosz connected them with Polish noble family of Świebodzice from the south province of Poland named the Lesser Poland, who used a griffin as their coat-of-arms and who in turn might have been a cadet branch of the Piasts. At any rate, chronicler Gallus Anonymus in his Gesta principum Polonorum calls the Griffins "close cousins" of then-contemporary Bolesław III of Poland, directly implying a close dynastic relationship with the Piasts. In the 17th century, the Griffins derived their roots from legendary beings from Sorbs mythology called Gryphus or Baltus; the first known members of the Griffins were the brothers Wartislaw I and Ratibor I. Wartislaw would be the ancestor of the line of dukes that ruled the Duchy of Pomerania until 1630.
The first known member of the Swantiborides branch of the Griffins, notable as castellans of Pomeranian cities, was Wartislaw Swantiboriz. Wartislaw I Bogusław I ∞ Walburgis, daughter of Valdemar I of Denmark. ∞ Sophia, daughter of Bolesław IV. of Poland Bogislaw II. ∞ Miroslawa, Daughter of Mestwin I of Pomerelia and Swinislawa Woislawa Barnim I ∞ Marianne, Daughter of William of Lüneburg and Helene of Denmark Margarete of Brunswick Mathilde, Daughter of Otto III, Margrave of Brandenburg and Beatrix of Böhmen Anastasia ∞ Henry I of Mecklenburg Bogislaw IV → Pomerania-Wolgast Barnim II Otto I → Pomerania-Stettin Miroslawa ∞ Nikolaus I of Schwerin Beatrix ∞ Henry II of Werle Dobroslawa ∞ Jaczo of Salzwedel Casimir II ∞ Ingardis of Denmark Wartislaw III ∞ Sophia Elisabeth Dobroslawa Casimir I. ∞ Pritolawa Ratibor I → Ratiborides Swantibor → Swantiborides Bogislaw IV ∞ Mechthild, Daughter of John I of Brandenburg and Jutta of Saxony Margareta, (Daughter of Wizlaw II of Rügen and Agnes of Brandenburg Euphemia of Pomerania ∞ Christopher II of Denmark Margareta ∞ Nikolaus of Rostock, John of Ścinawa Wartislaw IV ∞ Elisabeth of Lindau-Ruppin Bogislaw V-Stolp ∞ Elisabeth of Poland, daughter of Casimir III of Poland and Aldona of Lithuania Adelheid of Brunswick-Grubenhagen, daughter of Ernest I of Brunswick-Grubenhagen and Adelheid of Everstein Casimir IV ∞ Johanna, daughter of Olgierd of Lithuania and Mary of Witebsk Margareta, daughter of Siemowit III of Masovia and Eufemia of Toppau Elisabeth of Pomerania ∞ Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor Daughter 2 Wartislaw VII ∞ Maria of Mecklenburg, daughter of Henry III of Mecklenburg Eric of Pomerania ∞ Philippa, daughter of Henry IV.
Catherine of Pomerania ∞ John of Pfalz-Neumarkt Christopher III of Denmark Bogislaw VIII ∞ Sophie of Holstein Bogislaw IX ∞ Maria of Masovia, daughter of Siemowit IV of Masovia and Alexandra of Lithuania Sophia ∞ Eric II, Duke of Pomerania-Wolgast Alexandra Barnim V Margareta Barnim IV ∞ Sophie, daughter of John II of Werle Wartislaw VI ∞ Anna, daughter of John I, Duke of Mecklenburg-Stargard Barnim VI ∞ Veronica of Hohenzollern Wartislaw IX ∞ Sophia of Saxe-Lauenburg, daughter of Eric IV Eric II. ∞ Sophia, daughter Bogislaw IX of Pomerania-Stolp Bogislaw X Casimir VII. Wartislaw XI (after 1465–1475
House of Oldenburg
The House of Oldenburg is a European dynasty of North German origin. It is one of Europe's most influential royal houses, with branches that rule or have ruled in Denmark, Greece, Russia, Schleswig and Oldenburg; the current Queen of Denmark and King of Norway, the former King of Greece, the consort of the monarch of the United Kingdom, as well as the first thirteen persons in the line of succession to the British throne, are all patrilineal members of the Glücksburg branch of this house. The dynasty rose to prominence when Count Christian I of Oldenburg was elected as King of Denmark in 1448, of Norway in 1450 and of Sweden in 1457; the house has occupied the Danish throne since. Marriages of medieval counts of Oldenburg had paved the way for their heirs to become kings of various Scandinavian kingdoms. Through marriage with a descendant of King Valdemar I of Sweden and of King Eric IV of Denmark, a claim to Sweden and Denmark was staked, since 1350. At that time, its competitors were the successors of Margaret I of Denmark.
In the 15th century, the Oldenburg heir of that claim married Hedwig of Schauenburg, a descendant of Euphemia of Sweden and Norway and a descendant of Eric V of Denmark and Abel of Denmark. Since descendants better situated in genealogical charts died out, their son Christian became the king of all three kingdoms of the whole Kalmar Union; the House of Mecklenburg was its chief competitor regarding the Northern thrones, other aspirants included the Duke of Lauenburg. Different Oldenburgine branches have reigned in several countries; the House of Oldenburg was poised to claim the British thrones through the marriage of Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark and Norway. Kings of Denmark Kings of Norway Kings of Sweden Counts of Oldenburg Dukes of Schleswig and Counts of Holstein Dukes of Schleswig and Holstein, ruling only part of the Duchies Dukes of Schleswig Dukes of Holstein Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, extinct in male line in 1931 Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein Kings of Denmark King of Iceland Kings of the Hellenes Mountbatten-Windsor line: although Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, his children and his sons' children are patrilineally descended from this branch, his male-line descendants bearing the style of "Royal Highness" are de jure members of the House of Windsor, by declaration of the British monarch.
Kings of Norway Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp Emperors of Russia Holstein-Gottorp, extinct Kings of Sweden King of Norway Holstein-Gottorp Dukes of Oldenburg Media related to House of Oldenburg at Wikimedia Commons Marek, The House of Oldenburg, Genealogy. EU
Aristocracy of Norway
Aristocracy of Norway refers to modern and medieval aristocracy in Norway. Additionally, there have been economical and military élites that—relating to the main lines of Norway's history—are accepted as nominal predecessors of the aforementioned. Since the 16th century, modern aristocracy is known as nobility; the first aristocracy in today's Norway appeared during the Bronze Age. This bronze aristocracy consisted of several regional élites, whose earliest known existence dates to 1500 BC. Via similar structures in the Iron Age, these entities would reappear as petty kingdoms before and during the Age of Vikings. Beside a chieftain or petty king, each kingdom had its own aristocracy. Between 872 and 1050, during the so-called unification process, the first national aristocracy began to develop. Regional monarchs and aristocrats who recognised King Harald I as their high king, would receive vassalage titles like Earl; those who refused were defeated or chose to migrate to Iceland, establishing an aristocratic, clan-ruled state there.
The subsequent lendman aristocracy in Norway—powerful feudal lords and their families—ruled their respective regions with great autonomy. Their status was by no means equal to that of modern nobles. For example, Ingebjørg Finnsdottir of the Arnmødling dynasty was married to King Malcolm III of Scotland. During the civil war era the old lendmen were weakened, many disappeared; this aristocracy was defeated by King Sverre I and the Birchlegs, subsequently being replaced by supporters of Sverre. Between the 9th and 13th centuries, the aristocracy was not limited to mainland Norway, but appeared in and ruled parts of the British Isles as well as Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Kingdoms, city states, other types of entities, for example the Kingdom of Dublin, were established or possessed either by Norwegians or by native vassals. Other territories, for example Shetland and the Orkney Islands, were directly absorbed into the kingdom. For example, the Earl of Orkney was a Norwegian nobleman; the nobility—known as hird and as knights and squires—was institutionalised during the formation of the Norwegian state in the 13th century.
Granted an advisory function as servants of the king, the nobility grew into becoming a great political factor. Their land and their armed forces, their legal power as members of the Council of the Realm, made the nobility remarkably independent from the king. At its height, the council had the power to recognise or choose inheritors of or pretenders to the Throne. In 1440, they dethroned King Eric III; the council chose its own leaders as regents, among others Sigurd Jonsson of Sudreim. This aristocratic power, which involved the church, lasted until the Reformation, when the king illegally abolished the council in 1536; this would nearly remove all of the nobility's political foundation, leaving them with administrative and ceremonial functions. Subsequent immigration of Danish nobles would further marginalise the position of natives. In the 17th century, the old nobility consisted entirely of Danes. After 1661, when absolute monarchy was introduced, the old nobility was replaced by a new; this consisted of merchants and officials, ennobled but of foreign nobles who were naturalised.
Dominant elements in the new nobility were the office nobility and—especially prominent in the 18th century—the letter nobility. Based on the 1665 Lex Regia, which stated that the king was to be revered and considered the most perfect and supreme person on the Earth by all his subjects, standing above all human laws and having no judge above his person, except God alone, the king had his hands free to develop a new and loyal aristocracy to honour his absolute reign; the nobilities in Denmark and Norway could bask in the glory of one of the most monarchial states in Europe. The titles of baron and count were introduced in 1671, in 1709 and 1710, two marquisates were created. Additionally, hundreds of families were ennobled. Demonstrating his omnipotence, the monarch could revert noble status ab initio, as if ennoblement had never happened, elevate dead humans to the estate of nobles. A rich aristocratic culture developed during this epoch, for example family names like Gyldenpalm and Tordenskiold, many of them containing particles like French de and German von.
Excessive creation of coats of arms boosted heraldic culture and praxis, including visual arts. The 1814 Constitution forbade the creation of new nobility, including countships, family estates, fee tails; the 1821 Nobility Law initiated a long-range abolition of the nobility as an official estate, a process in which current bearers were allowed to keep their status and possible titles as well as some privileges for the rest of their lifetime. The last noble Norwegians died in the early 20th century. Many Norwegians who had noble status in Norway had it in Denmark, where they remained noble. During the 19th century, members of noble families continued to hold political and social power, for example Severin Løvenskiold as Governor-general of Norway and Peder Anker and Mathias Sommerhielm as Prime Minister. Aristocrats were active in Norway's independence movement in 1905, it has been claimed the union with Sweden was dissolved thanks to
The Fairhair dynasty was a family of kings founded by Harald I of Norway which united and ruled Norway with few interruptions from the latter half of the 9th century. In the traditional view, this lasted until 1387, many modern scholars view this rule as lasting only three generations, ending with Harald Greycloak in the late 10th century; the Fairhair Dynasty is traditionally regarded as the first royal dynasty of the united kingdom of Norway. It was founded by Harald I of Norway, known as Haraldr hinn hárfagri, the first King of Norway, who defeated the last resisting petty kings at the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872. According to the traditional view, after Harald Fairhair first unified the kingdom, Norway was inherited by his agnatic descendants. In the 13th century, this was codified in law. Unlike other Scandinavian monarchies and Anglo-Saxon England, Norway was never an elective monarchy. However, in the first centuries after Harald Fairhair, there were several periods during which the country was ruled not by a king but by one of the Jarls of Lade, from the northern part of Norway.
The first such period was from about 975 to about 995 under Haakon Sigurdsson. Although Harald Fairhair's kingdom was the kernel of a unified Norway, it was still small and his power centre was in Vestfold, in the south, and when he died, the kingdom was divided between his sons. Some historians put emphasis on the actual monarchical control over the country and assert that Olav II, who reigned from 1015, was the first king to have control over the entire country, he is held to be the driving force behind Norway's final conversion to Christianity and was revered as Rex Perpetuum Norvegiæ. Some provinces did not come under the rule of the Fairhair kings before the time of Harald III. Either of these may therefore be regarded as further unifiers of Norway, and some of the rulers were nominally or vassals of the King of Denmark, including Jarl Haakon. It is undisputed that kings, until Magnus IV, were descended from Harald Hardrada: the'Hardrada dynasty'. However, many modern historians doubt whether Harald III was in fact descended from Harald Fairhair and whether he in fact made such a claim, or whether this lineage is a construction from the 12th century.
Sverre Sigurdsson's claim to be the son of Sigurd Munn is usually considered to be dubious, which would make Inge II the last king of a dynasty. Scholars now consider the Fairhair dynasty at least the product of medieval invention. One motive would be to increase the legitimacy of rulers by giving them a clear royal ancestry dating back to the foundation of the kingdom. Another was to provide pedigrees for other people by connecting them to the royal house. Versions of the royal descent are preserved in various works by Icelandic skalds and historians, some based on now lost works: Þjóðólfr of Hvinir's Ynglingatal, in Nóregs konungatal, at greatest length in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla; these differ in some respects. Joan Turville-Petre explored the relationship between them and argued that the original aims were to establish a framework of regnal years for dating and to connect Icelandic chieftains to them, that the Vestfold origin of the dynasty was deliberately altered and they were connected to the Swedish Ynglings rather than the Skjǫldungs to fit Icelandic tradition.
Claus Krag argued that an important motive was to establish a hereditary claim to Viken, the region around Oslo, because the area had been paying taxes to the King of Denmark. Turville-Petre speaks of a "decisive reconstruction of Harald's ancestry carried out by Icelanders, some two hundred years after his time" which made Halfdan the Black the progenitor of a dynasty which stretched in three branches from Harald Fairhair to Olaf Tryggvason, Olav II and Harald. - in fulfillment of prophetic dreams, according to Heimskringla, in which the genealogy reaches its full form. One particular point of doubt raised by historians is whether Harald III's father was descended in unbroken male line from a younger son of Harald Fairhair, Olav II in another obscure but unbroken male line, it has been suggested that their claims to the throne were bolstered by genealogical invention because although they shared the same mother, Åsta Gudbrandsdatter, the mother's descent was unimportant in inheritance according to traditional Germanic law.
In this critical view, only three generations of Fairhair kings reigned, from 930 to 1030, for 40 years altogether. The kings Olav Tryggvason and St. Olav, their family ties with the Fairhair dynasty a 12th-century invention, ruled for 18 years altogether and Harald Hardrada founded a new dynasty. There may be as many as 6 dynasties altogether subsumed under the title of Fairhair dynasty: Harald Fairhair's, Olav Tryggvason's, St. Olav's, Harald Hardrada's, Magnus Erlingsson's and Sverre's. After Olav II of Norway's recognition as a saint, successors of his half-brother, Harald III, were known as the'St. Olav dynasty'; the problem points in the medieval royal lineage in the so-called
Guttorm of Norway
Guttorm Sigurdsson was the King of Norway from January to August 1204, during the Norwegian civil war era. As a grandson of King Sverre, he was proclaimed king by the Birkebeiner party when he was just four years old. Although not in control of the events surrounding him, Guttorm's accession to the throne under the effective regency of Haakon the Crazy led to renewed conflict between the Birkebeiner and the Bagler parties, the latter supported militarily by Valdemar II of Denmark. Guttorm's reign ended abruptly when the child king became ill and died. Rumours among the Birkebeiner held that Guttorm's illness and death had been caused by Haakon the Crazy's future wife Christina Nilsdatter, a claim considered dubious by modern historians. Low-intensity civil war followed Guttorm's death, until a settlement was reached in 1207, temporarily dividing the kingdom. Despite his status as king, Guttorm is not included in the official Norwegian regnal list. Guttorm was an illegitimate son of Sigurd Lavard and thus a grandson of King Sverre.
The identity of his mother is unknown. Sigurd predeceased his father, who died in 1202 and was succeeded by his younger son Haakon Sverresson. Haakon reigned until his own death on 1 January 1204. Haakon had pursued a policy of peace and reunification between the Birkebeiner and Bagler during his short reign, but following his death relations between the parties collapsed and a new phase of the Norwegian civil wars began. Parts of the Birkebeiner were disgruntled by Haakon's policy of reconciliation with the Bagler, which may have led to his death, following which the balance of power within the Birkebeiner switched to the faction around Haakon the Crazy; the day after Haakon's death, the Birkebeiner designated Guttorm as king at a meeting of the hird, in consultation with Bishop Martin of Bergen. Sverre's nephew Haakon the Crazy was appointed regent as leader of the hird and the army. According to the Bǫglunga sǫgur, the young king took a sword and mounted it to Haakon's side, handed him a shield.
He further gave Haakon the title of earl, with consent from all the chieftains, had Haakon sit next to him at his throne. Haakon's unusually strong position was thus symbolised by his sitting at the same level as the king, not on a lower seat as would have been customary for an earl. Another of Sverre's nephews, Peter Støyper, together with Einar Kongsmåg, husband of Sverre's daughter Cecilia, were appointed as Guttorm's guardians; the appointment of the warlike and power-hungry Haakon the Crazy to key positions contributed to conflicts within the Birkebeiner, a worsening of relations with the Bagler. Haakon's elevation led the Bagler to believe that there was not much hope of peace with the Birkebeiner; the Bagler therefore travelled to Denmark and united around Erling Stonewall, an alleged son of former king Magnus Erlingsson, whom elements of the party had attempted to proclaim as king in 1203. Their revolt was supported by Valdemar II of Denmark, who sought to regain the ancient Danish overlordship of Viken, in Norway.
Valdemar arrived in Viken in June with more than 300 ships, Erling performed a trial by ordeal before the king in Tønsberg. In turn, the Danish king gave 35 ships to Erling, together with Philip Simonsson, he swore allegiance to Valdemar. Although Philip's claim to the throne was supported by both Valdemar and the church, in the end, the Bagler proclaimed Erling as king and Philip as earl at Haugating and Borgarting, the Bagler gained control of Viken. Guttorm was in turn proclaimed king by the Birkebeiner at Øyrating in Trondheim in the spring or early summer. While Haakon the Crazy was in the process of gathering an army to fight the Bagler at a second purely military assembly at Øyrating, Guttorm became ill and died on 11 August, he was buried at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. In the longer version of the Bǫglunga sǫgur, it is insinuated that Guttorm's illness and death were caused by Swedish-born Christina Nilsdatter, who married Haakon the Crazy shortly after Guttorm's death. Modern historians consider this claim to be dubious, derived from rumours spread by the Birkebeiner in connection with the sudden death of Haakon Sverresson some months earlier.
The same source claims that Haakon was poisoned by Sverre's widow Margaret, Christina's aunt. Haakon the Crazy's bid to succeed Guttorm as king foundered because he was not trusted and had made powerful opponents. Guttorm's death was followed by low-intensity civil war between his successor Inge Bårdsson and the Bagler, until a settlement was reached between Inge and the new Bagler pretender Philip Simonsson in 1207, which for some years divided the kingdom. Blom, Grethe Authén. Samkongedømme – enekongedømme – Håkon Magnussons hertugdømme. Trondheim: Universitetsforlaget. ISBN 82-00-08853-7. Helle, Knut. Konge og gode menn i norsk riksstyring ca. 1150–1319. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget. ISBN 82-00-08836-7. Helle, Knut. Norge blir en stat: 1130–1319. Handbok i norsk historie. 3. Universitetsforlaget. ISBN 82-00-01323-5. Lunden, Kåre. Norge under Sverreætten, 1177–1319. Norges historie. 3. Oslo: Cappelen. ISBN 82-02-03453-1