GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1996-05 > 0831601337
From: Jared Olar <>
Subject: Re: Erik the Victorious' wives
Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 19:22:17 -0500
On Tue, 7 May 1996, Ulf H Larsson wrote:
> In article <>,
> >On Fri, 3 May 1996, Ulf H Larsson wrote:
> >> As I believe that Sigrid "the haughty" is an literary invention
> >> of Snorre Sturlason, "Swietoslawa" may be the proper name of
> >> the actual polish princess (Adam gives no name and is not sure if she
> >> was the sister or daughter of Boleslaw, the commenter points out
> >> Mieszko I as the father).
> >One encounters real problems in turning either to Snorri Sturluson or to
> >Adam of Bremen for genealogical information concerning Scandinavian
> >royalty. Adam obviously was poorly informed on many matter concerning
> >Scandinavia, as is shown by the fact that he did not know for certain the
> >genealogical connections of Erik the Victorious' Wendish wife.
> Yes, but you can also see that a sigh of honesty from Adam. If he
> is true when he say that he got his information in conversation with
> Sven Estridsson, then it was Svens grandma they were talking about
> and Adam is just guilty of being sloppy in taking notes. Sven had also
> been in the service of Anund-Jacob, the son of Olof "skotkonung", so
> we can assume he was well aware of their relationship.
Yes, that's a definite advantage Adam would have--he heard from Sven, who
might have heard from Jakob, who may well have known the identity of his
father's mother . . . .
> > In fact, it's not unlikely that Erik married more than once.
> >With what we know about Scandinavian kings in this era, we should be
> >mighty surprised if Erik had not had more than one official wife (not to
> >mention concubines).
> Yes, the above mentioned Sven Estridsson is a good example of that, which
> Adam as a man of the church has some problems with although he on the whole
> view Sven as good guy!
> > Snorri Sturluson obviously did not invent Sigrid the
> >Haughty--though earlier sagamen could have. Between the unreliability of
> >Icelandic sagas and the unreliability of Adam of Bremen, identifying the
> >mother of Olaf Skotkonung if well nigh impossible. There is no reason
> >that I can see to say that Sigrid the Haughty was the Icelandic
> >equivalent of Adam of Bremen's Wendish wife of Erik the Victorious--they
> >could be confused memories of two separate wives of Erik.
> After looking in "Heimskringla" where Sigrid is mentioned in a number of
> sagas I still can not see why it is so obvious that Sigrid is not a fictive
> person.(She only occurs in Snorris prose, not in any verse.)
However, we know Snorri relied on earlier Icelandic sources, including
texts in Morkinskinna and Fagrskinna. Inventing a figure as prominent as
Sigrid the Haughty and trying to palm her off as a historical figure as
late as the 1200's (when Snorri wrote) would've been pretty odd. We know
from other Icelandic documents that Adam of Bremen was not unknown to the
Icelanders--this indicates that Sigrid was an Icelandic
tradition--perhaps legitimate, or perhaps not (compare the story of
Gunnhild Kingsmother's "father" Ozur Toti--in fact she seems to have been
a daughter of Gorm the Old).
> Anyhow, Snorris and Adams versions can not both be true, as both claims that
> Cnut and Olaf had the same mother, but gives different options.(Both versions
> can of cause be false.) I, and there my view are shared by modern swedish
> historians believe that Adam is a more reliable source then Snorri,
> at least in swedish matters.
> To give another example, see M K Lawsons book on Cnut
> "Cnut, the danes in England in the early elevteenth century" (1993)
> (ISBN 0 582 05969 0 CSD). He has the sister of Boleslaw of Poland
> as the wife of Swen "forkbeard" and with a "?" also marked her as
> the widow of Eric of Sweden. (I saw in another thread that historians
> are not to be trusted in genealogy matters but....)
> The reason for my fist posting was to inquire if Polish reseach had
> brought up some more information on this matter!
> Ulf H. Larsson
Can't help you there--you're probably more knowledgeable on those matters
than I'll ever be. But good luck . . .