GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1996-06 > 0835997813
From: Jared Olar <>
Subject: Re: Sven Estridssons ancestors
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 16:36:53 -0500
On Fri, 28 Jun 1996, Anders Berg wrote:
> On Thu, 27 Jun 1996 22:35:50 -0500 Jared Olar <> wrote:
> [William Searle's ANGLO-SAXON BISHOPS, KINGS AND NOBLES, 1899]
> >URSUS (mentioned in Florence of Worcester anno 1049, and EAF j 791),
> >father of SPRATLINGUS (mentioned in Anecdota Oxoniensa 1895,
> >Napier-Stevenson, p.144 note 3), father of ULSIUS (Ulfius), father of
> >BEORN (mentioned in EAF j 791, as well as Langebek's _Scriptores_ iij
> >288, where we read--"cognomento Beresune, hoc est filius ursi"--surnamed
> >Bereson, that is, son of a bear. "Beorn" means "bear."), father of
> >SIWEARD DIGERA (Sigurd Digri), Earl of Northumbria.
> The "patronym" Bereson must be a misunderstanding, since he was a
> son of a wolf, not a bear!
> "Ursus" is Bjorn, no doubt, but can we say that he was a Scandinavian
> "bear"? Bjorn is a Scand. name in my etymological sources, but the use
> of this beast as a person's name was perhaps used in all the Germanic world,
> also AS Britain. The use of the latin Ursus, not Beorn or the latinized
> Bero, makes it difficult to draw any conclusion about "Ursus" origin.
> But I don't see how the Florence account would talk _against_ the Scandinavian
> tradition of origin for Bjorn. After all, the name match Ursus=Bjorn is
> BTW, what evidence is there of non-Scandinavians being called "bear"?
> >Apart from the English pedigree which makes Sprakling a son of "Ursus"
> >("Bear," that is, Bjorn--presumably Styrbjorn), what evidence is there
> >that Sprakalegg was Styrbjorn's son?
> Yes, where does this lineage appear first? It may well be a late
> The "Ursus" = _Styrbjorn_ identification is impossible to make without
> further justification. Styrbjorn (actually Styr-Bjorn, cf. Skoglar-Toste)
> was named Bjorn, sure, but it was (and is) a very common name in Scandinavia.
> However, I don't see anything from Florence that would refute a
> Scandinavian "Ursus". So why do we see (e.g. in the commentary to my
> Adam translation) Ulf Spraklingsson being called "like Godwin an Anglo-Saxon"
> as if it was a proven fact?
> Relevant in this discussion are also the kids of Godwin and Gyda (sister
> of Ulf Spraklingsson). If both parents were Anglo-Saxon, why were half of
> the children christened with Scandinavian names?
Here's the relevant passage of Florence of Worcester's Chronicle,
translated by Thomas Forester, 1854, p.148. It's from the story of how
Earl Godwine's son Sweyn murdered his cousin Beorn, older brother of
"Earl Beorn, son of his [that is, Sweyn Godwineson's] uncle Ulf, a Danish
earl, who was son of Spracing [sic], who was son of Urso, and brother of
Sweyn, king of Denmark, . . . ."
Florence her calls Beorn's father Ulfius "a Danish earl," so I think we'd
be safe to identify Jarl Ulf's ancestors as Scandinavian, NOT English.
Urso would thus be a "Beorn." Of course, that Ulf was a Danish earl
doesn't mean he and his ancestors were Danes--and so maybe they weren't
even Scandinavian?? As you say, Anders, nothing in Florence argues
against the saga tradition making them Scandinavian, and that's a very
natural conclusion to reach . . . . .
|Re: Sven Estridssons ancestors by Jared Olar <>|