GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2009-05 > 1242279511
From: "Leo" <>
Subject: Fw: Fw: In the Mist of Time
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 15:38:31 +1000
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:09 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: In the Mist of Time
> So here is the deal. First the ancestry of Harold.
====== (we have been talking about Harald)
> Heimskringla tells of Gudrod, as you have reported it, marrying and
> having a son Olaf, then late in life remarrying to another woman of
> the same name and having Halfdan. Olaf had Ragnvald, celebrated by a
> contemporary skald. Halfdan succeeded his nephew and had Harald.
============ In the biography there is mention of Olaf, but not of Ragnvald,
in my data base neither Olaf or Ragnvald are mentioned. It was Merilyn who
mentioned a Rognvald, not Ragnvald.
> Skeptical mid-20th century Scandinavian scholars reevaluated this
=====As is said in the biography "...this is not considered to be a
historical account by modern historians".
They look at the two marriages of Gudrod as suspect, having the
> appearance of a later awkward construct. Likewise, all of the places
> mentioned with regard to Halfdan and Harald's early life are in a
> different region of Norway than that of Gudrod, Olaf and Ragnvald.
> Likewise, there is a saga of Halfdan that survives in part, and it
> fails to name his father, which seems unlikely were the father such an
> illustrious king as Gudrod. Finally, there is a source from Harald's
> time (if I recall correctly) that refers to Harald as a Skylding,
> rather than an Yngling. Taken together, this all led them to the
> conclusion that the dynasty of Gudrod, Olaf and Ragnvald rules in one
> region, while a different family, represented by Halfdan and Harald,
> ruled elsewhere, that Harald conquered Ragnvald's kingdom (the
> unification of Norway for which he is remembered) and that at some
> subsequent point, his dynasty was surreptitiously forced through the
> awkward second marriage of Gudrod into the heroic Ynglings that they
> had actually displaced. That is how the argument goes, at least.
> As to Harald having descendants, by tradition he is give 20 some odd
> sons by a football-team's worth of wives, but they appear to represent
> two separate patterns. One is a political construct, giving him a
> wife and a son representing each conquered territory. This suggests
> to the skeptic that the pedigree was created as a representation of
> the politics, rather than as a representation of actual family
========== In that part of the world and in those days "marriage" was
different that how we see it. As you point out "political construction" may
well have been: he conquered a territory "enjoys himself" and moves on to
the next territory to conquer.
I agree that a lot seems like "wishful thinking". It is great to see how you
explain your point of view but, sorry to ask, are there reasonable sources?
ES Schwennicke Volume II for Tafels 105 to 112 gives a list of sources which
ends by saying "Die Tafeln wurden dankenswerterweise von Dr. Hans
Gillingstam/ Stockholm korrigiert und erheblich ergänzt.
I cannot have an opinion whether these links are correct or not and therefor
you are not disagreeing with me, but in this case with Schwennicke and
Gillingstam, both considerable names in genealogy.
I can only standby and see whether a conclusion can be made. Wikipedia which
I originally quoted is full with indications that a lot may be fanciful and
"legendary" but it is ES Schwennicke who gives the genealogy some indication
I am not one to say that sources and websites MUST be supplied, but a point
of view can be great but a point of view _with_ sources is even better.
With best wishes
Leo van de Pas
> The second pattern is the convoluted succession. He was succeeded by
> his son Eric and Hakon, and grandson Harold. So far, so good. Next,
> though, you have a 20+ year rule by jarl Halfdan, put on the throne by
> Harald Bluetooth. He squabbled with Norwegian nobility, who heard of
> a Norwegian viking of some repute in the viking settlements of England
> and Ireland, with a mysterious, but supposedly glorious past. This is
> Olaf Tryggvasson, who was raised in Rus, having been a captive there,
> and as he reached his teens, surprise, surprise, (or so the story
> went) was recognized as a long-lost princeling, a distant descendant
> of the dynasty that had ruled before the Danish puppet. It sounds
> like the kind of story Perkin Warbeck might have told. (This was just
> the first of numerous cases of long-lost Norwegian princes returning
> from afar, without anything but their success to recommend that the
> relationship was authentic.)
> He manages to rule for just five years before being defeated and
> killed by a combined Danish/Swedish fleet, and again Norway enters a
> period of proxy rule. 15 years later, surprise, surprise, another
> long-lost princeling sho gained fame in England returns to drive off
> the foreign puppets. OK, maybe once it could happen, but twice a long-
> lost prince returns from going viking in England. He is then followed
> (after a brief reign of his son) by his half-brother who, surprise,
> surprise, is also a scion of the royal house.
> There are those who find this all to be just too much, and suggest
> that the two Olafs owed their succession to simply being men of action
> who took advantage of a desire of a nativist party to have a viable
> alternative to the foreign-imposed jarls. The descents from Harald
> were simply (again) political constructs invented to strengthen their
> claim. By the time Harald succeeded Magnus, which he accomplished
> based on being Olaf's half-brother, and nothing more, he followed the
> lead of his predecessors and concocted such a descent for himself.
> There is a body of Scandinavian scholars who do not consider it safe
> to view either Olaf (and particularly the second) as a descendant of
> Finally, there have been various attempts to trace from Ragnvald, son
> of Olaf, son of Gudrod. All of these are very late in conception, and
> seem to be nothing but inventions.
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