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Professor Geijer's History of the Swedes (Svenska Folkets Historia) was published at Oi'ebro in 
1832-36 ; a Gennan version, by Dr. Leffler, made under the autlior's supervision, was published con- 
temporaneously at Hamburg. The work possesses a European reputation ; all competent judges admit 
that the writer has added one to the scanty list of great national histories, and achieved on behalf of the 
literature of his country and his own fame, an emprise to which Dalin, Lagerbring, and other annalists 
of the last century, were unequal. The present volume comprises all of the original which has hitherto 
appeared ; the continuation, which will bring the history down to a more recent date, is in an advanced 
state of preparation ; and its appearance will be welcomed by all who delight in historical studies, or are 
capable of appreciating the important relations of the subject. But the work is even now more com- 
plete than either of the two older referred to ; the former of which comes down only to the close of the 
reign of Charles IX. in 161 1, while the latter breaks off in the middle of the fifteenth century. 

Some notice of the author's life may be expected by those who are unacquainted with his position 
and labours. He was born on the 12th January', 1783, at Ransater, in the province of Vermeland ; 
entered the University of Upsala in his seventeenth year, and at twenty obtained the chief prize of the 
Swedish Academy for eloquence in composition. In 1806 he took the degree of ]\I. A., and after visit- 
ing England, was appointed in 1810 Lecturer on History at Upsala, and in 1817 Professor, on the death 
of Fant, whose pupil he had been. Subsequently he was charged by King Charles John with the 
superintendence of the studies of the Crown-Prince Oscar, now King of Sweden and Norway, to whom 
the original of the present translation is dedicated. In 1824 he was nominated one of the eighteen in 
the Swedish Academy ; and in 1826, on his return from travels in Denmark and Germany, member of 
the Commission of Public Education. In 1828 he was created by his sovereign Knight of the Order of 
the Polar Stai', and chosen to represent the University of Upsala in the Diet. In 1840 he was again 
elected to the same trust, from which, in the present Diet, he has retired. While be remained a 
member of the legislature, he filled one of the foremost places in the councils of his country ; and was 
distinguished as the friend of every well-considered liberal measure. Being in orders, the Bishopric of 
Linkoeping was offered to his acceptance in 1833, and in 1834 that of Carlstad ; but he is understood to 
have declined both. During this long and brilliant career, his official duties and the engrossing con- 
cerns of politics, did not prevent him fi-om rendering the most important services to the literature of his 
country. He assisted in editing, with Afzelius, the old popular poetry of Sweden ; and with Archbishop 
Lindblom and Schi'oeder, was appointed by royal warrant to prepai'e for the press the great collection of 
the Sci-q^fores Rerum Suecicarum, which appeared at Upsala in 1818 and 1828. He was editor or chief 
contributor to the Swea and Iduna, reviews established in imitation of those of Britain ; he is also 
a poet as well as a critic and philologer, and those who have read " The Pirate," will probably not 
question his claims to the Scaldic laurel. In 1825 appeared a volume of Dissertations on the Early 
History and Antiquities of Sweden (the Swea Rikes Hafder), full of the most curious and recondite 
learning, conveyed in a popular and eloquent mode of exposition *. Finally, in the " Litteratur Blad" or 
Literary Journal for 1838-39, there appeared fi-om his pen a series of Essays on the Poor Laws, and 
their Bearing on Society, which testify to the wisdom of his political views and the extent of his in- 
formation. Of these one of the principal objects was to advocate the liberation of labour and trade in 
Sweden from the fetters of corporate restriction, and the adoption of a liberal tariff on foreign produce 
imported. Such is a brief and imperfect summary of the public services and honours of this celebrated 

' This the translator hopes to be able to issue in a future volume. 

A 2 


man. The great writers of our own, no less than of the continental literatures, are familiar to him, and 
Englishmen will be pleased to recognize in him a kindred genius, who belongs to the same generic 
school of metaphysical and political speculation. Second to none among European scholars, the learned 
of Germany have long since discovered his merits, and promptly profited by them ^ ; for though their 
soil is not fertile in historical talent, nor their alacrity in acknowledging foreign obligations remarkable, 
yet their quickness of adaptation is not to be denied. 

To the present translation, which originated in the desire to make known to the English public a 
historical work of singular excellence, the author has given his sanction. The task was begun with a 
perfect consciousness of its difficulty, and the wish that it might be performed, ab alio pot'msquam a 
me; a me pot'msquam a nemine. The translator had been led by curiosity to seek information on 
Swedish history, and regretted the entire absence of any work on the subject in our own language. 
This deficiency, it may be remarked in passing, has certainly not been removed by the recent 
ajipearance in an English form of a portion of Fryxell's Stories from Swedish History ' ; a book which, 
meagre, unsatisfactory, and feebly written, can lay claim to no serious consideration as one of any 
authority or weight. 

It has been the aim of the present translator, in essaying an English version of the only work 
deserving to be regarded as the standard of Swedish history, to present a faithful and accurate image of 
the style of the original; to render as exactly as possible every shade of meaning and vai'iety of diction. 
A translation should be close without stiffness, free and spirited without paraphrastic license. Whether 
these objects have been attained in the present case it is for others to determine. I by no means assent 
to a theory often maintained, which supposes true translation to be impossible, because nice distinctions 
of meaning, and still more idiomatic forms of expression, are necessarily evanescent, and leave but a 
caput mortuum to mock the toil of conversion. I believe it to be possible to reproduce in our language a 
just presentment of any prose composition in another; and to ti'ansfuse the ideas in similar diction with- 
out loss of force or grace. If the attempt fail, it must be ascribed not to its impracticability, but to an 
imperfect command of the resources of the English tongue in the individual. With the noblest and 
most comprehensive of modern languages as our instrument, it must be possible to find, even in the most 
difficult cases, (of course those springing from some radical difference in the things symbolized are 
excepted,) expressions of equivalent siguificancy, and more or less identical in the verbal meaning. 
Some changes of collocation and structure must be permitted. 

Whenever doubt was felt as to the true sense of the original, recurrence has been had to the Ger- 
man version''; which, though containing many minor inaccuracies^, avoided in the following pages, fulfils 
by its general fidelity and vigour of style all the essentials of a translation. In some passages of the 
Swedish original variations from the German are observable, apparently proceeding from the author's 
own pen; in these the former has been followed. The notes, it will be seen, are numerous; but they are 
never necessary to the text, and should be regarded, like those of Gibbon, in the light of corroborative 
matter, which may be read or not at pleasure. A few turning on minute topographical or technical 
points (chiefly in Chapters II. and X.) have been omitted or abridged, as possessing only domestic in- 
terest; those supplied by the translator are brief explanations of points on which many English readers 
might possibly feel at a loss. It was originally intended to give a map of Scandinavia; but the idea was 
abandoned, because maps are now-a-days easily procured, and maps of Germany, Poland, and Russia 
would have been scarcely less necessary. 

Professor Geijer's style bears a remarkable resemblance to the mode in which the old English 
writers thought and expressed themselves, — a circumstance coincident with the expectations we should 
be inclined to form from affinities of race, and analogies of language" and situation, nor likely to prove 
a discommendation to English readers, especially at the present day. Its peculiar quality seems to be 

2 As for instance Gfriirer, the librarian of Stuttgart, in his " History of Gustavus Adolphus and his times." Much of 
the first two books is little else than an abridgment of Geijer. It is continually possible to trace not only the ideas, but 
the phraseology. 

3 Berattelser i Svenslca Historien. Published in London under the title o[ History of Sweden. 

■* A French version likewise exists by a Swedish resident of Paris ; but this I have not had the advantage of seeing. 

' It would be easy, but for the reluctance to enter on an invidious olTice, to give proofs of this assertion. 

•i In grammatical structure the English and Swedish languages have perhaps a closer aflSnity than any others of 
Europe. More examples of verbal identity might be produced than even in the case of the German. It often happens that 
■words which have dropped out of use in the written language of England, though still existing in the Scottish or provincial 
dialects, find their correlatives in that of Sweden. I may specify a few instances out of hundreds. Grele, pr. gratte, to 
weep; Sv/ed. grata. Toom, empty; Swed. torn. Side, meaning long or down-hanging; Swed. sid, and length or side- 
ness, sidd. Hemman, the word tr.inslated "grange" in the following pages, is obviously the same with the Anglo-Saxon 
hum, meaning a croft, or piece of ground adjoining to a house, also the house, farm, or village itself; whence hampsel, 
hamlet. Hem is home, ien/i:, to play ; Swed. /cA-a. 


suggestive power. The figurative language he sometimes employs, though always sparingly and with 
discrimination, not only adorns the subject with the graces of imagery and fancy, but is an instrument 
admirably adapted to extract its essence, and to impress the mind of the reader, by a few words, more 
forcibly than by pages of disquisition. His narrative is rapid, animated, and striking; while ho excels 
not less in deciphering the faint and imperfect records of the past, and lighting up the dim obscurities of 
history with the gleam of truth, than in relating the best ascertained facts of the clearest pei'iods, stand- 
ing upon unquestioned testimony. This will be acknowledged by such as compare the first two chapters 
of the following history, or the ten of the Scandinavian Antiquities, which are in the nature of an inquiry, 
with his account of the reigns of the later sovereigns. In the caution and sagacity with which he tracks 
his way through the mysterious gloom of the mythological and traditionary period, constructing a sym- 
metrical and harmonious fabric of verisimilitude from the poetical legends of the sagas and the scattered 
hints of foreign annalists, the same analytic faculty is exhibited which Niebuhr brought to bear on the 
darkness of the early Roman history, conjoined with an ai'tistic method and felicitous eloquence which 
we vainly desiderate in the Gei'man writer. Of the heathen and Catholic periods, for which the authori- 
ties are few, brief, and unsatisfactory, his exposition is necessarily succinct and undetailed. Here he 
follows in some passages, as the safest course in dealing with imperfect evidence, the exact language of 
the original writers'^; which indeed is sometimes the vehicle best calculated to imbue the inquirer's 
apprehension with the spiiit of the age or subject. In his progress to the names and events which have 
gained a world-wide celebrity, and demand a breadth, force, and grandeur of narration, not unequal to 
the theme, he displays these qualities in an amplitude of measure that leaves nothing to be desired ; 
crescit aim magnitudine rerum vis ingenii. At times there is a scriptural energy and solemnity which in- 
dicate one of the models he has followed, and impart to his own narrative the same features that stamped 
the mind and style of the ancient heroes of Sweden. Not unfrequently, like all the chief northern writers, 
from the Icelanders to the modern poets of England, he blends the elements of comic and tragic emotion, 
or illustrates elevating truths by familiar things. In the occasional inborn and homebred pith of his 
expressions, drawn from the stores of demotic feeling and fancy, is poui'trayed the free, plain-spoken, 
and vigorous spirit of the people whose story he relates. 

The study of Swedish history is not only necessary, as an integrant part of general history, and in- 
teresting in itself, because fertile in memorials of heroic exertion, lofty achievement, and patient triumph 
over difficulties manfully encountered; it is also indispensable to the right comprehension of the mutual 
relations, and even the intrinsic import of other departments of European history. For the pomp and 
grandeur which gild the medieval story of nations such as France, England, and Spain, whose numbers, 
opulence, and power have thriven under advantages of situation, soil, and climate, denied by nature to 
the remote north, we must not look here. Yet there are many elements which lend the subject a cha- 
racter of elevation aad dignity beyond any that could be conferred by mere magnitude of material 
resources, and amply compensating their deficiency. And above all, the history of Sweden possesses a 
unity of interest, wanting in those of both Germany and Italy, where the student's attention is distracted 
by the multiplicity of constituent parts, arising from the political divisions of these countries, or even in 
that of her neighbour Denmark. Down to our own day, her power and consideration in Europe have 
ever exceeded the due proportion of her population and means, as was also the weight which she could 
at times, as in the seventeenth century, throw into the scale; results ascribable partly to the talents of 
her sovereigns, and partly to her comparative freedom from the religious divisions, and other distracting 
causes, which tore contemporary states. 

Although the opinion once so generally spread, that Scandinavia * was the home and dwelling-place 
of the Gothic tribes which subdued the Roman empire, has been overthrown by the more critical learning 
and precise inquiry of modern days, its claims on our curiosity need not be rested on any such factitious 
grounds. In its indigenous religion, institutions, and manners, the purest type of the ancient Gothic 
mind exhibited itself, and exercised its constructive faculties. These exemplify the original form of 
society among all the kindred of the Gothic stock. They are not less deserving of investigation in 

!■ See instances in the accounts of Ingyald Illrada, Ivar Widfamne, Ragnar Lodbroc, and Earl Birger, as well as many 
subsequent passages. Compare in the latter case specified, the description of Birger's conduct on his return from Finland, 
at p. 48 of tlie following volume, with that in Lawrence Peterson's Swedish Chronicle, p. 72, in the Script, ^.er. Suec. ; and 
the account of his legislation with that given in the Great Rhyme Chronicle, ibid. 

6 The name Scandia, Scondia, Scandinavia, seems probably to come from Scania, Sconia (Skane), the appellation of 
the southernmost province of the peninsula, the meaning of which is explained by Professor Geijer in the first note 
to Chapter II. This was the only part of the country distinctly known to the ancients; and as they were igno- 
rant of its extent, the application of the name by tliem was indefinite. Both Scandia and Scandinavia are found, for 
the first time, in Pliny. If the via in the latter were any thing more than a protraction of the termination, it might perhaps 
be analogous to the German wegen in Norwegen, and the English ivay in Norraway or Norway. 


themselves, than from the iUustration they throw on the origin and progress of the various nations 
that compose this great family of mankind. In the sacred books of the Icelandic Scalds, which record 
the mythological lore of northern heathenism, we may find no consistent or satisfactory system of 
doctrine, but many speculations, that must be regarded as most ingenious and profound, when we 
consider the age and circumstauces in which they were produced ; and we trace unmistakeably the germs 
of the later Teutonic poetry, the dawniugs of that intellect which expanded into the radiance of so bright 
a day in England under Elizabeth, in Germany almost within our own generation. From the same 
authorities we derive the only full and credible account of the religious belief of our own Pagan ancestors, 
those wild worshippers of Odin, who poured into Britain, dispossessed its Celtic population, and occupied 
its fair domain ; where their descendants were to build up an empire bearing sway over the East and 
the West, to give laws to distant people and unexplored continents. For in the wide extent of 
Scandinavia Proper, on the coasts of the North Sea and the islands of the Baltic, not less than in the 
forests of north Germany and Jutland, we must seek for the incunabula gentls AngUcoe^. Again, in the 
venerable precepts of the Scandinavian legislators, we find the best comments on the principles of our 
own jurisprudence; for on this foundation has been reared the vast fabric of English law. In like 
mode, their social and military institutes, their habits and manners, elucidate those of the so-called 
Anglo-Saxons, and are identical with those of the Danes (so our old WTiters terra them) whose 
marauding hosts afterwards came to reinforce their numbers and dispute their heritage; and with those 
of the Normans, who wrested from the crown of France some of its noblest provinces, and would not be 
satisfied until they had established their power among their insular kinsmen, by the armed bands of the 
Conqueror and his followers. In the primitive forms of the Gothic monarchy, when the king speaks to 
the assembly of the armed people, or the estates confer with each other at the diet, we discover the 
sources from which the usages of the modern constitution of England, familiar to us in its daily workings, 
have sprung. And even in the Sweden of the present day, we see perhaps a picture not unlike what 
England might have presented, had not the progress of the Anglo-Saxons been arrested, and their 
peculiar civilization disturbed, by the admixture of foi-eign elements. For while Scandinavia has sent 
forth in ancient days hosts of emigrants and conquerors, she herself has never received a foreign yoke. 
The basis of society there is the " allodial right of property acquired by labour, for Swedish soil was 
never won by conquest. Even the old legend of the immigration of Odin and the Asae, speaks of 
peaceful colonization, not of forcible subjection. War has certainly had but too great an influence on 
the Swedish cultivator, but the law of arms has never divided his land, nor made him a labourer under 
foreign dominion *." During the middle age also, the Swedes, unlike the Germans, clung to the 
traditions and habitudes of their ancestral freedom, and refused to surrender their liberties into the 
jceeping of princes and nobles; and hence the institutions of this cognate people, like our own, though 
under very diffex'ent conditions, reached their natural development in a free polity. Even as the seed 
sown in autumn, — " beautiful type of a higher hope," — survives the storms of winter, its vitality covered, 
but not extinguished, by the snow. 

In this view — and perusal of the following pages will show that it is neither forced nor exaggerated — 
it would be difficult to point out any country which has more solid or legitimate claims on the attention 

9 The share which the Scandinavians must have had in the Saxon colonization of England, though passed over by 
many of our historians from their defective information, seems as clearly established as we can reasonably expect. Danes 
(Danai) and Jutes, as well as Rugini (no doubt the classical Rugiior inhabitants of the island of Rugen, and the coast of the 
adjacent mainland), are mentioned along with the Saxons proper by Bede. See Hist. i. 15 ; v. 10. Now the appellation Jutes 
is merely another form of that of the Goths ; Jutar and Gbtar, or Giitar, are almost identical in sound ; and the Jutes who 
occupied the Cinibric Chersonese, and gave their name to it, are supposed to have come from Swedish Gothland. This view 
derives countenance from the authority of Gibbon ; for it had not escaped the sagacity of that greatest of historians. " This 
contracted territory," he says in Chap. XXV. of the Decline and Fall, "was incapable of pouring forth the inexhaustible 
swarms of Saxons, who reigned over the ocean, who filled the British island with their language, their laws, and their 
colonies. . . . The solution of this difficulty is easily derived from the similar manners and loose constitution of the tribes 
of Germany; which were blended with each other by the slightest accidents of war or friendship. ... It should seem 
probable, however, that the most numerous auxiliaries of the Saxons were furnished by the nations who dwelt along the 
shores of the Baltic. They possessed arms and ships, the arts of navigation, and the habits of naval war; but the difficulty 
of issuing through the northern columns of Hercules (which during several months of the year are obstructed with ice) con- 
fined their skill and courage within the limits of a spacious lake." (Of this latter assertion, it is to be observed, that there 
is no proof; and compare Geijer, Chap. II. ad init. for notices on this subject.) " The rumour of the successful armaments 
which sailed from the mouth of the Elbe, would soon provoke them to cross the narrow isthmus of Sleswig, and to launch 
their vessels on the great sea. The various troops of pirates and adventurers, who fought under the same standard, were 
insensibly united in a permanent society, at first of rapine, and afterwards of government." Scarcely consistent with this 
just and penetrating strain of reflection is another sentence soon after following, which is rather incautiously expressed: 
" The fabulous colouies of Egyptians and Trojans, of Scandinavians and Spaniards, which fiattered the pride, and amused 
the credulity of our rude ancestors, have insensibly vanished in the light of science and philosophy." 

' Geijer, Poor Laws, Essay V. 


of the English student of history than Sweden. For this purpose it is superfluous to refer to the link of 
a common extraction in remote antiquity, established no less by the internal evidence of language and 
institutions, than by the probable, if not certain, testimonies of historic records. To those who delight 
to investigate the origin of nations, and track through the course of ages the winding currents of their 
strangely diversified destinies, the reflection is not without its charm, that the Swede and the Anglo- 
Saxon, races of men whose vocation in modern times has been so different, were brothers in the cradle, 
so to speak, in the elder day of the world. The birth-place of the Goths, it seems to be now established, 
was the mountain chain of the Caucasus, in the very heart of that wild land of Circassia, where their 
descendants are now engaged in a struggle of life and death against the aggressions of the Slavonic 
race ^. Such researches and speculations have an elevating influence, as connecting the remote past 
with the absorbing present, illustrating the affinities of nations, and recommending to our informed 
reason those inspired accounts, so often attempted to be discredited, of the unity of the human family. 
It may besides be wrong to suppose that, though referring to a distant age, they can throw no light 
on the subsequent transactions of history; and as applied to modern times, are no more than fanciful 
recollections or baseless dreams. How else, for instance, than by accepting the theory which makes the 
Circassians a branch of the Gothic race, is the secret of that gallant and hitherto successful resistance to 
be better explained ? None but the descendants of so brave a stock, pei'haps, would have defied with 
equal intrepidity the slaves of the Russian colossus. 

The Swedes are acknowledged by the most ancient records, as they have appeared in modern times, 
to be the chief of the Scandian nations. The character of the people has ever been marked by depth of 
feeling, strenuous self-reliance, and the capacity of ardent endeavour, which shine out at every period of 
their annals. Their military achievements were signalised by desperate gallantry and brilliant success, 
often against overwhelming superiority of force; of the sagacity and boldness of thought which distinguished 
their politicians, the following pages contain many proofs ^. That which some of the northern antiquaries 
liave styled their heroic age, offers few names that have preserved wide celebrity ; among them, those of 
Ragnar Lodbroc, the scourge of the British coasts, and Olsten, — the same in name, at least, with the 
most formidable of the sea-kings, whom our English chroniclers call Hastings, an appellation which has 
sometimes proved a stumbling-block to inquirers, — possess some interest for us, apart from their home 
fortunes. But it is not in the days of barbarous anarchy that we should seek for the true heroic age 
of Sweden. The events of the Union, which led to her temporary subjugation by Denmark, a country 
of inferior size and population, but with energies better concentrated, powerfully enforce the lesson of 
the evils of domestic dissensions; the story of the liberation by Gustavus Vasa possesses the interest of 
romance, and forms a noble document of popular energy and patriotic devotion. It has sometimes been 
supposed that the memory of Christian II. has been unjustly loaded with the charge of wanton cruelty; 
liis apologists have even represented him as anxious to break the power of the Swedish nobility, and by 
raising the peasantry and improving their condition, to rest upon their support for the maintenance of 
the Danish sway. It is true that he acted upon a somewhat similar policy in his own kingdom of 
Denmark; but there cannot be a more baseless theoi*y as respects its application to Sweden. It rests 
indeed on an entire misconception. The Danish interest depended mainly on the support of the nobles 
and clergy; and the Swedes only knew Christian as a bloody and remorseless oppressor, who scrupled at 
nothing for the gratification of his own lusts and caprices, frenzied as they often were. 

The feudal system, in that full development which it attained in other countries of Europe, did not 
exist in medieval Sweden, but with the termination of the great civil war following the introduction of 
Christianity, and the seizure of regal power by the Folkunger Earl, the ascendency of the nobles appears 
established, with results for the government and community analogous to those elsewhere produced. 
" This was the introduction of the feudal principle in Sweden, which manifested itself here in a peculiar 
form, more tenacious of life than might be supposed. We know the origin of feudalism, from the warlike 
trains of the soldier-kings and the magnates. A powerful nobility had arisen during the contest of the 
rival kingly houses, and surrounded itself with bands of men-at-arms, which king Magnus Ladulas, by 
the institution of a royal equestrian militia, endeavoured to draw into the service of the crown. The 
whole was an attempt to organize in a royalist spirit an armed force of nobles*." With this view 
exemption from taxes was granted by the king both to the barons and knights, and the inferior gentry 

2 See this view briefly stated by Geijer in Chapter I. of the following work, and more largely in the Scandinavian 
Antiquities, already referred to. The case of the Saxons is supported with strong, though perhaps less convincing 
evidence, by Mr. Sharon Turner, in the first volume of the History of the Anglo-Saxons. 

^ See the speeches of the kings or their ministers in the diet ; the memoirs of Swedish envoys as to the social state of 
■Russia, Denmark, &c. In the saying of the chancellor of Gustavus Vasa on the subject of church property (p. Ill), we 
have perhaps the first clear and distinct enunciation of a principle so keenly contested at the present day. 

* Geijer, Poor Laws, Essay V. 


or franklins, in return for military service to be performed by them. " All of the commonalty who chose or 
were able to do service on horseback, were also ennobled, an appendage to the nobility ; the I'est remained 
unennobled, ofr'dlse, a word in its proper sense meaning un/ree, but which could not here receive its full 
acceptation. For feudalism in Sweden wanted its proper foundation, namely, a people precipitated by 
conquest into bondage. With us it has been organized from above, by the king as the first nobleman. 
The fiefs, here in general never legally hereditary, (although by the earldoms and counties of Eric XIV. 
they became so in part, and otherwise often enough through abuse,) were, at least the more considerable 
of them, attached to the command of the royal castles and fortresses, to which the surrounding common 
people were bound to render certain services ^." On these relations turns much of the controvei-sies 
between the nobility and the other estates of Sweden. The obligation to military service was never 
fully performed, and fell by degrees into desuetude ; while the immunities of the nobles entailed manifold 
grievances and oppressions on the commonalty, and Charles IX., as will be seen, made repeated 
unsuccessful attempts to obtain their surrender, offering in exchange releasement from a merely 
nominal burden. 

The accession of the dynasty of Vasa to the throne, through the abilities and services of its founder, 
marks the commencement of the modern period of Swedish history. By the measures of Gustavus I. 
society was remodelled; and the impulse given to the national industry, with the augmentation of 
resources during a period of comparative peace under his reign and that of Charles IX., prepared the 
way for that series of brilliant achievements which gave to Sweden a high rank among the nations of 
Europe, and crowned the radiant brow of Gustavus Adolphus with undying glory. Never was a country 
more fortunate in its leaders than Sweden under the three great princes of the house of Vasa; never 
were there monarchs, perhaps, who so thoroughly fulfilled the ideal of royalty, as the active and efficient 
rulers, yet not the autocrats, of their kingdom, guides of their subjects in peace, and champions in war. 
The crown of the Vasas derived its strongest support from the people. To Gustavus I. the tide of 
popular fervour which had placed and sustained it on his head, brought an accession of influence 
which enabled him to carry on the government in the face of foreign enmities and domestic revolts 
encouraged by strong factions among the nobility and the clergy; augmenting the regal power in Sweden 
proportionally as in other monai'chies about the same time, — in England under Henry VII. and 
Henry VIII. (with whose character that of Gustavus has some points of resemblance), in France under 
Louis XL, in Spain under Ferdinand and Charles, From the same cause, Charles IX. derived force to 
set aside the legitimate claims of Sigismund, backed by the arms of Poland, to change the order of 
succession, and settle the state under a strong central government, animated by respect for popular 
rights. Under Gustavus Adolphus, the love of his subjects, continued and heightened by his own great 
qualities, imped the wings of victory, and the increment of dominion, enabling him to defy the combined 
hostility of the other northern powers, to grapple with and overcome the house of Austria, to vindicate 
the rights of Protestantism, and the freedom of Europe. Greatness and warlike glory are promised by 
one of the most acute and knowing political thinkers to princes who advance the prosperity, and cultivate 
the favour of the masses. On this principle these fii'st two sovereigns of the house of Vasa acted ; and 
the realization of the subtle Florentine's prophecy came in full measure with the third. 

Sweden had been better prepared for the principles of the Reformation, — its reception was also 
more necessary, than in some other countries of Europe. It is calculated that in the Cathohc period 
the Swedish church possessed fully two-thirds of the soil of the country; such was likewise the statement 
of the high chancellor Anderson at the diet of Strengness ^. Its vices were not unproportioned to its 
wealth. The bishops were the most powerful men in Sweden; they had always appeared, along with 
their clergy, as the supporters of foreign interests in the country, and had taken a peculiarly obnoxious 
part in rivetting the yoke of Denmark. These and other political motives had doubtless a great share 
in facilitating the Refonnation, and in determining Gustavus I. to throw his weight into the scale of the 
adherents to the new doctrine. But however the social revolution was brought about, the Swedes soon 
embraced the religious tenets of the Reformers with the ardour of conviction, and stood by them with a 
zeal and constancy which made Sweden under Gustavus Adolphus what England had been under 
Elizabeth, and ceased to be under the Stuarts — the head of the Protestant interest in Europe. The 
reign of that monarch, one of the greatest among soldiers and statesmen, and perhaps the only righteous 
conqueror, has an epic grandeur, the solemnity of which is deepened by the sad recollection of his 
untimely fall. Cut off in the bloom of years, the maturity of intellect, and the full career of victory, he 
closed on the field of Lutzen a life, which, if prolonged, might have changed the destinies of modern 
Europe, given unity to Germany under a Protestant emperor, and reconducted, with more enlightened 

5 Geijer, Toor Laws, Essay V. " See Chapter IX. infra. 


policy and nobler intentions, the conquering arms of the North to the Tiber and the Bosphorus ''. " The 
a,t once aristocratic and military monarchy," says Geijer, in the essay already quoted, "now spreads 
itself forth glittering to our view under one of the world's greatest heroes and warriors. Posterity 
cannot know, scarce guess, all that to his eagle eye that monarchy was destined to be. The eagle fell, 
arrested in its course. But that course had been directed towards the sun. And though war yet 
rolled to and fro its bloody tide for many a year over the spot where he fell, the place is sanctified by 
the triumph of light, and there is breathed the peace of mankind *," 

" Then did the great men of Sweden," he continues, " study to deserve the name, Sweden has not 
had Axel Oxenstierna's match in the council; and in Torstenson beyond all others lived the genius of 
his master in the field. Against them and their colleagues but one I'eproach can justly be made. They 
thought that they could establish the state of Sweden, even for the future, upon a war-footing, however 
burdensome it might be to the people. Thus war became even after peace a necessity. Christina 
evaded it. The hero Charles Gustavus submitted to it not unwillingly, gathering at length in his 
victorious course Sweden's most useful conquests — now all that remain to us, 

" We have seen that the Swedish nobility, during the period of conquest, was representative of the 
army of Sweden, which again in the world represented the kingdom of Sweden, They had at the head 
of this army done good service, without forgetting their own advantage ; and under a new weak 
regency, after the early death of Charles Gustavus, every one had large opportunities of caring for it. 
This led to contentions within the nobility, foreboding division and fall, whilst they were deaf to the 
general discontent which was fermenting below them. In the meanwhile, pretensions were for the first 
time distinctly asserted, which had heretofore been rather in use than declared, but now sounded par- 
ticularly ill in the ears of the people ; for instance, the proposition of the nobility in the year 16G4, 
' that they could not be outvoted by the other orders at the diets.' Almost without knowing how, 
a government tottering betwixt alliances, and from want of subsidies, plunged the kingdom into a war, 
which, owing to degenerate military discipline and deficient resources, was universally unsuccessful, 
save where the youthful Charles XI, himself maintained the honour of the Swedish arms, 

" He came out of this war with a deep feeling of the deficiencies of the public condition, and with 
the determination to found the martial power of Sweden not upon subsidies" — (a resource hitherto 
employed among others) — " but upon the country's own well-husbanded resources. To recover what 
the crown had thus lost, an end which was accomplished by means of the Reduction^, absolute power 
was requisite ; and it was given by the unnoble orders, who were glad — as the younger nobility were 
not sorry — to see the power of the envied grandees now crushed. To render Sweden ready for war, 
and the crown absolute and rich, became from 1680 the chief object of Charles XI. during the peaceful 
remainder of his reign. Thus Charles XII. felt himself at once unrestrained, and fully equipped. Con- 
spiring neighbours challenged him. Then marched he forth over the old Swedish battle-fields to others 
far distant, whithersoever the hope of victory beckoned him, braving first fortune, then misfortune, 
until his country had no more sons to give him ; and with the fall of Sweden's power, a hand from 
amongst its ruins was turned against his life." 

With this sovereign another period of historic splendour was still to come for Sweden. In the 
struggles against Russia under the princes of the Palatine House, we often find cause to regret a spirit 
less well-balanced, and a policy less far-seeing, than in the elder monarchs of Sweden. Onwards from 
this date her history perhaps ceases to possess an interest so universal ; yet it has aspects which, viewed 
in connexion with the recent politics of Europe, lend it enhanced attx'action. It would be here out of 
place to speculate on the lofty destinies to which Sweden may yet again be called, amidst the changeful 

7 Such anticipations were certainly current in the camp of Gustavus himself. Witness his follower Monro, who, with 
homely hut honest enthusiasm, says : " From Denmark our expedition by water (having taking service anew, under 
the Lion of the North, the invincible King of Sweden,) did continue towards Spruce (Prussia); from thence to the Baltic 
coast again, and from thence to the river of Danube, that runs from the foot of the Alps in Swaubland to the Adriatic Sea. 
And had our master of worthy memory lived, we had crossed the Alps into Italy, and saluted the Pope within Rome. But 
the loss of this Lion to lead us, was the loss of many, and of this old regiment," &c. i. 6. See other better informed 
evidence in the notes to Chap. XVII. infra. 

8 " Sweden's most glorious time was a time of great life-giving ideas, and also one of forcibly-compelling circumstances. 
Gustavus Adolphus may he likened to a sower from an onspeeding war-chariot ; wherefore of that which was sown, 
some fell upon the rock, and some among stones, and other among thorns. He belioved to have means for the wars, — 
and the course of commerce had to adjust itself accordingly. He took the trades into his own hands, directly, by means 
of monopolies for the crown; or indirectly by companies, leases, and privileges, all with a view to effect an earlier gain, 
required by circumstances, than the natural increment could alTord." Ibid. The beauty of these passages must be my 
apology for quoting them, especially as they are imbedded in essays, which necessarily are less attractive in the whole to 

9 " Thus the act was termed by which Charles XI. was empowered by the estates to resume all the alienated lands of 
the crown in the year 1680." This passage is from Mr. Lewin's Translation of the Essays. 


and perplexed currents of human affairs. Within the last century and a half new nations have 
appeared on the scene ; new empires have sprung into life and gi-eatness, and now rear their giant 
heads over the ruins of fallen thrones and decayed monarchies. During the same period the Scandina- 
vians, jealous and disunited, deprived of the assistance of more powerful kindred nations, at times almost 
shut out from the councils of Europe, and robbed of a portion of their heritage amidst the tempests of 
the French revolution, struggled against unpropitious fortunes to maintain their rank among nations, 
and make head against the encroachments of ambitious neighbours and rival races. A new era of peace, 
of rapidly advancing prosperity ', — perhaps, too, if the aspirations of ardent patriots carry trustworthy 
pi'csages, one of Union, in which the three nations of the northern peninsula will present a compact and 
united front that may bid defiance to any foreign aggression — has now risen upon them. To Sweden, 
whose power has but relatively declined, while absolutely it is much greater than ever, the foremost place 
will no doubt be yielded ; and a brilliant prospect opens which will yet be realized. Meantime, honour 
and regard should wait on this ancient and warlike nation, which keeps watch by the Polar lights over the 
portals of the East Sea and the West. To her are committed the keys of Europe, the vanguard of 
civilization. And if ever the day should arrive, when the legions of the Muscovite shall march to con- 
flict with those of the west and south, her post will be one of danger, and doubtless of glory. Once she 
was the arbiter of the European system ; she may yet be its preserver. 

But I detain the reader too long from pages more worthy his attention. My apology must be the 
apparent necessity of attempting to explain the general character of a department of history hitherto too 
little known, as well as of a style which some may find unfamiliar in its treatment. Let us listen then 
to the words of a great scholar and politician, who, from the stillness of that distant retreat of the 
Northern Muses, speaks to us with a voice of gentleness, yet of authority and force. 

' The kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, united since 1814, contain the immense surface of 281,358 square miles 
English. The population of the former in 1S39, according to the Geographical Almanack of Berghaus, was 3,111,067; that 
of the latter in 1840 was 1,243,700. They form now the fourth maritime power of the world, coming after Great Britain, 
the United States, and France. The number of their ships I have seen stated at 5450, and the tonnage at 471,772, though 
I am at a loss for the reference. The population of Denmark in 1840 was 2,194,950. That of the grand duchy of Finland, 
severed from Sweden by Russia in the reign of Gustavus IV., and whose inhabitants are far from having forgotten their old 
connexion, is 1,393,727. 


Page 1, col. 2, line 17, for " reollections," read recollections. 

Page 31, col. 1, note 9, for " mundok," read mutid ok. 

Page 34, col. 1, line 14, for " Gothland," read Golllaud. 

Page 38, col. 2, line 23, for " befel," read befell. 

Page 45, note 9, for " Juta," read Jutar. 

Page 81, col. 2, line 11, place the , after conflict. 

Note. — Sti in Swedish sounds like sh ; j like ?/, as also g before ci or a. I have not in all cases rigidly adhered to 
the Swedish orthography, sometimes using the Latinized form instead. The mark ' generally placed over e tinal, is to be 
considered as merely arbitrary, for the purpose of reminding the reader that it should be sounded. 




Notions of the Ancients on Scandinavia. Cliaracter 
and Relations of its History. How tirst made known 
to Modern Europe. Saxo Grammaticus. The Ice- 
landers. Scaldic Poetry. Snorro Sturleson. Swedish 
History compared with Norwegian and Danish. The 
Subject divided 



Inland Seas ; the Mediterranean and the Baltic 

Seat of the Teutonic Nations ; their Irruptions 

The Suiones of Tacitus 

The Gothic Tribes 

Notion of their Scandian Extraction ; its Explanation . . 

Idea of the Northern Mythology 

Supposed Divine Descent of the Kings 

Extent of Odinism 

Annals and Destiny of Gods and Men 

Spiritof Northern Paganism; its Heroic Odes 

Legendary Account of the Establishment of the Swedish 


Odin; his Actions and Character. The Asae 

Niord and Frey. The Ynglings. Fiolner, the First 

The Ynglingasaga. King Anund the Leveller. The 
Upsala Kings. Feast of Ingyald ; his Tragical End- 
Origin of the Swedes 

Odin probably a Real Personage. Traditions as to him. 
The Asaj or Alans, a Tribe dwelling in the Caucasus .... 
Piiorily of the Goths. Goths and Swedes two distinct 

The Second Dynasty. Ivar Widfamne, its Founder ; his 

Harald and Sigurd. Battle of Bravalla •••■ 

Eastern Conquests of the Swedes. Russian Monarchy 
founded by Ruric. Statement of Nestor. Vaners and 

Swedish Wars in Russia 

Ragnar Lodbroc; his Adventures 

Fate of Ragnar's Sons ■"■"T 

Accounts of him compared. Invasion of the Northmen 

Settlement in Switzerland. Hasslidale ; its Inhabitants 



Scania ; its Produce and Commerce. Towns ; Inhabit- 
ants •. r'll!' 

Provinces of the Southern Coasts ; Occupations of the 
Inhabitants ••••" ■." 

West-Gothland and East-Gothland ; Notices of them m 

the Sagas 

Gothland and Swedeland; their Boundaries 

Sudermaniaor Suthermanland, Nerike, Vermeland 

Description of Sweden by King Alfred and Snorro 

















The Folklands ; Upland. Meaning of these Appel- 
lations. Westmanland ^1 

Ancient Topographical Divisions. Settlement of the 
Swedes round the Shores of the Malar. Upsala, Sig- 
tuna or Birca ■." 

Mining Tracts ; Dalecarlia. State of its Inhabitants in 
the Twelfth Century ^3 

Progress of Settlement and Culture to the North. Norr- 
land, Helsingland, Gestricland 24 

Medelpad and Angermanland. Finnmark ; Charac- 
ter of this Region ^5 

Voyage of Ottar and Ulfsten. Biarmaland. Fennic 
Tribes f 

Carelians and Tavastrians. Finns and Lapps ^t 

Their probable Common Extraction, and Present Di- 



Expulsion of these Nomadic Races by Swedish Settlers. 
Vestiges of them in Middle and Southern Sweden 29 

Notices of them by Old Writers 30 

Ancient Polity and Manners of the Swedes id. 

Odin and his Council of Twelve. The Tings. Social 
Life in Heathen Times. Wedding and Funeral Rites 31 

Formation of the Original Commonwealth ; its Digni- 

The Lagman"or"judge. Free and Unfree. Houses and 

Occupations of the People ^3 

Fruits and Belies of Paganism •'"* 



Anskar, the Apostle of Sweden. His Mission by the 
Emperor Lodovic the Pious 

His Visits to Sweden. Partial Success of his labours. 
His Character. Rimbert. Relapse to Paganism 35 

King Eric Edmundson and his Conquests. Scandina- 
vian Enterprises in the Ninth Century. King Eric ^^ 
the Victorious "■.■■" 

Olave the Lap-King ; his son, Olave Tryggwason, King 
of Norway; League against him •• ••••• 

The Anglo-Saxon Sigfrid preaches the Gospel to the 
Swedes and Norsemen. Baptism of Olave the Lap- 



St. Olave of Norway. Embassy from him to Olave of 

„ , 38 

Sweden ••••; 

Extinction of the Second Dynasty. Effects of the 
Religious Changes. Ascendancy of the Gothic Popu- 
lation. Stenkil chosen King by them 40 

Civil Wars between the Goths, who had espoused 
Christianity, and the Swedes, who remained Pagans. . 41 

Reign of Inge. Hostilities with Norway. A Danish 

Prince chosen by the West-Goths •••••••• 

Ascendancy of the Christians. King Swerker. Intro- 
duction of Monks. Visit of a Papal Legate. Reign ^^ 
of St. Eric < 



His Crusade in Finland, Deatli, and Cliaracter. Charles 
Swerkerson first King of tlie Swedes and Goths. 
State of the Church 44 

Successors of St. Eric. Feud of Eljaras 45 

King Eric Ericson. Results of tlie Civil Wars. The 
Folkungers. Usurpation of the Regal Power by the 
Earl of Sweden 46 

Disorders of the Clergy. Synod of Skenninge convoked 
by a Papal Legate. Its Measures 47 


THE FOLKUNGERS. A. D. 1250 — 13G5. 

Augmented Power of the Crown and the Nobility id. 

Dawnings of Literature 48 

Waldemar, son of Birger, Earl of Sweden, chosen King. id. 

Revolt of his kinsmen, the Folkungers ; its Suppression id. 

Power of Earl Birger; his Legislation 49 

Foundation of Stockholm ; Foreign Trade id. 

Waldemar's Quarrels with his Brothers ; his Pilgrimage 
to Rome id. 

Dethronement of Waldemar. Magnus Ladulas crowned 
King 50 

His Regulations for checking the Power and Turbulent 
Spirit of the Magnates 51 

Extensive Claims of Regalities referred to this Reign. 
Their Unsoundness proved. Payment of Land-Tax 
to the Crown not incompatible with complete Allodial 
Right of Property. Nobility and Freehold Tenure by 
Equestrian Service 52 

Benefactions of Magnus to the Church. His Death. 
Ascension of his son Birger 53 

Swedish Law. Functions of the Lagman. Provincial 
Codes. Revision of the Law of Upland 54 

Marriage of King Birger. Jealousy and Ambition of 
the Royal Dukes id. 

Tlieir Revolt and Seizure of the King's person. Com- 
pact of Helsingborg. The Dukes treacherously made 
prisoners at Nykceping 55 

Their tragical fate. Flight of Birger to Denmark. 
Magnus Ericson chosen King 56 

Aristocratic League for the Support of the new Govern- 
ment. Land's Law of King Magnus Ericson ; Con- 
gress of Warberg 57 

Crusade in Russia. The great Plague. Magnus and 
his Son Eric alternately Kings 58 

Dethronement of Magnus by the Swedish Nobles. Offer 
of the Crown to Albert, Duke of Mecklenberg 59 


TRATION OF THE STURES. A.D. 1365 — 1470. 

The Union Age. Dislike to the new King. German 
Favourites 59 

Invasion by Haco, King of Norway, Son of Magnus Al- 
bert's surrender of Power to tlie Lords of liis Council. 
Margaret of Norway. The Crown offered to her by 
the Executors of the High Steward 60 

Battle of Falkoeping and Captivity of Albert. Piracies 
in the Baltic. Eric duke of Pomerania elected King. 
Treaty of Calmar for the Union of Scandinavia, July 
20, 1397 61 

Philippa of England. Oppressive Exactions by the new 
King's Government. Tyranny of the Royal Lieutenants 62 

General Rising of the People under Engelbert Eiigel- 
bertson. His Encounter with the Council 63 

Success of his Army. He is chosen Administrator ; and 
Assassinated, April 27, 1436 , 64 

Charles Canuteson Bonde chosen Administrator. King 
Eric retires to the Isle of Gottland. Oscillations of 
Parties. Choice of Christopher of Bavaria to the 
Throne 65 

Charles Canuteson High Steward. Jealousies of the 
Magnates. Design to surprise Lubeck. Death of 
Christopher 66 


Election of Charles Canuteson to the Crown. Attempt 
on Gottland. Burning of Wisby by the Danes. Nor- 
way adheres to Christian of Oldenburg 67 

Hostilities of Charles and Christian. Danish Incursion. 
Public Calamities C8 

Unpopularity of Cbarles. His Feud with the Archbishop 
and Flight to Dantzic. Christian of Oldenburg, King 
of Denmark, admitted to the Crown 69 

Quarrel of Christian and the Archbishop. His Depar- 
ture to Denmark. Recall and Death of Charles 
Canuteson ^^ 


TYRANT. A.D. 1470—1520. 

Steno store the Elder chosen Administrator. Danish 
Invasion under Christian 1 71 

Battle of Brunkeberg, and complete Defeat of the Danes. 
Internal Tranquillity after their Expulsion 72 

University of Upsala founded. Renewal of the Treaty 
of Calmar. Its Non-fulfilment 73 

War with Russia. Indecisive Movements. Charges 
against the Administrator. King John of Denmark 
invited into Sweden by the Council 74 

Opposition of the Administrator. His Compromise with 
King John ^^ 

Desertion of the King by the Nobility. Death of Steno 
the Elder. Suanto Sture chosen Administrator 76 

Hostilities with Denmark. Peace with Russia. Al- 
liance with Lubeck. Steno Sture the Younger chosen 
Administrator ^7 

Accession of Christian H. in Denmark. Continuance 
of Hostilities. Papal Ban and Interdict on Sweden. 
Invasion and temporary Reduction of the Country by 
the Danes ^8 

Demand by the Archbishop of Satisfaction for Injuries 
sustained from the Administrator. Massacre of Stock- 
holm. Cruelties of Christian 79 



General Character of this Period. The Monarchy a 
Federation SO 

Strength of the Popular Element. Mode of Election to 
the Crown. The Ericsgait Si 

Elective Customs of the West-Goths. Privilege of the 
Upper Swedes 82 

The Yeoman and his Rights. Law of Inheritance. 
Birthrights 83 

Protection of Private Char.icter by the Law. Outlawry 
of Homicides. The Man-bote 84 

The Ordeals. Compurgators. Judicial Office and Power. 
Mulcts 85 

Measures of Police. Punishments. Influence of the 
Church in ameliorating Manners. Early Abolition of 
Serfage 86 

Social Customs and Observances. The Land's Law. 
Court Laws 87 

Jurisdiction of the Nobility. Towns and Burgesses. 
Seats of Trade. Crown Revenues 88 

Taxation. Tithes. Royal Domain. Boundaries of the 
Kingdom. Mines 89 

Cultivation. Traffic. The Gottlanders 90 

Commercial Privileges of the Germans. The Coinage; 
its Depreciation 91 

Produce of the various Provinces. Fisheries. Institu- 
tion of Guilds. Prevalence of Immorality 92 

State of Knowledge. Introduction of Printing. Do- 
mestic Manners and Old Usages 93 

Education of Youth. Popular love of Freedom 94 

Catalogue of Kings .■■• 95 




Birth and Parentage of Gustavus 97 

His Scliool-days and youthful Exploits ; his Captivity in 
North Jutland, and Escape to Lubeck 98 

He repairs to Calmar; attempts to raise the Smalanders 
against the Danes 99 

State of Sweden under the Danish Governors ; the latter 
favoured by the Bisliops and Nobles. News of the 
Massacre. Flight of Gustavus 100 

His Wanderings in Dalecarlia ; Agitation against the 
Danes 101 

Rising of the Dalesmen ; Gustavus chosen for their 
Captain; Apathy of the Helsingers ; Zealof the Stock- 
holm Magistracy for tlie Danes 102 

Unsuccessful attempt to quell the Revolt by Archbishop 
Gustavus Trolle and the Danish Authorities ; Rout of 
Brunnebeckor Brunneburn 103 

Successes of the Patriot Force; Combats of Westeras 
and Upsala 104 

Narrow Escape of Gustavus. Siege of Stockholm begun. 
He is elected Administrator at a Diet in Vadstena.... 105 

Progress of the War. Cruel treatment of the Wives and 
Children of the Swedish Nobles by Christian. At- 
tempts of the Danish admiral Norby to relieve Stock- 
holm. Its Capture lOG 

View of Christian's Policy and Character. His Flight 
from his Dominions. Gustavus elected King at a 
Diet in Strengness 107 



State of the Country at the close of the War. Dissolu- 
tion of the Union. The Nobles and the Commons. 
Temper of Men's Minds 108 

Position of the Church. Pecuniary Claims of the Lu- 
beckers. Gottland held by Norby for Christian II. ... 109 

Expedition fitted out by Gustavus against Gottland. 
Treachery of its Commander. Introduction of Luther's 
Doctrines into Sweden by Olave and Laurence Peter- 
son 110 

Financial Statement made by Gustavus at Westeras. 
Debts to Lubeck. New Taxes. Prevalence and 
Severity of Distress Ill 

Anabaptist Riots in Stockholm. The King's Rebuke of 
the new Preachers. New Bishops appointed. Their 
Intrigues 112 

Plots for the House of Sture. Punishment of the de- 
linquent Bishops 113 

Gustavus and Bishop Braske. The King invades the 
Property of the Monasteries, and assumes the Direc- 
tion of Ecclesiastical Affairs 114 

The False Sture ; his Impostures. Rebellion in the 
Dales llo 

Diet of Westeras assembles ; its Composition. Speech 
of the High-Chancellor Anderson on the State of 
Affairs IIG 

Disputes between the King and the Nobles ; Ferment 
among the Common People ; the Royal Demands 
granted , 117 

Measures of the Diet respecting the Church Tempo- 
ralities. Bishops' Castles sequestrated 118 

Assize of Tuna in Dalecarlia. Suppression of the Mo- 
nasteries. Decrees of the Synod of Orebro 119 

Revolution in West-Gothland and Smaland, instigated 
by the High-Steward Thure Jenson. Meeting on 
Larfs Heath 120 

Plot of seven West-Gothic Barons j their Chastisement. 
Steps for the Payment of the Debt to Lubeck. Bell 
Sedition 121 

Movements of Cliristian II. He Lands in Norway, and 
is acknowledged King. Attempt on Sweden 122 


Surrender of Christian. His Imprisonment by Frederic 
of Denmark, and Sufferings. Conference of Gustavus 
with the Insurgent Dalecarlians 123 

Designs of Lubeck. Rupture with its Government. 
Relations with Denmark 124 

Conspiracy in Stockholm ; its Detection and Punish- 
ment. Establishment of the Reformation. Measures 
of Church Discipline 125 

Rebellion in Southern Sweden. Its dangerous Character, 
and Suppression 126 


A.D. 1544— 15G0. 

Settlement of the Crown of Sweden in the House of 
Vasa. Internal Tranquillity 127 

Effects of the Recess of Westeras. Confiscation of 
Church Property 128 

Increase of the King's Power hy his Ecclesiastical Mea- 
sures. Assertion of Claims of Regalities over Com- 
mons, Waters, Fisheries, and Mines 129 

Character of the King's Administration. Popular Me- 
thods of Government. Conrad Von Pyhy, Chancellor 131 

His Pestilent Influence; and Ruin. The King's Avarice 
and Covetous Devices 132 

His Domestic Economy, and Plans of Improvements ... 183 

Popular Regard for Gustavus. Finance and Agricul- 
ture 134 

Mines and Forges. Foreign Commerce 135 

Steps to its Extension. Regulation of Internal Trade.. 13G 

Military Force. Navy. Education 137 

Condition and Manners of the Upper Classes and Clergy. 
Misunderstandings with Denmark 138 

Hostilities with Russia. Last Years of the King's Life 139 

Misconduct of his Son Eric. The King's grave Dis- 
pleasure 140 

Eric's Love- suit to Queen Elizabeth of England. Con- 
test in Livonia 141 

Designs of the Princes Eric and John. Diet of Stock- 
holm ^ 142 

The King's Farewell Speech to the Estates. His Last 
Illness 143 

His Death. Account of him by his Nephew, Count 
Peter Brahe 144 


ERIC AND HIS BROTHERS. A.D. 1560 — 1569. 

Accession of Eric. His Accomplishments. Power of 
the royal Dukes John and Charles 145 

Characters of the Princes ; their Disagreements with 
the King 146 

The Coronation. Creation of Hereditary Counts and 
Barons. New Supreme Court established 147 

Administration of Justice. Eric's Overtures of Marriage 148 

His Profusion. Submission of Estland to Swedish 
Rule. John's Views on the Crown of Poland. Hos- 
tilities with the Poles. John imprisoned 149 

The King's Intentions towards him. Tyrannical mea- 
sures of Police. George Person 150 

Atrocities of the Royal Court. War with Denmark 151 

Swedish Invasion of Norway. Eric's Account of the 
Military Occurrences 152 

Severity of the Conscription. The King's Persecution 
of the House of Sture 153 

Cruel Treatment of Nicholas Sture. Supposed Con- 
spiracy in tlie Interest of that Family 154 

Investigation of the Charge. Arraignment of Six Lords 
at Stockliolm. Adjournment of the Trial to Upsala. 
Murder of Nicholas Sture there by the King and his 
Attendants 155 

Frenzy of Eric ; Discussion of its Nature 156 

His Insane Deportment to Duke John ; his Marriage. 
Incursion of the Danes into East-Gothland 157 

Frivolities of Eric. Design against his Brothers' Lives; 
the Dukes take up Arms 158 




Eric brought to Trial before the Estates, and Deposed. 

His Imprisonment and Sufferings 159 

Plots for his Release. Resolution of the Council of 

State to despatch him IGO 

He is poisoned by the Servants of Duke John. His 

Widow and Children 161 

Fortunes of his son Gustavus in Poland and Russia 162 


JOHN AND CHARLES. A. D. 1569 — 1592. 

John acknowledged King. Position of Duke Charles. 
Charter of Privileges to the Nobility 163 

Congress of Stettin, and Peace with Denmark. War 
with Russia 164 

Successes in Livonia and on the Finnish Border. The 
Crown-Prince Sigismund elected King of Poland 1G5 

Design of John to restore Popery. Arrival of Jesuits 
in Stockholm 166 

State of the Church, and the Popular Belief. Pro- 
visions of the Kirk's Ordinance 167 

Machinations of the Jesuits. King John's Liturgy 168 

His Embassy to Rome, and Proposals to the Pope. 
Abandonment of Papistical Tendencies 169 

Exasperation of the Differences between the King and 
Duke Charles. Division of the Royal Patrimony 170 

Dispute between them as to the Government of Livonia. 
Intentions of Gustavus I. respecting the Government 171 

Crown-rights over the Nobility. The Equestrian Ser- 
vice. Views of the Swedish Nobles in this Age illus- 
trated from the Treatise of Count Brahe 172 

Disputes as to the Civil and Ecclesiastical Government 
of the Duchy 173 

Reflections on the Character and Policy of King John. 
' His Second Marriage. Affairs of Poland 174 

Statutes of Calmar, for the future Union and Govern- 
r" ment of Sweden and Poland 175 

Family of Vasa. The King's Suspicions of Treason in 
't the" Council 176 

Regulations of the Mines. Improvements of Duke 
Charles in Vermeland 177 

Mismanagement and Profusion of the Court. John 
determines to visit his son Sigismund 178 

The King's Departure, and Stay in Reval. Remon- 
strances of the Council and the Army 179 

The King's Return; his Disgust with the Council 180 

The Estates convoked. Arraignment of Six Lords of 
the Council for their Conduct at Reval, and Design 
to annul the Hereditary Settlement id. 

Despotic Conduct of the King; his Harshness towards 
the Accused. The Russian War. Horn's Heroism, 
Unjust Condemnation, and Pardon 181 

Illness and Death of John 182 



Education of Sigismund by bis Father in the Catholic 
Faith. Proceedings of Duke Charles in his absence. 
Pardon of the Accused Lords. The Duke's Covenant 
with the Council 183 

Synod of Upsala. Abrogation of John's Liturgy 184 

The Calvinists declared Heretics. Fears as to the ad- 
mission of the King. Mission of Thure Bielke to 
obtain Guarantees from Sigismund 185 

The King's arrival. Disorders at Stockholm. Diet of 
Upsala. His acceptance of the proposed Conditions.. 186 

The Coronation. Opinion of Gustavus Adolphus as to 
Sigismund's Conduct and Policy. Renewal of the 
Abuses of the former Union. Postulates of the Nobles 187 

Sigismund's Charter of Privileges to their Order. Ar- 
rangements for his Departure to Poland 188 

Quarrels of the Poles and Swedes. His Embarkation. 
Position of the Council ; vast Infeudations to several 
of its Members 189 


Pretensions of the new Lieutenants to Independence 
of the Duke. Re-erection of the University of Up- 
sala. Peace with Russia. Disturbances raised by 
Fleming, the Governor of Finland 190 

Convention of the Estates by Duke Charles at Siider- 
kceping. Measures against the Catholics 191 

Kirk-inquest by the Archbishop. Distress and Dis- 
content. Letter of the Dalesmen in support of Duke 
Charles. Civil War in Finland 19.3 

The Duke renounces the Government, and convokes 
the Diet of Arboga 193 

Announcement of Sigismund's purpose to return. 
Decrees of the Estates in favour of the Duke. Ar- 
rival of Sigismund. Negotiations and Hostilities. 
Fights of Stegeborg and Stangbridge 194 

Treaty of Linkoeping. Flight of Sigismund. Charles 
declared by the Estates Hereditary Prince Regnant.... 195 


CHARLES IX. A. D. 1599 — 1611. 

Consequences of Sigismund's Flight. Disorders in 
Upper Sweden 196 

Severities against the King's Adherents. Execution of 
John Sparre, brother of the Chancellor, and others. 
Diet of Linkoeping. Arraignment of the Royalist 
Nobles 197 

Condemnation of the Accused, and Execution of their 
Chiefs. Banishment of other Nobles of the King's 
Party 198 

Offer of the Crown by the Estates at LinkcEping to the 
Duke. Military Operations in Livonia. Negotiations 
with the Poles. Visit of Charles to Finland 199 

Condition of the Peasantry of that Province. Re- 
flections on the Career and Position of Charles. His 
Generous Conduct to his nephew, Prince John 200 

Diet at Stockholm. His View of Foreign Affairs. 
Famine and Plague. Refusal of the Crown by 
Charles. New Council appointed 201 

His Religious Opinions, and Controversy with the Arch- 
bishop.,... 202 

Projects of Religious Union. Rebukes to the Clergy. 
Correspondence of Charles with the University of 
Upsala 203 

Acceptance of the Crown by Charles in 1604. Heredi- 
tary Settlement of Norrkoeping. Measures for the 
Organization of the Military Force 204 

The King's Relations with the Nobility. Projects for 
the Amendment of the Law 205 

Correction of Judicial Abuses. Regulation of the Pro- 
vincial Governments and Magistracy 206 

Commercial Measures. Import and Export Duties. 
Mines and Manufactories. Survey of the Country.... 207 

War in Livonia. Revolutions of Russia. Disputes 
with Denmark. Invasion by Christian IV 208 

The King's Negotiations with Foreign States. His 
Death. Spirit of his Life and Reign 209 


TION. A. D. 1611—1632. 

Sketch of the Early Life and Education of the King by 
Chancellor Oxenstierna 210 

His First Campaign against the Danes 211 

His acknowledgment by the Estates, and Accession to 
the Government. View of the effects of the Heredi- 
tary Settlement 212 

The Royal Warranty ; Restrictions stipulated on the 
Power of the Crown. Legal Rights and Obligations 
of the Nobility 213 

Policy of former Kings with regard to the Feudal Pres- 
tations ; Efforts of Charles IX. and Gustavus Adol- 
phus to give the Order a Military Character 214 

Prevalence of the Military Spirit In the Government 215 

Aristocratic and Democratic Parties ; Oxenstierna and 
Skytte 216 


Backwardness of the Nobility in performing Military 

Service 217 

New Charter of Privileges. House of Barons erected; 

Consequences of its Institution 218 

Its Objects and Organization; Representation of the 

Army in the Diets 219 

Order of Proceeding in General Diets ; instances of Pro- 
vincial Diets 220 

Taxation ; uncertainty of the Mode of Imposition, and 
Irregularity of the Amounts 221 

Frequency of Diets in this Reign. Commissions of 
Estates. Supplies granted to the Crown 222 

Equality of Assessment endeavoured by the King; 
Declarations of the Estates against Privileged Im- 
munities. Collection of the Taxes 223 

Disturbances occasioned thereby. The Conscription ; 
Method of enforcing it by Commissioners.. 224 

Conduct of the Levies throughout this Reign. Allo- 
cation of the Soldiery for their Maintenance 225 

Improvement and Extension of the System by Gustavus 
Adolphus. Resources of the Country; Extraordinary 
Means 226 

Loans, Sales, and Monopolies. Commercial Associations 227 

Influence of the Government on the National Character. 
Contemporary Account of the People by a Belgian 
Merchant 228 

Strength of the Army. Measures for the Improvement 
of the Mines, Forges, and Manufactories 229 

New Towns Founded. Rise of Gottenburg. Regu- 
lation of Foreign Commerce and Inland Traffic 230 

New Administrative;Offices. Supreme Court erected.... 231 

Its Functions and Influence. Royal Interference with 
the Course of Justice. Rarity of Litigation 232 

Condition of the People during a period of War. State 
of the Church ; Proposition for a General Consistory.. 233 

State of the University of Upsala. The King's Solicitude 
for its Prosperity and the Promotion of Learning 234 

His Munificent Grants to the University and Schools.... 235 


POLISH WARS. AD. 1612—1629. 

Military Position of Old Sweden. Theory of the War- 
like Measures of Gustavus II 236 

Campaign of 1612 against the Danes. Desperate En- 
gagement in Smaland. Elfsborg taken by the Danes. 237 

Danish Invasion of Gothland under Christian IV. and 
Rantzou defeated. Attempt on Stockholm. Peace 
signed; its Conditions 238 

Alliance with the Netherlands. Affairs of Russia. 
Embassy from Novogorod to solicit a Swedish Prince 
for their Czar 239 

Campaign of 1615. Peace of Stolbova; The King's 
opinion of the Terms 240 

Internal State of Russia, described by Memoirs from 
Swedish Agents. Polish War. Connexions and In- 
trigues of Sigisraund, King of Poland, against Gus- 
tavus Adolphus 241 

His Preparations for active Hostility. Humanity of 
Gustavus towards the Inhabitants of Livonia and 
Esthonia, the seat of War 242 

Articles of War issued for the Swedish Army. Courts- 
Martial 243 

Military Discipline and Punishments. Muster of the 
Army before Gustavus and his Family on the Mea- 
dow of Orsta. Embarkation of the King, and Sailing 
of the Fleet for Livonia 244 

Siege of Riga ; Surrender of the Town. Death of the 
King's brother, Duke Charles Philip 245 

Campaign of 1622. Three Years' Truce. Campaign of 

I 1625; Reduction of Livonia and Courland 246 

Winter's Campaign ; Battle of Wallhof. War removed 
into Prussiain 1626 247 


Occupation of Pillau and other places. Occurrences in 

Livonia. Home Affairs 248 

Second Campaign in Prussia. Actions before Dantzic. 249 
The Poles supported by the Emperor. Armistice and 

Negotiations for Peace 250 

Third and Fourth Prussian Campaigns. Junction of 

the Imperialists with the Poles 251 

Battle of Stum. Mediation of France and England. 

Six Years' Truce 252 



A. D. 1628—1632. 
Overtures of the Protestants of Germany to Gustavus 
Adolphus. Views of the King as to Swedish Inter- 
vention in the Conflict between the Catholics and 

Protestants 253 

State of Germany; Political Changes 254 

Power and Designs of Wallenstein. Importance of the 

Baltic Harbours 255 

Danger of Stralsund; the King determines to rescue 
it. Its Siege by the Imperialists; Conclusion of an 

Alliance 256 

The Estates engage to support the King in his Mea- 
sures. Discussion of a Plan of Operation for the War 257 
The King's Argument for an Offensive War. Inter- 
ruption of Good Understanding with Denmark 258 

Apprehensions of Hostility from that Quarter; Pre- 
cautions against it 259 

Diet of 1629. Deliberations in the Council. Nego- 
tiations for Peace at Dantzic. Intrigues of Richelieu. 260 
Preparations in Sweden. Assembly of the Fleet. 

Number and Composition of the Army 261 

The King takes leave of the Estates, and embarks for 
Germany, May 30, 1630. Voyage to Pomerania. 

Landing on the Isle of Usedom 262 

Occupation of Stettin. Cruelties and Oppression of the 
Imperialists. Position of Affairs at this Juncture. 

Strict Discipline of the Swedes 263 

The King joined by several German Princes ; his Em- 
barrassments from deficient Supplies 264 

Plans for the Ensuing Year. Winter of 1630. Con- 
tinuance of Operations 2G5 

Treaty with France. Reduction of Pomerania. Storm- 
ing of Frankfort-on-the-Oder 266 

Efforts to relieve Magdeburg frustrated. Its Capture. 

Barbarities of the Imperialist Forces 267 

Pusillanimous Conduct of the Protestant Electors of 
Saxony and Brandenburg. Exigencies of the Army. 

Entrenched Camp at Werben 268 

Repulse of Tilly's Assault. Ravages of the Plague. 

The Saxon Troops join the Swedes 269 

Battle of Leipsic. Complete Defeat of the Imperialist 

Army under Tilly 270 

Defence of the Policy of the Operations subsequent to 
the Victory. Question as to their direction against 

Austria, or to Upper Germany 271 

Plan for a Defensive War; its Abandonment. Rapid 

Successes on the Mayne 272 

Progress to the Rhine. Tilly declines Battle. Collision 

with the Spaniards at Oppenheim 273 

Entry into Mentz. Compacts with the Protestant States 

of the Empire. Proposals of Peace 274 

Backwardness of Saxony and Brandenburg. War in 

Bavaria. Passage of the Lech 275 

Occupation of Augsburg and Munich. The entrenched 

Camps at Nuremberg ; Wallenstein against Gustavus 276 
The former threatens Saxony. State of Aflairs at the 

break-up from Nuremberg 277 

Positions of the hostile Armies. Plans of Wallenstein ; 

his Irruption into Saxony ; Measures for its Defeat ... 278 
The King overtakes Wallenstein, and is deserted by the 

Elector of Saxony and the Duke of Brunswick 279 

The hostile armies in presence of each other on the 
field of Lutzen. Their Stations, and probable Strength 230 




Order of Battle and Preparations. The King's address 
to liis Troops 281 

Desperate Cliarge of the Infantry ; temporary Repulse. 
The King's Fall 282 

The Duke of Weimar takes the Command. Arrival of 
Pappenheim with Reinforcements to the Imperialists 283 

Final Attack and Triumph of the Swedes. Recovery of 
the King's Body 284 

Reception of the News in Sweden. The Duke of Lauen- 
burg suspected as the author of the King's Death 285 

Inquiry into the Probability of the Charge ; its Ground- 
lessness evinced 286 

Reflections on the Life, Character, and Intentions of 
Gustavus Adolphus 28? 


Christina's minority, the guardians. 
A. D. 1633—1645. 

Correspondence of the Chancellor with the Council of 

State upon the King's Death 288 

Views of Gustavus Adolphus as to the Organization of 
the Ministry. Proposed Alliance and Match with 

Brandenburg 289 

Oxenstierna's Draught of a Constitution. Diet of 1633. 

Acknowledgment of Christina 290 

Regency of Guardians appointed ; their Oath. Preten- 
sions of the Polish branch of the Vasas revived 291 

The Chancellor's Form of Government adopted by the 
Diet. The five Administrative Colleges. Prefects 

and Judges 292 

Obligations of Official Persons to render an Account in 

yearly Courts of Inquest 293 

Character of Oxenstierna. His Memorial to the Council. 

Financial Measures recommended by him 294 

His Suggestions for the Improvement of the Towns, 

and the Abolition of Burdens on Trade 295 

His Views upon the Conduct of the War. Negotiation 

with the Saxon Court at Dresden 296 

The Chancellor appointed to the Supreme Directory of 

the War. Protestant League of Heilbronn 297 

Project for investing the Chancellor with the Electorate 

of Mentz, and marrying his son to the Queen 298 

Mutiny among the Officers of the Army of the Danube. 

Dissensions of the Swedish and German Generals 299 

Operations on the Weser and in Suabia. Ratisbon taken 

by the Imperialists 300 

Duke Bernard of Weimar and Horn defeated at Nord- 
lingen. Bad Faith of Wallenstein. His Assassina- 
tion 301 

Inquiry into the extent of his Guilt. Dissensions of 

the Protestant States of Germany 302 

Peace of Prague. Change in the Prospects of the War. 
Negotiations with Denmark and Poland. The Swed- 
ish Ministry inclined to Peace 303 

Rising Influence of France. Policy of Richelieu. Visit 

of Oxenstierna to him to settle terms of Alliance 304 

Fruitless Efforts of Oxenstierna for Peace. John Baner, 

the new Commander-in-Chief 305 

Tlie Saxons take part actively against Sweden. Opera- 
tions on the Oder 306 

Invasions of Bohemia and Bavaria. Baner's Retreat 

from Ratisbon, and Death 307 

Ratification of the Alliance with France. Oxenstierna's 

Home Administration 808 

New Levy. Inquiry into Abuses. New Division and 

Allocation of the Army 309 

Reforms in various Departments of the Public Service. 

Torstenson General-in-Chief 310 

Military Discontents after Baner's Death. Dangerous 

Jealousies among the Generals 311 

Invasion of the Emperor's hereditary Dominions. Ad- 
vance to Vienna, and successful Retreat 312 

Reinforcements arrive from Sweden. Second Battle of 
Leipsic 313 


Campaign of 1643 broken off. Rupture with Denmark. 

Resolution for War 314 

Torstenson's Instructions for Operations against Den- 
mark. He evades the Imperialists 315 

Account of Denmark In this Age by a Swedish Minister. 

Its Military System 316 

Public Revenue. State of Norway. Description of the 

other Provinces 317 

The Nobility, Clergy, and Burgesses. Reduction of 

Jutland. Design on Zealand 318 

Maritime Operations and Engagements. Defeat of the 

Imperialists under Gallas 319 

Naval Victory. Peace of Brbmsebro. Cessions by 

Denmark. Grants to Oxenstierna 320 


Christina's government and abdication. 
A. D. 1644—1654. 
Assumption of the Government by the young Queen. 
Diet of 1644. Report made by the Guardians to the 

Estates 32 1 

Approved by the Queen. Sentiments of the Estates as 

to the Constitution 322 

Youth and Education of the Queen ; her Learning and 

Accomplishments 323 

Her Character and Manners described by Chanut, the 

French Ambassador 324 

Concluding Period of the AVar. Invasion of Bohemia 

by Torstenson. Great Victory of Jankowitz 325 

Want of Co-operation obliges him to retreat. Effect of 

his Successes. Congress of Oanaburg 326 

Instructions of the Chancellor to the Swedish Com- 
missioners at the Congress 327 

Desolate Condition of Germany. Wrangel appointed 

Commander-in-Chief 328 

Campaign of 1646. Junction with the French under 

Turenne. Truce concluded with Bavaria 329 

Instructions of the Ministry to Wrangel. Campaign of 

1647. Last year of the War 330 

Devastation of Bavaria by the Allies. Peace of West- 
phalia. Acquisitions of Sweden 331 

Immediate effects of the Peace. Consequences of the 

Alienation of Crown Estates 332 

Liberties of the Yeomanry endangered by the increased 
Power of the Nobility. Evil enhanced by the excess 

of the Royal Bounty 333 

Count de la Gardie, the new Favourite. The Queen's 

Displeasure with the Oxenstiernas 334 

Temporary Retirement of the Chancellor. Causes of 

the Decline of his Influence 335 

Jealousy towards the Nobility among the other Estates. 
EflSsrts of the Clergy to procure an extension of their 

PrivUeges 336 

Uneasy state of Public Feeling. Controversy on Popular 

Rights 337 

Claims to New Privileges by the Nobility refused. 
Solemn Protest of the Three Unnoble Estates calling 

for the Resumption of Crown Lands 338 

Imminent Danger of Civil War. Suit of Prince Charles 

Gustavus for the Queen's hand 339 

Its Rejection. She proposes to the Council that the 

Prince be declared her Successor 340 

Announcement of her purpose to abdicate. Its Causes, 
Political and Personal. Bent of Thought and Specu- 
lation in this Age 341 

Influence of Foreign Opinions and Literature. Intrigues 

to precipitate the Queen's Abdication 342 

Their Detection and Punishment. Dissipation and 

Profuseness of the Court 343 

New Favourites. Popular Disaffection. Appanage 

settled on the Queen. The Abdication 344 

Departure of the Queen from Sweden. Her subsequent 
Conduct 345 

Supplementary Notes. 




The Scandinavian North, almost entirely unknown 
to the cultivated nations of antiquity, did not, until 
a late period, find a place in history. Thule, of 
which Pytheas received information in Britain, 
about 300 years before the Christian era, as the 
most northerly region of the earth, yet not wholly 
unsettled, nor without tillage, was in all likelihood 
Western Scandinavia. Report spoke of an island 
of prodigious magnitude, comparable to a conti- 
nent, not far from the Scythian shore, on the am- 
ber coast ; referring probably to the southern 
portion of thegreat peninsula. These dark rumours, 
however, were soon lost in oblivion, or were thought 
to be fabulous ; and if the Greek had learned some 
truth from them, it did not long dwell in the 
memory of the Romans. Pliny was well acquainted 
with these accounts, and had himself visited the 
shores of the North Sea; yet he relates, as a 
novelty, that ' immense islands had been of late dis- 
covered, beyond Germany ; of these, the noblest 
was Scandinavia, of yet unknown magnitude ; the 
inhabitants styled it another world * '. He speaks 
of Nei'igon, (Norige, Norway,) as an especially 
large island, without conjecturing that it might be 
only a part of the former. It is not till half a 
century after the birth of Christ that these names 
appear, and shortly afterwards Tacitus tells us of 
' the communities of the Suiones in the Ocean, strong 
in men, arms, and ships.' The geographer Ptolemy, 
in the second century, knew of Goths and Danes 
inhabiting the southern division of Scandia. These 
well known names resound to us in the voice of an- 
tiquity, with more that are unknown, and that, for 
us, must remain unknown 

Intercourse with Pagan or with Christian Rome, 
with the old Empire or the Popedom, brought most 
of the nations dwelling in western or northern 
Europe on the stage of history ; and when at 
length, in right of culture, they became domes- 
ticated there, Roman influences had already inter- 
vened between them and their earliest recollections, 
of which little that was primordial remained. This 
is true, not only of the nations whose language was 
Romanized, but in a great measure even of those 
Germanic peoples, who preserved their own. All 
we know of Pagan Germany comes to us through 
Rome ; its antiquity is without really aboriginal 
recollections ; a,nd if attempts have been made in 
more recent times to supply this deficiency by art, 
yet can we by no means affirm that they have suc- 
ceeded. We descry a temple wherein learning 

1 Pliny, Hist. Nat. iv. 13, (ed. Bipont, 27.) Alteram 
terrarum orbem. (Compare also ii. 108, iv. 16. Trans.) 

2 Transeuntibus insulas Danorum alter mundus apeiitur 

worships its own idol, but we miss the voice of the 

The youngest brother of this great stock, is he, 
whose destmies we have taken upon iis in part to 
relate ; the youngest, reckoning from his appear- 
ance in history, but the one who has sojourned 
longest in the house of his fathers, and should have 
most to tell of its ways. Of alien influences he 
knows least, and extraneous impulses, in times 
foregone, he more freqviently imparted than re- 
ceived. Old Rome, in her decline, was to him, 
perhaps, better known than ever he was by her- 
self ; and a thousand years of the Christian era 
had sped away, before he, the terrible foe of 
Christendom, was numbered among the sons of the 
Romish church. 

The reoUections, then, which Scandinavia has to 
add to those of the Germanic race, although of 
later date, are yet the most antique in character, 
and comparatively the most original. Tliey offer 
the completest remaining example of a social state, 
existing previously to the reception of any influences 
from Rome, and in duration stretching onwards so 
far, as to come within the sphere of historical light. 
Thus the history of the North resembles its physical 
nature, in whose rocks and mountains the primitive 
formations lie open to the daj', while in southern 
lands these are covered by more recent deposits. 

We have pointed out the relation of the northern 
history generally to that of the kindred races. We 
will add some remarks upon the mutual relations 
linking the elder history of the three northern 
kingdoms ; taking occasion also shortly to comment 
upon the sources whence it is to be illustrated, in so 
far as our subject demands. 

Scandinavia was first laid open to the rest of 
Europe by Christianity. Missionary accounts of 
the progress of the gospel among races whose 
names had long been the terror of Christendom, as 
well as the peaceful intercourse gi-adually following 
upon the conversion of the north, at length shed 
light upon these remote, and, till then, little known 
countries, ■vN'hich even by the first Christian teachers 
were likened to a new world ^. After a connection 
with the church of Rome had led to acquaintance 
with their leai-ning and language, this was applied 
by the clergy, here as in other parts of Europe, in 
the cr)mposition of Latin chronicles. In those 
laboui's Denmark stood foremost, and the history 
of her middle age is generally more copious than 
that of her sister lands. Saxo alone is worth many 

in Sveoniam vel Normanniam, quae sunt duo latissima 
aquilonis regna, et nostro orbi fere incogTiita. Adam. Bremen, 
de Situ Danise, c. 60, ed. Lindenbrog. 


Saxo Gramniaticus. The Ice- 
landers. Scaldic poetry. 


Swedish history compared with 
Norwegian and Danish. 

writers. For times near his own he is an unexcep- 
tionable witness ; in describing tliose more remote, 
he e-xhibits, under a leai'ned and ornate garb, the 
shape in whieli tlie reminiscences and fables of 
the heathendom survived among the people in the 
twelfth century. From him we learn the wealth of 
that store of national remembrances extant from 
ancient days, and the old popular ballads, in which 
Denmark's middle age is most rich, show us the 
form usually adopted for the transmission of these 
remembrances. Saxo drew with greedy hands from 
the living well of popular tradition. Nothing which 
such materials could supply is left imtold ; nothing 
seems to him incredible. He appears only per- 
plexed how to arrange all this into a regular history 
of the kingdom from the earliest times ; wherein he 
succeeded accordingly. 

What Denmark is for the history of the Christian 
middle age in the north, Norway is for that of de- 
clining heathenism ; less, however, owing to its 
own literary records than to those of the Ice- 
landers, who may with reason be denominated a 
people of saga-writers. Scandinavian colonists, 
for the most part men of birth and consequence, 
discontented with their lot at home, or retreating 
from the oppression of the powerful, had foimded 
a new republic, in the period from 874 to 934, 
upon this distant island. For 400 years they 
maintained their independence, and continued in 
active intercourse with the mother country, es- 
pecially with Norway, whence most of the settlers 
had come, and to whose domination the island 
was eventually subjected. In Scandinavia itself 
the Icelanders were regarded as being pre-emi- 
nently the depositaries of the old poesy of the 
north, and having the most ample knowledge of 
its antiquity ; the earliest Scandinavian chroniclers 
attest this unanimously. In Iceland was longest 
practised that venerable Scaldic art, whose origin 
was ascribed to Odin and the gods ; although, 
being inspired by Paganism, it assumed a charac- 
ter always more artificial, when the faith which 
had given it vitality became itself extinct. For a 
considerable time after the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, the Scald, who was also, according to an- 
cient custom, the historiographer, still maintained 
his place at the courts of the northern kings ; 
and this office, we find, was in almost all cases 
filled by natives of Iceland. The songs of the 
Scalds, originally committed to memory only, were 
therein the more solicitously preserved. When a 
song was recited, some one of the company learned 
it by heart, and there are examples of the usual 
honorary being refused, if the maker did not re- 
main at court sufficiently long for that purpose^. 
To these songs were attached narratives, which 
constituted, equally in popular assemblies and in 
courts, a univei'sal and highly valued source of 
enjoyment. Thus were formed the elder Icelandic 
legendary histories (sagas) of the chief insular fa- 
milies, and of the northern kings, more especially 
the Norwegian. They rested on the testimony of 
the Scalds, and are easily distinguishable by their 
character from the later and purely fictitious sagas. 
Somewhat more than two hundi-ed and forty years 

3 MUller Sagabibliotek, Snegle Halls Thatter. 
"i Norriges Konungasagor. 

■^ Of ViilundandHelge, of Sigurd and Brynhilda, Folsungs 
and Niflungs. See the whole second part of Saemund's Edda. 

elapsed from tlie settlement of Iceland, ere the 
sagas began to be written ; and as the more old 
are interwoven with lays of Scalds, the notation of 
the songs was at least not later. Thus the oral 
transmission of ancient recollections, in rich store, 
we may well suppose, and nurtured by the care of 
art, passed soon away into a regular literature, 
betimes remarkable for its exclusive use of the 
mother tongue, and in the same language which 
was then spoken in all the three kingdoms of the 
north. Its most important name is that of Snorro 
Sturleson, born in the year 1178, judge (lagman) 
in Iceland, earl (jarl) in Norway, and contempo- 
rary with the last party conflicts of Icelandic free- 
dom, of which he was the partaker and the victim. 
He wrote the Chronicles of the Norwegian kings *, 
or, as he himself says (for he is rather collector 
and compiler than author), embodied in his work 
ancient legends of the sovereigns of the north, 
after the Scaldic songs, the genealogies of princes 
and chieftains, and the naiTations of well-informed 
men. The so-called younger or prosaic Edda 
also bears his name, although this collection of 
mythes of gods, and explanations of the types and 
metres of the heathen poetic language, was gra- 
dually formed by the labours of several writers. 
It was intended for the instruction of the young 
Scalds, and shows that the old poetry of the Ice- 
landers was cultivated in the end as a learned art. 
The old mythic odes cited in the younger Edda — 
among which we distinguish the song of the 
northern prophetess (Voluspa), and the so-called 
high song (Havam^l), ascribed to Odin, are for 
the most part extant. They are to be found in the 
elder, poetical, or Saemund's Edda, so named 
from the priest Saemund the Wise, who died in the 
year 1133, and is supposed to have been its com- 
piler. The Edda of Saemund contains likewise 
several heroic ballads ^, the fragments of an epic 
cycle, having its root mainly in recollections of 
the great migration. Hence remains of this saga 
are found among many nations, though in a shape 
modified by Christianity, and no where, save in the 
north, retaining their original Pagan form. These 
mythic and heroic songs of the northern heathen- 
dom are older than any of the Icelandic poetry, 
and from this cause anonymous ; for otherwise the 
Icelanders are very exact in stating the names of 
all the Scalds since the colonization of the island. 
In compass of thought and depth of feeling, in au- 
dacity of conception and peculiarity of character, 
in rude but grandiose simplicity, they are far su- 
perior to all the poetical efforts of the Icelandic 
court poets. 

Sweden, in respect to its history, stands in nearly 
the same relation to Scandinavia generally, as the 
latter to the rest of Europe. It came latest in 
contact with the European world. Of its heathen 
period there remaui no such complete accounts as 
those of the latter days of heathenism in Norway ; 
its middle age receives less of the light of history 
than that of either Norway or Denmark. In its 
more recent annals it has cast both into the shade, 
and obtained, what neither of them possesses, fame 
and rank in the history of the world ; only for a 
moment indeed through its great Gustavus Adol- 

We find the same subjects more copiously and prosaically 
treated in the Folsunga Saga, the Noma Gests Saga, the 
younger Edda, and tlie Vilkina Saga 

Two inland seas 
of Europe. 


The Teutonic nations ; 
their irruptions. 

phus, jet long enough lor uudyuig remembrance. 
Still the oldest legends which tell of the north, re- 
ports rather than reminiscences, relate to Sweden. 
The name of Suiones in Tacitus already denotes a 
powerful people ; that of the Goths soimded over 
all the earth. With Sweden Snorro begins liis 
chronicles of the ancient kings. In old Suithiod 
Odin and the gods had ruled over Manhem, the 
home of men. The Aste, immigrating fi'om the 
east, greeted the land with this name, which per- 
haps was not unknown to Pliny. 

In the first part of this history following we 
propose : I. To consider the accounts transmitted 
to us of the ancient period of Sweden, down to the 
preaching of Christianity in the north, or the mid- 
dle of the ninth century. II. To give a summary 

view of the state of the country and its inhabitants 
at the end of the heathen age. We will then, III. 
describe the transition to Christianity, and its in- 
fluence on the old form of society, with the contests 
of the Swedes and Goths for dominion, to the middle 
of the thirteenth century ; IV. the age of the Folk- 
ungers, to the middle of the fourteenth ; then, V. 
the reigns of the foreign kings, and the union of 
the northern crowns, till the times of the Sture, 
or the middle of the fifteenth ; VI. the Sture as 
administrators and popular leaders, till the massa- 
cre of Stockholm in 1520 ; at which point we will, 
VII. pause to contemplate the condition of the land 
and people at the end of the catholic period. In 
the next part we will proceed to the more recent 
history of Sweden, beginning with Gustavus Vasa. 






If it like us to be contented with probabilities on a 
topic in which certainty is unattainable, Scandinavia 
is by no means to be placed among the latest settled 
countries of our quarter of the globe. Its situation 
on a great inland sea, which receives vast streams 
from the continent, could here create no exception 
from the couclusion of universal experience, that 
maritime countries receive inhabitants before the 
interior of a great continent, and that the sea and 
large rivers are the mother's milk of primal culti- 
vation. The Mediterranean and the Baltic have 
nursed, each after its own fashion, the infancy of 
the elder European nations, and those historically 
the most important. 

Around the Mediterranean flourished the civili- 
zation of the classical world, wliich had its birth in 
Asia. For this the Alps, with their continuations, 
long formed a wall, beyond which its circle of vision 
did not extend. Savage races, most of whom sub- 
sequently disappeared, partly of Celtic origin, had 
descended from those heights into Italy, and car- 
ried devastation to Rome, to Greece, and to Lesser 
Asia, or wandered beyond the mountains in wastes 
and interminable forests ^. On the islands of the 
Baltic, again, and its southern coasts, we perceive 
indisputably the earliest European dwelling-places 
of the great Germanic race '. Here also these are 
not without recollections of the east, although to 
southern Europe they were in a manner unlaiown, 
until the Romans, as they approached nearer to 
Lower Germany and the North Sea, instead of the 
nomadic hordes who now and then animated the 
wilds of the inner highlands, fell in at all points 
with numerous and brave nations, indomitable from 
the fii-m and martial structure of their institutions. 
Then the name of Gei-mans was first heard. Rome, 
unable to subdue their tribes, admitted the danger 

6 Deserta Helvetiomm, Bojorum, Getarum, which at a 
later period were partially occupied hy the Germanic popu- 
lations immigrating from the north. 

7 Teutons and Goths (Guttones) inhabited the Baltic 

I into her own bosom by purchasing their services 

I with money or land, till at length, whether from 

[ this or from other causes extrinsical, or led by the 

I spirit which urges nations evermore towards the 

south, they broke through the mountain bulwark. 

And now the waves of the great migration, rolling 

[ over the corruption of the old woi-ld, prepared a 

1 new scheme of culture, of which the natural energy 

of the north laid the foundation, and the Christian 

religion supplied the nutriment. 

If the Thule mentioned by Pytheas were, as may 
be conjectured, a part of the Scandinavian penin- 
sula, it had already inhabitants and agriculture 
several centuries before the birth of our Saviour. 
Certainly the condition which Tacitus describes a 
hundred years after Christ, supposes cultivation to 
have long subsisted. The states of the Suiones — 
so he was informed — were powerful by the number 
of theii- people, their fleets, and arms ; their vessels 
were especially serviceable for rivers and coast 
navigation ; riches they held in honour ; the sea 
encompassing them prevented sudden attacks by 
their foes'. What he adds therewithal, that the 
Suiones were ruled by a single person with un- 
limited power, and even that arms were not, as 
with the rest of the Germans, free to general use — 
this, so unlike all we know of the manners of our 
ancestors from other sources, seems only to be ex- 
plained by supposing that the governing persons 
also exercised a higher power, founded upon re- 
ligion, which was not unlimited, but might well 
appear so to distant observers. Here we are re- 
minded, that the appellation ' monarch ^ ' given to 
the early Swedish rulers, by no means implied, in 
the north, the possession of unrestricted power. It 
in general denoted him who held the supreme au- 
thority among a whole people, here consecrated by 

coasts from the time of Pytheas. Compare Mannert, Geo- 
graphy of the Greeks and Romans. 

s Germania, c. 44. 

9 Envaldshofding, sole ruler. T. 


The Suiones. The 
Gothic tribes. 


Notion of their Scandian ex- 
traction : its explanation. 

the belief of a divine origin, and the inheritance of 
priestly sanctity. This authority, derived from a 
warliUe religion, was yet favourable to peace in tlie 
intestine relations of the people. By it the use of 
arms might be interdicted, a regulation observed 
within the places of sacrifice, wliich were liept 
imder the seal of peace. Common ]iarticipation hi 
the great .sacrifiees was a sign as well as a bond of 
peace among the different communities of ancient 
Suithiod. Of tiiese many are enumerated, both in 
domestic and extraneous accounts, and the so-called 
monarchy of Tacitus embraced, as he himself men- 
tions, several states. It is remarkable that, ac- 
cording to the same historian, the Goths, of all the 
German tribes, most nearly resembled the Swedes 
in respect to this disposition of supreme power '. 

Through the migration of the Germans to the 
south, Scandinavia, unknown before, at once at- 
tained widely greater consideration, and by tliem 
its renown was diffused as the parent land of many 
nations. The Goths and Lombards even declared 
that they had themselves come forth from this far 
extending region. Such is the account given us by 
their own oldest historians, of whom the one ap- 
peals to the historical ballads of his people^, and 
the other shows throughout his whole exposition 
that he based his nari-ative upon similar ballads '. 
When after the emigration of the Gothic tribes, the 
Franks and Saxons became powerful in Northern 
Germany, and thence extended their dominion 
further, the same tradition is repeated ; both 
derive their origin from the northern nations*. 
The notion of Scandinavia as a cradle and work- 
shop of nations^, recurs in like manner perpetually 
for centuries onwards in history. It gained strength 
from the predatory expeditions of the Northmen, 
and is not yet extinct in the Alps, where the in- 
habitants of Haslidale still assert their Swedish 

A tradition, bruited in so many quarters, de- 
mands some explanation. Nothing authorizes us 
to conclude that the northern countries have ever 
been more populous than they are now ; rather 
the contrary might safely be laid down. But it is 
not the less certain that Scandinavia formerly con- 
tained, if not a great, yet a redundant population, 
larger than the land was able to support, and 
that this warlike multitude, of whose lofty stature, 
strength, and fecundity so many witnesses speak, 
deemed themselves therefore necessitated to live, 
and in gi-eat part actually lived at the cost of the 
rest of the world. Piratical expeditions formed 
the business of the summer. Every year the sea- 
kings went forth with the first open waters ; and 
the great spring sacrifice in ancient Sweden was 
always offered for victory. From the same cause 
proceeded those dreadful consequences, which, ac- 
cording to the accounts we have, followed upon a 
bad year ; famine, civil conflicts, immolation of 
kings to propitiate the gods (for this was the fate of 
two of the Yngling hue), and migrations in quest 
of new dvvelling-places. 

' Gotones regnantur, paulo jam adductius quam casterae 
Germanorum gentes, nondum tanien supra libertatem. 
Germania, c. 43. 

* Jordanes de rebus Geticis. 

3 Paullus Warnefridi de Gestis Longobardorum. In nei- 
ther case has ill-applied learning been able to hide the living 
fountain from whicli tlie author drew his narration. 

We are told of the Norman expeditions, that on 
account of the redundancy of population, an old law 
or custom obtained in the north for those of the 
young, on whom the lot should fall, to seek their 
fortune abroad. It is said also that the father 
usually drove out his sons who had grown up to 
years of manhood, with the exception of one who 
inherited his estate". The Swiss legends of migra- 
tion contain the same statement, in which those of 
the Lombards and Goths also agree. It is worthy 
of remark, and confirmatory of the foregoing, that 
no account of these migrations makes mention of 
any very large mass of folk, as having come out of 
Scandinavia Proper. The Northmen were at all 
times more formidable from boldness than numbers 
in their warlike enterprises. The Lombards are 
first noted as a not very numerous band of Scandi- 
navian youth, driven out by lot from an island of 
small extent', and with low shores, whence it is 
conjectured to have been one of the Danish isles*. 
The Goths are said to have issued from Scandi- 
navia in three ships only ". Certain it is that not 
until these had united with their kinsmen who 
dwelt on the southern shores of the Baltic, and 
afterwards probably with an elder branch of the 
same stock on the Miseotis, did they grow up 
into that miglity people, who made themselves the 
terror of Rome. 

Thus even in this most famous emigration, ac- 
cording to the tradition, whether literally imder- 
stood or not, the numbers were by no means large. 
But if all this places the movements themselves in 
a new and truer light, the question will still remain 
how the leaders of these warlike migratory swarms, 
even if impelled by the same headlong passion for 
adventures which, in the Norman expeditions of a 
later age, was able to found new empires with in- 
considerable means, should have been hailed by 
the consent of whole nations as fathers of their race. 
Now if, in the olden time, the descent of the kings 
was held ascribable to their people likewise, and 
was traced up to gods adored by both, whose chief 
abode was deemed to be in the north, the question 
would receive an answer consonant with the spirit 
of the ancient sagas. Scandinavia would be termed 
in the elder legends of the migrations the parent- 
land of so many peoples, as being the principal 
seat of a widely-spread worship, the nursery of 
princely families, who claiming to be descended 
from divine ancestors, and appearing at the head 
of wandering tribes, had either themselves really 
come out of Scandinavia, or were derived by the 
saga from that central home of ancient Paganism. 
Every thing shows that the accounts of the northern 
extraction of so many populations are connected 
with the belief that their kingly houses were sprung 
from Odin. With the tradition of the northern 
kindred of the Saxons another was intertwined, 
that the same Odin whom they revered in common 
with the Northmen, was also the father of their 

'' Witichindus, de rebus gestis Saxonum. Hrabanus 
Maurus in Goldast. Rer. Alaman. Script, ii. 67. Nigellus, 
de baptismo Haraldi, in Langebek, Script, rer. Dan. i. 400. 

5 Otlicina gentium, vagina gentium. 

^ Dudo and Willelmus Gemeticensis, in Duchesne, Script. 
Norm. pp. 62, 217. Saxo, 1. ix. p. 171, ed. Steph. 

^ Paul Warnefrid, c. 2, 7. 

8 Or Scania, as is said in the popular songs of Gothland 
upon the outset of the Lombards. 

' Jordanes, c. 17. 

God-descended kings. 
Extent of Odinisni. 


Annals and destiny 
of gods and men. 

roj'al line. Anglo-Saxon authors, some of whom 
wrote while the north was still Pagan, denominate 
him ' the primogenial Woden, from whom the 
kingly families of well-nigh all the barbaric tribes 
derive their origin' ; ' the prince of the barbarian 
multitudes, whom the deluded northern heathens, 
Danes, Normans, Swedes, to this day worship as 
God^.' According to the chronicles of the northern 
kings and the Edda, the same ' Woden, whom we 
call Oden,' had set his sons to rule over Saxonland ; 
the Edda adds, also over Fraukland, and derives 
from thence the famous lineage of the Folsungs. 
Although among the Franks, who embraced Chris- 
tianity earlier, no confirmation of this legend re- 
mains, it is nevertheless probable that the ' race 
of gods,' mentioned among them, was that of 
Odin 2. We have irrefragable testimony tliat 
Woden was adored as a god by all the German 
nations^, and this is besides expressly stated of 
the Vandals, Lombards, and Suevers *. The last- 
named tribe was a branch of the Goths. Arises, 
which is rendered by demi-gods, was the term ap- 
plied by the Goths of the south to their kingly 
lineage, celebrated in the same songs which per- 
petuated the memory of their Scandinavian extrac- 
tion ^. The word is the same in all its meanings 
with the northern Asar ; the formal variation being 
merely one of dialect, which reappears similarly in 
other instances ^. 

All these nations, therefore, traced their royal 
families to the same gods, and were connected by 
the same religion. Yet we would by no means 
maintain that the whole northern mythology, as it 
has been transmitted to us, was ever common to 
the Germanic race. Much of it belongs exclu- 
sively to the north, some equally to other nations, 
especially the Anglo-Saxons, and in the end it 
received from the later court-Scalds and the Ice- 
landers a kind of over-elaboration, which however 
is observable more in an artificial poetic phra- 
seology than in the substance. In its essential 
features, and the themes of which it chiefly treats, 
it is a lore as venerable for age as rich in interest, 
a not unworthy exponent of the views embraced 
by a great and noble race of men in their first 
contemplations on the universe. Its historical 
compass and extent of diffusion are attested by its 
own oracles. The Odin of the north is also ex- 
plicitly represented as the god wandering far 
among the nations, who adore him, according to 
a declaration ascribed to himself by an old bard', 
under many names and in various guises. In the 
Scalds he appears under the most diff'erent appel- 

• William of Malmesbury, Ethelred. 

2 Nee de deorum genere esse probatur, is the answer of 
Chlodwig to his wife, when she first exhorts him to acknow- 
ledge the God of the Christians. Greg. Turon. 1. ii. c. 29. 

3 Wodan sane, quem adjecta litera Gwodan dixerunt, ipse 
est qui apud Romanos Mercurius dicitur, et ab universis 
Germanise gentibus ut deus adoratur. Paul Warnef. c. 9. 

■• Id. c. 8. Vita S. Columbani, in Duchesne, Script. 
Franc, i. 556. 

5 Jordanes, c. 1-3. 

6 As, in the old Northern speech God, also hero, or a man 
endowed with god-like qualities, means likewise a beam, 
column, prop. The Irminsul (universalis colurana), adored 
by the Saxons, was the trunk of a tree. The Gothic anses, 
demi-gods in Jordanes, would give in the nominative singular 
ans, which in Ulfilas likewise signifies a beam. Ans is 
changed into As, as Gans to Gas, Anst to Ast, and so with 
other words. 

lations, taken, among many others, from light, 
from fire, the Runes, the shades of the dead, vic- 
tory, the battle-field, and the Gothic name. But 
in his loftiest significancy, he is father of all, 
fatlier of gods and men, father of time ; the earth 
born of night is his progenitress ; the earth irra- 
diated by the sun is his daughter and spouse, when 
with his brethren he has subdued and disiiosed 
Matter, typified by the body of the giant Ymer, 
slain in the abyss. The twelve divine Asse, a 
bright and beautiful kin, form his council of gods. 
In conjunction with him they are also the first 
priests, the first lawgivers and judges upon earth, 
builders of the first temple and the first towns. 
Their chief city is Asgard*, of. ancient days, lying 
in the centre of Midgard^, or Manhem, the world 
of men, divided by a wall from Jotunhem, the 
home of the giants, at the end of the earth, where, 
under the uttermost root of the world-tree, in the 
realms of darkness and of cold, the dwarfs too 
have their abode. 

There was a happy time, when the gods in- 
vented the arts most indispensable to man's life, 
wrought metals, stone, and wood, possessed abun- 
dance of gold, showed in all things their divine 
power, sported and were merry ; until their bliss 
was disturbed by the arrival of certain giant maids 
from Jotunhem, the peace made with the race of 
giants was broken, Odin hurled his spear amidst 
the people, and the first war was kindled. Then 
began the victorious, but direful, strife against that 
evil race, of which some scenes are celebrated in 
Pagan odes yet preserved *. When the gods re- 
tired to heaven, it was continued by the heroic 
families of earth who sprung from them. During 
this struggle, Odin calls home the fallen to himself 
in Valhalla, in order with them to advance to the 
last combat of Ragnarauk (the twilight of the 
gods). Then at length are burst the bonds which 
chain the powers of natm-e, subdued in the begin- 
ning of time. Cold and heat, from whose inter- 
mixture this world arose, send their demons out of 
Nif'elhem and Muspelhem to a war in which the 
gods themselves are overthrown. Then after the 
conflagration of the world, a new earth arises, 
verdant with self-sown fields, the home of a race 
whose lives are unvexed by toil ; 

All evil vanishes away. 

Back comes Balder, 

And dwells with Hoder *, 

In Odin's ti'iumph-hall. 

Bright in the sacred seat of high-throned gods. 

Understand ye yet, or how ? 

? In the Grimnismal of the elder Edda, strophe 49. 

s Lit. The Court of Gods. T. 

5 The Gothic Midjungards in Ulphilas. (Lit. Midyard.) 

1 As in the Hostlanga of Thiodolf, scald to Harald the 
Fair-haired, the same whose ballads form the basis of the 

2 The blind demigod, who withoirt fault of his own had 
slain Balder the Good, Odin's gentlest and wisest son, whom 
afterwards the tears of gods and men, and all things, could 
not free from Hel's subterrene dominion. See a fuller view 
of the northern mythology in the Svea Rikes Hafder (In- 
quiries into the Ancient History of Sweden) of the author. 
(Nifelhem is the source of cold, the home or world of fogs 
(tef 6\t), Ger. nebel) and shade ; Muspel or Muspelshem (of 
which the etymology is uncertain), the heaven or empyreal 
world, nearmost to the heaven of blessed light, whose in- 
habitants, at the ruin of our world, are to devastate it with 

Spirit of Northern pa- 
ganism. Heroic odes. 


Odin, his actions 
and cliaracter. 

It is the voice of the northern sibyl, in the prophecy 
of Vala, to which we have chiefly listened througliout 
the foregoing exposition. But this receives manifold 
confirmation from the ancient odes, as well as from 
the chai'acteristics and types of the Scaklic poesy. 
Such is an outline of that old religion of the 
north, which may well be left to its own witness. 
In esoteric force, in depth and significancy, it is in- 
ferior to no theory of human origin on the begin- 
ning and end of things which found acceptation 
in the world of antiquity. To some of these the 
present approximates, for such systems have gene- 
rally much that is common, but on no one is 
originality of character more clearly stamped. 
Those who are acquainted with the oriental my- 
thology, can hardly doubt that this lore was derived 
from the east ; nor can we fail to observe that the 
adoration of nature, which it expresses, agrees with 
that ascribed by Tacitus to the ancient Germans. 
Here, as with them ^, this nature-worship is pecu- 
liar in its kind, penetrating with prophetic vision 
into the inner mystery of the perishableness of this 
sensible world. Hence that notion of immortality 
so deeply rooted in the minds of our forefathers, 
which the Greeks and Romans ascribed equally to 
all the northern races, " happy in their error," as 
a Roman poet professed to think*. Without doubt 
the most recondite and essential featm'e of this 
creed was its defiance of annihilation, even in the 
worship of a transitory universe, and of gods whose 
reign was not to be eternal. Thus is explained 
the freedom asserted by the inhabitant of the 
north, even towards his deities, and that principle 
of tragic irony which pervades this whole mythical 
scheme. That gloom and terror which lies at the 
core of every form of heathenism, even when con- 
cealed, as with the Greeks, under a blooming ex- 
terior, in the north stalks forward undisguised, and 
breaks out every where, in its heroic poetry as well 
as its divine. As this concludes with the ruin of 
the gods, in conflict with the insurgent powers of 
universal nature, so does that celebrate in all its 
manifold shapes but one master theme, the deeds, 
the crimes, and the fall of famous chiefs, and 
kingly dynasties. We refer here chiefly to the 
heroic songs of the old Edda, those fragments, 
petrified as it were by time, of a gigantic poesy, 
each a hieroglyph, revealing to us from the by- 
gone times of the north the heroic deeds, recollec- 
tions, and manners of the great migrations in the 
full energy of primeval paganism. The period to 
which they belong is discovered even by the mul- 
titude of national names which find a place in them. 
For just as the old mythic songs afford but one 
general appellation, which denotes both the people 
of the gods and the Goths ^, so in the heroic songs, 
on the other hand, the names of many races occur, 
Swedes, Norsemen, Danes, Franks, Saxons, Lom- 

fire. By the combination of these principles it was formed ; 

by their hostility it will be destroyed. See Finn Magnusen, 
Veterum Borealium Mythologiae Lexicon, 518, .')23. Tkans.) 

3 Deorumque nominibus appellant secreluin illud, quod 
sola reverentia vidcnt. Germania, c. 9 

•< Felices errore suo. 5 Gothiod — Gotar — Gotnar. 

8 Minor gods and goddesses. T. 

7 See the proofs of this in the Svea Rikes Hafdar. 

8 The Konungasagor of Sturleson, which contain the 
Ynglingasaga, now known to the English reader by Mr. 
Laing's excellent version. T. 

9 Or Holnigard; under which word Ihre mentions that 

bards, Burgundians, Goths, Huns, Finns. Of 
their own destiny these songs predict that ' they 
will endure in all lands,' and that, by comparis(jn 
with the fates they celebrate, "every man's heart 
shall be lightened ; every sorrow of woman shall 
be assuaged." 

Their antiquity is also declared by the fashion 
in which they expound the northern mythology. 
That peculiar adoration of nature which was its 
basis, the form it first assumed, and preserved at 
all times by preference in the popular belief, is 
much more distinctly set forth in these old hero- 
songs, than in the scalds of a later age of heathen- 
dom. The sun, the day, the godlike powers of 
light, the night, and the many-nourishing earth as 
the daughter of night, sacred waters, stones, and 
birds, are invoked together with the Asse and 
Asyns^, and are the objects of vows, prayers, or 
worship. To die is beautifully called " to pass 
away to another light." The transmigration of 
souls appears as an older doctrine that once ob- 
tained belief '. We find Odin reappearing in more 
than one age, a conception probably founded upon 
that doctrine. 

The chronicles of the kings ^ represent Odin 
and the Asse historically as founders of the north- 
ern monarchies ; they likewise claim to know 
whence these fathers of nations themselves derive 
their origin. They came from the bounds of Asia, 
out of the land of Asahem, beyond the Tanais, in 
which lay the city of Asgard, a great place of sa- 
crifice, where lived Odin, a victorious chief, sur- 
rounded by twelve priests of sacrifice, who were 
styled Diar (gods) and Drottnar (rulers), and 
were judges among the people. The immigration 
took its course through Gardarike (as the West- 
ern Russia of modern times is called by the 
scalds "), into Saxonland, Denmark, and Sweden, 
where Odin took up his abode, near by ancient 
Sigtuna, upon the Maelar lake, built a temple to 
the gods, and sacrificed after the manner of the 
Asse. His chiefs were named after the gods, and 
like them were honoured ; they received dwelling- 
places which had then- appellations from the 
heavenly mansions of the deities ', and the land 
was called Manhem, to distinguish it from God- 
hem, the country of the gods. From Odin and 
the AsEe all the knowledge and art of the northern 
regions was said to be derived. But as Odin in 
the mythology is highest of the gods, so in the 
chronicles he is the greatest and most revered of 
the oldest priestly rulers. His people believed 
that he determined victoi'y in combats. His war- 
riors went forth into the battle like men frenzied, 
without armour of fence, and neither fire nor iron 
could wound them ; this was called the Berserkers' 
race 2. Odin was fair to view, so that he gladdened 
part of the comitry about the river Duna was called in his 
day Cholmgorod by its inhabitants. T. 

1 Niord in Noatun, Heimdal at Himingbiorg, Thor at 
Thrudwang, Balder at Brejdablik. Upsala, where Frey 
dwelt, is the only historical name, hut it is also applied ge- 
nerally to a temple or palace. 

2 In the Narrative of the Burmese War, by Major Snod- 
grass, London, 1S27, it is mentioned that a division of the 
Burmese armj', during the war of the English against this 
nation, was called " The King's Invulnerables," who were 
thought to be secured against wounds by enchantment, and 
before the fight incited themselves to frenzy by opium, 
provoking the enemy by war dances. Some of the hill- 

The lives of Niord 
and Fiey. 


The Ynglings: Fiolner, 
the first king. 

all hearts when he sat among his friends ; but 
he appeared terrible to his foes. He was eloquent, 
so that all he said was believed to be true, and all 
his discourse wore the garb of poetry. He first 
practised and taught the art of song, the mystery 
of the Runes, and the knowledge of divination. For 
the rest, his human character is pourtrayed not 
dissimilarly to his mythological ; he is at once god, 
hei'o, poet, lawgiver, and the Asiatic Shaman or 
magician, frequently transforming his outward 
shape. In Sweden he established the same law 
which had been observed by the Asa;. He 
enjoined that the bodies of the dead should be 
consumed with fire ; the more property was heaped 
with them upon the funeral pile, the richer should 
they arrive in Valhalla. In memory of dis- 
tinguished men, sepulchral mounds, now called by 
the people kin-barrows (atte hogar), were to be 
erected ; and memorial stones (banta-stenar) be- 
sides, to every man who had shown himself valiant. 
Three sacrifices yearly he commanded them to 
offer ; one towards winter for a good and pi'ospcr- 
ous year, a second at mid-wiuter for the harvest, 
the third towards summer for victory. Over all 
Suithiod the folk paid tribute to Odin, for which 
he was bound to defend the land from hostile as- 
sault, and to sacrifice for a good harvest. Odin 
died a natural death in Suithiod, and on his death- 
bed he caused himself to be gashed with spear- 
points. Afterwards, to do this was called to give 
oneself to Odin, or mark oneself for him. With 
that he devoted to himself all men falling in battle, 
and said that he would repair to the laud of the gods, 
and there entertain his friends. But the Swedes 
supposed that he had gone to Asgard of ancient 
days, and would there live for ever. They believed 
in him and sacrificed to him, and often when war 
impended, Odin, as they deemed, revealed himself, 
dispensiug victory to some, and calling home others 
to himself ; both seemed to them a good and 
happy lot. 

After Odin, Niord assumed dominion, and main- 
tained the sacrifices. He was born in the land of 
the Vaners on the Tanais, and before the journey 
to the north had been received with his children 
among the Asae. During his sway there were 
happy times, so that the people believed him to be 
the dispenser of prosperity to men. In his days most 
of the gods died. Niord too died a natural death, 
and caused himself to be marked for Odin. The 
Swedes burned his body and lamented over his 

Frey his son obtained the supreme power after 
him, and was, like his father, rich in friends and 
the gifts of the year. He erected the great temple 
in Upsala, mider wliich he deposited all his pro- 
perty, and chose this place to be his chief town. 
Thence arose the Upsala estate (Upsala ode), first 
a possession of the temple, then of the Swedish 
kings 3. In Frey's time was peace, when in all 
lands the years were plenteous. The Swedes looked 
upon Frey as the author of their felicity*, and 

tribes living near tlie Chinese frontier were led on by three 
young and beautiful females of high rank, who pretended to 
the power of making the English bullets harmless ; all three 
were slain. These, therefore, were Oriental Berserkers and 
Valkyrias. (Of berserk there are various derivations ; the 
most obvious is probably the true: bar, bare; and serk, 
shirt. T.) 
3 Upsala-audr, (from uppsalir, the lofty halls, as the temple 

worshipped him on that account more than other 
god.s. Frey fell sick. Then his men erected a great 
barrow, and when he died, they placed him secretly 
within it, but they told the Swedes during three 
years that he was alive, and they boi-e the yearly 
tributes to the mound. Peace and prosperity 
nevertheless continued. When at length it became 
known to the Swedes that Frey was dead, and yet 
the times of abundance did not cease, they believed 
that it would always continue so, while Frey ve- 
mained in Suithiod. For that reason they would 
not burn his body, but called him the god of the 
world, and sacrificed to him for peace and the 
blessings of the year. Among other names given 
to him is that of Yngve, which became a poetical 
appellation for king in general, and hence, in after 
times, tlie oldest Swedish dyna.sty was staled the 
Ynglings. Freya, his sister, who survived him, 
and superintended the sacrifices, was the last of 
the deities. 

Fiolner, son of Yngve Frey, is the first Yngling. 
We have seen that in the chronicles as well as in 
the mythology, on the establishment of the power 
of the gods a period of prosperity ensues. This,how- 
ever, ends under Fiolner, the first pui'ely mortal 
ruler, and two daughters of the giants are again the 
cause of its interruption, as the younger Edda adds. 
Being female slaves in the house of the Danish 
king Erode, they sung in the mill, and the burden 
of their strain was of gold, and peace, and happi- 
ness. But when the king urged them too harshly 
to labour, they sang of war *, and turned the mill- 
stones about so swiftly that they broke in pieces. 
War came ; the king fell ; and so ended the peace 
of Frey. But Fiolner, before the happy time de- 
parted, had closed his days in the lap of abundance. 
At a feast with king Erode, he fell, in his drunken- 
ness, into a vat of mead, and met his death " in 
the windless lake," as the old poet sings. 

According to an ode of Thiodolf, the court-scald 
of king Harald the Fair-haired, in which the an- 
cestors of that monarch to the thirtieth degree are 
celebrated, the Ynglingasaga, whence we have 
taken the preceding sketch, was written in Iceland. 
Suorro Sturleson placed it at the head of the old 
chronicles, and augmented it, as he states, by the 
relations of intelligent men. The poem contains 
short accounts of the Swedish kings of this race, 
corroborated for the most part by the citation of the 
scald's own words. We give in an appendix its 
catalogue of kings, but can by no means venture to 
make a record in which truth and fiction are so 
closely intermingled, the foundation of a chronology. 
As in all mythical systems, the regal stock is traced 
by the poet to the gods ; it is also clear from the 
sequel that the older sagas, from which he bor- 
rowed his account, formed a kind of poetic whole. 
Again we perceive the same theme which the 
heroic lays of the north delight to commemorate, 
the fall of a famous dynasty from inborn discords, 
foredoomed by a curse denounced of old. This 

itself was called, and audr, property,) means the domain of 
the temple, the -renevoi of the Greeks. 

■• Frey, called by Saxo Fro, is the Moeso-Gothic Fraiija, 
the Anglo-Saxon Frea, the old German Fro, and means lord. 
(Frode is another form of the name. The Frode-fred, or peace 
of Frey, is the golden a^e of Scandinavian mythes. Frode 
in modern Swedish means fatness or fertility ; /rd is seed. T.) 

5 The song is quoted in the Skalda, and is called Grot- 
tasaungr (mill-song). 


King Anund clears the 
woods. Feast of Ingiald. 


His tragical end. 
Odin a real personage. 

destiny of woe was sealed when the sons of king 
Wisbur, in order to wreak revenge on their father, 
submitted to the conditions proposed to tlieni by 
the sibyl Huld, queen of the witches of Northland, 
whose power still dwells in the pojiular memory^. 
Then it was decreed that the line of the Yngliugs 
should in days to come be extirpated by their own 
swords. Thereafter the throne is dyed by the blood 
of brothers and sons, shed by their nearmost rela- 
tives, until by the crime of Ingiald Illrada against 
his own kindred, the Yngling dynasty ef Sweden is 
overthrown. As it approaches this event, the 
saga throws some light upon the condition of the 
land and its inhabitants. A portion of the narra- 
tive we will give in its own words. Braut Anund 
was of all the kings happiest in friends, and during 
his time were good harvests and peace. In those 
days Sweden was still a great forest land, with 
wildernesses, the passage of which required many 
d;iys' journey. King Anund bestowed much labour 
and cost in uprooting the woods and cultivating the 
cleared spots. He caused roads to be laid down 
over the wilds. Open glades too were then found 
in the forests. There were formed large shires 
(harads), and the laud was settled far round about, 
for the numbers of the people overflowed. In 
every shire of Suithiod, king Anund caused houses 
to be built, and made progresses of pleasure 
throughout the land. He was called Braut Anund, 
because he made ways to be levelled (bryta) 
throughout Suithiod. When once in harvest-time 
he was travelling between his houses with his 
court, a rock falling overwhelmed him in a moun- 
tain gien, and buried him with his train. 

Thereafter Ingiald, son of Anund, assumed 
sovereignty over the Swedes. The Upsala kings 
were lords paramount in Sweden since Odin iniled 
over the land ; but there were at the same time 
many shire kings. He that bore sway in Upsala 
was monarch (envaldshofding) over the whole 
dominion of the Swedes until Ague died ; then 
first was the realm divided among the brothers. 
After his time, realm and kingship were ever the 
more dismembered as families spread into new 
branches, so that when Ingiald became sovereign, 
his state was sorely diminished. He caused there- 
fore a great banquet to be set out in Upsaia when 
lie was to enter upon his inheritance after his 
father. He built a new hall, large and splendid, as 
for the king's palace ', and named it the hall of the 
seven kings. Then sent Ingiald over all Suithiod, 
to bid kings, and earls, and other men of great 
place to his feast. Six kings came and took their 
high seats in the new hall, where their attendants 
were likewise gathered together. It was then the 
custom, at a funeral feast held for king or earl, 
that he who gave the banquet and was to take the 
inheritance, should sit on the footstool before the 
high seat, until they drunk the toast which was 
called the Brage-beaker *. Thereupon must he 
stand up to the Brage cup, make a vow, and drink 
out the goblet. Then he was led to the high seat 
which his fathers had filled, and now he had cora- 

* She is called Dame Hylle. 

7 Uppsalr is here the name of the palace. Uppsala forms 
the fienitive plural of this word. 

6 Bra^e-bagar or Brage-full. This was a solemn cup drunk 
upon making a vow to perform any feat of gallantry, or to the 
health of any person held in peculiar reverence. Brage was 
the god of eloquence and poetry. T. 

pletely entered upon his heritage. So it came to 
pass that at the drinking of the Brage-beaker, king 
Ingiald rose up, took the great deer-horn, and vowed 
to enlarge his realm one-half towards all the four 
winds of heaven, or therewithal to die, whereupon 
he drank off" the horn. The vow was fulfilled 
when at even-tide he caused the six kings to be 
seized and burned. 

This was the burning at Upsala, of evil renown. 
With several other kings Ingiald dealt no better, 
for he set governors of his own over their do- 
minions. Twelve kings in all, he is said treache- 
rously to have put to death. For this reason he 
was called Illrada (the ill-ruler), and it was said 
that he had been made cruel by eating a wolf's 
heart in his childhood. His daughter Asa shared 
her father's surname and qualities. He had given 
her in marriage to Gudrod, king of Scania. At 
her instigation Gudrod murdered her brother 
Halfdan, but was afterwards himself murdered by 
Asa, who fled for safety to her father. Thereupon 
Ivar Widfamne assembled a host, and marched 
into Sweden against Ingiald, who knew himself to 
be detested, and too weak to offer effectual resistance. 
At the approach of Ivar's army, therefore, Ingiald 
and Asa made all their people drimk with liquor, 
and then set fire to the king's palace, which was con- 
sumed with themselves and all who were therein^. 

After Ingiald, continues the Ynglingasaga, the 
Upsala power went from the family of the Yng- 
lings, so far as their line can be reckoned in un- 
broken succession, for the whole people of Svea 
rose against king Ingiald's kith and kin. His son 
Olave found a refuge in the wastes of Vermeland, 
where he rooted out and burned down the forests, 
and thence received the name of Trafalja (the 
wood-cutter). His posterity went over into Nor- 
way, which was first united into one kingdom by 
Harald the Fair-haired (harfager), a descendant 
of the Swedish Yuglings. 

The chronicles, it will be observed, in two re- 
spects modify the point of view from which we 
set out. They give us a historical instead of a 
mythical Odin, and for the renowned Gothic emi- 
gration, an account of the establishment of the 
Swedish monarchy by an immigrating race. 

When in the seventeentli century the Icelandic 
sources of information upon northern antiquity be- 
came better known, our historiographers set aside 
at once the expeditions and achievements of the 
Goths, on which our mediseval chronicles dwell, 
grounding their system of ancient Swedish history 
chiefly upon the Ynglingasaga, the rather that a 
domestic catalogue of our kings, framed in the 
fourteenth century, agreed with the testimony of 
that poem i. Odin and the Asse they pronounced 
to be the human archetypes of the gods of the 
north ; although those, on the contrary, appear in 
the saga itself as priests and representatives of 
deities who were ah'eady acknowledged. Hence it 
is also stated, that the Asae whom king Gylfe re- 
ceived into Sweden, after he had made trial of their 
wisdom, took to themselves the names of the old 

9 This is said to have happened at Ranninge, now a ham- 
let on the isle of Fogd in the Maelar lake, where an extra- 
ordinarily large ring-wall of heaped up stones is still caJled 

' Catal. Reg. ii. Script, rerum Suecic. med. sevi, t. 1. 

Traditions as to Odiii. 
The Ass. 


Their Asiatic extraction. 
Age of Odin. 


demi-gods^, and there were traditions of more than 
one Odin, nay, of a false Odin, who arrogated to 
himself the consideration and power of the true ^. 
That pagans were even found who had little re- 
vei-ence for Odin, although, it is said, they were 
worshippers of Thor ; that Odin had temples in 
Sweden indeed, but neither in Norway, nor in Ice- 
land, which was chiefly settled by Norwegians, 
although at the sacrificial feasts cups were quaffed 
in honour of him before any of the other gods ; all 
this seems to prove that the Odin of history had 
not succeeded universally and com])letely in trans- 
ferring to himself the veneration which in the older 
religion was paid to the father of the gods. 

More recent inquirers have denied all historical 
weight to the beginning of the Ynglingasaga, and 
refused to see in the immigration any thing but a 
learned fable, and the more, that the preface to the 
new Edda gives suflRcieut ground for suspicion by 
tracing the ancestors of Odin through the Trojan 
heroes up to Noah. The importance of Odin as a 
fabulous divinity has been recognized, while it has 
been considered that to enter upon the question of 
his historical personality would not repay inquiry. 
But this opinion places its supporters at variance 
with the mythology itself, in which Odin is un- 
doubtedly both a godlike hero and a prophet 
among the people ; a view that wants not con- 
firmation from other quarters, and is connected 
by other testimony than that of the Ynglingasaga 
with the belief of his oriental extraction. Tacitus 
had already heard that in Northern Germany a 
wandering hero was worshipped from the most 
ancient times, on whom, according to usage, he 
bestows a Roman name *. Paul Warnefrid relates 
that the same Odin, to whom the Lombards, like 
the rest of the Germans, paid divine honours, had 
sojourned in Greece (a name commonly given by 
the Northerns to several eastern countries), before 
his arrival in Germany. The Anglo-Saxons point 
to a Troy, instead of the Oriental Asgard ; in Saxo 
this is called Byzantium. With the Franks a 
similar learned garb, not only for their own but 
the northern legends of descent was so usual, that 
an old chronicler relates how the Northmen who 
ravaged France themselves declared that their peo- 
ple were of Ti'ojan extraction *. 

Again, the name As^ is historical in the east. 
Strabo places an Asia, in the narrower sense, on 
the eastern side of the Mseotis, and in the same 
quarter, a people whom he styles Aspurgians, li- 
terally the inhabitants of Asburg or Asgard. The 
Alans were a people nearly akin to the Goths, who 
formed a junction with them on the Black Sea, and 
also boasted of a royal line whose ancestors were 
gods. Arabian geographers of the tenth century 

2 Epilogue to the Edda. 

3 Saxo. 

■> Ulysses; " interpretatione Romana," as Tacitus ex- 
presses himself in another place in respect to the appellations 
of the German gods. Asciburg on the Rhine was said to have 
been founded by this Ulysses, and named after him. In Pto- 
lemy, also, this name appears upon the Lower Rhine, and it is 
believed to be still extant in Asburg, a village not far from 
Xanten on the left bank, the site of a Troja Francorum, accord- 
ing to the statement of Fredegarius,in the second chapter of his 
summary of the Chronicle of Gregory of Tours. If we rather 
derive the name of Asciburg from Ask (ash), this was the 
sacred tree of Odin. 

' Dudo, in Duchesne, Hist. Norm". Script, p. 63. 

speak of this people as dwelling northwards of the ' 
Caucasus, under the name of Alans or Asse^. They 
extended formerly to the Tanais, where their re- 
mains, blended with those of the Goths, are men- 
tioned by travellers in the fifteenth century, as still 
settled. It is added, that they styled themselves 
Asse, and in their own estimation had been deni- 
zens of this region longer than the Goths, who had 
come in as conquerors '. 

Now if Goths were in fact anciently seated (as 
may be proved) upon both sides of the Baltic, of 
whom a great branch afterwards moved in a south- 
easterly direction towards the Black Sea, and there 
formed a union with their kinsmen of the ancient 
stock ; it is at least not improbable that an inter- 
course was carried on conversely between these 
and the Northerns, by which the tradition of eastern 
descent may have been originated or revived in 
Scandinavia. Later examples of such communi- 
cation, attested by history, are not wanting. A 
band of Herulers, also a Gothic people, appearing 
first on the Black Sea, marched at the end of the 
fifth century from the Danube to Scandinavia, and 
the division which remained in the south after- 
wards sent thither in order to procure a prince of 
their royal blood. The fact is related by a con- 
temporai'y witness *. 

It is not, however, the arrival of the Goths in 
Scandinavia, but that of the Swedes, which is de- 
scribed in the Ynglingasaga ; races nearly allied 
indeed, and now blended, yet in the olden time 
separate, and first united under a common spiritual 
head. The chief seat of their worship was placed 
among the Swedes, a preference which they owed 
to Odin, and the great sacrifices instituted by him 
in Upsala. This prerogative was already acknow- 
ledged in the days of Tacitus, since in his account 
the Suiones stand for the whole commonwealth. If 
we allow a reasonable time for the establishment of 
this superiority, the Swedish Odin may be fairly 
removed to a period beyond the Christian era. To 
this conclusion the Anglo-Saxon genealogies cannot 
be adduced as repugnant, seeing that they are so 
little in imison as to derive their princes, who 
crossed over into Britain during the latter half of 
the fifth century, sometimes in the fourth, some- 
times in the tenth, twelfth, or thirteenth generation 
from the same Odin ^. Among his ancestors they 
enumerate a god bearing the Gothic name ^ ; who 
is himself, perhaps, referrible to one still older. 
Probably the arrival of the Swedes in Scandinavia 
occasioned the emigration of the Goths. At all 
events, the latter does not ascend to the antiquity 
to which Jordanes, by confounding the Goths with 

5 Histoire des Mongoles, depuis Tchinguiz-Kan jusqu'a 
Timour-Lane, Paris, 1824, i. 693, 696. By D'Ohsson. 

7 Viaggi fatti da Vinetia alia Tana, Vinezia, 1545 ; by the 
Venetian Josaphat Barbaro, who resided sixteen years, from 
1436, in these regions. See also the travels of the Franciscan 
Jean du Plan Carpin, who was sent in 1246 by Pope Inno- 
cent IV. to the khan of the Mongols, where this people is 
named Alans or Asee (Alains ou Asses). Voyages en Asie. 
Hague, 1735, i. 58. Procopius in the sixth century calls these 
Alans a Gothic nation, and Jordanes, who was of Alanic ex- 
traction, styles himself a Goth. 

8 Procopius, de Bello Goth. 1. ii. c. 14, 15. 

9 Compare the Anglo-Saxon genealogies in Suhm's Tables 
to the Critical History of Denmark. 

1 Geat, quem pagani jamdudum pro deo venerati sunt. 
Compare Langebek, Script. Rer. Dan. i. 8. 


Priority of the Goths. 
Two rlistinct races. 


Ivar Widfamne. 
His conquests. 

Getes and Scythians, removes it, but is to be as- 
signed apparently to the commencement of the 
Ctiristian era^. 

In our judgment, the Goths who gave their name 
to tlie southern and earlier settled portion of the 
peninsula, are the elder people in Scandinavia. 
That the Gothic kingdom possessed the higher an- 
tiquity, was an old belief in Sweden ^ ; and in the 
Edda it is said that the name of Gothland was 
older in the north than either the Danish or Swe- 
dish dominion. Further up in the mid region of 
the land, the kingdom of the Swedes was founded 
in Suithiod, properly so called, for the name has 
both a wider and a narrower application *. Still 
higher towards the north was Jotunhem, the 
abode of wild and wandering tribes. The poets 
style them Jotuners, giants (j attar), mountain 
wolves, sons of the rock, the hill-folk, the folk of 
the caves of earth ; enemies of the Asse, they 
gathered round the altars of old Fornjoter, which 
Thor, the thunder-darting, is said to have over- 
thrown. Their leader is called the chief of the 
Finns (Finnehofding)', and their country afterwards 
Finnmark, embracing the northerly part of the 
peninsula. The hills and woods of Kolmord and 
Tived formed the boundary between Suithiod Pro- 
per and the Gothic kingdom, as they do now be- 
tween Swedeland and Gothland ; hence these pro- 
vinces were formerly known as the land north and 
south of the forest (Nordan och Sunnanskogs). 
The separateness of the two peoples appears clearly 
marked even subsequently to the introduction of 
Christianity. The annals of our middle age are 
occupied in great part with contests between the 
Swedes and Goths for the possession of a right to 
give a king to the whole country. Even at the 
present day the dialects of the Gothic provinces 
are distinguished by broader and fuller verbal 
forms, and a more plentiful use of diphthongs ; in 
Upper Sweden, on the other hand, words and 
sounds are more abbreviated, though the latter 
does not hold without some exceptions. The dia- 
lect of the Dalecarlians on the one side, and that of 
tlie Scanians or Smalanders on the other, exhibit 
the two extreme points of variation. 

The Ynglingasaga does not reckon Gothland as 
part of the dominion of the Ynglings ''. A line of 
independent Gothic kings is mentioned, descending 
from Gaut (a name of Odin), from whom Goth- 
land is said to have received its appellation '. Ice- 
landic writers know in general little of these Gothic 
kings, although domestic traditions refer to kingly 
families much more numerous in Gothland than in 
Sweden Proper. Nor have all these disappeared 
from history without leaving any trace of their ex- 
istence. In them probably we may discern the 
many kings of Sweden, unknown to the Icelanders, 
of whom Saxo tells us ; for all cannot have been 
the product of his invention, and the vicinity of 
Denmark would naturally make its inhabitants bet- 
ter acquainted with the kings of Gothland. 

On the subject of tlie ancient relations between 

2 Compare Svea Rikes Hafder, i. 111. 

3 Chronica Erici O'lai, Decani Upsaliensis. 

■• In the historical sagas it is called " Suithiod Sjalf," 
Suithiod Proper. 

5 These outlines are wholly taken from the old heathen 
poems Hijstlanga and Thorsdrapa. 

s Ynglingasaga, c. 29, 43. 

7 Id. c. 38. 

the Swedes and Goths, we have the testimony of an 
Anglo-Saxon poem preserved to us ; the unknown 
author of which, though a Christian, is yet de- 
monstrably older than the Icelanders, while he 
agrees with them in the peculiarities of the northern 
poetic language, in references to the my thes of the 
Edda, and in his portraiture of northern manners. 
The scene of this poem lies in Denmark, Gothland, 
and Suithiod, and episodically also in Jotunhem, 
the king of which is named Finn ; its hero is a 
Gothic champion, Beowulf, the relative of Higelac 
(Hugleik), king of the Goths, and his first achieve- 
ment is an expedition to Denmark for the dehvery 
of its king, Hrodgar, from the danger which me- 
naces him. The latter is the only personage whose 
name at least may be recognized in the old cata- 
logues of the Danish kings, which style him Hroar ; 
in the Anglo-Saxon as in northern sagas he is bro- 
ther of Helge, son of Halfdan, descendant of Skold, 
whence in both the kings of Denmai-k are termed 
Skbldingers. In the Ynglingasaga, Helge, brother 
of Hroar, is contemporary with Adil, the Upsala 
king. Consequently the otherwise unknown per- 
sons and events of which the poem speaks, must 
belong to the times of the Yngling family in Swe- 
den, although to the Icelandic saga neither of 
the Swedish kings here mentioned is known. These 
are represented as Skilfingers by family ; and in the 
Edda, Skilfing is a name of Odin. They are at war 
with the kings of the Goths, and from the relations 
here subsisting between these and the Swedes, ge- 
nerally hostile in their tenor, it results, that com- 
munity of descent and religion in both nations did 
not prevent mutuality of either independence or 
enmity *. 

" IvAR Widfamne " (says Snorro) " brought all 
Sweden under his own sway. He made himself 
master also of the Danish kingdom, and a great 
portion of Saxonland, besides the eastern lands and 
the fifth part of England. Of his lineage were the 
Swedish and Danish kings who came after." The 
dynasty which now succeeded in Sweden, therefore, 
takes its name from Ivar, although descended from 
him only on the mother's side. It is called also 
the line of Sigurd, from Sigurd Ring, or that of 
Lodbroc, from the famous Ragnar. Its history is 
obscure ; even the order of succession of the kings 
cannot be determined with certainty. Respecting 
the earUer times only broken notes of legendary 
song have reached us, which soon become indis- 
tinguishable amidst the sanguinary confusion of the 
Norman expeditions. These accounts relate chietty 
to the fight of Bravalla (the Brafield), of yore so 
famous in the north, and the exploits of Ragnar 
Lodbroc and his sons. Upon this battle a frag- 
ment of an Icelandic saga is preserved. Herein 
we find Ivar Widfamne, as king of all Sweden, 
busying himself with designs for the subjugation of 
Zealand, by sowing dissension and bloodshed in 
the royal house of Denmark. His daughter Aud, 
queen of that country, flies from the face of her 

8 We follow Grundtvig's edition of this Anglo-Saxon poem : 
Pjowulfs Drape. Et Gotisk Heltedigt fra fbrrige aartusinde. 
Copenhagen, 1S20. Thorkelin, who entitles it, Poema Da- 
nicum dialecto Anglo-Saxonica de Danorum rebus gestis, sec. 
iii. et iv. Havn. 1815, has mistaken the sense in several 
passages, and gives a false view of the whole, whence we 
were debarred from quoting this highly interesting poem 
before we became acquainted with the labours of Grundtvig. 

Harald and Sigurd. 


Battle of Bravalla. 


father with her young son Harald to Gardarike ^, 
the king of which, Radbard, becomes lier second 
husband, and Ivar collects a great army from Swe- 
den as well as Denmark, in order to take his re- 
venge. King Ivar was then very old. On his 
arrival eastward in the Carelian gulf ', where the 
dominions of king Radbard commenced, and the 
landing was to take place, Ivar had a dream, for 
the interpretation of which he applied to his foster- 
father Hordr, who having come, climbed a pre- 
cipitous rock, and refused to go on board to the 
king, obliging the latter to hold a parley with him 
from the ship. Hordr said that his great age had 
rendered him unfit to interpret dreams, but it ap- 
peared to him that the Danish and Swedish king- 
doms would soon fall asunder, and that Ivar, in- 
satiable in conquest, would die, without being able 
to transmit his power as an inheritance to his pos- 
terity. The king further asked of his ancestors 
among the Asoe, and received for answer that he 
was abhorred both by his own forefathers and the 
demi-gods, who compared him to the snake of Mid- 
gard. Ivar in wx-ath called out that Hordr himself 
was the worst goblin of all, and challenged him to 
go in quest of the gi'eat serpent. Both the old men 
threw themselves headlong mto the sea, one against 
the other, and vanished. As this enterprize came 
to nothing by the king's death, Harald, son of Aud, 
was supplied by his step-father with men and ships, 
repaired to Zealand, and was there received as 
king. In Scania, which had formerly belonged to 
his mother's kin, he found support ; and thence 
marching to Suithiod, he subdued all Swedelaud, 
and Jutland besides, which is said to have been 
possessed by his grandfather Ivar. Harald was at 
this time fifteen years old : by the charm called 
Seid he had been made invulnerable against all 
sorts of weapons. Because he was a great warrior, 
men called him Hildetand (from hildur, war, and 
tand, tooth). 

Aud, the mother of Harald, had, in her latter wed- 
lock, a son named Randver, married to a Norwegian 
princess, and father of Sigurd Ring. In his old 
age, Harald Hildetand is said to have appointed 
the son of his step-brother king in Upsala, and 
to have given him all Suithiod and West Goth- 
land, reserving to himself Denmai'k and East 
Gothland. In respect to the war between these 
kings, the Icelandic fragment on the fight of Bra- 
valla ^ agrees generally with Saxo. The latter 
specifies as the source of his information a song 
still remembered in his day, and ascribed to the 
old warrior and bard Starkother, who is himself 
said to have taken a share in the combat ; his nar- 
rative itself also bespeaks a poetic origin. Odin 
appears in the form of Brune, a councillor pos- 
sessing the confidence of both Harald and Sigurd, 
who instigates the kinsmen to war. Harald lent 
all the readier ear to his incitements, that his great 
age made his life a burden both to himself and to 
his subjects. Better for him, he deemed, to die in 
battle than on a sick bed, that he might arrive in 
Valhalla with an ample retinue. He sent there- 
fore messengers to king Sigurd Ring that they 
should meet one another and fight. Great prepa- 
rations were made ; Sigurd assembled an army 
from all Suithiod and West Gothland, and many 

^ Part of modern Russia, lying over against Gothland. T. 

' The Gulf of Finland. T. 

2 Bravalla, lit. brave, braw, or fair field. T. 

Norwegians gathered beneath his banner, so that 
when the fleet of the Swedes and Norsemen passed 
through Stock Sound, where Stockholm now lies, 
the number of the ships was two thousand five 
hundred. King Sigurd himself marched south- 
wards by the Kolmorker forest, which divides 
Suithiod from East Gothland, and when he had 
come out of the wood to the bay of Bra, he found 
his fleet waiting his arrival, and pitched his camp 
between the forest and the sea. King Harald's 
power was from Denmark and East Gothland ; 
many troops from Saxony and the countries east 
of the Baltic also joined him, and his army was so 
large that their barks covered all the Sound be- 
tween Zealand and Scania as with a bridge. The 
hosts encountered on the shores of the Bra wick. 
The most eminent champions on both sides are 
enumerated, and among them shieldmaids and 
Scalds. The names, arranged alliteratively by 
Saxo, as they were in the ballad he followed, are 
nearly the same in his account as in that of the 
Icelanders, and the agreement extends also to 
various minor features. King Harald, old and 
blind, is borne in a chariot into the battle ; he 
inquires how Sigurd had planted his battle-aiTay, 
and being told in the wedge-like formation *, cries 
out, ' I had thought that there were only Odin and 
myself who imderstood that.' At length, when vic- 
tory appears to have declared for the foe, he causes 
his horses to be m-ged to their utmost speed, seizes 
two swords, and cuts desperately among their 
ranks, till the stroke of a mace hurls him dead 
from his car. Odin himself, in the form of Brune, 
was the slayer* of Harald. The empty chariot 
tells Sigurd that the old king has fallen ; he there- 
fore orders his men to cease from the fight, and 
searches for the body of his relative, which is 
found under a heap of slain. Then he causes a 
funeral pile to be raised, and commands the Danes 
to lay upon it the prow of king Harald's ship. 
Next, he devotes to his ghost a horse with splendid 
trappings, prays to the gods, and utters the wish 
that Harald Hildetand might ride to Valhalla first 
among all the troops of the fallen, and prepare for 
friend and foe a welcome in the hall of Odin. 
When the corpse is laid on the pyre, and the 
flames are kindled, and the chiefs of the war walk 
round lamenting, king Sigurd calls upon every man 
to bring gold and arms, and all his most costly or- 
naments, to feed the fire which was consuming so 
great and honoured a king ; and so all the chief- 
tains did. But Sigurd Ring was king after Harald 
Hildetand, over Suithiod as well as Denmark, and 
his son Ilagnar grew up in his court the tallest 
and goodliest among men. 

Ragnar Lodbroc is the most renowned hero of 
the Norman expeditions ; but before we pass to 
the exploits attributed to him or his sons, it will 
be proper to glance at the less known expedi- 
tion of our forefathers to a difTerent quarter. 

The oldest military enterprises of the Swedes 
were directed to the east. Ingwar, a king of the 
Yngling line, as well as Ivar Widfamne, Harald 
Hildetand, and Ragnar Lodbroc, are said to have 
warred and made conquests in Easterway (Oster- 
veg), or the east realm (Osterrike), as the countries 

3 Tacitus speaks of this order of battle among the Ger- 
mans ; acies per cuneos disponitur. 
■» " Baneman." 


Tlie Vaners. Statement 
of Nestor. 


The Varangians ; 
their exploits. 

beyond the Baltic are denominated. The Yngling- 
asaga makes the Swedes renew their acquaintance 
with the regions whence Odin came. Svegder, 
an Upsala king, is said to have visited his kinsmen 
in that part of the world, and to have chosen him- 
self a wife in tlie land of the Vaners. 

Vaner, like Jotuner, is the mythical appellation 
of a foreign race which is opposed to the people of 
Manhem, tliat is, to men ; for the northern mytho- 
logy, in this resembling every other, sets out by 
elevating the people who acknowledged its creed 
into the representatives of humanity : and this is 
the reason why the indigenous names of so many 
nations mean nothing else than folk or men pre- 
eminently*. But just as Manhem has a less ex- 
tensive sense, and then takes the name of Suithiod, 
so both the alien races above-mentioned, although 
in the mythology they lie, as it were, without the 
domain of humanity, and appear in forms of phan- 
tasy, have yet some historical significancy. We 
have seen that Jotun and Finn are to be explained 
as one and the same type, and a key to the import 
of the term Vaners may be found in the interpre- 
tation which refers the name to the Slavonic stock. 
According to this view both these mythical deno- 
minations belong to the two alien races, with whom 
our forefathers came oftenest into collision. By 
the Finns, the Russians are still called Vaners 
(Viinalaiset), and with this an old name of the 
Slavons, Venedi, Veneders, corresponds. Vanadis, 
as Freya is called, would then mean the Vendish 
goddess ; and it is worthy of remark, that the 
Slavons of Dalmatia worshipped the good Frichia, 
and the Morlachers at the present day still sing her 
praises in their nuptial ceremonies ^. The Swedes 
again are called by the Finns Russians (Ruotso- 
laiset), probably from Roslagen, Rodeslagen, Ro- 
den, as the Swedish coast lying nearest to Southern 
Finland was anciently called ; and this Finnish ap- 
pellative for the Swedish people receives a remark- 
able historical confirmation. 

Frankish annalists inform us that in the year 
839, ambassadors arrived from the emperor Theo- 
philus of Constantinople to the Frankish emperor 
Lodovic the Pious. With these came certain per- 
sons, who, according to their own statement, be- 
longed to a people called Rhos. They had come as 
ambassadors from their king Chacanas (Hakon ?) 
to the Greek, and wished to return to their country 
by the route they had now taken. Lodovic, it is 
added, found on closer examination that these men 

5 Thus the Germans said that they were sprung from 
Man (Mannus), son of the god Thiiisco, who again was born 
of the earth. (Tacit. Germ.) In the latter name probably 
lies the word Thiod, Thiut, Teut, people; from which the 
old national name of Teutons, and the modern one of Teutsche, 
are derived. Tuisco is the first Teuton. 

6 Karamsin, History of the Russian Empire, i. 69, 71. In 
the Bohemian language Freg is the name of the goddess of 
love. Hallenberg, Remarks on Lagerbring's History of 
Sweden, ii. 233. 

' Comperit eos esse gentis Sueonum. AnnalesBertiniani. 

" From wara, vaere, pactum. 

' Jordanes de Reb. Get. 

' Id. Suethans is the Swedish name in the old Gothic 
form, agreeing with Godans, Thiuthans, and from this it is 
plain that the < is a radical letter in the name ; although the 
Icelanders say Sviar, the Anglo-Saxons Sveon, which is the 
Suiones of Tacitus. But as the Anglo-Saxons write the name 
of Sweden both Sveoland and Sveodland, Sveon would appear 
to he contracted from Sveodan. The name itself then may 

were Swedes ''. Nestor, the oldest Russian anna- 
Ust, about tiie year 1100, relates that daring and 
gallant conquerors, named Varagians, had come 
across the sea, and made the Finns and Slavons 
tributary to them. After two years, the natives 
drove out their masters, but in tlie end, weakened 
by intestine quarrels, they voluntarily determined 
to subject themselves to their sway. They sent 
therefore across the sea to the Varangians, who 
were called Rus, declaring to them " our land is 
broad and good, blessed with every desirable thing, 
and wanting order alone ; come, be our princes, 
and reign over us." Three brothers, with their 
families, were accordingly chosen, who took with 
them a numerous train of followers, and vveut to 
the Slavons, the eldest, Ruric, settling in Novo- 
gorod. ' After these new comers of the Varagians, 
and from that time (says Nestor) the land took the 
name of Russland, and the inhabitants of Novogorod 
are still of Varangian descent ; before they were, 
and were called, Slavons.' This is said to have 
happened in the year 862. 

These Russian Varagians are the Varangians of 
the Byzantines, the northernVaringers ; according 
to the literal meaning of the word, soldiers who 
serve by agreement or bargain *, and the name is thus 
synonymous with fosderati, as the Gothic soldiery 
in the service of Rome from the time of Constan- 
tine the Great were called. It is by no means im- 
probable that the inhabitants of the north had early 
taken part in this military service, as we have 
historical proofs of an intercourse subsisting be- 
tween Scandinavia and Southern Europe as early 
as the first part of the sixth century. A Scandi- 
navian king visited the great Theodoric in Italy ^. 
Costly furs were brought to Rome through many 
nations from the people of Suethans ' in Scandi- 
navia. Procopius, the historian of the Gothic war, 
had spoken with the natives of this land of the ex- 
treme north. He gives it the name of Thule, an 
enormous island, inhabited by several nations, 
among whom the Gauts were the most numerous, 
but the Scridfinns the most savage^. 

It is certain that the later Byzantine historians, 
who first make mention of the imperial body-guard, 
under the name of Varangians, a people who are 
said to have been from an early period in the service 
of the emperors, allege that the Varangians were 
natives of the remote north, and had come from 
Thule, which in Procopius incontestably denotes 
Scandinavia^. Assiu-edly, too, the Vai'angians of 

he derived from the Icelandic Sveit, or the Anglo-Saxon 
Sveot, (read, suit,) which means an army, and Suithiod would 
thus be literally the host-folk. (See Note A.) 

2 Procop. de Bel. Goth. 1. ii. c. 15, ed. Maltret, Paris, 1662. 
In the Latin translation of Grotius the name Gauts has dis- 
appeared, in consequence of an incorrect reading. Paul 
Warnefrid says the Scricfinns were so named from their 
art of sliding {skrida, to skir,) on incurvated pieces of wood 
used by tliem in the chase. He describes this skating, and 
the reindeer, from the information of persons who themselves 
knew the country. He had also seen one of the rough jerkins 
of reindeer skin, such as we call a lappmudd, used by these 

3 The name Fargani, Varangi, first appears with the Byzan- 
tines in the year 935, but they are said to have served from 
of old in the body-guard. They are said to have come partly 
from Thule, and partly from England ; but most of even the 
Englaiiders appear to have been Danes, of whom Ordericus 
Vitalis relates that many quitted England on the Norman 
conquest, and took service at Constantinople. The Danish 

Ruric. Swedish wars 
in Russia. 


Ragnar Lodbroc ; his 


Russia were Swedes *, although it is not very pro- 
bable that their power could have been established, 
as we are told, at one blow. This improbability is 
heightened by the fact that, contempoi'aneously 
with the assumed foundation of the Russian empire 
by Ruric, they were already powerful enough to 
appear in the guise of enemies before Constanti- 
nople^. Nestor himself intimates that the track 
from the country of the Varangians to that of the 
Greeks, which he describes, had been long in use ". 
This is the same which is mentioned by a Greek 
emperor in the tenth, and by the first historian of 
northern Christianity in the eleventh century'. 
Both this way down the Dnieper to the Black Sea, 
and another more to the eastward by the Volga to 
the Caspian, were continually traversed by the 
Swedes after the foundation of the Russian mo- 
narchy for the purposes of war and commerce. 
This is proved irrefragably. as well by the multi- 
tude of Runic stones in Sweden, ei'ected to the 
memory of travellers to Greece, as by the large 
number of Arabic coins, especially of countries 
lying south-east of the Caspian Sea, and of the 
ninth and tenth centuries, which are found on 
Swedish soil. The sea-kings of the Ros and their 
squadrons threatened Constantinople by the Black 
Sea on more than one occasion, and they concluded 
with the Greek emperors a treaty in which the 
names are purely Scanduiavian, hardly one that is 
Slavonic being found. History also knows that the 
same people even waged war with the Arabs on 
the shores of the Caspian Sea*. An Italian bishop, 
ambassador at the Greek court, was contemporary 
with another expedition which was undertaken 
against Constantinople by Igor, or as he is termed 
both by the bishop and the Byzantine ^VTiters 
Ingor (Ingvar), the son of Ruric. We have it 
confirmed by his authority, that those who were 
called Russians by the Greeks, were in reality 
Normans, a name at that time common to the 
Scandinavian populations^. 

The results above stated may serve to throw 
light on the question, in how far the testimony or 
silence of the Icelanders should of itself determine 
what belongs or does not belong to the older history 
of Sweden. Of all this they know nothing. What 
they have preserved to us is highly valuable, but 
must be explained and employed solely in con- 
nexion with the accounts we derive from others. It 
is thus we have ti-eated their mythology and their 
Ynoflinffasaga. Their allusions, whetherin the earlier 
or later Scalds, to tlie old connexion of Scandinavia 

battle-axe, as it was called in England, was the principal 
arm of the Varangians, who are hence called axe-bearers, 
ne\vKo<p6pot. Compare Stritter, Varangica, Memoriae Po- 
pulonim, ex Script. Byzant. t. iv. 

'> According to both Schliizer, the critical editor of Nestor, 
and Karamsni, in the seventeenth century tbe tradition 
was still preserved in Novogorod. When tliere was a 
question of electing the Swedish prince Charles Philip to 
be czar, he was recommended by the Archimandrite Cy- 
prianus on the ground that Ruric had been a Swede. Wide- 
kindi, Thet Svenslia I Ryssland Tijo ahrs krigs-historie. 
Stockh. 1671. (History of the Ten Years' War of the Swedes 
in Russia.) 

^ Schlbzer maintains, without any ground, that this attack, 
of which the Byzantines themselves speak under the year 
S66, was made by an unknown people named Ros, who after- 
wards disappeared. But Nestor declares them to have been 
the same people, as is to be seen by the name of their leader 
Askold ; and a Byzantine writer says, that these Ros were 

with the east, and of Sweden, from its position, in 
particular, can be regarded a.s valuable and im- 
portant, only after a historical groundwork has 
been laid. This eastern theatre of achievement for 
the old northern champions, albeit from distance 
of space and time the most obscure, is yet not alto- 
gether lost to history. That of the west is better 
known, for here the expeditions of the Northmen 
shine out through the gloom ; although the crowd 
of enterprises incessantly renewed perplexes the 
order of events. One example of this confusion is 
presented in the actions of Ragnar Lodbroc and 
his sons, as they are related both in the Icelandic 
sagas, and by Saxo, Denmark's Latin saga-writer, 
as also by foreign annalists. 

In the saga of Ragnar Lodbroc, we find his 
father Sigurd Ring mentioned only as king of Den- 
mark, where Ragnar is made to succeed him. 
King Eisten, or Osten, according to the Hervarar- 
saga, a son of Harald Hildetand, reigns in Upsala 
over Sweden. He is depicted as powerful, wicked, 
and a great sacrificer ; the chief object of his 
adoration is a cow, the lowing of which is said to 
have scared his enemies. He is represented at as being on terms of good understanding with 
Ragnar. This chief, by encountering and over- 
coming a terrible serpent, had won Thora, daughter 
of Herraud, who is called earl, or by some king, of 
Gothland. From the rough breeches in which 
Ragnar was clad when he performed this exploit, 
he is said to have received his surname of Lod- 
broc. After the death of Thora, Ragnar, resolving 
never again to take a wife, chose out men to govern 
his kingdom conjointly with his sons, and returned 
to his original pursuit, the victories and perils of 
the sea-king's life. Once in time of summer, as it 
befel, he entered with his ships the harbour of 
Spangarhed in Norway, and landed his meatp-ur- 
veyors to bake for his men. But these came back 
with their bread burned, excusing themselves on 
the ground that they had seen a maiden of such 
surpassing beauty as to render them incapable of 
minding their work. She was called Kraka, was 
the fairest among women ; and her hair, like silk, so 
long, that it reached down to the ground about her. 
Ragnar finds favour in her eyes, and she becomes 
his wife. After she has born four sons to him, he 
visits king Osten in Upsala, where he is persuaded 
to betroth himself to the daughter of the Swedish 
king. On his return, Kraka discloses to him that 
she is really Aslaug, daughter of the famous Si- 
gurd Fofnisbane, by Brynhilda, and relates the iu- 

of Prankish, that is, generally Germanic race. Stritter Rus- 
sica, ii. C97. 

6 Schlbzer's Nestor, 88. 

' Constantine Porphyrogenitus, de Administ. Imp. in 
Stritter, 1. c. 982. Adam of Bremen, Hist. Eccles. ii. c. 13. 
In the narrative of the emperor, the cascades of the Dnieper 
are mentioned with both the Slavic and the Russian (Scandi- 
navian) name. Afterwards, in Russia as in Normandy, the 
rulers were blended, in language and manners, with the 
governed people. 

8 Des peuples du Caucase, from Arabian authors, by M. 
C. D'Ohsson. Paris, 1828. In this expedition, which took 
place in the time of Igor, they drew their boats from the Don 
to the Volga, at the point where the distance between the 
streams is least. This expedient was common in the enter- 
prizes of the Northmen. 

9 Luitprandi Episcopi Cremonensis Historia, 1. v. c. 6, in 
Muratori, torn. ii. He was twice ambassador to Constanti- 
nople, in the years 9i6 and 968. 


Fate of Raguar's 


Accounts of him compared. 
Invasions of ihe Northmen. 

cidents both of her mother's life and her own, as 
they are represented in the old Volsuiigasaga. In 
proof of the truth of her story, she jjredicts that 
the son of whom she is pregnant, will be born with 
the mark of a snake round the eye, which accord- 
ingly came to pass. Ragnar believed her ; and 
nothing came of the Swedish marriage, but a war 
instead with king Oaten. This is carried on by 
Eric and Agnar, sons of Ragnar by his first mar- 
riage, of whom the latter falls in battle ; the former 
is made captive, and by his own desire thrown 
upon spear-points, on which he sings his death 
song. Their loss is avenged by the other sons of 
Ragnar, conjointly with Aslaug ; she herself takes 
part ui the war, which ends wdth the fall of king 
Osten. Ragnar's sons next spread desolation far 
and wide in the southern lands, and their renown 
is noised throughout the whole world. They molest 
even Italy, and plan a march to Rome, but turn 
back, deceived by erroneous information. Ragnar 
is incited by the fame of his sons' actions to re- 
peated voyages of adventure ; and in order to 
augment his own glory by braving dangers, he at- 
tempts a mai'auding enterprise on the English 
coast with only two ships. Here his crew are cut 
off in a fight with king Ella ; he himself is taken 
captive, refuses to tell his name, and is thrown into 
a pit of snakes, where he chants a song on his own 
deeds and on the expected joys of Valhalla, and 
dies smiling under the bites of the serpents. His 
sons, of whom Biorn Ironside reigned in Sweden, 
exact revenge for his death, and die in a manner 
worthy of their sire ; one causing himself to be 
burned on a pp'e made of the sculls of his slaugh- 
tered foes, the other ordering his barrow to be 
erected on that coast of his kingdom which was 
most exposed to hostile assaults. 

The poetical contexture of this saga discovers it- 
self at once by the circumstance, that Ragnar 
Lodbroc, by marrying the fair unknown, is made 
the good-son of Sigurd Fofnisbane, an old champion 
celebrated in fable, while the songs of the Edda 
and the Volsungasaga give us stories respectmg 
another daughter of Sigurd Fofnisbane ^, which 
with nearly the same circumstances and names are 
found in Jordanes, taken from old Gothic legends. 
• The death-song ascribed to Ragnar, and mentioned 
betimes by Saxo, is still extant, but disagrees with 
the saga in many particulars. Saxo, who has de- 
voted wellnigh a whole book of his history to the 
actions of Ragnar, also differs considerably, al- 
though, no doubt, in this as in other cases, the 
popular legends so rife in his time lie at the founda- 
tion of his highly decorated narrative. Scattered 
fragments of legends relating to this hero long 

' Svanhild, in Jordanes Sonilda (de Reb. Get. c. 24.) Com- 
pare in the Edda the songs " Godrunar-hvata," and " Hara- 
dismdl en forna," where her death is avenged on king Jor- 
raunrek by the brothers Saurle and Hamdir, as in Jordanes 
the brothers Sarus and Ammius exact the same revenge on 
king Hermanaric. 

2 Other songs of the Feroes are echoes of the heroic odes 
of the Edda. The whole cycle of Sigurd Fofnisbane's saga 
consisting of ballads, some of which contain more than 200 
stanzas, has been lately recovered, in some parts more co- 
piously than even in the elder saga, from the recitations of 
the people of these lonely islands, which received their in- 
habitants from Scandinavia. Odin from Asgard, Frigga, and 
Loke, appear in other popular songs of the Feroes. See 
Fceroiske Quceder om Sigurd Fofnersbane og bans oet, sam- 
Jede og oversatte af Lyngbye (Lays of the Feroe Isles, upon 

continued to dwell in the popular memory. In the 
southernmost part of Norway, where Spangarhed, 
the place at which Ragnar found Aslaug, is situated, 
Torfaeus and Schoning heard ballads on their 
story. The hill on which she is said to have 
tended her flocks bears her name, and the people 
of the Feroe islands in the present day still sing 
lays of Ragnar and Aslaug ^. 

If we compare the northern saga with the ac- 
counts which foreign chronicles give us of more 
than one Ragnar, of a Lodbroc who was killed in 
England, and of the terrible and protracted devas- 
tations inflicted by Lodbroc's sons both in France 
and England, the memory of the most destructive 
period of the expeditions of the Northmen in the 
nmth century appears, in these countries as well as 
in the north, to be bound up with this name ; 
while the impossibility of chronologically recon- 
ciling the different narratives, shows at the same 
time that the exploits of several persons have been 
cumulatively ascribed to one. Ragnar himself 
probably belongs to the eighth century, towards 
the end of which, a statement in the English 
chronicles gives some reason for supposing that his 
dismal end may have happened ^. The name and 
exploits, however, have been transplanted likewise 
to that which succeeds, while the saga, on the other 
hand, places him in connexion with the heroes of 
a bygone age. It is also easy to conceive that the 
wars waged by his sons, or other descendants so 
termed, might have been incessantly retold anew, 
since the desolating incursions of the Northmen 
continued for so long a period to harass Europe. 

In the ninth century the terrors of these inroads 
were at their height. Their causes were partly 
the weakness and divisions of the European states 
in that age, and partly the foundation laid about 
the middle of this century for an extension of mo- 
narchical power in the northern kingdoms, which 
drove out larger swarms of warlike adventurers. 
The evil, however, was in its essence one of far 
higher antiquity. It had already found a channel 
in the great national migrations, until when these 
ceased, and Christianity began to change the man- 
ners of the barbarians, while the north remained 
as of old, the warlike attitude of Scandinavia to- 
wards the rest of the world became more con- 
spicuous and alarming. 

Earlier probably than to France, England, and 
Ireland, countries m which the Northmen even- 
tually attained more or less sway, their expeditions 
were directed to Scotland, where the dialect of the 
Lowlanders still bears the most striking resem- 
blance to the northern tongues. Yet the inhabit- 
ants of that region camiot be derived from any 

Sigurd Fofnersbane and his race, collected and translated by 
Lyngbye). Randers, 1822. 

3 In the year 794, a king of the northern heathens (his 
name is not mentioned), who had some time before plundered 
the monastery of the isle of Lindisfarne, on the coast of 
Northumberland, near the Scottish border, was taken and 
put to a cruel death. Princeps eorum crudeli nece est 
occisus ab Anglis. Roger de Hoveden, Annal. The death- 
song composed in Ragnar's name, in which he recounts his 
achievements, informs us that, previously to his capture by 
the Englanders, he had ravaged the firths of Scotland, and 
mention is made just before of ' the sword-games of Lindi- 
seire.' Another legend makes Ragnar a man of princely 
birth, who was fraudulently put to death in England in the 
middle of the ninth century. Matthew Westm. 



Its inhabitants. 


Anglo-Saxon immigration of such old date known 
to history, and must be regarded rather as being 
of Scandinaviaif descent. The poems of Ossiau at- 
test the presence and wars of the Scandians in 
Scotland, and Lochlin, the name by which that 
bard designates their country, is the same under 
which it is mentioned in the Irish annals'*. 

Before we quit this subject, it will be proper to 
touch upon a tradition which still survives in an- 
other region. In the inner valleys of the Alps, 
severed from the rest of the world, dwells an in- 
considerable tribe which still asserts its Swedish 
extraction. At present this legend is confined to 
Hasslidale, in the canton of Berne, but it was once 
general among the inhabitants of Schwytz ; and 
in old times it was still more widely diffused. 
King Gustavus I. mentions it in a public ordinance 
as a proof of the former dense population of Swe- 
den, and Gustavus Adolphus refers to it in his 
negotiations and letters to the Swiss. The written 
record of this tradition is not very ancient ^, and 
abounds in chronological and other errors. Set- 
ting aside these, its contents may be thus de- 
scribed. The legend begins by assigning the usual 
cause of northern emigrations, namely a famine, as 
the motive of the journey ; but the points of de- 
parture are both Sweden and Friesland. The pil- 
grims march from a place called Hasle, along the 
banks of the Rhine •■ ; in their progress a Frank- 
isli army is encountered and defeated, and they at 
length arrive m the Alps, where they form a set- 
tlement, because the land seems in their eyes to 
resemble their own country. In our judgment 
this event falls within the age of the northern ex- 
peditions ; in the first place, because Friesland 
really was, during tlie greater part of the ninth 
century, subject to the Northmen, and their or- 
dinary domicile, whence their expeditions issued. 
Next, because a contemporary Norman chronicle ' 
relates that in 881 they ascended the Mosel, and 
wintered in a fortified camp at a place called Has- 
low ^, from which they broke up in the following 

4 Annals of Ulster, in Johnstone's Antiquitates Celto- 
Normannicae. Copenhagen, 1786. 

5 ' Extract from a parchment manuscript of the year 1 534, 
preserved in Upper Hasle, in the canton of Berne, in Switzer- 
land, and enrolled also among the records of the land-registry 
there, concerning the northern origin of this branch of the 
Swiss.' Published by the author, after a manuscript com- 
municated from the spot, along with the ' East-Prison song 
of the Upper Haslers,' in a Dissertation : De Colonia Sueco- 
rum in Helvetiam deducta. Upsal. 1828. 

5 Hasle is a common name in Sweden, often denoting old 
battle-fields, for it was formerly usual to mark the scene of a 
combat by hazel-stangs, which was called hazeling the field 
(att hassla vail). 

' Duchesne, Script. Nor. 

8 Haslou and Haslac in the Chronicles. Now the hamlet 
of Elsloo, in the neighbourhood of Maestricht, on the way to 
Ruremonde. I 

9 Ed. Copenhagen, 1825, i. p. 138. | 
' Also called Avenche ; the ancient Aventicum. i 
2 Ut acquirant sibi spoliando regna, quibus possent vivere j 

pace perpetua. Dudo, in Duchesne. i 

spring, defeated a Frankish army that was brought 
against them, and carried their devastations along 
the Rhine. Old chronicles mention that they pene- 
trated as far as Worms. Thirdly, because, accord- 
ing to the saga of Olof Tryggwason ", the sons of 
Ragnar Lodbroc took part in this expedition ; for 
this must be the same in which, as Ragnar's saga 
relates, they arrived at Wiflisburg ^, in Switzer- 
land. And, fourthly, because, as so many circum- 
stances agree with the Swiss tradition, its con- 
cluding allegation, that a settlement followed, is by 
no means improbable. The acknowledged end of 
the Norman expeditions was not merely plunder, 
but the acquisition of a new home ^ ; and this the 
smaller portion of the Norman army might have 
remained to select in the valleys of the Alps, while 
the rest returned upon hearing the rumour that 
the emperor Charles the Fat was collecting a great 
army on the Rhine to oppose them. 

Even Swiss historians see in the inhabitants of 
these Alpine dales a peculiar race *, and there also 
recurs the old Swedish federative system. It is 
plain fi'om legends which still survive among them, 
as to the manner and order in which they first 
peopled the land*, that their settlement m it is 
comparatively new, and it is also Imown that for a 
long time they were few in number *. That at the 
end of the ninth century there were still heathens 
in these regions to whom it was necessary to preach 
Christianity, will cease to awaken surprise if the 
opinions we have advanced respecting their origin 
be admitted to have congruity to truth. 

For the share of the Swedish name in this Swiss 
legend of migration, besides that this may be 
couched in the appellation of Normans, then com- 
mon to all the people of the three Scandian king- 
doms, it is to be remembered that those Northmen 
who accompanied Biiirn Ironside (a son of Ragnar 
Lodbroc, and, according to the northern saga, a 
Swedish king), are also called in extraneous ac- 
counts West Goths, and consequently Ln part came 
from Swedish West Gothland ". 

3 ' They (the first Schwytzers) were a peculiar race, and 
may after so long a time be best recognized in the remarkably 
handsome people of Upper Hasli, and the neighbouring 
higlilands.' Miiller, History of Switzerland, i. 419, n. 7. 

■1 ' The old men of the highland valleys still tell how in 
former centuries the people moved from mountain to moun- 
tain, and from valley to valley.' Miiller, i. 421. ' This the 
old shepherds stated tons in the years 1777 — 1780.' Ibid. n. 15. 

' ' At first the Swiss, few in number, dwelt far from one 
another in the waste places of the mountains. In the 
whole land there was but one church, and afterwards two.' 
' Then the valleys of Schwytz, Uri, and Underwald, became 
gradually independent of each other, from the increase both 
of churches and courts ; yet they kept united against fo- 
reigners.' ' The country people of Upper Hasli, and their 
neighbours in the mountains of the highlands, were at last 
alienated from this ancient confederation.' Miiller, i. 436. 
' Tradition says of the'Underwalders that they were the last 
to be Christians.' 'At the end of the ninth century VVigger 
is mentioned as the apostle of Switzerland.' Ibid. n. 37. 

6 Visigothi. Compare Langebek, Script. Rer. Dan. i. 525. 


Scania ; its produce: 


Towns , Inhabitants. 




With the ninth century, the light of history rises 
more bright over the north. In the dawning of 
tliis light which, emanating from a new age and 
the approach of Christianity, casts its rays even 
upon the last days of the heathen period, let us in- 
quire : what were the land and the people m times 
of old ? To this question we will attempt an an- 
swer, not drawn from uncertain conjectures, which 
might have free play upon a boundless field, but 
founding ourselves upon the testimony of a definite 
age, historically known at least in its general cha- 
racter. Subsidiary evidence may be educed from 
other sources ; we will seek for it in the ex- 
terior nature of the north, and in the graves of our 
forefathers. The former, with us, does not easily 
change its original aspect, while the latter cover 
our land, mai'king the old dwelling-places of its 
inhabitants, and the shades of the bari'ows are yet 
to be summoned forth by the spell of love and 
knowledge. We will consult nature as well as 
memory, and search the land of the dead that we 
may judge of that of the living. Thus we may per- 
chance succeed in combining many scattered fea- 
tures into the picture of a whole which may be 
consonant to the truth, and may contrive, from 
what is known, to shed some light upon the more 
remote, the darker, the unknown. 

First, in what form does the land reveal itself to 
our view through the twilight of the old sagas ! 
Commencing with the south, Scania at this time 
presents an already ancient cultivation, surpassing 
even that of more southerly adjacent countries. 
Originally, as the name seems to intimate i, a 
marsh-land, where the ure-ox, the elk, and the 
rein-deer once roamed in primeval woods, of which 
the roots are still dug up in the dried mosses of 
the levels, it was famed for the fertility of its soil, 

■ Skaun, in Icelandic, means a marshy country. The 
word indeed is pronounced Skcen, while Skane, on the other 
hand, was formerly pronounced Skaune, as the inhabitants 
still do; but such vocalic changes are not unfrequent. Thus 
the word gang was formerly written gaung and g'ong ; the 
word lang, both long, laung, and long. The old name is 
Skin-ey, the island of Skane, Sconia insula in Adam of 
Bremen, since it is surrounded by the sea on three sides. 

2 Sconia armataviris,opulentafrugibus, divesquemercibus. 
Adam. Breraens. de situ Daniae. 

3 Terra salsuginis et vastae solitudinis. Porro, cum omnes 
tractus Germaniac profundis horreant saltibus, sola Jutland 
caeteris horridior. 1 c. 

'' A Seland in Scoiiiam trajectus multo brevissimus in 
Halsingeburg, qui et videri potest. 1. c. 57. Helsingiaborg 
is mentioned (about 993) in Nial's Saga, c. 83 ; and in the 
same decennary also Hiostad (Ystad), in Scania. Torfaeus, 
Hist. Norv. iii. 3. Helsingbr is without doubt the same 
Halseiri in Denmark, which is called in the Fcereyinga 
Saga, c. i., the greatest market of the north. Ualsa means 
to take in sail and lie into the land. Hence, and not from 

the variety of its staple wares, and the number of 
its martial inhabitants ^, while the interior of Jut- 
land was still a wilderness^, and Germany was 
covered wdth dense forests. In the Soimd, of the 
shortest passage across which at Helsingborg we 
find ancient mention *, every summer of the ninth 
century saw the fleet of the Islesmen ^, which drew 
an ample freight offish from the teeming coasts, or 
brought back meal, wheat, and honey from the 
then celebrated Scanian fair which was held in the 
autumn. About the same time Lund is mentioned 
as a place of considerable trade, surrounded with 
a wooden barrier, where gold or other property 
gained by piracy was stored up for security ", 
although itself a mark for the attacks of the 
sea-robbers who swarmed every where in these 

Scania, from which Ivar Widfamne is said to 
have issued to conquer both Sweden and Denmark, 
was at first a kingdom in itself, but is reckoned as 
belonging to the Danes in the oldest short descrip- 
tion of the northern countries at the end of the 
ninth century ^. Afterwards it is called the fairest 
part of Denmark, although sometimes severed 
from its dominion, bearing the yoke reluctantly, 
successfully resisting the whole Danish force, and 
excelling Zealand and Jutland in men and wea- 
pons *. Halland and Bleking are distinguished 
as oftshoots of Scania ^ , stretching towards Nor- 
way 1 and Gothland, and were comprehended un- 
der that name '^, sometimes even after the Danes 
established their dominion in this quarter. Halland 
is spoken of towards the end of the heathen age as 
a poor district, offering small allurement even to 
the rapacity of the sea-robbers ^ ; in the eleventh 
century, oak and beech woods abounded *. In the 
ninth, Bleking is still reckoned as belonging to 

any migration of Helsingers, the name Halsbre or Helsingor, 
Halsingborg or Helsingborg, as well as Halsehamn to the 
north, on the point of the Scanian promontory named 

5 Eyrarfloti. Egils Saga, Havn. 1809, p. 78, 79. 

" Civitas Lundona, aurura ibi plurimum, quod raptu con- 
geritur. Ad. Brem. 56. 

7 Narrative of the Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten, given in 
the Anglo-Saxon translation of the History of Orosius, as- 
cribed to king Alfred ; last edited by Rask. 

8 Viris et armis praestantior esse probatur. Helmold 
Chron. Slav. 1. i. c. 85. 

" Hallandia et Blekingia ab integritate Sconiae, ceu rami 
duplices ex unius arboris stipite promeantes. Saxo, Praef. 

' At the time, that is, when Norway extended to the 
Gbta-elf. Gotelba tiuvius a Nordmannis Gothiam separat, 
says the Scholiast upon Adam of Bremen, de Situ Dan. 60. 

2 The Knytlinga Saga speaks of Halland in Scania (Hal- 
land i Skdney). 

■'' Var land ecki audigt. Egils Saga, p. 246. 

' Knytlinga Saga, c. 28. 





Sweden*. The barbarians of Bleking'* were 
dreaded pirates, by following which trade they 
amassed wealth and had abundance of captives. At 
the same time the islands of Oeland and Gottland 
are already Swedish possessions '. Travellers 
passed from Scania to Gothland through deep 
forests and precipitous hills, and it appeared doubt- 
ful whether the journey by land or the voyage by 
water was attended with greater dangers *. The 
mountainous district bordering upon Gothland, 
and considered as forming part of it, was anciently 
called Smaland (small land) '. Eastern Smaland 
sti-etched to the sea, and sent forth pirate chiefs *. 
More is named a part of it so early as the ninth 
century 2. Mention is made betimes of Calmar as 
a port ^, and afterwards as a place of trade. The 
middle and southern portion of Smaland was 
called Verend ; it was girt romid by the densest 
foi'ests, but a fruitful country, abounding in game 
and streams peopled with fish, swarming with bees 
and honey, adoi-ned with rich fields and meadows *. 
Western Smaland, towards the borders of Halland, 
was long called the Finn waste, the Finn weald, 
the Finn mooi", and also Finland *. This Fiim 
wold appears in old times to have stretched for a 
great distance, and to have embraced those wide 
forests separating West- Gothland fi-om the present 
Bohus-lan, and covering Dalslaud, which then was 
only known by the name of the Marks, that is, the 
woods, as far as the present frontier of Norway. 
Formerly that country stretched to the Gota- 
elf. In the eleventh century it was maintained 
that the ancient border^ had been the Gota from 
the sea to Lake Vener ; then the Marks ' to the 
forest of Eda ; and lastly, the Kiilen mountains. 
Yet the boundary was disputed, and it could not 
be otherwise, when the wildei'ness was still the 
frontier. The Swedish kings extended West-Goth- 
land to Swinesund along the sea ; the Norwegians 
on the other side claimed all the land to the west- 
ward of Lake Vener. The borderers, independent 
of both parties in their forests and mountains, gave 
little heed to these pretensions. The people of the 
Mark country, who had come from West- Gothland, 

' Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten, where it is called Bleking's 
Island, Blecinga-ey. 
f Barbari qui Pleichani dicuntur. Ad Brem. 1. e. 

7 Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten (or Otlier and Wulfstan). 

8 Words of Adam of Bremen, I.e. " Per ardua montium, 
per abrupta petrarum, per condensa silvarum," says the le- 
gend of St. Sigfrid, speaking of the same way. Ilistoria S. 
Sigfridi. E. Benzelius, Monumenta Hist. vet. ecclesiae Su. 
Upsal. 1709, p. 4. 

9 The plural ending Smdlbnd, (pronounce Smaulbnd, as 
the Smalanders still do), was formerly usual. 

' Nials Saga, c. 30, 83. 

2 Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten. 

3 Kalmar naze. Heimskringla, Saga of St. Olave, c. 128. 
This in 1020. A hundred years after Calmar is called a 
trading town. Heimskr. Saga of Sigurd Jorsalafarar. c. 27. 

•• Historia S. Sigfridi (written about 1205). Benzelii 
Monumenta, 4. 

■"' Fineyde in the Knytlinga Saga, Finwid in the West 
Gothic Laws, Finhid on the Rhunic stones, Terra Finlandias 
in Eric Olaveson. The inhabitants, whom Saxo calls Fin- 
nenses, are manifestly the same Finwedi, inhabitants of the 
Finn wold, who, Adam of Bremen says, dwelt with the 
Vermelanders between Norway and Sweden, and belonged 
to the diocese of Skara. 

6 So said the peasants to the messengers of St. Olave, 
about 1019. Heimsk. Saga of St. Olave, c. 59. 

7 That is, Dalsland, and probably also the contiguous 

ultimately preferred subjection to Sweden, were 
regarded as belonging to West- Gothland, and in 
later times were denominated West Goths, west of 
the Vener. 

The district now bearing the name of Bohus-lan 
was formerly called Ranrike *, or Elfwar-fylke ^ 
(river-district j, Alfliem ' and Wiken'''. The wick 
and elf-men ^ were, from the very character of 
their country, Wikingers, a hardy and stubborn 
race, who lived by the sea, and bore no good re- 
putation. Here in the interior the saga placed 
the descendants of the demons (Troll) and elves 
( Alfvar), more hateful than all other men. Here 
by the TroUhtetta, whose cataracts still roared in 
solitude, Starkother had fought in the days of old 
with the demon champion Hergrim and won Ogn, 
daughter of the Elfin, who preferred death to be- 
coming the property of the victor. Trade joined 
with piracy was carried on at an early period along 
the coast of Wiken, and the great stream of the 
Gota, which pours the water of so many floods 
from the Vener into the sea, presented facilities 
for both which were not neglected. Of the island 
Hisingen which the river forms at its mouth, one 
half was in possession of the Swedes, the otlier in 
that of the Norwegians. On the island of Brenn, 
which lay somewhat further to the south, and was 
formerly a haunt of the sea-chiefs, much dreaded 
by trading vessels, or upon the Dana-holms, « Inch 
lay near thereto, the boundaries of the three 
northern kingdoms met, so that old West-Goth- 
land reached from the Gota-elf southwards to the 
sea. Ships ascended the stream to Konghall *, 
which had its name from the frequent conferences 
of kings held there, or even higher, to old Lbdose '. 
The wick-men drew their supplies of corn and 
malt from abroad ^ ; here were vended salt, her- 
rings, and wadmal or home-woven woollen cloth ', 
necessaries which were conveyed inland ; so that 
the West Goths were malcontent, when hostilities 
with Norway broke off this intercourse. Falkoeping, 
of which mention is made thus early *, and Skara, 
probably a place of sacrifice in the heathen time ', 

North Mark in Vermeland, where the wood of Eda now 

8 This name applied to the country from the Giita-elf to 
Swinesund. Heimsk. Olof Tryggwason's Saga, c. 130. 

3 Elf, river, whence the name of the German Elbe. Also 
elf, or goblin. T. 

> This embraced all the land between the Raum-elf and 
the Gota-elf. Hervara Saga, c. 1 . 

8 The whole countiy about Opslo Bay, in Norway, and 
thence to the Gota, was formerly called so. 

3 The inhabitants are styled, Wikwerir, Wikweriar. 
Helms. Saga of Harald the Fair Haired, c. 35, 44. Elfarar, 
Nials Saga, c. 78. Elfwagrimar, the bad grim elves. Saga 
of Magnus Barefoot, c. 8. 

■* Now Kongelf. 

' Lying in Aleharad on the West-Gothic side. " To the 
trading town at Liodliusuni is four days by the river." Rim- 
begla. Both Konghall and Loddse are mentioned in the 
tenth century. Ni;ils Saga, c. 3, 83. 

6 Eigils Saga, c. 81. 

7 The Icelander Rut, the favourite of the Norwegian 
queen Gunnliild, who was called Mother of Kings, sent to 
her at Konghall 100 ells of wadmal in 961. Nials Saga, c. 3. 

^ Saxo, when enumerating, after Starkotter's Ode, the 
warriors at the fight of Brawalla (1. vii. p. 144), mentions, to- 
gether with Findar of Wicken (Fiiidar rnaritimo genitus 
sinu), Bersi, born in Falkoping(apud Falu oppidum creatus). 

9 The trading town at Skiirum or Skaurum (Saga of St. 
Olave, c. 70, 96) is mentioned early in the eleventh century. 



Their condition 


in early times. 

were trading stations in inner West-Gotliland, 
which must have received their wares from Wiken. 

But what was the appearance of this commercial 
route at the end of the tenth century ? It passed 
through a great forest, two days' journey longi, 
partly over rocky mountains. The wares were 
packed cross-ways upon horses. The journey was 
dangerous, the way easily missed, and the forest 
was the haunt of footpads (stigman) and robbers. 
Even peasants were sometimes known hardened 
enough to take part m this bloody work, and if the 
stroke of the axe announced to the tired wanderer 
some lonely clearing or the vicinity of an inhabited 
place, the night's lodging gi'anted to his prayer was 
sometimes paid for with his life. In the midst of 
the wood was a safety-house (salohus) as it was 
called 2, one of those otherwise untenanted lodges 
for travellers and their goods, which were main- 
tained where roads, especially those frequented by 
traders, penetrated rough and uninhabited wastes. 

Such was then the condition of the frontier tracts 
interspersed between the cultivated districts. In 
the list of these West-Gothland is to be reckoned, 
as undoubtedly one of the earliest settled provinces 
of Sweden. At the end of the heathen age we find 
the West Goths disputing supremacy with the upper 
Swedes (Upp-Svear), but soon becoming the more 
powerful from their adoption of Christianity. The 
ascertained popidousness of their territory in the 
succeeding period, makes it probable that its occu- 
pation could not be recent, although in old times 
broad woodlands, hard to pass through, are said to 
have existed, and the forest region of West Goth- 
land, still considerable, was much more extensive 
in the thirteenth century, embracing districts where 
we now see the high level, the heath, or the 
ploughed field. 

East-Gothland, during the heathen times, lies 
more dark, and in Scandinavia generally, during 
this period, the shadows deepen towards the east. 
The neighbourhood of the Western Sea supplied 
the means of intercourse with the rest of the world, 
at least that part of it upon which, in the north, 
historical light most falls. On the inner side, by 
the Baltic, reigned obscurity; beyond it thick gloom. 
Thus we know less of East than of West Gothland in 
old times, and even if the saga lays here the scene 
of any imj)ortant event, it is silent on the condition 

1 See the Account of the journey made by the West Goth 
Audgils, in company with Hallfred Wandrada Scald, in 997, 
from Konghall to the interior of West Gothland, in Olof 
Tryggwason's Saga, Skalholt edition, part 2, c. 31 ; and from 
this source, in Torfasus, Hist. Norv. ii. 476. 

2 Such a safety-lodge, roomy enough to alford quarters 
for the night to twelve travellers with their wares, is men- 
tioned as existing on the way between Trondhem and Jemt- 
land. Heimsk. Saga of St. Olave, c. 151. It was regarded 
as a duty of succour, obligatory on the traveller, to leave be- 
hind him at least split wood, in order that those who came 
next might be able to warm and dry themselves without 
delay. Olof Tr)'ggwason's Saga, 1. c. 

3 The eastern boundary towards Smaland, when the latter 
formed a province in itself, went ' to the middle of Holawed.' 
Uplands Lagen (Law of Upland), Kon. B. ii. Holveden 
means the hilly wood, from the old word hoi, hill, which the 
Dalecarlians still use in this sense. 

^ Kolmirkr, Myrkwidr, the black or mirk wood. See the 
Fragment on the Fight of Urawalla, s. 120. The name now 
used is Kolmarden, which is found in the law-book of West 

■> Rimbegla, p. 332. A rast is a length of road equal to 

of the country. The oldest East-Gotliic settlements 
were perhaps in the midmost tract, one of the most 
fruitful in Sweden. East-Gothland's southern forest 
district stretched formerly much higher up from 
the hilly territory of Smaland. It was a solitude 
difficult of access ; for no stranger ventured beyond 
the forest of Holawed ^. Its northern woody and 
hilly district above the Motala stream was long a 
wilderness, as both the nature of the country, and 
the scantiness of ancient remains plainly indicate. 
Here lay the great Kolmorker forest *, now the 
Kolmard, which, continued by that of Tiwed, and 
stretching westwards to the shores of Lake Vener, 
increased in breadth and difficulty in the interior of 
the country. So late as the year 1177, ki"g Suerre, 
journeying from East-Gothland to Vermeland, wan- 
dered in its wide and unknown wilds for six or seven 
days, without finding a refuge against hunger and 
cold. Still later, the Tiwed is said to be ' twelve 
rasts broad ^.' On the East-Gothland side, nearer 
the Vetter lake, the wood was for a long time so 
difficult to pass, and like all the frontier forests so 
notorious for robbers, that in the Christian age 
travellers who wished to pass into Nerike, used to 
commend their souls to God, in the chapel which 
formerly stood at Husby Fell ^. Hence in former 
times the great forest was ordinarily traversed by 
its eastern border on the coast, where the road from 
Norrkoeping to Stockholm now rims. Here where 
from a rising of the Kolmard the noblest prospect 
over the fertile and well-watered plains and woods 
of East-Gothland opens to the view of the traveller 
from the north, Sigurd Ring, in the eighth century, 
descended with his army to contest with Harald 
Hildetand the field of Bravalla, formerly the most 
renowned of northern battles. Here, in the eleventh 
century, was the usual passage, by a long circuit, 
from West-Gothland to Upper Sweden. Travellers 
went from Scania upwards, not through East-Goth- 
land, where the hilly region of Smaland presented 
the greatest difficulties, but through West-Gothland 
to .Skara, a distance which was traversed in a week. 
For the journey thence to Sigtuna by Telje, three 
weeks more were required, so that the whole occu- 
pied a month '. As, according to the accounts, such 
a journey was performed partly in boats, and great 
wastes which intervened had to be crossed *, the 
route probably lay on the side of West-Gothland 

what a man usually travels without resting, and answers 
to what the peasants understand by the old wood mile 
(skogsmil), about half a Swedish mile (three English miles). 
*6 Broocman, Beskrifning bfwer Ostergotland, p. 176. The 
intrenchment to be seen on a hill in the parish of Hamraar, 
Nerike, as old persons relate, was erected as a defence against 
the attacks of the East Goths. (Palmskbld Collections.) 

7 A qua (Sconia) ferunt diebus septem perveniri usque 
ad civitatem Gothorum magnam Scarane. Ad Brem. 1. c. 60. 
Si per terram eas a Sconia per Gothorum populos et civitatem 
Scaranen, Telgas, et Birkam, completo mense pervenies 
Sictonam. Ibid. 62. 

8 So is described the journey of Ansgar and his compa- 
nions, who after their shipwreck were probably obliged to 
take this long way by land. Cum gravi difficultate pedibus 
per longissimam viam incedentes, et, ubi ingruebat, inter- 
jacentia maria navigio transeuntes, tandem ad portnm regni 
ipsorum qui Byrca dicitur jjervenerunt. Vita S. Ansg.arii, 
c. 10. The Lagman Edmund also, in the time of Olave the 
lap-king, takes his way from Skara to Upper Sweden and 
Upsala through East Gothland. Heimsk. Saga of St. Olave, 
c. 96. 





across lake Vener, then along the stream of the 
Motala to Brawick, and thence over the Kolmard. 

We now stand on the boundary between Sweden 
Proper and Gothland (Svea and Gotaland), a divi- 
sion which is as old as our history. The Kolmard 
and the Tiwed still separate them, and from this 
circumstance in former days, the kingdom was 
divided into the land north and south of the forest ^. 
Although the great woodland formed the border, 
the old line of demarcation, perhaps from that very 
reason, differed as much from the modern, as the 
cultivation of early from that of later times. The 
day has been when the great forests of Tiwed and 
Kaglau nearly met ', when Nerike depressed be- 
tween hill-peaks connected them, and the whole 
extent of its low lying, rich grassy meadows con- 
sisted of moor and moss ^ ; when Sudermania, 
varied with so manifold beauty of bay, lake, hill 
and dale, was little else than a group of islets, the 
chief seat of the sea-kings* of Upper Sweden, and a 
border land in the occupation of both Swedes and 
Goths; and it is perhaps on this account that 
the oldest historian of Christianity in the north *, 
reckons it as belonging to East-Gothland, thus ex- 
tending Gothland to Lake Maelar. As a people 
anciently of several different stocks, congregated in a 
border-land on the sea, the Sudermanians show few- 
est provincial peculiarities. Yet the settlement of 
their country is old, as is evinced by the abundance of 
laemorials remaining from the times of heathenism. 

Nerike '" is of more recent occupancy ; yet it was 
probably settled by Braut Anund, and is perhaps 
the scene of the death of the greatest king of the 
Yngliug line ^. Through Nerike, by lake Hielmar, 
and the place where Oerebro, formerly Oeresund ', 
now lies, Sigurd Ring marched over the Kolmard 
to the fight of Bra valla. 

On the west, Suithiod Proper was encompassed 
by old Gothland, which sti-etched along the border 
of the former in indefinite extension towards the 

9 Sweden Proper was called the land north, Gothland that 
south of the forest. Nordanskog, Sunnanskog. Landslagen 
(the land's law), of 1442. K. B. c. 1. 

' There is an old saying that the Tiwed once filled up the 
distance of ten miles between Mokyrka, south of Mariestad, 
and Mosas, near Orebro. Lindskog, Beskrifning om Skara 
Stift (Description of the Diocese of Skara), iv. 67. On the 
East-Gothland side also a similar tradition is current, that 
for a long time there was no church between Ask, south of 
Motala, and Mosas in Nerike. (Broocman, Description of 
East-Gothland, 681.) The forest filled up the interval. The 
traditions confirm each other. 

2 A district of this character, still too marshy for cultiva- 
tion, traverses great part of the province. 

3 Before Olave Haraldson entered Lake Malar with his 
ships, he had to fight with the Vikings of Sijdermanland. At 
Sotaskar (Sola Rock), he overcame the Viking Chief Sote. 
Saga of St. Olave, c- 5. The name is still extant in the 
Hundred of Sotholm. Wingaker in Sbdermanland was for- 
merly called Wikingakir ; the old district of Wingaker em- 
braced both the parishes of that name with Osteraker and 
Malm. This district, which is even now so well watered, 
still communicates with the sea by Nykoeping river, which 
carries off the vale-streams of the great lakes Yngarn, Lang- 
hals n, and Bafwen. These, with branches running deep 
into the country, form one of the great systems of water 
communication in Sweden. 

■* Adam of Bremen. He derived much of his materials 
from the relations of the Danish King Sueno Ulfson (mag- 
nam materiam hujus libelli ex ejus ore coUegi. Hist. Ecc. 
p. 48), who passed several years of his youth in military 
service in Sweden. lb. 31. 

north. Verheland, where Olave the Treefeller 
(Tratalja) when the hate of the Swedes had 
driven him from his refuge in Nerike, fii'st laid the 
a.xe to the root of the primitive forest, was held 
both in old and modern times, to belong to Goth- 
land in the wider sense, in so far as it was taken into 
account at all. For Vernieland was a debateable 
territory between the Swedes and Norwegians *, 
subject to both kingdoms alternately, which 
proves that the settlers of Olave confined them- 
selves to the western part of Vermeland, bordering 
on Norway. The first occupiers kept close to the 
streams which took their course to lake Vener, 
through the wide-extended valleys of the country, 
and soon arrived at well-being s. Between the 
dales were forests and mountains ; the whole of 
eastern Vei'meland was a wilderness. The settled 
districts were separated from Norway by the waste 
wood 1, in the recesses of which robbers lurked in 
ambush for those who undertook the dangerous 
office of carrying the tributes of Vermeland to the 
king of Norway ^. Towards Gothland, forests 
alone formed the frontier on the eastern as well as 
the western side of the Vener. This great lake, on 
whose banks rose the holds of the sea-kings, its 
proximity to the coast of Wiken, and to Norway, 
with the border conflicts and adventures which its 
shores often witnessed, allured the eye of old 
poetry betimes to this region ; and the waves of 
the Vener, its ice-fields, as its i-slands, were the 
scenes of many a combat whose memory the sagas 
have sung. Above Vermeland, in the eleventh 
century, Skridfinns or Finn-Lapps still wandered 
in the wilderness* ; for the name of Dalecarlia 
was not yet known. 

We now ascend to old Swedeland, which has 
given its name to the monarchy of Sweden 
(Sverike), formed in the age of Paganism by the 
junction of Swedeland and Gothland ■*. Swede- 

' Explained as Nederrike, the nether realm. T. 

6 It is related in the Ynglingasaga, c. ,39, that King Braut 
Anund with his train, visiting his manors in time of harvest, 
was killed by a land-slip between two precipices, at the place 
called Himmelshed (Himminlieidur, heaven's heath). An 
old Swedish catalogue of kings stales that Brattoniund was 
slain by his brother Sigward at a place called Himmelshed 
in Nerike (in Nericia — loci vocabulum interpretatur ca-li 
campus. Cat. Reg. ii. Script. Rer. Suec. s. i.); and the Lesser 
Rhyme-Chronicle gives the same account, but calls the i)lace 
HJigahed. So the great ridge in Nerike is named, which 
commences at Tarsta in the parish of Skyllersta, and goes 
through the parish of Swennevad. The wood is called 
Brtiten (from irrt/((, way). Braut Anund is said to have been 
buried near the high stone half a mile south of Swennevad 
on the road. 

7 The place was also formerly called Eyrarsund and Eyrar- 
sundsbro. Hence, it is plain which Oresund is meant in the 
description of the march of Sigurd Ring, in the fragment of 
the saga on the battle. Compare Svea Rikes Hafder, 1. 

8 Inter Normanniam et Svioniam Vermelani. Ad. Brem. 
I. c. 61. 

9 Ynglingasaga, c. 46. (Among these streams is the Verm, 
whence the name of the territory. T.) 

' Eida Skog. The name still remains in the parish of 
Eda in Vermeland, and Eidskong in Norway, through which 
the road into that country has long passed. 

2 See the minute account of such a journey from Verme- 
land, about 944, in Eigils saga c. 74. 54.3. Saxo relates 
another, 1. vii. 140. 

3 Ad. Brem. de situ Dan. Gl. 

■< Land's Law of king Christopher, K. B. c. 1. Sverike, 


Describcii bv 


Alfred and Snorro. 

land, Suithiod, (in the Latin of the middle ages 
Svedia, Suecia, Sueonia,) has therefore a double 
import, and was from an early period applied, 
sometimes only to Upper Sweden as distinguished 
from Gothland, Gauthiod, Gothia, sometimes to 
the whole realm of Swkden ^. In the latter ac- 
ceptation, which is undoubtedly derived from the 
former, Gothland is included, and with it Blekiug. 
In the ninth century, king Alfred says, the Swedes 
(Sveon) had on the south the Baltic, on the east 
(across) the Sarmatians, to the north beyond 
the desert, Quenland, north-westward the Skrid- 
finns, and westwards the Norsemen. The country 
of the latter was long and narrow, broadest in the 
south and east, decreasing in width towards the 
north ; it was mountainous, all that could be used 
for cultivation and pasture lay upon the sea ; to 
1 the east, in equal extension with the cultivated 
land, lay rocky mountainous wastes of varying 
breadth ^, so that for crossing them, in some places 
two weeks, in others six days, were required. In 
this wilderness dwelt the Finns. Beyond the 
mountains and the wilderness which was parallel 
with Southern Norway, lay Sweden (Svealand) 
stretching to the north as far as Quenland '. The 
eleventh century gives us the following picture ; 
' To those who have passed by the Danish islands 
(so the historian of Christianity in the north ex- 
presses himself), another world opens itself in 
Sueonia and Normannia, the two most extensive 
kingdoms of the north, almost unknown to our 
part of the world. Respecting these the Christian- 
minded king of the Danes ^ has related to me, that 
Norway may with great labour be traversed in one 
month, but Sweden hardly in two ; which he, as he 
said, had himself foimd, during twelve yeai's war- 
fare in these lands under the Swedish king Anund 
Jacob. Both countries are encompassed by very 
high mountains, especially the land of the Norse- 
men, which surrounds with its Alps that of the 
Swedes. There are many populations in Sweden ; 
they are remarkable for strength and skill in arms, 
and are reckoned among the stoutest warriors both 
by sea and land ; hence they appear able with 
their power to break all the rest of the north. Of 
the people of Sweden, the West Goths are next to 
us, whose land borders on Scania ; the East Goths 
are other. The Goths stretch their bordei-s as 
far as Birca ; then (from Lake Malar upwards) 
the Sveons over a vast extent of country to the 
land of the Quens ".' A hundred and fifty years 

as it was still written in the sixteenth century (for example 
in the chronicle of Olave Peterson), is contracted from Svea 
Rike. Instead of Sverike, the softer pronunciations Sverige, 
Sverge, became usual. (Note, that hence is taken the old 
Scottish name of Sweden : 

Swadrik, Denmark, and Norraway, 

Nor in the Steiddis (States) I dar nocht ga. 

Dunbar, Bannatyne Poems, p. 176. Trans.) 

5 Sueonum et Gothorum populi, in Adam of Bremen. 
Gauthiod is the Gautigoth of the Gothic historian Jordanes, 
acre hominum genus et ad bella fortissimum. 

6 In the original, vilde moras, wild morasses. But mor in 
Anglo-Saxon means forest as well as morass and mountain, 
or wilderness generally. 

7 Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten. 

8 King Sueno Ulfson, before-mentioned. His father, earl 
Ulf, was a Swede by birth (Saxo, 1. x. p. 103), and brother-in- 
law of king Canute in Denmark. When the latter, after the 
fight of Helgea, caused earl Ulf to be assassinated, the .son 

later, Snorro writes in reference to the establish- 
ment of Christianity in Sweden ; ' The Swedish 
dominion (Svia-welldi) has many divisions. One 
is West-Gothland, with Vermeland and the Marks, 
and what lies near, and this realm is so large, that 
under the bishop who is set over it there are 
eleven hundred churches *. Another landlot is East 
Gothland, which is also a bishopric ; to this now 
belong Gottland and Oeland, and all these together 
make a still larger bishopric. In Suithiod Proper 
is a landlot, which is called Sodermanland ; this 
is a bishopric. Next, that which is called West- 
mannaland or Fiadhrundaland is a bishopric. 
Tiundaland makes the third division of Suithiod 
Proper, the fourth is called Attundaland, the fifth 
Sioland (Sealand) and what is adjacent thereto, all 
eastwards to the sea. Tiundaland is the principal 
and best cultivated part of Suithiod. To this the 
whole kingdom is subjected ; there is Upsala, there 
the king's seat and that of the archbishop, and 
hence the name Upsala Ode. For so the Swedes 
call the estate of the Swedish kings ; they name it 
Upsala Ode.' Comparing these descriptions, the 
first shows the name of Sweden extending generally 
to the whole kingdom ; the second uses it likewise 
in the narrower sense, for the regions above the 
Malar Lake, according to the third it embraces the 
districts around the Malar. 

But however ancient that name may be in the 
first-mentioned larger application, it must have been 
yet more so in the narrower ; and the accounts 
remaining leave us at no loss where to seek for the 
oldest Suithiod. In the land upon the M JiLAR, but 
above that lake, the first Swedish kingdom was 
founded, whose leaders traced their progenitors to 
the gods. Here Odin erected his court, and first 
sacrificed after the manner of the Asae, where 
the place now called old Sigtiina lies, says the 
Ynglingasaga (one of more modern date therefore 
existed when it was written) ; and he took posses- 
sion of the land round about, yet not very far, oniy 
so that the land itself, as well as the temple, was 
named Sigtuna 2. Here was the oldest " property 
of the kings of Sweden," as the Upsala estate was 
called after Frey, the dispenser of fertility, re- 
moved the place of sacrifice to Upsala. Under his 
sceptre the peace of Frey and plenteous years 
prevailed in all lands, so that in his days the coun- 
try people were richer than before through the 
seasons and the peace ; hence the Swedes also 
worshipped Frey as the god of harvests, and paid 

fled to king Anund Jacob in Sweden in 1031. Saga of St. 
Olave, c. 163. Saga of Magnus the good, c. 23. 

3 Supra eam(Sconiam) tenso limite Gothi habitant usque 
ad Bircam, postea longis terrarum spatiis regnant Sueones 
usque ad terram foerainarum. Ad. Brera. That the terra 
fa-minarum which suggested to this author the fable of the 
Amazons, arose from a misapprehension (quinnornas land, 
the country of women, instead of Quenernas land), we have 
elsewhere shown. Svea Rikes Hafder 1. 422. 

1 An amount demonstrably too great. According to the 
West-Gothic Law, the number of the churches in the diocese 
of Skara, which included also Vermeland and Dalsland, was 
592. Smaland and Nerike are not named. The Ynglinga- 
saga (c. 4C) does not reckon the inhabitants of the latter 
among the Swedes. One of the editors of our old laws sug- 
gests to me that this statement has crept in from a clerical 
error, xi. instead of vi. Yet the Rimbegla has the same 

- Ynglingasaga, c. 5. , 





him higher revei-ence than the otliei" deities. 
From this point cultivation was extended over 
regions wliich formerly lay waste, and from the 
oldest Suithiod, also called Manhem, arose the 
Folklands (Folklanden)^, the domicile of the 
Swedes properly so called. Afterwards, when 
their name and power was more widely spread, 
these possessed the right of giving a king to the 
whole realm, and when this privilege was invaded 
by the claims of the other provinces, they still con- 
tinued to give the first vote in the election of a 
king, whensoever a Swedish elective diet was con- 
voked, up to the days of Gustavus Vasa. The 
Folklands, which for so many centuries preserved 
this relic of the prerogative of the old Sweons, 
compi'eliended Tiunda, Attimda, Fierdhundra, and 
in general what was anciently called Upland, which 
however, in the wider sense, denoted all the settled 
region above Lake Malar, at the time when even 
Westmanland seems to have been one of the Folk- 
lands*. The inhabitants were called Upper 
Swedes (Upp-Svear) in the heathen period ; a 
proof that they were not the only Swedes, but that 
others were already settled beneath them, that part 
namely of the population of Sudermania and 
Nerike, whose Swedish forefathers had passed the 
forests of Kaglan and the Malar. The Folklands 
were the chief seat of the Swedes, as the Gothlands 
were of the cognate race. Between both, Suder- 
mania and Nerike were border tracts, which re- 
ceived their inhabitants from both sides, the former 
perhaps, through its sea-kings, from many different 
quarters. They were called Gothic or Swedish as 
the points of view differed, but were at length con- 
sidered as belonging definitively to Swedeland. 
They were nover included among the Folklands, 
from the list of which Westmanland also dis- 
appeared, when by the extension of cultivation it 
was parted from Fierdhundra, and formed a pro- 
vince in itself. 

Legends of horrors in the night of paganism are 
blended with these earliest accounts of the occu- 
pation of old Suithiod. The same Frey who reaped 
perhaps the first harvests of the land, is said to 
have also introduced human sacrifices. Of the old 
king Ane it is related, that to protract a life which 
had already lasted its full space, he sacrificed nine 
of his sons, one after another, to Odin. According 
to their numerical succession he is said to have 
named the Hundreds of his kingdom, and Tiunda- 
land received its name, because the tenth son, 
whom the people rescued, had been destined for 
the same fate. We find, however, that afterwards 
in the Christian age, Tiundaland contained ten 

3 The term Folkland first appears in the law book of Up- 
land, K. B. 1. But the three shires which made the Folk- 
lands are already named in the Ynglingasaga. The district 
of DroHtheim in Norway was also divided into Fylkes called 
Folklands; both words indeed mean the same. (Olof Try- 
gywason's saga, ed. Skalh). 

•• Hence, the law book of Westmanland speaks of the ting 
or court of the Folklands, Manhelgs, B. civ., and of a survey 
of the Folklands, B. B. L. li. 

5 In the Registrum Upsaliensej a collection of deeds 
formerly belonging to the cathedral of Upsala, made in the 
year 1344 by command of archbishop Hemming and 'the 
chapter of Upsala, up to the present time only partially 

^ It holds this place in the Registrum Upsaliense. 

' From ar, year, in the meaning of aring, year's growth, 

hundreds (hundari), Attunda eight, Fierdhundra 
at first probably four ; and here doubtless we dis- 
cover the true origin of the names, which thus 
appears to be of earlier date than the introduction 
of Christianity. The division into Hundreds, or 
Harads, arose out of the oldest structure of society 
among our forefathers. Tiunda, as well as Attunda 
and Fierdhundra, are already mentioned under the 
Yngling line. The divisions of former days are not 
in all cases the same with those of later ; but the 
Hundreds composing the three old Folklands may 
still be ascertained, if we compare the detailed 
statements we possess respecting them, from the 
earlier half of the fourteenth century ^ with the 
nature of the country and with earUer accounts. 
The earliest settlement in Upland was made where 
Odin founded that Sigtuna which the Chronicles of 
the Kings call the former ; whence the neighbouring 
district was called at first Sigtuna, afterwards Habo 
Hundred, anciently the first in Tiundaland ^, and 
defined by natural boundaries, being even now 
almost wholly an island surrounded by the Malar 
lake. Beyond the narrow bay of the Malar called 
Skarfwen, which already receives this name in the 
old sagas, and on which Sigtuna rose, the oldest 
cultivation of Upland stretched south and north, 
from Arland to Oland ', originally terms denoting 
arable land and wilderness. Out of the first, in the 
confined acceptation, was formed the hundred of 
Arland *, now Erlinghundra, which was reckoned 
as belonging to Attundaland. The latter, still the 
extensive hundred of Oland, was formerly called 
Olanda-mor, or the untilled wood, and extended 
north to the sea^. Its middle and northern part 
contained the mining district (bergslag) of Upland, 
still thickly wooded, in which cultivation, thus pro- 
duced, was of late origin ; its southern part was 
cleared so early, that a saying of the country makes 
the boundary of Tiundaland go on tlie one side 
through the present parishes of Skefthamraar and 
Vendel, and mentions Oresundsbro and Staket as 
border points on the other side. We attach weight 
to this tradition, as agreeing with lines of division 
fixed by nature herself. This northern boundary 
still forms the general line of demarcation between 
the chief agricultural district of Upland and its 
hilly woodlands, and is at the same time the ridge 
which separates the waters flowing to lake Malar 
on the south, from these which run to the Baltic on 
the north ; the southern border-points, on the other 
hand, rest upon lake Malar. Between these boun- 
daries lay old Tiundaland, and its ten Hundreds can 
still be pointed out within these hmits, although 
those of the north were not then so extensive as 

whence arja to plough ; found often in similar compounds, 
as for example, ar-bot, ar-madr, &c. Oland ( lit. un-Iand) is 
the opposite of Arland, and the meaning is still preserved 
in the adjective oliindig, incapable of tillage. The country 
people use both liindig and oliindig to mark the quality of 
the soil. 

8 In the Register of Upsala, both Arland, and the Hun- 
dred of the Arlennings, or Arlanders. 

9 Olanda-mor, in the Register of Upsala, properly answers 
to the parish of Morkarla in the Hundred of Oland. The 
forest went through Uanemora and Tegelsmora, as the 
names, and through Lofsta and Hallnas, as the situations 
evidence. 71/or, in old Swedish, is a forest. The Morakarl 
(inhabitant of the parish of Mora in Dalecarlia) still says 
' ga till moren', to go to the wood, where the eattle-staUs 




Lake Ma;lar. 

they afterwards became '. Above the northern fron- 
tier, tlie productive territory of Ui>laiul stretched, 
not iu a due northerly direction, wliere the present 
mining district appears for a long time to have 
been almost wholly untilled, but sideways to the 
westward, along the stream which runs from lake 
Temnar to the sea. Here, in the heart of the 
forest, a settlement was formed, within the heathen 
age, at Tierp, following, as old remains prove, the 
course of the water with scattered habitations. 
Here must be placed the connnon-wood (Almiin- 
nings-skog), which separated Tiuudaland from 
Gestrieland. In this manner the coast too was 
gradually occupied. A roaming life, the parsimony 
of nature, and the piracy of the Finlanders, long 
made it impossible for the inhabitants to submit to 
the regulations of civic order and fixed partition. 
The eight districts of Attundaland reached in the 
eleventh century to the sea ; that of Sea Hundred 
(SEehuiidari) indicates the Sealand of which Snorro 
makes mention. Yet to this name, more general as 
used by him, a definite meaning attaches only in so 
far as it marks a portion of old Suithiod distinct 
from the Folklands. Lying eastwards on the sea, 
as his words imply, it is Suithiod's coast territory, 
Roden, a name remaining in Roslagen, as its im- 
port is preserved in the still subsisting division of 
this tract into ship- cantonments ^. The islets south 
of lake Malar appear to have been formerly in- 
cluded under it ; Toren, now Sodei'torn, mentioned 
in the Ynglingasaga, and by the scald Thiodolf ^, 
was in later times still reckoned part of the juris- 
diction (lagsaga) of Upland. The four Hundreds of 
Fierdhundraland are undoubtedly the three lying 
between Orsundsbro and the Saga stream, with 
Thorsaker in the west. With the advance of culti- 
vation, the limits of this shire extended ; after three 
other Hundreds had been added to the four oldest, 
it appears to have been once called Seven Hundred- 
land *, and embraced old Westmanland as far as 
Westeras^. Beyond, to the end of lake Malar 
and the forest of Kiiglan, all that part of West- 
manland which was cleared and brought into culti- 
vation was called and foi'med Two Hundreds'*. 
What is here said of the course and extent of culti- 
vation in old Westmanland, is confirmed by me- 
morials remaining from the heathen age. Tracts 
of ancient occupancy iu Sweden are every where 
marked by the barrows which indicate the graves 
of those who once tilled the soil. These, common 
in the Folklands, are also numerous in Westman- 

' They are enumerated in the Register of Upsala, with 
two others, afterwards added. 

2 These are of old standing, for some are mentioned in the 
Register of Upsala, and in a diploma of 1280. Rodslag and 
Skeppslag have the same meaning, for the Chancellor Axel 
Oxenstiern, in a protocol of the Council, of the year 1640, 
says, ' Rodslagen was so called, because rookarlar (Oarmen) 
or mariners dwelt upon the coast ; for our forefathers were 
wont to assign to the seamen particular districts, which they 
called skeppslag.' Palmskbld, xiv. Topog. v. 22, p. 1157. 

3 In the relation of Ague's death, c. 22. With the origin 
of the name I am not acquainted. 

■• Siuhunda, a name preserved in the district of Siunda or 

5 Western Aros. Arcs is the mouth of a stream. Eastern 
Aros is the mouth of the water of Fyris in Lake Malar at 
Upsala. Western Aros is the mouth of the Swart water 
(Swarta) in the Malar at Westeras, which thence received 
its name. 

s Tuhundra. 

land, especially from Thorsacre onwards, in the 
south, and near the boundary of Upland. Farther 
on, they follow the shores of the Malar, ascending 
the water-courses. In this shire they are scattered 
over the south and middle districts ; in the forests 
of the north none are found '. 

Thus did the ancient inhabitants of Sweden es- 
tablish themselves on both sides of the M.elar. 
This spacious and noble lake, branchmg with so 
many arms, and garlanded with isles, into whose 
basin, to use the words of the saga, all the running 
waters of Suithiod fall, in their progress to the sea 
(whence it is also sometimes called a bay or outlet 
of the Baltic), formed in the heart of the kingdom 
the principal channel of internal and external traffic, 
of friendly as well as hostile intercourse. Its en- 
trance was in all times narrow*; its interior is stud- 
ded continuously with island groups, presenting 
several go<jd harbours, of which Birca was formerly 
the best known. This, we are told, was a town 
lying in the centre of Sweden, not far from the tem- 
ple of Ufsala, the most famous of all among the 
Swedes ; in the place where a bay of the Baltic or 
Barbaric Sea stretching towards the north, forms a 
desirable haven for the nations dwelling round ; the 
navigation was very dangerous to those who were 
careless or little conversant with the localities, for 
the inhabitants, exposed to the frequent assaults of 
sea-robbers, had, by sinking masses of stone for a 
great distance, made the passage dangerous both 
to themselvesand the enemy ; yet here was the safest 
haven in the Swedish rocks, and the ships of the 
Danes, Norsemen, Slavons, and Sembers, as well 
as of other people of Scythia, used to assemble here 
to a staple, and barter their wares ". From Scania 
to Sigtuna or Birca was five days' sail *. Lastly, it 
is expressly said, that Birca was situated near 
Sigtuna ^, and from thence to Upsala was only one 
day's journey *. 

This description is not suitable to the little island 
Biorko, in the Malar, where, from the resemblance 
of names, our antiquarians have wished to find 
manifest traces of the old town, although the author 
fi'om whom we have extracted the above account 
adds, that when he wrote (in 1072), Birca was de- 
solate and razed to the ground, so that hardly a 
vestige of it was to be seen. But we may appeal to 
witnesses who had seen it two hundred years before, 
in the days of its prosperity. Ansgar, the apostle 
of the north, visited it twice ; his successor and 
biographer, Rimbert, also saw it *. They call it the 

7 The parish of Enaker, stretching to the Dal-elf, is an 

f' Saga of St. Olave, c. 6. 

3 Birca est oppidum Gothorum, in medio Sueonise posi- 
tum, non longe ah eo templo, quod celeberrimum Sueones 
habent in cultu deorum, Upsola dicto; in quo loco sinus 
quidam ejus freti, &c. Ad.,Brem. Hist. Ecc. 1. ii. c. 48. 
Birca, here called oppidum Gothorum, is styled by the same 
writer in another place Birca Sueonum (de situ Dan. p. 54). 
The Sembers are the inhabitants of Samland in Prussia. 

' A Sconia Danorum navigantibus ad Bircam quinque 
dierum babes iter. Scholiast to Adam of Bremen de sit. 
Dan. p. 59, not. 80. 

2 A Sconia Danorum per mare velificans quinto die per- 
venies ad Sictonam vel liircam, juxtaenim sunt. Ad. Brem. 
1. c. 62. 

3 Sictona civitas distat ah Ubsola itinere unius diei. Ibid. 
'' Compare Vita Ansgarii per Rimbertum, and Vita Rim- 

berti, which Adam of Bremen had before him. He mentions 
that Rimbert also had been in Birca. Hist. Ecc. i. 50. 





port of the kingdom of Sweden, a village where were 
rich traders, abundance of goods of all sorts, and 
many treasures. Near Birca there was then cer- 
tainly another town or castle with some fortifica- 
tions, although of no great strength ; m this there 
were temples of idols, or, as the pagans said, ' many 
and powerful deities' ; there the inhabitants and traf- 
fickers of Birca sought a refuge from hostile assaults, 
and sacrificed to their gods or ' evil spirits', for help 
against peril. The town here not named is evi- 
dently SiGTUNA, which, as has been shown, lay near 
Birca ; the same Sigtuna where the Ynglingasaga 
makes Odin establish sacrifices, and build his court, 
and which, according to the Edda, he chose for his 
' castled town' ^. This word may be viewed partly as 
a translation of the name, since tun means fence, en- 
closure ; but of what nature the fortification was, 
may be judged from what has been mentioned 
above of the wooden retrenchment surrounding the 
town of Lund. The name Birca, also, which we 
first hear of in authors of Saxon birth ^, though 
writing in Latin, was probably derived from the 
Anglo-Saxon form of a northern word ' of similar 
meaning. Here there was not only vichiity of place, 
but community of names ; and it is not otherwise 
to be explained how the old Icelanders should never 
speak of Birca, although it probably was not yet 
destroyed, when they began to visit the coast of the 
Malar ; and in any case, the memory of a town then 
so celebrated could not be lost for them *. Re- 
mark therewithal that they mention two Sigtunas ; 
for one of them is called the "former," and it is in 
this quarter we must also seek for Birca. • 

In almost all the metallic districts of Sweden, 
mining operations first paved the way for agri- 
culture ; this applies in great part even to the 
Mine-Canton of Upland, and still more extensively 
to those of East Vermeland, Nerike, and West- 
manland. For although this whole mountainous 
tract, interposed between the greatest water-courses 
and lakes of Sweden, was anciently not without 
inhabitants, who lived dispersed in the forests ; 
yet the commencement of its cultivation may be 
dated from the opening of the mines during the 
Christian middle age ; nay, it is mostly far more re- 
cent, dating from the new impulse given to mining 
pursuits under Charles IX., and the great Gustavus 
Adolphus. All this is a new country, and so too, 
comparatively, are the districts of Sala Silfverberg 
and Stora Kopparberg. The southern part of the 
province of Dalarna (Dalecarlia) is of older set- 
tlement, although it does not appear under the same 
name. As the great streams generally drew to 
their banks the oldest population, so was it with the 
mighty Dal-elf, here united in one channel. Near 
its watei's cultivation existed since pagan days, as 
the historical Sagas inform us, and in part even 

5 Borgstad. 

s Adam of Bremen, and Helmold, who in liis Chronicon 
Slavorum, 100 years later, copies the former in reference to 

" Borg, castle, Anglo-Saxon Byric, latinized into Byrca or 

8 Icelandic Scalds visited the Malar so early as the time 
of Eric the Victor, and shared in the fight of Upsala against 
StyrbiiJrn in 983. (Svea Rikes Hafder, 1, 204, 20G.) At least 
47 years before, Birca was still in existence, for Unni, arch- 
bishop of Bremen, died there in 936. Ad. Brera. Hist. Ecc. 
i. 51. If the town had been destroyed in tlie interval {this 
probably happened in the next century), it could not have 
been yet forgotten. 

earlier, as always where sepulchral mounds are 
seen '. Here likewise is the Jernbaraland (iron- 
bearing land) of the heathens, and the present 
Eastern Muie-Canton ', the oldest of the Swedish 
mining districts, in so far as the term is applicable 
to days so remote. Jerubai'aland extended thence 
to Western Dalecarlia, and the name was even given 
to the Eastern division. Thorsang (Thors Haugh) 
is, doubtless, one of the oldest places in Dalecarlia ; 
and there are relations yet existing which describe 
how the inhabitants spread their farms into the 
highlands of Kopparbei'g, Falun, Sundborn, and 
Svai'dsio. Over these tracts lay the course of St. 
Olave's expedition in the spring of the year 1030, 
through Helsingland and Jemteland to Norway. He 
marched out of Upland through the forests,and came 
to Jernbaraland, thence through woods and wilder- 
nesses, often across great floods, between which 
the boats were carried : huts were erected for the 
night campings, which long afterwards were called 
Olave's booths. A still more adventurous journey 
was made 150 years later. On his flight from 
Southern Norway, king Sverre ^ marched with a 
band of robbers, who chose him for their captain, 
through the twelve-mile wood (tolfmila skog) ^ to 
Eke's hundred in Vermeland ■•; then, through a still 
larger wood in Western Dalecarlia, to Malung, a 
place which had even then a name, and inhabitants 
who lived by the chase '. Thence the road lay 
over a country of incredible difficulty, at the break- 
ing up of the ice, through fifteen rasts of wood and 
wildei'ness, where the travellers lived on the flesh 
of the reindeer and birds, till they arrived in Jern- 
baraland, which is here Eastern Dalecarlia, perhaps 
Elfdal or Mora. What aspect did this remote 
territory, afterwards so celebrated from the actions 
of Gustavus Vasa, present dm-ing the twelfth cen- 
tury ? The people were still heathens ; they had 
never seen a king in their country, and scarcely 
knew, it is said, whether such a one was a man or 
a beast, never having quitted their forests to min- 
gle with other men. Yet they gave Sverre a good 
reception, and aided him on his journey, which lay 
through wildernesses, forests, and morasses, over 
streams and lakes, from Jernbaraland eighteen rasts 
to Herjedalen, and farther over Jemteland to 
Drontheim (Trondhem); during which the adven- 
turers had often nothing for food but the rind and 
juice of trees, with berries, which had been covered 
by the snow throughout the winter. This was in 
1177; and in the following year, Sverre again 
proceeded with a band of retainers through Jern- 
baraland. The peasants now made retrenchments 
to oppose his passage, saj-ing they were not used to 
such kingly ])rogresses, and wished to know nothing 
of them. Yet he got through, and arrived this 
time at Alfta in Helsingland. 

9 There are no barrows to be found northwards of the Dal, 
except in Nasgard parish, and in eastern Dalecarlia none, so 
far as is known to the author, except in Mora. 

1 bsterbergslagen. (For some further account of Dalecarlia, 
see note B. at the end. T.) 

2 Sverre's Saga, c. 12. 

^ It is still so called, as the frontier forest towards Dale- 
carlia is called the ten-mile wi'od. (The Swedish mile is 
somewhat more than six and a half English. Trans.) 

■f Eikis Herat. So the Copenhagen edition. 

5 Molungr. The name is supposed to have been given from 
the snaring of the marten, which is here called mol. The 
inhabitants still subsist by the preparation of skins. 





Sweden's southern region was inhabited by Goths 
as far back as our information reaches ; of tlie 
occupancy of the middle division by the Swedes an 
account, half mythical, half liistorical, has been pre- 
served ; the settlement of the northern part, which 
is still proceeding at the present day, falls entirely 
within the range of history ; although heathenism 
was not extinct when the old nomadic inhabitants 
of this vast territory already began to be driven 
back by the new settlers. All that portion of the 
present province of Norrland which lay along the 
coast from the mouth of the Dal ^ to above Norr- 
botten, was still called in the fifteenth century by 
the general name of Helsingland. In the west, 
nearer the mountains, lay Herjedale and Jemte- 
LAND. Of the first settlement of these countries the 
Chronicles of the Kings give the following account. 
* Ketil Jamte was the son of earl Anund of Spa- 
rabo in Drontheim (or Trondhem). He fled before 
king Osten Illrada eastwards from the mountains 
of Kiolen ; he cleared the woods and cultivated the 
ground in the district now called Jemteland. East- 
wards to him fled many who dwelt in Dron- 
theim, by reason of the troubles, when king Osten 
was vexing them with taxes and set his dog called 
Saur over them to be king. Thorer Helsing was 
grandson of Ketil ; after him Helsingland is named. 
There he tilled the land, and when Harald the 
Fair-haired grasped the whole dominion for him- 
self, many from Drontheim and Nauradale again 
joined him. Further settlements were made 
eastward of Jemteland, and pushed on through 
Helsingland to the sea, those who abode there be- 
coming subject to the king of the Swedes, and car- 
rying on a trade -with Sweden.' Haco the Good, 
king of Norway, established a commercial inter- 
course between his subjects and the settlers of this 
region'. This addiction to trade is noted as cha- 
racteristic of the first Non-landers ; and for this 
they continue to be remarkable at the present day, 
cattle-breeding and the chase supplying their mate- 
rials of exchange. So permanent are relations 
which spring out of the nature of the country. Of 

" Quas regiones fluvius Elf distinguit a Suecia. Ericus 

7 Saga of Haco (Adalsten's fosterson), c. 14. 

8 Merkisman. 

j 9 Schcining, Norges' Hist. 1. 435. 

I ' Hulphers, Dalresa, on Herjedalen, p. 43, 47. In the 
vallies of Liung and Liusne, parish of Hede, there are 
barrows called goods-mounds and heathen-mounds, in 
whicli hoards of silver are said to have been found. Only 
two barrows are mentioned by Hulphers in Jemteland, and 
a single Runic stone upon the isle of Frosoe, in memory of 
dstmader, son of Gudfast, who is related to have introduced 
Christianity hffre. Dalecarlia had but one Runic stone, 
which was formerly at Hedemora. Among eleven such in 
Helsingland, there are five which are marked with the so- 
called Helsini^-Runes. 

2 Jemteland bears on its arms an elk with a wolf at its 
gorge and a falcon on its back. The arms of the provinces, 
although of late origin, yet often throw light, by the repre- 
sentation of natural objects, on the pursuits of the inhabitants 
and their relations with each other. Gestricland also bears 
an elk on its arms, although its earliest seal has a crowned 
bust with a drinking-horn reversed in the hand, and the 
inscription ' Sigillum commiinitatis Gestrikiae.' It might 
be supposed from this, that the province had its name from 
the time when the Upsala kings first visited it in demand of 
guestrites (gastning), which was one of the most ancient 
methods of levying tribute. The oldest seal of Dalecarlia 

the settlement of Herjedalen, again, the following 
relation is preserved : ' Heriulf was banner-man " 
to king Halfdan the Black, father of Harald the 
Fair-haired, and stood high in his favour. At a 
feast, he struck another courtier so rude a blow in 
his anger v\'ith a silver-mounted drinking-horn, that 
the horn broke, and the man whom he struck died. 
For this cause was Heriulf, who thence had the 
surname of horn-breaker, banished from the land ; 
he was well received in Sweden by king Eric 
Edmundson, and was for a long time his man. At 
last he enticed the king's sister Ingeborg to love, 
fled with her, and settled in the wild valley south 
of Jemteland, which after him received the name of 
Heriulf's dale, or Herjedale^.' The people of this 
district still show the spot where the fugitive pair 
are said to have dwelt, and the mound where Heri- 
ulf's ashes and treasures were buried, near the 
stream of Herje, four miles west of the church of 
Lillherdal parish ^ They still tell of a daughter of 
this personage, and four sons, two of whom slew 
each other in a quarrel respecting a fishery. T\\o 
sons of Heriulf are mentioned as under-kings in 
Norway, and one of his grandsons was among the 
first colonists of Iceland. Elk hunting ^ and the 
chase were the first, and long the principal occu- 
pations of those who fixed their abode in these 
territories ; they traded with their furs to Norway, 
with whose inhabitants both their extraction and 
vicinity of situation disposed them to amity. But 
eastwards on the sea, observes Snorro, the Swedes 
had settled Helsingland', and generally the original 
popilation ascended from the sea the waters of the 
valleys. In Gestricland, it followed partly the sea, 
and partly the stream of the Gafel (from which the 
fishing village and town of Gefle received its name) 
to the lake Storsio *, the country round which, 
especially in the parishes of Ofvansio and Thors- 
acre, was occupied in the heathen age. From 
Helsingland Proper, Gestricland was, and is still, 
separated by the forest of Odmord, fonnerly so 
large, that although in the fourteenth century a 
new parish had been formed within its bounds*, 

bore an axe, a tree, a bow and an arrow, with the words, 
' Sigillum Communitatis Terrs Dalecarlorum.' This was 
lost in Finland, in the time of Steno Sture the elder, when 
that leader was encamped there with the Da'ecarlians 
against the Russians; upon which the province received its 
present armorial bearings, two dale arrows crossways. So 
the crossed arrows of Nerike refer to the chase of its forest 
animals, the three burning mountains of Westmanland to 
its mines, and the goat of Helsingland to the cattle-rearing 
of this province. 

^ Saga of Haco the Good, c. 14. 

•= Not to be confounded with the Storsib (great lake) of 

5 The Forest tSkog) parish of Southern Helsingland was 
anciently a wood commonable to six adjacent parishes in 
Helsingland and Gestricland, which had their cattle-stalls in 
it. These pasture-lands being soon cultivated, and dwell- 
ings erected upon them, were transferred by the occupiers 
to their children, while they themselves inhabited their own 
granges in the old parishes. Contests soon arose between 
the new settlers and the old proprietors, the latter of whom 
claimed a right to the clearings, although these had been 
already alienated by will and paid tax to the crown. The 
new settlers therefore prayed that they might be allowed to 
form a separate parish, wliich was granted to them by king 
Magnus Ericson. The land-marks were now fixed by a 
judicial writ, issued at a general ting or court held at the 
South Hill of Helsingland in 1343. II is preserved in the 
church of Mo. {Georgii et Justus Dissertatio de Halsingia, 



the traveller was yet obliged to rest in a safety- 
lodge in the midst of the wood, an arrangement 
probably subsisting from the heathen age. This, 
like every other border forest, was notorious for 
the acts of robbery and violence perpetrated in it ; 
the boundary line was formed by the Mordback 
(murder-brook) ". To this point the law of Upland 
was obeyed, beyond it that of Helsingland. That 
places of common interment and sacrifice were the 
points of union for the first settlers is shown by the 
old appellations ; Mound of the South path. Mound 
of Sundheath (from which Gusta\-us Vasa addressed 
the Helsingers), Mound of the North path '. These 
names were also given to lands belonging to the 
estate of Upsala, by which the divisions of Helsing- 
land were formerly regulated. The north-western 
part of Helsingland is probably that which was peo- 
pled by Norwegians from Jemteland and Herjedalen, 
who having passed the forest, advanced here and 
there to the sea-shore. Agriculture was more an- 
ciently practised in the southern part of Helsing- 
land than in either of these provinces, but the 
rearing of cattle, the chase, the fisheries of the 
Baltic, and the sea fowl (for wild geese are the 
oldest Helsingei-s) *, no doubt at first supplied 
the most available means of subsistence. This was 
to a still greater extent the case with the provinces of 
Medelpad and Angermanland, lying to the north, 
in which the population adhered yet more closely 
to the coast. In the former, deriving its name ^ 
from its situation between the considerable streams 
of Niurunda and Indal, the southerly valley of 
Niurunda, as ancient remains prove, was settled 
before the inner dale, or district of Indals-elf '. 
The herring and sprat (stroming) fisheries upon 
this coast are as old as the name of the parish of 
Silanger ^. Employment was furnished to the An- 
germanners (men of the creeks or rocks) by the 
salmon fisheries* among the clusters of islets formed 
by the Angerman river, the largest in Scandinavia, 
at its mouth, where Hernosand is spoken of in the 
fourteenth century as a haven and staple. Where 
the road enters West Bothnia the last barrow is 
perceived *. Heaps of stones, such as are sometimes 

Ups. 1772). From this example may be leariieil the history 
of the progress of cultivation in Norrland, nay, throughout 
Sweden. Pasturage was every where the beginning of culti- 
vation. New settlements (nybyggen) were made, and new 
granges (hemnian) detached from the old. This is at the 
present day the course of settlement in Norrland. 

8 Said to have had its name from the murder of St. 
Stephen, the apostle of the Helsingers, if it was not, rather, 
from the word tnor, wood, which is found in tlie name 
Kolmord, Odmord (waste wood). 

7 Sunnanstigshogen, hiigen i Sundheden, hbgen i nord- 
stigen. ■ 

8 Helsing, from he!si (collar), is the name of a sort of 
wild duck or goose with a ring round the neck. 

s Medelpad, in the country itself, is pronounced Melpa, 
which appears only a careless utterance of Midelfva. 
Midelfvaland is the land between the rivers. Two streams 
are shown on the armorial bearings of the province. 

• In Southern Medelpad many barrows and Runic stones 
are to be seen. In Angermanland not a few of the former 
are found along the river Angermanna, but only a single 
Runic stone is mentioned. 

2 This parish has two herrings on its seal, and the name 
was formerly written Sillanger. (Asp and Genberg, Dissertat. 
de Medelpadia antiqua et hodierna. Holm. 1734; Hiilphers 
on Medelpad.) Our oldest antiquarians derived the name 
from sail, happy, and found here the islands of the blessed. 

found m the mountainous districts of other parts of 
Sweden, are beyond this point the only grave 
marks, and the names of the rivers now become 
Lappic ^. Salmon-fishing in the spring and sum- 
mer allured the Norwegians across the mountains 
to the mouths of these streams ; a few remained 
throughout the winter ; the number of inhabitants 
received accessions of Swedish incomers, and the 
Lapps were driven from the sea-coast. In the 
former half of the fourteenth century, the settle- 
ments thus begun reached to Skeldepth ^, now 
Skelleft river. Above this limit stretched the 
wastes of Lappmark, though the trading peasants 
(Bircarls' as they were called) visited this upper 
region, especially Tornea, to fish and trade with the 
Lapps ; whence the archbishop of Upsala at this 
time extended the limits of Helsingland, which 
formed part of his diocese, into Finland, as far as 
the Ulea stream in East Bothnia. Settlements ex- 
isted as far as the Umea, or perhaps further along 
the Western coast, from heathen times, but these 
are here proportionably more recent than in other 

Northern Scandinavia was called Finnmark. 
This, according to an ancient authority, was a 
territory of vast size, having upon the west, north, 
and east, the sea, with many great firths ; in the 
interior, wild regions of mountains and dales, with 
enormous waters ; also near them spacious forests, 
and the great ridges which are called the Keels *, 
running along the waste. Finnmark commenced, 
in the ninth century, above Halogaland in Norway, 
and extended across to the White Sea, almost as 
far south on that side as Halogaland on the other, 
or to the sixty-fifth degree. The Norwegians 
levied tribute from the wild inhabitants of Finn- 
mark, till the Swedish setlers were numerous 
enough to follow the example in Swedish Lappmark. 
Such phrases as Finn-tax, Finn-faring, Finn-trade', 
indicate the relations subsisting between them and 
their neighbours. Of these and of the aspect of 
the country, the manner of life and adventures of 
a northern settler of former days, old accounts still 
remain. From the most ancient of them ' we 

Angr means wick, tongue of land, layer of rocks, or gene- 
rally a narrow, broken place ; hence the name of AngermaA- 
land. (Sill, herring.) 

3 Angermanland has three salmon in its arms. 

■• In the parish of Umea, and hamlet of Klabbble, there are 
said to be barrows, which some think of natural formation. 

6 So the names of the Ume, Lule, Pite, Raune, Kalix, and 
Tome streams. In the Lappic, Ubme-ano (from umome, 
wood, and ano, elf or stream) ; Luleano (eastern elf), Pitoma- 
ano (perhaps the forbidden or sacred river, from pjettom, 
prohibition) ; Rauna-ano (reindeer river, from radn, reindeer- 
calf, or radno, the young doe) ; Kalas-ano (from the Fennic 
kala, fish, or the Lappic kala, ford). Torne, formerly a fish- 
ing village, now a town, seems to have had its name from 
a tower (torn) built there; whence its arms have that figure. 
Tower in Lappic is torne, probably borrowed from the Swedish. 
The river is called by the Lapps Tome ano. It may be men- 
tioned as an example of priestly invention, that the parish of 
Kalix, from the similarity of name, carries a chalice (kalk) in 
its arms, although the name incontestibly has the Lappic or 
Fennic origin above stated. 

s In the Lappic Sildut, forss, waterfall or torrent. 

' An account of the Bircarls is given in Scheffer's History 
of Lapland, p. 63. Oxford, 1674. T. 

s Kiilama. Saga of Egil, c. 14. 

9 Finn-skatt, Finn-fard, Finn-kop. 

' Narrative of the Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten. 


Voyage of Ottar. 


Fennic tribes. 

quote a passage contaiuing a description of a 
voyage from Halogaland to the North Cape and 
the moutli of the Dwina on the White Sea. The 
Norseman Ottar, who left Norway about the year 
870, said to his lord king Alfred of England, that 
he dwelt among the most northerly of all the Nor- 
wegians, on the Western Sea, but that tlie land 
stretched much farther towards the north ; that 
here all was a waste : only the Fuins sometimes 
made a stay in certain places, for the chase in win- 
ter, and the fishery in summer. Once he resolved 
to search how far the land extended towards the 
north, and whether men dwelt beyond this wilder- 
ness. Then, he sailed towards the north along 
the land, having the desert country the whole 
way on the starboard (to the right), the open sea 
on the larboard (to the left), till after three days 
he arrived as far northwards as whale fishers ever 
used to pass. He sailed yet three days to the 
north ; there the land bent along with the sea to 
the East, for which reason he was obliged here to 
wait for a north-west wind, and then he sailed four 
days to the East along the coast. Here he waited 
for a due north \\ iud, since the land and sea now 
curved towards the south, and in this direction he 
sailed five days along the land, till he and his 
followers came to a great stream. Beyond this, the 
wliole country appeared to be cultivated, and this 
was the first inhabited laud they had met with since 
their departure from home, for the whole interve- 
ning coast lay waste, and they observed only some 
hunters, sea-fowl catchers, and fishers, who were 
all Finns. This was the condition of the wilderness 
of the Terfinns ; but upon the great flood dwelt 
the Biai-mers, in a well-settled country. Ottar 
did not dare to land there, but some of the inhabi- 
tants came on board to him. Their speech seemed 
to him like that of the Finns, — which he therefore 
understood, — and the Biarmers told him much, 
both of their own and the surrounding countries ; 
how much of it was true he knew not, because he 
had not himself seen it. He had visited the coun- 
try, partly from a desire to see it, but chiefly on 
account of the walruses, whose tusks furnished the 
finest bone, and of these he gave some to king 
Alfred. Their skins were very useful for ships' 
ropes, and this whale fish was much smaller than 
others, not above seven ells long. But in Ottar's 
own land was the best whale fishery ; there, whales 
were found forty-eight ells long, and the largest 
fifty ells. Of such he said, that with six ships he 
had killed sixty in two days. He was rich in such 
possessions as were their wealth, that is in the wild 
animals called reindeer. When he came to the 
king he had 600 unbought tame reindeer, and 
among them six decoys, on which the Finns, who 
caught wild deer with them, set a high value. He 


was one of the first men of his country, yet he had 
no more than twenty cows, twenty sheep, and 
twenty swine, and he ploughed a small piece of 
arable land with horses. The greatest means which 
those of the country possessed, consisted in the 
tribute paid by the Finns, in skins and feathers, 
whalebone and cordage, the latter prepared from 
the whales' hides and seal skins. Every one paid 
according to his substance ; the chief men paid 
fifteen martens' skins, five reindeers,' one bear's 
hide, ten sacks of feathers, and besides, a jerkin of 
bear or otter skin, with two ships' ropes, one of 
morse hide, the other of seal skin. 

If we substitute the salmon and seal fishery for 
that of whales, we observe also in this description 
the Norrland peasant of former times on the gulf of 
Bothnia, his manner of life, pursuits, and the rela- 
tions in which he stood to the Lapps. The kmgs of 
Norway, since the time of Harald the Fair-haired, 
claimed exclusively the produce of the tributes and 
trade of Finumark, and were able to maintain this 
claim along the coast 2. The Biarmers were a Fen- 
nic ]>eople, and, it would appeal-, more civilized 
than their cognate tribes. The description of their 
country shows that they practised agriculture. Old 
Biarmaland stretched from the Dwina to the Volga 
and Kama, and was the seat of an extensive trade. 
Caravans from Bokhara brought thither the wares 
of the east. A voyage to Biarmaland was regarded 
as a very gainful enterprize in the north, partly on 
account of the traffic, in which the furs of the sa- 
ble, the beaver, and the minivere were exchanged, 
and partly on account of the plunder collected on 
the way, for a trading voyage was often also a 
piratical expedition. The sacred place of this peo- 
ple was situated at the mouth of the Dwina in a 
great forest; their deity was called Jumala, the 
name by which the Finns and Lapps now designate 
the Supreme Being. This idol had on its knee 
a large silver cup full of silver money, and a costly 
chain round the neck. Here too was their place of 
interment, in the hillocks and soil of which much 
gold and silver was stored ; for when the rich were 
bui-ied, a part of their wealth was consigned to the 
tomb along with them. Round the sanctuary was 
a palisade with the gate closed ; and six men kept 
watch alternately every night. 

Several other Fennic tribes are mentioned in old 
accounts of the north. An inroad of the Kures 
and Quens into Sweden is mentioned in the time of 
Sigurd Ring, and the last-named people as well as 
the Laplanders, were neighbours of our forefathei-s 
in the present Swedish Norrland. ' The Swedes,' 
says king Alfred in the ninth century, ' have Quen- 
land on the north of their country beyond the 
wilderness, the Scridfinns on the north-west, and 
the Norsemen on the West.' But Scridfinns and 
Quens were intermingled in these Northern tracts, 
for we are told of Quenland, that it lies near the 
Northern part of Norway, and the Quens roamed 
as far as and across the frontier. They carried 
their small light boats overland to the great lakes 
which lie among the hill tops, and made predatory 
inroads upon the Norsemen, as these did upon them; 
yet they sought help from the Norwegians against 
their enemies. Faravid, prince of the Quens, about 
the year 877, sent a messenger to Thorolf, the com- 
missioner of Harald the Fair-haired, charged v.ith 
the levy of the tributes, to entreat assistance against 
the Carelians who had ravaged his country, which 
was granted, Thorolf stipulating that he should 
have an equal share of the booty. The law of the 
Quens was, that the king should have a third part of 
the plunder, and in addition as many skins of beaver, 
sable, and minivere as he chose to take. Thorolf 
marched eastwards towards Quenland, he with a 
hundred, the king with three hundred men. They 
proceeded m company to Upper Finumark, en- 
countered and beat the Carelians in the mountains, 
and won a very rich spoil. Thereupon Thorolf 
returned to Q,uenland, crossed the Kcilen moun- 

2 Butter and pork were in great demand in Finnmark. 





tains, and arrived in Norway at Wefsen in Haloga- 
land. This powerful Halogalander, who was an 
active sea-chief, at this time drew great profits 
from the productive herring and cod fisheries of 
Lofoden and Vaage. Over how wide a tract the 
Q,iiens were once spread, is shown by the cir- 
cumstance that the whole North Sea was once 
called the Queii sea, and all Finland, Quenland ^, 
though the latter name has also a narrower ap- 
plication. We find it mentioned as lying between 
Helsingland and Finland*, and it comprehended in 
this sense the whole of Bottenland, or the inland 
territory upon both coasts of the gulf of Bothnia, 
till the Swedish settlers displaced the Quens, first 
from West, and afterwards partly from East 
Bothnia, the Fennic name of which (Kainu) re- 
minds us of its former possessors. 

Another wild race, the Carelians, appear some- 
times at war, sometimes in league with the former, 
addicted to war and piracy, supporting themselves 
otherwise by their herds and the chase. They had 
spread from the inner side of the gulf of Fin- 
land (called from them the Carelian), over Eastern 
Finland to the extremity of Finnmark^ ; roaming 
also into Swedish Norrland, where, about 1350, 
twenty Laplanders and Carelians of Kemi and 
Simo were baptized in a great vat at Tornea 
by a Swedish archbishop. South of the gulf of 
Finland we come upon the Esthouians (Esterne). 
This name, taken from their easterly situation 
in reference to Scandinavia, was once applied to 
the whole country between the Vistula and the 
gulf of Finland ", occupied at different times by 
various tribes, Goths, Finns, Letts ; it remained 
at length with the Fennic race still so called, 
which in ancient times extended through Cour- 
land into Prussia^. The old sagas represent in- 
tercourse between the Swedes and Esthouians as 
very early established. Through the country of 
the latter king Suegder marched when he repaired 
to the East in quest of Odin; Yngwar ravaged 
Estland, and was slain in battle with the natives ; 
his followers erected his barrow on the sea-shore, 
' that the waves of the Baltic might chant their 
songs to please the king of the Swedes.' When 
they were delivered from the fear of Swedish 

3 King Alfred and Fundin Noregur. 

■i Egil's Saga, c. 14. 

'•• The coast of Russian Lapland was formerly called Kare- 
lastrand, also Tre and Tre-nase, whence the name of Trelinns 
or Terfinns. 

6 In the ninth century Estland still stretched to the Vis- 
tula. Travels of Ottar and Ulfsten. 

" Thunmann (Untersuch., &c.), Inquiry into the ancient 
History of some Northern Peoples, p. 18—20. " We find still 
both in Kurland and Semgallen, considerable remains of 
these old Finnish inhabitants." 

f Permisti Estonibus Chori. Saxo, xiv. p. 329. 

« Compare Porthan, Paul. Just. Chron 49—50. 

1 First spoken of under this name in the bull (jf Pope Gre- 
gory IX. of December 9th, 1237. The name is here written 
Tavesti, and in the great Rhyme-Chronicle often Tavester, 
in which beyond doubt lies the tribual appellation, Ester. 
The first syllable Tav is more bard to explain. It is, perhaps, 
a translation of Hiime, the indigenous name of Tavastland, 
from Hiim, in the tongue, wet, marshy. The same 
notion lies in the Icelandic Tha (read thau), which means not 
only a thaw, but also thawed, miry ground. Some memorials 
of the piracy of the Esthouians and Tavasters are met with 
in Sodermanland, for instance Esta-skar, Esta-klippa (Est- 

domination, the Esthonians, leagued with the cog- 
nate tribes of the Kurians^ and Carelians^, harassed 
the Swedish coasts with their piracies. 

Such are the Fennic tribes, whose memories 
have survived from the heathen ages of the north. 
One still remains, a branch of the Esthonians, the 
Tavesters or Tavastrians ', mentioned by this name 
in Swedish records of a later day. They are not, 
however, to be regarded as younger in Finland than 
the cognate populations ; every thing seems rather to 
show that they were the main stock. They inhabited 
the southern and most fertile division of the coun- 
try 2, where agricultm-e was first introduced, and 
whence it extended, by steps so slow as to be 
easily traced, to northern and eastern Finland ; 
and opened an intercourse with Sweden, by way of 
the Aland isles and Roslagen, earlier than any of 
their brethren. To their territory the name of 
Finland was applied ; in distinction from the more 
savage Finnmark, which may be proved to have 
once reached farther south than is stated in any of 
the sagas, to Upper Tavastland *. These occu- 
pants of Southern Finland, apparently somewhat 
advanced in culture beyond the Carelians and 
Quens, are not mentioned under the heathendom by 
any distinctive appellation ; they were designated 
by our forefathers under the general name of 
Finns, and in their present dwelling-places they 
are at least as old as the furthest period to which 
the recollections of the north extend. 

The name of Finns was from a very early time, 
and is still, common to an important branch of the 
population of the north ; it included not only 
several Fennic races, properly so called, but the 
Lapps, who were styled Finns by the Norwegians 
and Icelanders. Many have maintained that the 
name originally appertained only to the Laplanders. 
The Finns of Tacitus, it is said, were really Lapps, 
as were the Finns of Scandinavia itself, mentioned 
by Icelandic and Norwegian writers, and the name 
was only extended by confusion to the rest of the so- 
called Finnish tribes in Finland Proper. If such 
occurred, it is at least in part imputable to the 
nations themselves. Even at the present day, both 
Finns and Lapps give themselves the same national 
appellation, Suome, Same, a word signifying pro- 
skerry, Est-cliff ), and the Tavesta Sconce in the parish of 
Skyllinge. Russian Chronicles mention the Tavastrians 
under the year 1042, but with the name of Jiimer, which is 
the Russian pronunciation of their own Hame. 

^ That Finland Proper, with Tavastland (and afterwards 
also a part of East Bothnia), in a word, South and West Fin- 
land, were tenanted by one and the same Fennic race (the 
Tavastic), distinct from the Savolaxars and Carelians, is a 
conclusion confirmed by the dialect. Porthan ad Paul. 
Just. 87, 88. 

3 •' The Lapp-rings (Lappringarne), or circles of loose stones, 
which abound in the forests throughout a great part of Upper 
Finland, are manifestly vestiges of the habitations of Lappic 
families. The stones are placed in a circle, exactly as usual 
in the Lappic kata (cot), where the Lapp has his hearth, 
round which he and his family sit and lie. Many such 
circles are found in Orihwesi and other parishes adjacent to- 
wards the north, but none further south. This seems a 
clear proof that the Lapland or Skritefinnia of former days 
stretched to this point, and that the land of the Tavastrians, 
who practised agriculture, began here." Lencquist, on the 
former sojourn of the Lapps in Finland, Abo Transactions 
for 1778, p. 142—143. We can besides, as has been remarked, 
trace the extension of agriculture from Lower Tavastland 


Finns and Lapps. 


state and character. 

perly morass ■*. Ssum in old Russian, is the same 
word, and is likewise applied to both Finns and 
Lapps *. The Feuni of Germany, spoken of by 
Tacitus, the Finnar of Scandinavia, are but trans- 
lated names expressing the same idea, which re- 
curs besides in the denominations of several Fennie 
tribes'", marking the nature of their original dwell- 
ing places, and applicable to them m a great degree 
at this day. This national name is therefore really 
of common application ; it belonged even of old to 
all Northern Europe. Although Tacitus, accord- 
ing to his conception, places the Finns nearly in 
the present Lithuania, and Ptolemy stations his on 
the Vistula, this need not prevent us from sup- 
posing' that the Fenuic population extended to the 
extreme north, for the whole of Northern Europe 
had no existence for the Romans, and the reports 
which reached them as to its inhabitants relate to 
regions lying much farther to the south. As the 
geographical knowledge of the ancients increased, 
the I"'inns appear further to the north, inhabiting 
the Thule of Procopius and the Scanzia of Jor- 
danes, and in the account of the latter are divided 
into several stems. It is difficult exactly to dis- 
tinguish Lapps and Finns in old times, since only 
the latter general appellation is employed, as well 
from the incompleteness of the accounts, as from 
the very nature of the question, affecting a race 
of men whose antiquity has no history apart from 
that of their neighbours. If we look to their pre- 
sent condition, a marked diversity appears. The 
Finns still refuse to acknowledge theii* consan- 
guinity to the Laplanders ; the latter think it an 
honour that they can claim kindred with the Finns. 
Every man who has himself resided among these 
races in Northern Scandinavia, must have received 
a lively impression of the great differences, both 
physical and moral, prevailing between them. 
Whatever weight may with reason be laid on these 
variations of aspect, still the admitted and indis- 
putable affinity of their languages evinces on the 

•• Fenn in old Swedish. Compare Ancient History of 
Sweden, 415. 

5 Lehrherg (Untersuch. &c.), Inquiry into the Ancient 
History of Russia, 223, 212. No one is more given to perplex a 
simple subject than this otherwise meritorious writer. The 
Lapps are said to have translated the Scandinavian Fenn bythe 
Finnish Suomi, and taken the latter (pronounced Same), for 
their own name ; but when the Finns learned this, they 
took the word from the Lapps, and made the name their 
I own. This is nearly the result of the views advanced by 
Lehrberg, 1. c. p. 210—212. 

5 Suomi, of which the Lappic Same is only a varied pro- 
nunciation, is an abbreviation of Suomenmaa, and this again 
of Suomithenmaa; closely translated, the land of the marsh- 
dwellers, from suo, marsh, mies, gen. miehan, man, and maa, 
land. Riihs, Finland and its Inhabitants ; augmented by A. 
J. Arwidson, Stockholm, 1827, ii. 1. Hence the Finns of 
Finland call themselves Suoraalaiset ; the Esthonians, So- 
melassed ; the Lapps, Sabmelads. The same idea lies in 
Kaiimlaiset, from kaino, low, as the Finns of Kajana, and 
Hiimelaiset, as the Tavasters style themselves. Karjalaiset, 
the indigenous name of the Carelians, conies from karja, 
cattle, whence karjainen, herdsman (laiset is a termination 
answering to ish). 

7 Joh. Cajani, Account of the Visitation in the Parish of 
Paldamo in Ififio. Abo Transactions, 177", p. 127. 

s Walilenberg on Kemi Lappmark, 25. 

From the Fennie loppu, finis, extremitas. Tornaeus, 
ScliefTer, and also Lehrberg look upon this derivation as 
probable. In the Lappic, lapp, lappa means a cleft or cavity 


other baud that both belong to the same stock. A 
singular mi.xtvire of selfishness, mistrust, and } 
childish feeling characterizes the Lapp ; a decided 
and energetic temjierament, with a warineiBS that is 
often sullen, the Finn. " The man by his tongue, 
and the ox by his horn," says the Finnish j)ro- 
verb. The energy of the Finns applied to cultiva- 
tion, and clearing the ground by fire, a sort of no- 
madic agriculture, appears to have been practised 
by them from very early times. The Lapps of 
the mountains, on the contrary, are so engrained 
in their primitive wildness, that, despite the pro- 
vident spirit of Christianity, and the cares of a 
paternal government, they otter the spectacle of a 
people dying off before cultivation. Yet the pro- 
cess of transition from one state to the other may 
be observed. The old Q,uens and Carelians lived 
in the forests after the fashion of the Lapps, chiefly 
on the products of the chase, and from this cause 
raha, skin, is used at present, both in the Finnish 
and Laj)pic tongues, to denote money, the chief 
representative of value. Not more than a century 
and a half ago, the Finns in the interior of East 
Bothnia and Kajana lived with their rein-deers 
almost after the fashion of Laplanders ^. Fisher 
Lapps as they are called, often of Finnish extrac- 
tion, are still found in Kemi Lappmark *. Lapps 
are first heard of within the limits of Scandinavia 
in the twelfth century ; this a[)pellation seems to 
have originated with the Finns themselves, and is 
probably oldest on the other side of the Baltic. 
Lapps, as a frontier people, which is implied in the 
word^ , have been found among and near the Finns, 
as far south as Esthland, and afterwards in Fin- 
land, from the inner side of the gulf, to the Icy 
Sea. From Upper Finland they were driven out by 
the Tavastrians chiefly, in times not yet very dis- 
tant ; this is that expulsion from Finland, of which 
the Lapps themselves retain the tradition ^. In 
Noi'them Scandinavia we again meet with them, 

(probably the same word with the foregoing), and lappot, to be 
lost. The Lapps, as is known, dislike this name, but are 
pleased at being called Finns. 

1 Missionaries in Esthland, from Riga, mention a " pro- 
vincia extrema," named Lappegunda, in the year 1220. 
Gruber, Orig. Liv. 148. In a bull of Gregory IX. of 12.30, 
the heathens of Carelia, Ingria, Lappia and Vatlandia, are 
forbidden to carry arms, in order that they may be debarred 
from practising cruelties against the Swedish Christians. 
Thus the Lapps are here mentioned with the Carelians, In- 
grians, and Vatlanders (the last belong to the district of 
Koporia and Ingermauland), all of them unquestionably 
Finns, and must have been situated in their vicinity. In 
Finland the former presence of Lapps is often discoverable 
from the names of places, as Lappinjarwi (Lapp lake), Lap- 
pinsalmi (Lapp bay), Lappinkangas (Lapp ridge), Lappin- 
linna (Lapp tower), Lappinrauniot (Lapp cairn), Lappin- 
ranta (Lapp strand, also called Wildmanstrand) ; and in the 
Swedish parishes Lapptriisk (Lapp marsh), Lappfiard (Lapp 
firth); Lappwik (Lapp bay), Lappdal (Lapp dale), &c. From 
Tavastland upwards, their remains and memorials are nu- 

2 This tradition, among the Swedish Lapplanders, has a 
two-fold reference. They speak partly of an expulsion from 
Finland (Scheffer, Tonieeus), partly of one from Sweden 
(Hogstriim). According to the latter, they maintain that 
the Swede and the Lapp were originally brothers. A storm 
burst ; the Swede was affrighted, and took shelter under a 
board, which God made into a house ; but the Lapp remained 
without. Since that time the Swedes dwell in liouses, but 
the Lapps under the bare sky. See Note C. 




blended with other Finns, although in a subject 
state. Among the inhabitants of Finnmark are 
expressly noted several races of " Finns, with 
Lapps and Carelians '," whence it appears that the 
Finnish name was used in a more comprehensive, 
as well as a restricted application. Below Finn- 
mark was Quenland, where the Kajaners or Quens 
roamed, but among them too, and in contact with 
them, Lapps are found, for in an inroad by the for- 
mer tribe into Norway, these are represented as 
opposing them and being defeated *. 

Among these nomadic races the first Swedish 
settlers in Non-land shew themselves, at first par- 
taking, afterwai'ds levying tribute upon the pro- 
duce of their hunts, herds, and fisheries, but from 
the beginning distinguished by fixed dwelling- 
places, liusbandry, and trade ; wherefore the Lapp 
deduced the name by which he spoke of the Swedes 
from the relations under which these first became 
known to him ^. Expulsion was the lot reserved for 
the wanderer, but the process was of gradual ac- 
complishment. The new settlers mostly followed 
the coast-line, and the interior long remained 
ill the same condition as of old. In the eleventh 
century we find a Swedish prince going to dis- 
possess the Quens", and in the same age Hel- 
singland was still called the main seat of the 
Skridfinns '. They roamed over wide tracts of 
wilderness into the forests of Vermeland ^, and 
were probably the same with those Lapps, of 
whom memorials and traces are still to be found 
in Dalecarlia*. That Lapps and Finns therefore 
were found formerly as at present in Norrland 
and the Lappmarks, does not admit of doubt. 
Probably this also applies partly to middle Sweden, 
although their position is more obscure, cultivation 
being here older, and the nomadic life passing 
away before it was reached by the dawning light 
of history. The isles of Aland and Quarkeu have 

3 Ancient History of Sweden, 463, n. 4. 

•' Fundin Noregur. 

* A Swede generally is styled in the Lappic tongue Ladde- 
lats, which, both by application and derivation means land- 
dweller ; also Taro, tarolats, tradesman, from tarrohet, 
taret, to sell. (Tariff? Tnrj, Swed., requirement, want.) 

6 Scholiast to Adam of Bremen, de sit. Dan. p. 78, in 
Lindenbrog, Script. Septentr. p. 59. Quenland is here, by 
the same misapprehension as in Adam, styled Terra foemi- 

7 Quorum (soil. Scritefingorum) caput Helsingaland Adam. 
Brem. That the Swedes had already begun to settle upon 
the coasts, is attested both by Adam and Sturleson ; for his 
expression as to the Suiones, " longis terrarura spatiis reg- 
nant," that is, far above Birca, would be imsuitable, if they 
had not already before his time crossed the Dal river, and 
begun the colonization of Norrland. 

8 Vermilani cum Scritefingis. Adam. Brem. 

9 At the cattle-stalls of Finnbo, near Lake Hinsen, in the 
parishes of Svardsio and Sundborn, there are graves of small 
size overgrown with grass, which the inhabitants call Lapp- 

1 Among the islands of Quarken, -which even on the Fin- 
nish side have most of them Swedish names, thout;h with 
some Fennic among them, the so-called Lapp-oren (Lapp- 
isles), lie at the outermost point; and in the Aland isles, on 
the Finnish side, in the midst of Fennic and Swedish names, 
we find Lappvesi and Lappii. 

2 Aland has a great number of barrows, in which burned 
earthen jars have been found, and many names preserve the 
memory of Lappic and Fennic inhabitants ; for example, 
Lappbijle, Koskinpa, Jomala; Finnstrom, Finnby, Finno, 
Finnbo, Finholm. Compare RadlofT (Beskrifning om Aland), 

been from early times stations of transit between 
Sweden and Finland. Swedish colonies found their 
way by this passage, some along the Gulf of 
Finland to Nyland and Russia, others to East 
Bothnia ; and earlier, in remote antiquity, Lapps 
and Finns had crossed by the same route to 
Sweden *. Aland, with a Swedish population 
which, as the graves show, existed in the age of 
cremation, is full of traces of Lappic and Finnish 
inhabitants still more ancient ^. From these 
islands they arrived in Roslagen, and Northern 
Upland, to many places in which they have given 
names*, and it is probable that the Finns, properly 
so called, spread farther into the country. Their 
former intercourse with Roslagen is the more un- 
doubted, as they applied this name to the whole 
of Sweden *. That during the middle age they 
were still to be found in the interior, may be 
inferred from the tradition which ascribes to the 
Finns the discovery of the chief mines of middle 
Swerlen ^. Their manner of living in the forests, 
where the mining districts were afterwards formed, 
gave currency to this notion. The preparation of 
marsh-iron was known to them from an early 
period ^ ; an old Finnish Rune sings of the birth of 
iron '. In the Fennic tongue every handicraftsman 
is called a smith ', and Finnish swords are men- 
tioned in the Icelandic sagas. The most famous 
smith known to the ancient north, and celebrated 
in the Edda, is the son of a Finnish king on 
the borders of Suithiod 8, and in later times the 
Finns retained the praise of excelling in the labours 
of the forge. The most southerly vestige of Finns 
Proper in Scandinavia is to be found in the saga of 
the discovery of Norway ; which represents a chief 
of the Quens as finding kinsmen on the little island 
of Lesso in the Cattegat. 

Yet the Lapps and Finns appear to have stood 
in dissimilar relations to ancient Suithiod. That 
intercourse subsisted at an early period between 

Description of Aland. From the name of Jomala (God), it 
may be inferred that here was a Finnish altar. Yet several 
barrows are found in this parish, and of this manner of in- 
terment I know of no example among the Finns. 

3 In Roslagen and Northern Upland are found the names 
Finnsta, Finnaker, Finnsibn, Finskog ; and in the parish of 
Hafverd the so-called Lapp-pits. 

■* Ruotzi or Ruotzimaa, Sweden ; Ruotzilainen, a Swede. 
Among the Lapps, who adopted these appellations, Ruothi 
and Ruotteladz. 

* Thus, according to tradition, the mine of Falun is said 
to have been discovered by a Finn from Thorsang. The 
silver mine at Sala was also, it is said, discovered by Finns, 
who kept it a secret ; and the town of Sala had its name from 
the Fennic salan, to hide, or sala, secret. An old mine at this 
place is still called Finn-pit, and Finns inhabited the miners' 
village to the time of Gustavus Adolphus. The Finns now 
living in the forests of Dalecarlia are the descendants of later 
immigrants, who all received letters of denization from 
Charles IX. and Gustavus Adolphus. 

5 For marsh-ore (myrnialm), which our ancestors called 
grasjem, the Finns have a native appellation, h'alvi'd. Iron 
in the Fennic and Lappic is called rauta, route, and the 
hundred of Rautalambi in Finland has its name from rauta 
and lammi, lake or marsh — thus from marsh-iron. 

" Rautan synty. Compare Schrbter, Fennic Runes. An 
incantation song in general is called synty (birth), because, 
according to the popular notion, in order to cast out evil, we 
must first be able to ttU its origin. 

" Seppa. 

9 Compare Volundar Quida in the elder Edda. 


Described by 


old writers. 

the Swedes and both these tribes is manifest, if 
only from the influence of our language on those 
spoken by them, which radically differ from it so 
widely ; an influence remarkably great on the 
Lappic ', and important also on the Fennic, which 
has borrowed from the Swedish all words having 
reference to civic government, and culture ^. All 
the Finns Proper who have been found in Scandi- 
navia immigrated from the eastern side of the gulf 
of Bothnia and out of Finland. This can be said 
only in part of the Lapps, who consider themselves 
as the aboriginal denizens of Sweden ^ and Nor- 
way ■", but whom history cannot accompany so far 
back. The Norwegians and Icelanders, from whom 
the oldest accounts have come to us, became earlier 
acquainted with them than with the Finns of Fin- 
land, with whom on the other hand the old Swedes 
were oftenest brought in hostile or amicable con- 
tact. By the former, therefore, the name of Finns 
was applied chiefly to the Lapps, and such were 
the Finns whom they speak of as scattered in the 
ninth century along the whole frontier between 
Sweden and Norway. Such, consequently, were 
also the Scridfinns whom Adam of Bremen places 
northwest of the Swedes above the Vermelanders, 
and therefore in the present Dalecarlia. So too 
the Finns whose first abode was in the old frontier 
forests of West-Gothland *, after whom the Finn 
heaths or wolds of Smaland were already named in 
the sixth century ^. Old Sweden had thus its 
Finn woods, like that of modern days. In these 
he Lapps retained their stations, and the Fiuns 
also partially occupied them, until, surrounded and 

' Of 1 1 ,433 words contained in the Lexicon Lapponicum 
of Lindahl and Ohrling (Holm. 1780), about one tenth, by 
computation, are borrowed from the Swedish, notwithstand- 
ing the fundamental dissimilarity of both languages. 

2 For example ; kuningas (konung, king), tuomari (domare, 
judge), valtakunta (valde, power), ruthinas (drott), esivalta 
(authority), sakko (sak, boter, plea, fine), kaupungi (kbping, 
place), tori (torg, market), mar kina(marknad, fair), and others; 
also the names of most handicrafts except of the smith and 
weaver (kanguri). On the other hand, the terms for cattle- 
breeding, hunting, navigation, agriculture, are indigenous. 
Though the northern sagas speak of Finnish kings. It is only 
by a transference of this name to the ideas of father of a 
family, overseer, ruler, for which there are Finnic words. 

^ Compare Ancient History of Sweden, 419, n. 9. 

■• The Lapps of Norway, especially those with fixed abodes, 
who desire to be called Finns, and contemn the Norsemen, 
as well as the wandering Lapps, maintain that they are the 
true old inhabitants of all Norway. Rask on the Ancient 
Northern Language, p. 114. 

' In Adam of Bremen, Finnvedi. Compare above. In 
Kind's Hundred of West-Gotliland, one parish still bears 
the name of Finne-kumla. 

* FinnaithcB, in Jordanes, is so like Fineyde, that we can 
recognize their identity. It has been objected, that in the 
Finnwold (Finn heden). there are no Fennic or Lappic names 
remaining; some, however, may be found. Sulivara, a vil- 
lage in the parish of Angulstad, may be named. Even were 
this the only example, it should be considered that names of 
estates and granges matter little in this question. Those of 
mountains, forests, lakes, streams, the original features of 
nature, are of greater importance, although even their appel- 
lations are changed. Tlie Swedes were always and from of 
old peculiarly the cultivators of the soil, and with tlieir labour 
they everywhere baptized it, even where others had preceded 
them. I am myself from a province (Vermeland), where 
there have been Finn woods from the time of Cliarles IX., 
when Finns were brought from Savolax in Finland to Verme- 
land, a kind of colonization, of which there seem to have 
been prior examples here ; but Swedish names always 

cut off by advancing cultivation, they were either 
extirpated or blended with the Swedes, of which 
several later settlements of Fennic immigrants in 
the forests of Sweden furnish examples. So late as 
the eleventh century, eye-witnesses relate ' that the 
mountainous tracts of Sweden had other inhabit- 
ants than the cultivated districts. In those dwelt 
a wild people, who sometimes yearly, and some- 
times every third year, broke from their unknown 
lurking pljices, and spread devastation over the 
levels, iniless vigorously opposed, retreating with 
equal haste. These remnants of Fennic races are 
demonstrably the Jotuners or Jotuns of the heathen 
Scalds * and of Snorro Sturleson ^ ; and probably 
also the Huns of later ])opular legends, to whom the 
names of so many places in Southern Sweden refer. 

Of the Swedish polity we will here merely 
sketch the outlines, deferring their further deve- 
lopement until we approach the consideration of 
the old laws, which in their present shape belong 
to the Christian period, although resting on princi- 
ples of higher antiquity. 

Among all the Germanic races, the Scandi- 
navians pre-eminently retained the conception of 
the divine origin of the first social union. Their 
earliest rulers are styled Diar, Drottnar, denomi- 
nations applying in common to gods, priests, and 
judges. With twelve such did Odin sit in judg- 
ment, and with twelve of the wisest men the Up- 
sala king uttered his decrees in his court '. The 
great yearly sacrifices assembled and united the 
people. At the place of their celebration peace 

sprung up with Swedish settlements, so that few or no Fennic 
appellations were preserved in those quarters where were 
formerly settlements or wolds of the Finns ; even real Fin- 
nish villages of the parishes of Ny and Dalby in Vermeland 
bear among their Swedisli neighbours names quite different 
from those of the Finns themselves. In Norrland, also in 
the parish of Nether Tornea, where the Finns are most nu- 
merous, the Swedish names of the hamlets are often trans- 
lations of the Fennic. This custom with our ancestors, of 
changing Fennic into Swedish appellations, is so old, that 
the Sagas, though full of intimations as to the Intercourse be- 
tween the two races, have not preserved a single Fennic name. 

7 Ab his, qui hsec se vidisse testantur. Ad. Brem. Hist. 
Eccles. c. 232. 

8 Thor is called by the heathen Scalds the " overthrower 
of the altars of the Fornjolic god," " the conqueror of the 
mountain god," " the slayer of the mountain-wolves, the hill- 
folk, the sons of the rocks, the Jotnar." He cast to the 
ground, they say, " the king of the people of the earth-holes, 
and the chief of the Finns on the fells." See the passages 
cited in " Ancient History of Sweden," 274. 

9 Heimskr. Saga of Harald the Fair-haired, c. 25. Many 
proofs may be brought to shew that this was generally the 
meaning of the Icelanders. So for example Snorro says that 
Norway stretched from the Gbta river to Finmark ; Heimskr. 
Saga of St. Olave, c. 59. This is manifestly the same 
boundary line given in the Fundin Noregur (in Bibrner, p. 
6), where it is said that Norway is the name of the whole 
country from Jotunheim southwards to Alfheim. Jotnnheim 
and Finnmark were therefore one and the same. But the 
first, which was the mythic denomination, receded con- 
tinually towards the north-east. Jotunheim, as the opposite 
of Manheim or Suithiod, originally bounded the latter on 
the north, and embraced even Swedish Norrland, formerly 
inhabited by Quens and Lapps. Here, too, lay the fabulous 
Hunaland, which in Ketil Heng's Saga, c. 6, is mentioned in 
connexiim with Gestricland, although this Hunaland, like 
.Jotunheim, was removed higher to the north. The Huns of 
the popular legends mean heathens or barbarians generally. 

' Saga of St. Olave, c. 96. 

Social life 


in heatlien times. 


was enforced *, and mere participation therein im- 
ported peace between the rival races ^. Under the 
shield of peace the sacrifice with the attendant 
banquet was prepared ; deliberations were held, 
sentence passed, and trafKc conducted, for which 
reason Ting, the old name of these conventions, 
means both sacrifice, banquet, diet, assize, and 
fair *. Odin it is said took possession of the land 
by erecting a temple and sacrificing after the 
manner of the Asae, and the people paid tribute to 
him, that he might sacrifice in their behalf for a 
plentiful harvest. Thus the right of property, as 
well as agriculture, proceeded from the gods. 
The herds of our forefathers constituted their 
principal wealth ; whence they used the word (fa, 
cattle) as synonymous with property in general, 
and sought for no other standard of value. Upon 
the celebration of the great national sacrifices in 
Upsala was founded the claim and right of the 
Swedes to give a sovereign to the whole realm, for 
the Upsala king was guardian of the holy altar, as 
the heathen Scald calls him *. The household no 
less than the commonwealth was based upon the 
worship of the gods, and therefore the particle ve, 
vi, occurring in the name of so many places, 
means both a dwelling generally and a sanctuary *. 
The father of a family, on the pillars surrounding 
whose high seat were carved the images of the 
gods', was called himself, like the prince, Drott, 
and was priest, judge, and leader for his household. 
Marriage, as conformable to law, was distinguished 
from irregular connexions, but did not exclude 
them. Along with his wedded wife, who was 
called Adalkona ^, a man might without blame 
keep concubines ; but the heritable estate passed 
to the legitimate children, although the illegitimate 
were not otherwise excluded from all inheritance. 
As with the Greeks and Romans, and among all 
Pagans, the father was free either to expose or 
bi'ing up a new-born child ; in the latter case he 
raised it from the earth in his arms, and had it 
sprinkled with water and named in the presence 
of his chief kinsmen. A purchase concluded with 
the father or the nearest relative (though it was 
rather a sjTnbolical expression for contract gene- 
rally), was the legal form of matrimony, and made 
the children legitimately born (lagfijdda). The 
legally married spouse, as distinguished from the 
woman who had been seduced or stolen away in 

2 A place thus set under a seal of peace was called Helgi 
stadr, holy place, and Gritha stadr, place of peace, even 
among the gods, who likewise kept their court. Edda, 
Damisaga, 49. 

3 The participation of the Fylkiskings in the sacrifices was 
a proof that they were at peace with the over-king or drott. 
Ynglingasaga, c. 42. 

■• Hence the word "ting" still occurs in the names of 
several fairs. 

'' Thiodolf, in the Ynglingasaga, c. 24. 

s Compare Hallenberg (AnmSrkuingar, &c.), Remarks on 
Lagerbring's Swedish History, ii. 285. If it were a temple, 
the name of the god to whom it was dedicated was prefixed, 
as Odensvi, Frbsvi, Thorsvi, &c. The terminations lund, sal, 
hog, in local names, also generally mark old places of sacrifice. 

? Eyrbyggia Saga, c. 4. 

^ More frequently there was only one, but there are ex- 
amples of kings, as Harald the Fair-haired, having several 

9 Medh mundok medh maeli. Law of West-Gothland, 
Arf. B. f. 7. Mund was the gift or purchase-money, answer- 
ing to hemfylgd, the portion which the bride received from 
her parents. 

war, was said to be won ' by gifts and speech' ', or 
was, as in Homer, bought with presents '. The 
gods took to themselves wives after the same 
fashion ^. Titer's hammer, laid upon the loiee of 
the veiled bride, inaugurated her into her uew 
destiny ^, as the same sign consecrated the funeral 
pile on which the dead were burned *. The god's 
mace is probably symbolized also by the wedge- 
shaped pebbles, so often met with in old graves, 
and called by tlie common people Thor's wedges 
(Thorviggar). Adoration of the gods, as among 
almost all nations, was united with the commemo- 
ration of the dead. Hence their assemblies for 
religious solemnities were called hoga-tings ^, as the 
sacrifices were for the most part offered at the 
baiTows in which their relics were inclosed. Here 
also were held the kemp-games, athletic sports of 
a jovial and martial character ; whence the sagas 
speak of the play-grounds (leke-valla) in the neigh- 
bourhood of the ting-sites, of which names and 
customs still observed in some places revive the re- 
membrance. After the introduction of Christianity, 
too, we find the churches, in allusion to this old 
usage, not unfrequently built in the vicinity of 
heathen places of burial. For this life as for that 
to come, an oath was regarded as the strongest 
bond. After death, the perjurer wandered with 
the murderer and the adulterer " in streams of 
venom, at the strand of corpses remote from the 
sun, in the castle which is woven of the spines of 
snakes ^," and among the common people of Sweden 
a sapng yet holds, that no grass will grow on the 
grave of a perjurer. 

The same religion which in certain conjunctures 
lent its sanction to peace, made veugeance for 
bloodshed the holiest of duties ', and thereby gene- 
rated incessant feuds, the bitterness of which was 
little mitigated by the determinate fines through 
which the laws opened a path to reconciliation. A 
violent death was deemed so pleasing to the gods, 
that it was not sought for in the field of battle only ; 
" to gash oneself to Odin with the sword" was 
deemed better than to die of sickness or of old age. 
Those who were advanced in years precipitated 
themselves from lofty cliffs, which thence received 
the appellation of kith-rocks, and so " fared to Val- 
halla ^." Three such cliffs in West- Gothland and 
Bleking still bear the latter name ^, and to another 

1 Mundi-keypt. 

2 Frey's consort was gulli-keypt, gold-bought, .^gisdr. in 
the elder Edda, str. 42. This too is Homeric. When Vul- 
can surprised Mars and Venus, he demanded back the bride- 
gifts from Jupiter. Odys. viii., 318. 

3 Hammarsheimt in the elder Edda, str. .32. 

'' Thor consecrates with his hammer the funeral pile of 

5 On the Hiiga-ting see Heimskr., Saga of Harald Gylle, e. 
2. Hence some barrows are still called Tingshbgar, as for 
example one by Old Upsala. To wrestle on these barrows 
is a custom not yet extinct. See Note D. 

6 Voluspa, str. 44, 45. , 

' The heritage could not be taken possession of, or the 
funeral-feast held, before the slain man was avenged. Vatns- 
daela Saga, c. 23. 

' jEtte-stupor. Compare GBtrek's and Rolf's Saga, c. 1, 
2, which mentions one such in West-Gothland. The word 
is from stapi, rock. 

" Hard by the parish church of Hellaryd in Bleking is a 
steep rock called Valhall, down from which, as the tradition 
runs, men formerly threw themselves into the Val loch, 
which lies at its foot. A similar precipice is found upon the 
hill of Valhall by the lake Strengen, in Kylingared parish of 


Formation of the 


original commonwealth. 

the remarkable statement attaches, that the people, 
after dances and sports, threw themselves headlong 
from its top into the lake ', as the ancients relate 
of the Hyperboreans and Scythians 2. Domestic 
legends even inform us, that if a man became bed- 
ridden and frail with age, his kinsmen would as- 
semble and put him to death with a club ^. 

The joys of Valhalla were reserved for the free- 
born, and especially the noble and rich warrior. 
To arrive in Valhalla with a numerous and well- 
approved escort, was honourable. To come with 
great property secured happiness ; for so much 
wealth as a man brought with him to the funeral 
pile, or was buried in the earth, the like happiness 
he enjoyed in a future life, and as no inherited but 
only acquired treasures were allowed to accom- 
pany the dead man to the grave, it was this belief 
which induced the inhabitant of the north to devote 
so great a part of his life to robbery and piracy. 
On the other hand " it was not good to journey 
poor to Odin * ; " so that there was reason to doubt 
whether the poor man was considered worthy of a 
place in his hall, in case he came not from the 
field of battle in the bloody train of a great lord. 
Slaves at least were decidedly excluded, and after 
death were relegated to Thor *. 

In their capacity of members of the common- 
wealth, the people were recognized only as bear- 
ing arms ; they were called Sveahar, or the host of 
the Swedes*, and Suithiod means the army-folk. 
The great Ting of Upsala was called Allslidrjarting, 
that is, an assembly of the whole army, whereof 
part every year marched to war, after the comple- 
tion of the spring sacrifice, under the command of 
its princes. Therefore Upland, the chief seat of 
Odin's followers and the first Suithiod, was pre- 
eminently the land of the people or the army, and 
embraced the three so-called Folklands. To the 
same warlike polity appertained the division into 
Hundreds or H'arads, words which have the same 
meaning ' ; a like arrangement is mentioned by 
Tacitus among the Germans s. But for the know- 
ledge of the ancient social fabric of the north, the 
best illustrations are supplied by the Icelanders, 
among whom we see this constitution again re- 
viving as it were before our eyes, in a multitude of 
small associations united among themselves, and 
established, as in the mother-land, for purposes of 

West-Gothland. At Halleberg in the same province the 
upper part of the hill is called by the people Vahlehall ( Val- 
hall), and it is said that those who threw themselves over 
were afterwards washed in a pond now almost overgrown, 
called Onskalla, Odin's fountain. 

' See the account of the rock Stafva Hall in Lindskog, 
Description of the diocese of Skara, iv. 106. 

2 Plin. Hist. Nat. iv.l2. Pompon. Melade Situ Orbis, iii. 5. 

3 Such a club (called jette-klubba, kith-club), with the 
tradition of the purpose to which it was formerly applied, 
was long preserved, and perhaps still is, at the farm of 
TruUerum, in the parish of Noira Vi, Hundred of Ydre, in 

■< Gbtrek's and Rolf's Saga, c. 2. (Valhalla is hall of the 
chosen or wale. T.) 

5 Harbardsliijd in the elder Edda, str. 32. 
" Saga of St. Olave, c. 96. 

7 Har was a term for a number of at least a hundred. Edda. 

8 Centeni ex singulis pagis. 

9 Such a band following a particular leader was called 
Sveit, Suet (Law of East Gothland, B. B. f. 8.) or Suit. 
From suit, war following;, army, and Ihioti, people, the name 
of Suithiod was probably formed. 

common defence, judicature, and worship. When 
the first colonist approached the shores of Iceland, 
he threw the props of his high seat into the sea, 
and vowed to settle in the spot where they should 
come to land ; and this proceeding, by which the 
gods, as iu old Suithiod, first took possession of 
their new home, was said to be done after the 
ancient manner. When a place of abode had been 
selected, fire was usually carried round the tract 
which was to be occupied, and this was called ' con- 
secrating the land to oneself.' The leader now 
divided the land he had chosen among his re- 
latives, friends, and followers. The rank which 
he had filled on ship-l)oard among the crew followed 
him to land, and remained hereditary to his de- 
scendants, although with some admixture of the 
elective principle. From his band of warriors, 
now settled around him^, the hundred was formed; 
a temple was erected, and maintained by common 
contributions, at which the Ting was held ; the 
legal oath was taken at the altar on a ring dyed 
with the blood of the victim, and with invocations 
of the gods ' ; in the public assemblies the chief 
wore this ring on his hand ; and from his priestly 
functions arose his title of Godordsman (the man 
of God's word), that is, speaker in the name of the 
gods, and therefore judge and reconciler. In this 
description we recognise the chiefs of the Hundred 
in old Suithiod, and their Hundred Courts, where, 
as among the Greeks of the heroic age, who have 
so much in common with the old Scandinavians, 
the judges sat under the open sky in a holy circle 
upon stones 2. The old title of this functionary was 
Herse ^ ; a higher office was that of Jarl. Both 
bore the title originally attached to princely rank *, 
and were hence also called kings of the hundred. 
Conjointly they formed a kind of nobility ; for 
Konung denotes in our old language a man of 
birth'. The kings of Upsala, when this title had 
become usual instead of that of drott, were dis- 
tinguished from the rest by a paramount sovereign 
authority ; and it was the attempt to outroot the 
various subordinate princes which overturned the 
dynasty of the Ynglings. Under that of Ivar they 
ceased to exist as rulers, but there was still no 
scarcity of kings, for all the sons assumed the title, 
even though without the dominion. It was their 
prerogative to gather around themselves a retinue 

' This oath was called baug-eid (ring oath). Havamal. 
str. 112. Also temple-oath. The Chronicon Saxonicum ed. 
Gibson relates that the most solemn oath of the northern 
heathens who ravaged England was taken upon the holy ring. 

2 Iliad xviii. 504. The old Domare-ringar, or doomsters' 
rings, so often met with in Sweden, and the expression of 
the old laws, ' to come to ting and ring' (Law of Westman- 
land, Manb. B. f. 75.) are evidences of this custom. (See 
Note E.) The inner ring was surrounded by an outer one of 
hazel stangs, bound together with willow rods, called vebiind, 
the holy bands. Whosoever broke them was a violator of 
the sanctuary. From Egil's Saga we learn that a judicial 
process might be annulled by such an occurrence. (The 
harads hlifding, and hdrads ting of the text are now the judge 
and court of a district. T.) 

3 So for example in the Landnama Saga, one Gorm is 
mentioned, married to Thora, daughter of king Eric of Up- 
sala, as a powerful Swedish Herse. 

■i The Tignar-name, or title of dignity. Kings of the 
harad or fylke (district, explained by some to be the same 
word as folk). 

' iiTrj^r means a man of birth; Kniiung, his son. (Hence 
by abbreviation also kung or knvg. T.) 

Free and iinfree. 


Houses ; occupations. 33 

of champions and waniors ; they were called host- 
kings, sea-kings, and wore in right of their birth 
leaders of those warlike bands which devastated 
the European coasts. This uninterrupted devotion 
to war in the remaining houses of kingly rank, ap- 
pears to have induced the people to elect from 
their own number guardians of their interests, for 
their defence against the arbitrai-y violences of 
the sovereign. 

Thus arose the power of the Lagman ^, which 
attained such great importance towards the end of 
the heathen period. They were chosen by the peo- 
ple, but did not venture to assume the Tignar 
name, which began to be confined to the officers of 
the royal household. The Lagmen, themselves 
peasants, stood at the head of this class in their 
own province, and had the chief voice in its court 
(land-ting), where they expounded the law with 
the best skilled and most discreet of the people. 
They spoke also in the name of the people to the 
king, in the great assemblies of the nation '. 

The odalbonders, or free-born yeomen, composed 
the body of the nation, or more correctly of the 
different nations, for the inhabitants of the various 
provinces became dissociated from one another by 
distinct codes of laws, administered in each by its 
own justiciary. There were besides unfree persons 
and slaves, for the most part captives in war ; 
these were beyond the pale of the law and the 
land's right, and dependent on the good pleasure 
of their masters. This might raise them to wealth 
and power ; and we find the slave Tunue, treasurer 
of king Ann the Aged in Sweden, powerful enough 
to rise against his son and successor ; but they 
could neither contract legitimate marriages, nor in 
general acquire property, although their condition 
was tolerable under a good master. It is related 
of Erling, a Norwegian herse, that he had pre- 
scribed to his slaves a fixed day's work, after the 
completion of which they were allowed to labour 
in the evening on their own account till they had 
earned their ransom, and there were few who did not 
redeem themselves within three years. With the 
price of their liberty Erling purchased other slaves ; 
his freedmen he employed in the herring fishery 
and the like gainful labour, or permitted to build 
cots and settle in the forest *. 

The first teachers of Christianity describe old 
Sweden as a fruitful territory, with wide-stretching 
woodlands and waters, rich meadows, abounding in 
honey and herds of kiue, which were often tended 
by the best-born men of the land *. Rye and bar- 
ley-fields are spoken of iu the sagas ; oats, which 
according to Pliny the Germans cultivated, must 
also have been early known in the North ; wheat 
we find as an article of traffic. Mention is made 
also in ancient records, and sometimes even in the 
mythic songs, of ploughing both with horses and 
oxen, of sowing and harvest, of the brewing of beer 
and mead, and the bakmg of bread. Malt and but- 
ter formed part of the tributes paid to the king at 
Christmas ^ ; to eat raw flesh was held a mark of 

c Lit. Lawman, now the judge of a province. 

7 In the Icelandic republic, which presents to us the 
Scandinavian constitution without a king, the highest office 
was that of Lagman. In the earliest times he was called 
alsherjargode, priest of the whole people. (See Note F.) 

s Heimskr. Saga of St. Olave, c. 123. 

9 Ad. Brem. 

1 Saga of St. Olave, c. 253. 

barbarism '. At the sacrificial feasts, to which the 
peasants brought victuals and beer, when the vic- 
tims had been slaughtered, the idols, the walls of 
the temple within and without, and the assembled 
people, were besprinkled with blood ; the boiled 
flesh and broth were then eaten. Food and drink 
were blessed with Thor's hanmier-sign ^. The 
houses and likewise the temples were for the most 
part of wood, surrounded with a palisade or fence. 
In the dwellings of the principal men there were 
upper chambers under the roof, corresponding to 
the sleeping-rooms in the houses of the country 
people in modern times. It was from such an 
apartment that king Fiolner fell into the vat of 
mead. The more indigent were sometimes reduced 
to live in caves. In the houses the floor was of 
earth, covered on solemn occasions with straw ; 
the fire burned in the middle of the room, and 
the smoke obtained vent through an aperture 
called the wind-eye (vindogat) in the roof or wall. 
By the walls stood long benches with tables before 
them ; on the inner side of these the guests sat, 
and drank to each other across the chamber, the 
beer being sent over the fire. The king and queen 
sat on the chair of state in the midmost jilace of 
the bench which was tm'ned towards the sun. On 
the bench overagainst them was placed the prin- 
cipal guest * ; men and women sat in pairs and 
drank with one another. This was the manner of 
peace ; but the usage of the Vikings, on the other 
hand, was to exclude women from the drinking 
parties ^. 

Knitting and weaving were as usual the occu- 
pations of the female sex. Brynhild wove in gold 
the famous exploits of Sigurd ^. Raguar Lodbioc's 
standard, with the figure of a raven, to which 
honours almost divine were paid by the northern 
pagans, was wrouglit by his daughters'. Examples 
are found of splendour in arms, raiment, and or- 
naments, but generally wadmal (the woollen-cloth 
above-mentioned) was an acceptable present even 
to a queen. The arts of divination and medicine 
were also practised by women, w ho were not entire 
strangers even to the fatigues of war. The shield- 
maiden (skolde-mo) was dedicated to Odin, and 
forbidden to wed ; her love brought calamity. 

The artists most highly esteemed were, as in 
Homer, the poet, the soothsayer, the leech, the 
armourer. The weapons and fleets of the Vikings 
show that iron was in use at an early period. Pre- 
viously, arms were made of copper or a metal 
mixed with copjier, and the oldest of stone. The 
implements of flint stone found in graves are often 
religious symbols. 

In the exercise of northern hospitality, the old 
Swedes surpassed every other people. Piracy 
brought into the country abundance of foreign 
wares * ; and the hoards often dug up show that 
gold and silver could not have been scarce. The 
poor were so few, that the first Christians could 
only find a use for their alms in foreign countries^. 

- Compare Orvar Odd's Saga. 
3 Heimskr. Saga of Haco the Good, c. 16, 17. 
^ Gunnlaug Ormstungas Saga. Copen. 1778, s. 138. 
'' Ynglingasaga, c. 41. 

'^ Songs of Sigurd and Brynhild in the elder Edda. 
7 Asserus, Vita Alfredi. 
P Ad. Brem. 

'■> Quia hie minus pauperes inveniuntur. Vita Anscharii, 
c. 17. 


Fruits and relics 


of Paganism. 


A. D. 


The manners of the people were martial and sim- 
ple, but through piracy and the traffic in mcMi, whieli 
was united with it, they were often hardened into 
cruelty. In the latter days of heathenism they be- 
came more and more savage, as the hoi'rid cruelties 
of the expeditious of the Northmen and their out- 
rages upon women prove *, Human sacrifices were 
not seldom the prelude of such an enterprize^; 
they were commonly a punishment for malefactors, 
but sometimes the shedding of noble blood was 
deemed requisite, even the nearest and dearest. 
" In that time, when men believed in groves and 
mounds, in holy places and palings " — it is said in 
the appendix to the old law of Gothland — " then 
sacrificed they to the heathen gods their sons and 
daughters, and their cattle, with meat and drink." 
A Cliristian related that he had seen seventy-two 
dead bodies of immolated men and animals hanging 
in the sacred grove of the temple at Upsala, which 
shone with gold, and in the interior of which were 
set up the images of Odin, Thor, and Frey ^. 
After a thousand years which have passed away 

since the first preaching of Christianity in Sweden, 
Odin is yet remembered in the popular creed, 
although only as an evil spirit. " Go to Odin," is 
a curse which is sometimes heai'd ; and the miser 
who hoards treasvn-e is said to be serving Odin. 
When unknown noises are heard in the night, as of 
horses and waggons, Odin, it is said, passes by*. 
Of his hunt and his horses there are stories cur- 
rent in several provinces, for example in Upland, 
in Smaland, so rich in recollections of the heathen 
time, and also in Scania and Bleking, where it was 
usual among the peasants when reajiing to leave a 
sheaf behind them in the field for Odin's steeds*. 
Of Odin, Thor, and his battles with the giants, 
legends resembling the mythes of the Edda have 
been transcribed from the recital of the Sma- 
landers ^. The thunder is termed by the Swedes 
Thor's din'; hills, fountains, and groves, or other 
spots named after Thor, Odin, and Frey, are met 
with in every quarter of the land, and a plant, of 
which the Edda says that it is light as Baider's 
eye-brow *, is still called in Scania Baider's brow ^. 





A. D. 800— 12.'^0. 

To the emperor Lodovic the Pious, we are told, 
came messengers from the Swedes, who announced 
among other tidings that many of their people 
longed to embrace the Christian ftiith, that their 
king was not disinclined to give audience to the 
teachers who proclaimed it, and it was their wish 
that such persons might be sent into their country. 
Ill that day lived Anskar, a Frank by birth, who 
was devoted at an early age to the monastic life, 
and became rector of the school attached to the 
old convent of Corbey in Picardy, and afterwards 
in that of the more I'ecent foundation of the same 
name in AVestphalia. He was a zealous preacher, 
and from his childhood had felt a lively call to 
dedicate himself to the conversion of the heathen. 
Therefore, when in 826 Harald king of Jutland 
received baptism in Mentz, and no one would 
venture to follow him to his dominions to preach 
the gospel in Denmark, Anskar readily consented 
to accompany him on that errand ; but when this 
prince was forced to flight, and could no longer 
give him protection, he opened a school upon the 
frontier of the Pagans. In tliis he gave instruction 
to youths, whom he had himself redeemed from 
captivity and slavery, and probably he now ac- 
quired a knowledge of the Northern tongue. Thus 
more than two years passed away, until the request 
of the Swedish envoys again fixed the attention of 
men upon the young and ardent preceptor. Anskar 

■ Compare Sermo Liipi ad Anglos, in Langebek, S. R. 
Dan. ii., witl\ the accounts of tlie manners of the Russian 
Varagians in Karamsin. 

2 Dudo in Ducliesne, Script. Norman. 

3 Ad. ]!rem. 

'' Loccenius, Anti(|Uit. Snco-Ootli. c .3. 

was not yet twenty-eight years old ', when he 
was summoned to the presence of the emperor 
Lodovic, who questioned him whether he was will- 
ing to visit the distant north, heretofore almost un- 
known, or known only as the terror of Europe, in 
order to preach the faith of Christ to its inhabitants. 
Accepting the mission gladly, he obtained a par- 
taker of his labours, a pious brother of his convent 
named Withmar, who was still alive when the life 
of Anskar, from which we extract this account, 
was written. They journeyed in the company of 
traders ; and probably the Swedish envoys were 
themselves men of this class, who from their con- 
verse with Christians had conceived an inclination 
for the Christian faith, and had found in their own 
vocation a motive for wishing to open a peace- 
ful intercourse between their country and the 
Christian world. Traffic was still conducted with 
arms in the hand of the merchant, as the envoys 
experienced to their cost ; for on their return they 
were exposed to repeated attacks fi'om the pirates 
who swarmed in the waters of the Baltic. In the 
last of these combats the traders were over- 
powered, and losing their ship, were obliged to 
flee to the land. Anskar shared the same fortune, 
but he was undismayed by calamity and continued 
his journey. He passed sometimes through forests, 

5 A similar custom among the peasants of Mecklenburg is 
mentioned by Frank. Old and New Mecklenburg, p. 57. 

6 See Topographica on Smaland, in the Palmskiild manu- 
script collections in the Library of Upsala. 

7 Thordcin. 

" Daemisaga, 22. 

9 Baldersbia. Anthemis Cotula. Svensk Botanik, 429. 

' Chronologia Anschariana, in Langebek, 1. 496. 

A. D. 


J Mission of Anskar. INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY. His character. 


sometimes in a boat over great lakes, which the 
narrative Ukens to the sea, until with his com- 
panions he reached Birca, a haven, or as it is also 
called, a staple and village upon the Mtular lake, 
where rich merchants resided. Here he was wel- 
comed by king Bioi'n, and found the statements of 
the messengers confirmed. For many Christian 
captives lived in these regions who longed eagerly 
for teachers, and these had imparted the knowledge 
of Christianity to others also who desired instruction 
and baptism. Among them was a chief man of the 
place and the king's councillor, Hergeir, a zealous 
disciple of the gospel, who erected the first church. 
This first journey of Anskar to Sweden was made 
in the autumn of 829; and the following year, 
which he passed there, was the first of his Chris- 
tian labours among the Swedes. 

This king Biorn, to whom Anskar came, is with- 
out doubt the same called Biorn of the Hill (at 
Haugi) by the Icelanders, who have indeed pre- 
served only his name, with the addition that one of 
the most famous heathen Scalds, Brage the Aged, 
dwelt in his court. They assign him a colleague 
in his office, Edmund, of whom we shall have more 
to say. Returning from Sweden, Anskar was in- 
ducted into the archbishopric lately erected in 
Hamburg for the conversion of the north, but 
found this new dignity more fertile in danger than 
profit. Hamburg, at first only a village, with a 
castle founded by Charles the Great, among the 
forests on the bank of the Elbe, was surprised by 
the Northern sea-kings and destroyed ; the arch- 
bishop was obliged to abandon his charge. Gaut- 
bert, who had been despatched to Sweden as a 
missionary, was at the same time expelled ; Nithard 
his nephew was killed, and the Christians were 
persecuted by the above-mentioned king Edmund, 
who having been restored from exile by Danish 
assistance, had eventually reconciled himself to his 
countrymen. From his new archiepiscopal seat of 
Bremen Anskar continued the work he had begun, 
and when no one else would undertake the perilous 
adventure, revisited Sweden himself in the year 
853. There was now another king in Birca, who 
was called Olof, and the Swedes, assembled in their 
diet (ting), had resolved to adopt one of their for- 
mer rulers, named Eric, among the gods of their 
country. Anskar's ancient friends advised him to 
save his life by flight ; he succeeded however, 
using even gifts, in winning the king's favour, 
who promised to lay his petition before the people ; 
" for such is their custom," says the biographer 
and follower of An.skar, who accompanied him in 
this journey', " that all public affairs hinge more 
upon the concoi'dant will of the people than upon 
the power of the sovereign^". It was determined 
in the diet that by means of the sacred lots (a sort 
of oracle which Tacitus mentions), the old gods 
should be consulted respectmg the new faith. The 
answer is said to have turned out favourably to the 
request of the Christian teachers, and in the diet 
an old man stood up, and spoke to this eifect : 
" Hear me, king and people. Of this God it is not 

~ Compare Vita Anscharii. c. 24, and Vita Remberti, c. 9. 

3 Sic quippe apud eos nioris est, ut quodcunque negotium 
publicum niagis in populi unanima voluiitate, quam in regia 
consistat potestate. 

■* Formerly a famous staple, now a village {Wyk te Duer- 
stede), near Utrecht. (The Anglo-Saxon Willibrord, apostle 
of the Frisians, was appointed metropolitan of their country 

unknown, that he helps those who put their trust 
in him, a thing which many of us in the dangers of 
the sea and other perils have proved. Wherefore 
then should we reject what is needful and profit- 
able for us, or seek afar off that which is offered to 
us at home ? For some of our people, for the 
sake of this faith, have journeyed even to Dorstad *. 
Therefore do I advise that we should receive 
among us the servants of this God, who is mighty 
above all, and whose grace will stand us in good 
stead, if our own gods should prove unfavourable to 
us." When the people had given their consent, the 
king expressed his conciu'rence, yet with the con- 
dition that in the other part of his dominion (pro- 
bably the Goths), the matter should be proposed 
and approved by an assembled diet ; which was 
accordingly done, and the Christian teachers were 
permitted by a decree to reside and give instruc- 
tion in the country. A church was founded whilst 
Anskar remained, and after he had finally departed, 
he continvied, as long as he lived, to make provision 
for the supply of instructors to the Swedes. He in- 
culcated on them the maxim, to ask of no man's 
goods, but to labour with their own hands for sup- 
port, and he himself used to twist nets ^. Though 
simple and meek of heart, he was a man of lofty 
courage. His revenues he employed in the sup- 
port of the indigent and the ransom of captives, 
and he was generally surrounded by youth whom 
he had redeemed from slavery, and was instructing. 
He brought back with him from Sweden persons 
who had been thus dragged from their homes into 
thraldom, and his biographer mentions the emotion 
with which he restored to a mother the son of 
whom she had been robbed by Swedish freebooters. 
Among the neighbouring Saxons north of the 
Elbe ^, he abolished the shameful traffic in men, 
with which those so-called Christians defiled them- 
.selves. He regarded his dreams as prophetic, was 
full of reverence for the miracles of the saints, 
and was himself after death venerated as a saint ; 
but it was said of him while he lived, that " so good 
a man had never been seen on earth." That his 
own labours in Sweden were not barren of fruit, is 
proved by such examples as those of Hergeir and 
Fridburg ', and m all likelihood the sparks kindled 
by him were never entirely extinguished, although 
a century and a half elapsed before Sweden re- 
ceived a Christian king, and another period of the 
same duration passed away in the contest between 
Paganism and Christianity. 

After the death of Anskar in 865, no Christian 
teacher, his immediate successor Rimbert excepted, 
ventured during seventy years to Sweden ; and 
when after the expiring of this period Unne 
archbishop of Bremen came to Birca, where he 
died, the people seem to have relapsed into heathen- 
ism. At this time the king of Sweden is said to 
have been called Ring, who to the Icelanders is as 
little known as the Olave already mentioned ; yet 
the latter was powerful enough to win by arms a 
kingdom in Denmark for himself, and to transmit 
it to his sous *. This is the same Olave of whom 

by pope Sergius in 696, and received the castle of Utrecht 
for his arohiepiscopal seat from Charles Martel. SteLingard, 
History and Antiquities of the Anglo- Saxon Church, c. xiv. T.) 

5 Vita Anscharii, c. 30. 

6 The Nordelbingers. 

7 Vita Anscharii, c. 16, 17. 

P Ad. Brem. Hist. Eccles. i. c. 51, 40. 




Eric the Victorious. 

r A. D 

1 885— y; 


the life of Anskar relates, that he undertook an ex- 
pedition against the Curians who had thrown off 
the Swedish yoke, and I'educed their country again 
to pay tribute. Within this period also fall the 
conquests of the Swedisli king Eric Edmundson in 
the East, where he is said to have subjugated Finn- 
land, Carelia, Estland, and Courland (Kurland), 
which were in aftertimes called the old depen- 
dencies of Sweden ^. These statements coincide 
with Nestor's account of the foundation of Varan- 
gian rule iimong the Slavons and Finns. Thus 
these recollections illustrate each other, and stand 
in undoubted connexion. For although the names 
neither of Ruric nor his brothers are known to 
northern poetry, the sagas afford no exact catalogue 
of the Swedish kings, in a period when royal birth 
and a warlike retinue conferred the title on every 
leader, and the sea-kings swarmed in all waters. 

We find ourselves now in the middle of the 
ninth century, which forms in several respects a 
new epoch. The first seeds of Christianity in the 
north were sown amidst the tempest of the northern 
invasions, which at this time raged most fiercely, and 
made the conversion of the Northmen the common 
interest of all Christendom. The Danish monarchy 
was founded by Gorm, who united Denmark under 
one head. The royalty of the old Upsala kings, 
oi'iginally resting on their sacerdotal character, 
now appears more firmly established over both 
Swedes and Goths, for the jiowerful Eric Edmund- 
son is mentioned as the undisputed sovereign of 
both nations. Harald the Fair-haired, a descend- 
ant of the Yngling line which had been overthrown 
in Sweden, broke the power of the inferior princes 
in Norway, and first raised liimself to the master- 
dom over its entire territory. The new sway pro- 
duced an extensive emigration of malcontents and 
fugitives, one division of whom, under Rolf's com- 
mand, established themselves in Normandy, whence 
England was conquered and the thi-one of Naples 
erected. To Britain, Ireland, and the islands of 
the Western Sea, fresh bands of warlike adven- 
turers streamed forth upon the well-known track. 
Swedish Norrland received new settlers ; Iceland, 
one of whose discoverers was a Swede, and to 
which several sons of Swedish princes removed, 
was colonized, and the coasts of Greenland and 
North America were soon visited from this point 
by maritime adventurers. Among Icelandic fires 
and snows a new focus of northern poetry was 
kindled, while the number of contemporary wit- 
nesses from the time of Harald the Fair-haired 
imparts greater certitude to the testimony of the 
sagas. Snorro Sturleson^ who observes a long 
silence regarding Sweden subsequently to the fall 
of the Yngling line, now sometimes removes liis 
narrative to Swedish gi'ound, and for the his- 
tory of the north we begin to obtain a determi- 
nate chronology. Eric Edmundson, having sub- 
jected to his power that part of Norway which 
formerly made part of Ragnar's dominions, was 
stripped of it by Harald the Fair-haired, and con- 
tinued at war with him to his death for the posses- 
sion of Vermeland ; he died, says Snorro, when 
Harald had been for ten years sovereign of Nor- 
way. If we reckon from the year in which the 
latter acquired the whole of Norway ', the decease 
of Eric Edmimdson will fall in 885. 

9 Ska/tlander, tributary countries. 

He was succeeded by his son Biorn, whose whole 
history is contained in the honourable testimony 
which, eighty years after his death, the Speaker 
(Taleman) of the Swedish commonalty bore to his 
memory in the assembly of the general diet, that 
it had fared well with the realm of Sweden while 
king Biorn lived. He is surnamed the old, and as 
the Icelanders give him a reign of fifty years, we 
may conclude that he died in 935. Eric and Olave 
were his sons and successors ; since the foi-mer was 
alive in 993, they were probably in early youth at 
their father's demise. This is also the time in 
which Ring, with his sons, is said to have reigned 
over Sweden. As their names are not mentioned 
in the contest which afterwards arose within the 
royal family, he must either be placed as regent 
under the minority of the legitimate heii's to the 
throne, or both he and his sons belong to the cla-ss 
of petty kings which, notwithstanding the attempt 
of Ingiald to suppress them, we find long after- 
wards subsisting in Sweden. 

Eric and Olave, after they had assumed the 
government, reigned conjointly until the latter's 
death. He left a son who is known under the 
name of Styrbiorn the Strong. When the yonng 
prince had reached his twelfth year, he refused all 
further attendance at his uncle's board, and placed 
himself on the barrow wherein the ashes of his 
father were deposited, for a token that he chal- 
lenged his mheritance. Eric promised that upon 
attaining his sixteenth year, he should have pos- 
session of that part of the kingdom which fell to 
him by right ; meanwhile, as he did not cease to 
instigate his friends to revolt, sixty ships with their 
crews were given to him, that he might practise him- 
self in warlike and distant enterprizes. Thus fur- 
nished, Styrbiorn distinguished himself as a rover 
by the extent of his devastations, and became at 
length captain of Jomsburg, on the Pomeranian 
coast. This was the most notorious seat of the 
northern Vikings, forming a completely military 
republic, the constitution of which reminds us of 
the West Indian buccaneers of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. Thence he sailed with a great fleet to Swe- 
den, compelling Harald Gormson, king of Denmark, 
to attend him, who therefore afterwards abandoned 
him in the hour of danger. But Styrbiorn caused 
all his ships to be burned, in order to exclude every 
hope but that of victory, and marched towards 
Upsala. At Fyrisvall (a plain on the stream of 
Fyris, in the environs of Upsala), was fought the 
famous battle of three days' duration, which gave 
king Eric his surname of the Victorious. Styrbiorn 
sacrificed to Thor ; Eric went in the night to the 
temple of Odin, and devoted himself to the god, 
after an interval of ten years should have elapsed. 
Styrbiorn and almost all his followers fell in the 
conflict. When the victory was won, Eric ascended 
an eminence by Upsala, and made enquiry whether 
any man would recite an ode of triumph for a 
guerdon from the king's own hand. Then Thor- 
ward Hialteson stepped forward, poured forth the 
song, and received from his sovereign a golden 
ring. It is remarked that he endited no poetry 
either previously or subsequently ; but the two 
strophes rehearsed in the presence of the king and 
the army have been preserved to our own days ^. 

' On the year of the battle in Hafur's Firth, see Torfaeus, 
Hist. Norv. ii. 97. 
2 Thattr om Styrbjorn, in Miiller's Sagabibliothek. 

Olave, his sun, 
+ A u. 1024. 


League against 


The battle of Fyrisvall was fought in 983. The 
share which the Danisli king Harald Gormson, 
although against his own will, had taken in the 
contest, aftei'wards pi'oduced a war between Swe- 
den and Denmai'k, in consequence of which the son 
of Harald, Swen Fork-beard, was driven from his 
dominions, and Eric remained in possession of both 
kingdoms until his death ^. This sovereign was 
certainly one of the most powerful who governed 
Sweden during the heathen age, yet he remarked 
to an envoy from Norway, speaking of a rich pea- 
sant his subject, who had given shelter to a fugi- 
tive Norwegian princess ; " He is more powerful 
than I in many matters, and it was not long ago 
that he had more to say than I, when we were at 
strife *." Adam of Bremen also says, " The Swedes 
have kings of ancient lineage, but their power is 
dependent on the people. What these resolve is 
confirmed by the king ; sometimes, although re- 
luctantly, they renounce their own opinion for his. 
At home they pride themselves on their equality ; 
when they go into the field all obey the king." 
The first consi^rt of Eric the Victorious was Sigrid, 
named the High-minded, on account of her haughty 
disposition. Although the king separated from her, 
she continued to be a personage of importance, and 
her voice after his death was most potential. She 
contracted a new marriage with king Swen in 
Denmark, who through this alliance in the end 
recovered his father's kingdom. 

Olave, the son of Eric the Victorious by Sigrid, 
was, it is said, still an infant in his mother's lap 
when the people offered their homage, and thence 
received the surname of the Lap-king (skot-ko- 
nung) '. If this were so, the ceremony must have 
been performed during his father's life-time ; for 
the war in which Olof bore an active part shortly 
after his accession, proves that he was then no 
longer in his childhood. In Norway a great change 
had taken place. The dominion of Harald the Fair- 
haired was divided among his many sons, who de- 
stroyed each other in mutual contests. At length 
the Norwegian earl Haco invited over Harald 
Gormson, king of Denmark, who became the 
nominal ruler of the country, while Haco himself 
really exercised the supreme power. The boy 
Olave Tryggwason, saved in his mother's arms 
upon her flight from Norway, had meanwhile 
grown up to man's estate amidst many singular 
chances, and by his exploits in foreign lands had 
gained himself a great name for bravery and for- 
tune. He returned to Norway, overthrew the 
power of earl Haco, and preferred his claims to 
the crown as a descendant of Harald the Fair- 
haired. The earl was killed by his bondsmen ; his 
sons fled to Sweden, and found a protector in Olave 
the lap-king. About 995, Olave Tryggwason es- 
tablished himself on the Norwegian throne, though 
one portion of his subjects, dissatisfied with this 
revolution, as well as with the headlong zeal with 
which he sought to enforce Christianity, seem to 

3 Ad. Brem. ii. c. 21, 26, 27. 

< Olof Tryggvason's Saga. Stockholm, 1691, p. 11. 

'' Olave is said to have endowed the church with lands. 
His .surname lias also been referred to the verb skota, donare, 
from skot, sinus (because transference of property was ac- 
complished by delivering an armfull of turf), and would thus 
be explicable as the donor-king. T. 

6 Id. p. 170. 

~ Adam of Bremen was so informed by the Danish king 

have placed tliemselves under Swedish superiority ". 
This prince had been a suitor of the powerful 
queen Sigrid of Sweden, and had found greater 
favour in her eyes than his kinsman Harald 
Grenske, whom she caused to be seized and burned 
alive, in order, as she declared, to unteach the petty 
kings from their habits of wooing. But when he 
had obtained her consent, Olave demanded that she 
should receive baptism, and on her refusing, he 
struck her on the face with his glove, accompanying 
the act with insulting expression.s. " That will be 
thy death," exclaimed Sigrid, and she did not lose 
sight of her menace. She espoused afterwards, as 
already mentioned, king Swen of Denmark, whose 
sister was given in marriage to Olave Tryggwason. 
The latter some j'ears afterwards resolved upon 
an expedition against the Veneders, or Vandals, of 
Pomerania, at the desire of his wife, in order to 
win back domains she had formerly possessed in 
that territory. Sigrid now formed an alliance be- 
tween her husband king Swen of Denmark, her 
son king Olave of Sweden, and the sons of earl 
Haco, and a plan was laid to attack the Norwegian 
king on his return with their united forces. A 
great fleet under the command of the allied princes 
was assembled, his ships were unexpectedly sur- 
rounded, and after a desperate resistance over- 
powered. Olave himself, that he might not fall 
into the hands of his enemies, plunged into the sea, 
and was seen no more. The battle was fought near 
the isle of Swolder (probably Ruden) on the Pome- 
ranian coast, in the year 1000. Norway was divided 
among the conquerors, who invested the sons of earl 
Haco with the government of the largest portion. 

Olave the lap-king, it is said in the catalogue of 
sovereigns annexed to the old law of West Goth- 
land, was the first Christian monarch of Sweden, 
and was baptized in the well of Husaby in West 
Gothland by the holy bishop Sigfrid. Christian 
teachers had visited Sweden from time to time, 
some of them Danes sent by the archbishop of 
Bremen, others Englishmen, prompted by their 
own spontaneous zeal. Sigfeid was invited frojn 
England by Olave ; he had probably become in- 
clined to embrace Christianity during his stay in 
Denmark with his father, who had received bap- 
tism in that country, though he afterwards re- 
lapsed^. This missionary, the second apostle of 
the North, for next to Anskar Sigfrid deserves that 
name, devoted a long life to the preaching of Chris- 
tianity among the Swedes and Norsemen *, and 
died at a great age in the hundred of Verend in 
Smaland, where upon his arrival he had first 
planted the cross". Olave was bajitized before the 
year 1000. That he had become a Christian pre- 
viously to the battle of Swolder is plain from the 
statement of Adam of Bremen, that when Swen 
regained his kingdom by Olave's help, its resto- 
ration was accompanied by a covenant between the 
kings, whereby Swen, the former foe of Christianity, 
bound himself to the diffusion of the faith *. His 

Swen ; Hericum post susceptam Christianitatem denuo re- 
lapsum fuisse. 

S" Sigafridus, qui et apud Svedos et Nordmannos juxta 
praedicavit; isque duravit usque ad nostram setatem. Ibid. 
He lived, therefore, to the time of Adam of Bremen. 

9 Historia S. Sigfridi (written in 1205), Script. Rer. Suec. 
Medii Mw\, ii. 344. 

' Olaph, qui post obifum patris sui Herici regnum super 
Sueones accepit, cum exercitu supervenitns infelicem Svein 


St. Olave of Norway. 


Embassy from liim. 

sanguinary cruelty in England, where the long con- 
tinued ravages of the Danes had at hist led to the 
subjugation of the country, was little consonant 
with such a purpose. He maintained, however, 
a good understanding with the Swedes, of whom 
several are mentioned as taking part in the wars 
of England. When Swen's son Canute undertook 
his first ex])edition to England, Olave the lap-king 
was his ally, and foreign chronicles speak of a 
Swedish king who accompanied Canute, although 
his name is unknown to our domestic records 2. 

Hostilities with Norway, on the other hand, of 
long duration, embittered Olave's life and reign. 
Olave Haraldson, afterwards so well known under 
the name of the Saint, a descendant of Harald the 
Fair-haired, had like northern princes in general 
passed his youth in piratical expeditions. In the 
course of his career as a sea-rover he was led to 
Sweden ; and on one occasion, being blockaded by 
Olnve the lap-king in the Malar lake, he is said to 
have made his escape by excavating a new channel 
to the sea. After sharing in the English wars he 
returned to his country, drew together a party, 
assumed royalty, and put an end to the domination 
of the Swedes and Danes in Norway. Olave ot 
Sweden, too proud to yield, yet took no measures 
to secure his own frontiers, and the discontent of 
the people, roused by this negligence, at length 
broke out at the general diet in Upsala, where Nor- 
wegian envoys were in attendance under the escort 
of Kagwald, earl of the West Goths, to solicit 
peace and obtain a bride for the king of Norway at 
the Swedish court. We follow the chronicles of 
Sturleson in our relation of the event. 

In Sweden, says Snorro, it was the custom of 
the laud in the heathen times, that the great sa- 
crifice should be held at Upsala in the hornmg- 
month (February)*. This is the Ting, or great 
court of all the Swedes, when they sacrifice by 
their king for peace and victory, and it is likewise 
a fair and time of traffic. But after Christianity 
had come into Sweden, and the kings removed 
their seat from Upsala, a Ting and fair were still 
held there at Candlemas. The dominion of the 
Swedes embraces many provinces, and every one 
has its own court and its own law in many chap- 
ters, and every law has its judge (lagman), the 
chief among the yeomen. He answers for all, 
when the king, the earl, or tlie bishop holds a diet 
with the people ; him they all follow, so that the 
great ones hardly dare to betake themselves to the 
court without the consent of the judge and the pea- 
sants. The chief justicer in Sweden is the lagman 
of Tiundaland ; he was now called Thorgny ; a 
name which, as well as the office itself, had long 
remained in his family. He was reckoned the 
wisest man in Sweden, and was foster-father of 
earl Ragwald, whcretVire the earl first repaired to 
him with the Norse envoys. They came to his 
estate, on which were large and pleasant mansions. 
In the chamber sat an old man on the high seat, 
whose like for tallness they had never seen ; his 
beard reached down so far that it lay on his knees. 

iterum a regno expulit et Daniam obtinuit. Restituitque 
eum Olaph in regnum suum, eo quod matrem Euam habuerit 
uxorem. Fecerunt(|ue pactum ad invicem firmissimuni, 
ut christianitatem in regno sue plantatam retinerent et in 
extcras nationes efTundereiit. Ad. Brcm. ii. c. 29. 

2 Ann. lOH. Svanus Tyrannus post innumerabilia et 
crudelia mala qua vel in Anglia vel in aliis terris gesserat, 

This was Thorgny : the earl stepped before him 
and greeted him, was well entertained, and after a 
while mentioned the business on which he and the 
envoys had come, at the same time expressing their 
fears lest the king should receive them ungraciously, 
seeing that Olave the la])-king would never hear 
Olave the Norseman sjjoken of. Thorgny an- 
swered, " Strangely ye comport yourselves, ye that 
bear the Tignar name. Wherefore didst thou not 
bethink thee ere thou camest on this journey, that 
thou Wert not strong enough to speak to our king 
Olave ? To me therefore it seemeth not less 
honourable to belong to the peasants, and to have 
freedom of speech even when the king is near." 
He accompanied the ambassadors to the great folk- 
mote at Upsala. The first day wlien the diet sat, 
they saw there king Olave on his chair, and all his 
court around him. Overagainst him on the other 
side of the diet sat earl Ragwald and Thorgny on a 
bench, surrounded by the followers of the earl and 
Thorgny's serving men ; behind stood the common 
sort in a ring, some upon the barrows that lay by, 
to see and hear how all befel. Now, after the 
king's affairs, as the usage was, had first been dis- 
cussed in the mote, one of the Norse messengers 
stood up and preferred his request with a loud 
voice ; but the king sprang from his seat in wrath, 
and broke off" his speech. Earl Ragwald declared, 
in the name of the West Goths, the same desire for 
a reconciliation with the Norsemen, but he met 
with no better a reception. Thereupon was deep 
silence for a while. At last Thorgny rose, and with 
him rose all the peasants, and there was a great din 
of arms and tumult in the crowd. When audience 
was granted, Thorgny thus spi ke : "The kings of 
the Swedes are now otherwise minded than once 
they were. Thorgny, my grandsire, well remem- 
bered Eric Edmundson king in Upsala, and was 
wont to tell of him, that while he was in his prime 
he marched every summer to the war, and sub- 
dued to his dominion Finland, Kyrialand, Eslh- 
land, Kurland, and the eastern countries far and 
wide, where are yet to be seen earthen walls and 
other large works of his. Yet did he never deal so 
haughtily, that he would not endure discourse from 
those who had aught to propound to him. My 
father Thorgny was near king Biorn a long time, 
and therefore knew his manner well ; in his time 
things went prosperously with the realm, for there 
was no dearth, and he was affable to his people. I 
myself freshly remember king Eric the Victorious, 
for I was with him in many of his enterprises. He 
augmented the Swedish dominion, and warded it 
stoutly, yet was it easy to come to speech with him. 
But this king who is now, will let none speak with 
him, and will hear nought but w'hat is pleasing to 
himself, which indeed he presses with all heat. 
His tributary lands he lets slip from him by his 
carelessness, and yet would he rule over Norway, a 
thing that no king of the Swedes before him has 
coveted, for which many must live in unpeace. 
Wherefore we peasants will, that thou, king Olave, 

miserabill morte vitam finivit. Simeon Dunelmensis, in 
Twysden Hist. Ang. Script. Sveno tumulato Chnutus filius 
magna cum classe, addiictis secum Lachiman rege Suecorum 
et Olao rege Noricorum, Tliamisiam intravit. Leges Ed- 
wardi, and the chronicle following, in Wilkins. This Lachi- 
man was perhaps a Swedish lagman. 

2 (Goje-manad, the month when the deer shed their horns, 
corresponding to the hornung of the Germans. T.) 


King Anund Jacob. 


sliKuIdst make up thy quarrel with Norway's king, 
and give him tliy daughter Ingegerd in marriage. 
If thou wilt win back those lands in the East which 
belonged to thy kinsmen and parents, we will 
attend thee thither. But if thou heed not our 
words, we will set upon and slay thee, and will not 
suffer lawlessness and trouble at thy hands. For 
so did our fathers before us ; they threw five kings 
into a well, that were puffed up with arrogance hke 
thee. Now say forthwith what thou wilt choose." 
Then a great clashing of arms again resounded 
from the people. But the king rose up and granted 
their prayer, adding, that so the kings of Sweden 
had ever done, in taking counsel of the peasants. 

Breach of his promise on the king's part, had 
well nigh produced the consequences threatened in 
this speech. The peasants were already assem- 
bled, and deliberating upon the king's dethrone- 
ment, because he had broken the decree of the great 
Folkmote (allsharjardom). The Lawman of the 
West Goths contended that they should renounce 
for ever the old line of princes. Certain chiefs of 
the Upper Swedes, who had remained true to 
Olave, turned this circumstance to the advantage 
of his cause. They conferred with their fellows, 
and said, " If the matter have gone so far that 
Olave, the son of Eric the Victorious, must be de- 
prived of the kingship, then it seemeth to us that 
we Upper Swedes should have most to say thereto ; 
for so it has ever been, that what the chiefs of the 
Upper Swedes have determined among themselves, 
the inhabitants of the other provinces have con- 
sented to, and our ancestors never needed to take 
counsel of the West Goths as to who should bear 
rule in the realm of Sweden." Thereupon they led 
forth the king's young son among the people. He 
had been named Jacob at his baptism, which pleased 
the Swedes ill, for never, said they, had there been 
a king of Sweden called Jacob. Now they gave him 
the name of Anund, and took him to be their king, 
stipulating that he should stand upon the rights of 
the peasants, if his father would not comply with 
their desires ; for the old king was still continued 
in the government, on condition that he should 
fulfil his engagement. Ingegerd, however, the 
daughter of the Swedish king promised to Nor- 
way, had already been married to the Russian 
grand duke Jaroslav *, and her sister Astrid 
had, although against her father's wishes, given 
her hand to the Norwegian king. It remained 
only to conclude peace, which was arranged at a 
personal interview of the two sovereigns at Kung- 
hall. Two years afterwards died Olave the lap- 
king, as the sagas state, when Olave Haraldson had 
been for seven years king of Norway, which fixes 
the date of the former's death in 1024. He had 
ceded Denmark to his stepfather, and was obliged 
to transfer his conquests in Norway to his son-in- 
law ; he was also reproached with having allowed 
the eastern dependencies of Sweden to be lost. On 
the other hand the Norwegian settlers in Jemt- 
land and Helsiagland submitted themselves to the 
superiority of Sweden. Olave the lap-king, al- 
though a Chiistian, yet loved the old heathen poesy. 
Not less than four Scalds are mentioned as residing 

^ Her monument still exists in the churcli of St. Sophia at 
Novogorod, with an inscription wliich states 105) as the year 
of her death, though itself more recent. Anund Jacob was 
her full brother; Astrid, her half-sister, being born of a 
Veneriian mother. 

at his court, and an account is preserved of a poeti- 
tical contest which took place between two of them 
in the king's presence. 

Anund Jacob was now sole ruler ; what is known of 
his reign chiefiy relates to the share he took in the 
affairs of Norway and Denmark. He was the faith- 
ful confederate of his brother-in-law Olave of Nor- 
way,and defended him against the powerful Canute, 
now lord both of Denmark and England, who had not 
abandoned his claims on Norway. These were the 
more dangerous, as Olave's violent zeal for Christi- 
anity, and his rigorous punishment of the Norwegian 
pirates, who plundered even their own coasts, had 
created many enemies. He was obliged at length 
to flee from his kingdom, of which Canute took pos- 
session, and he only returned from Russia and 
Sweden to lose his life in battle against his former 
subjects at Stiklarstad, — though he was afterwards 
revered by them, m common with the whole North, 
as a saint. His son Magnus the Good was re- 
called from Russia where he had been educated, 
ascended with Swedish aid the throne of his father, 
and became at last, after many and singular vicis- 
situdes of fortune, king of Denmark, on the death 
of Canute and his sons. Of the family of the latter 
monarch Swen only now survived, the son of his 
sister Estrid, who remained long in Sweden, and 
received support from that country in his j)reten- 
sions on Denmark, which were at length admitted 
upon the death of Magnus. 

Adam of Bremen knew Anund Jacob from the 
account of Swen Estridson, and remarks of him, 
that no prince was ever so loved by the people of 
Sweden. Yet the old catalogue of kings in the 
law of West-Gothland declares that he was severe 
in his judgments. He was surnamed Kolbranna, 
because he burned down the houses of malefactors, 
a penalty, which both in the north and among the 
Normans of France, was attached to such offences 
as entailed the outlawry or banishment of the crimi- 
nals '. The year of his death is not known with 
certainty, though it is evident that he was alive 
after 1036, in which it is placed by various later 
annalists, from a misapprehension of a passage in 
the sagas. Adam of Bremen states that king 
Anund died in Sweden, after the sons of Earl God- 
win had reached their highest power in England, 
while king Edward retained only the name of 
sovereignty. The peace by which Godwin and his 
sons compelled that prince to replace them again 
in their former dignities was concluded in 1052, 
and in the following year their father died ^. With- 
in this limit falls also the end of Anund Jacob's 
reign and life. 

Edmund, surnamed Gamnial (the old), because 
he did not become king till late in life, succeeded 
his brother. Although he was the elder of the 
two, his brother had been preferred to him as being 
of nobler birth ; Edmund, on the other hand, was 
born of a mother taken captive in war, the daughter 
of a Venedic chieftain, who is called the king's hand- 
maid. Edmund was brought up among foreigners 
by the relatives of his mother, and gave himself 
little solicitude about Christianity '. Dearths vexed 
the land in his days, a calamity for which the 

^ Du Fresne, Glossarium, v. Condemnare. 

5 Simeon Dunelmensis ad ann. 1052. The " Historia Ar- 
chiepiscoporum Bremensium" gives 1051 as the year of 
Anund Jacob's death. 

7 Saga of St. Olave, c. 89. 



Effects of the religious 


Stenkil cliosen bj' the West- 
Goths ; + A. D. 1060. 

Swedes vvei'e wont to hold their khigs responsible. 
The Catalogue of Kings already referred to styles him 
the bad (slemme), and charges him with harshness 
and avarice *. To him also our chronicles attri- 
bute the disgrace of agreeing to a boundary by 
which Scania, Halland, and Bleking, were severed 
from the Swedish dominion. The last province was 
an ancient possession ; the two former had been 
conquered by Eric the victorious ". Edmund's 
reign was short, says the api)endix to the Hervarar 
saga ; in his time the Swedes observed Christianity 
ill, and after his death the kingdom passed from 
the old royal family. He had a son named Anund, 
lost in an expedition against the Quens, who are 
said, by poisoning their wells, to have cut off the 
whole army sent against them. 

When Edmund died is unknown. He was the 
twelfth aud last in succession of those old Upsala 
kings who descended from Sigurd Ring on the male 
side, and whose dynasty is styled the line of the 
Upper Swedes ; " sacred to the gods *, and revered 
belore all others in the northern lands, because 
they descended from the gods themselves ;" " and 
long had they guarded the race, (said a Pagan coun- 
cillor of Olave the lap-king,) although many had 
now fallen away from the old beliefs." 

Every new doctrine bears in itself the seeds of 
strife, and that which is pre-eminently the religion 
of peace had doubtless to contend with the greatest 
obstacles in the north. By its influence was first 
abolished that condition of incessant war with all 
the world, which had its roots so deep in the habits 
of northern life, that the long fostered elements 
of evil, hitherto turned in an external direc- 
tion, now spent themselves in a domestic field of 
action, generating civil discord and war. Chris- 
tianity, besides, dissolved the effective bond of the 
old social institutions. Olave the lap-king, as being 
a Christian, refused to be styled Upsala king ^, be- 
cause this title denoted a guardian of the Pagan 
sacrifices ; he therefore lost all consideration among 
the Upper Swedes, who were still mostly heathens. 
On the other hand the new title of Swede- king ap- 
pears to have displeased the Goths, among whom 
the Christians were most numerous. The long- 
continued hostilities with Olave of Norway led to 
an outbreak of this discontent. It was the justi- 
ciary of West-Gothland, who at the assembly of 
the people m Upsala ventured to propose that the 
old dynasty should be set aside, and who when he 
could not induce them to consent exclaimed, " Ye 
of Upper Sweden have for this time the control of 
the decision ; yet I say to you, and the future will 
show it, that those who will now hear of nought 
else than that the kingship should remain in the 
old line, will Uve to see the day when it shall pass 
with their own consent to another race ; and this 
will have a happier issue." The fulfilment of this 

8 So too Adam of Bremen; Edmund GamalPessimus. See 
]. Hi. c. ir. 

9 The account of the boundary line which is inserted in 
the law of West-Gothland, makes him, however, contem- 
porary at the time of the transaction with Swen Fork-Beard, 
king of Denmark, which would refer it to the time of Olave 
the lap-king, unless this Swen was confounded with Swen 
Estridson. The so-called bull of Pope Agapetus of 954, 
adopting and confirming this boundary, but with many 
blunders, is manifestly a fabrication. 

prediction now presents itself to our observation, 
and the new dynasty is of Westgothic origin. 

Stenkil, who was now raised to the throne, was, 
however, related through several channels to the 
old line of kings. His father Ragwald, earl of 
West-Gothland, was cousin of Olave the lap-king. 
Stenkil himself was son-in-law of Anund Jacob, 
and step-son of Edmund the old. Earl Ragwald 
had been twice married ; first to Ingeborg, sister 
of king Olave Tryggwason, by whom he had two 
sons, Ulf and Eilif, mentioned as leaders in the 
war between king Anund Jacob and Canute the 
Great, in Deimiark ; afterwards to Astrid, a dame 
of royal birth in Norwegian Halogaland, who bore 
to him a son named Stenkil, and contracted a sub- 
sequent alliance with king Edmund Gammal. Sten- 
kil, who is styled a powerful and far descended earl 
in Suithiod, had already shown himself during the 
reign of his predecessor a zealous Christian. His 
election to the crown is the first sign of the undis- 
puted preponderance of the Christian party ; thus 
too the expression in the old Table of Kings, that 
" he held the West Goths dear before all the other 
men of his realm," and that " the West Goths re- 
joiced in him as long as he lived," evinces by what 
part of the country this preponderance was main- 
tained. West-Gothland had been the chief seat of 
Christianity since the time of Olave the lap-king. 
Here this sovereign received baptism, and founded 
in Skara the first episcopal see. When the hea- 
thens demanded that he should clioose some pro- 
vmce of Sweden, whichsoever he preferred, for the 
exercise of his religion, and leave theirs on the 
other hand unmolested, forcing no man to be a 
Christian, he selected West-Gothland. By ad- 
hering throughout to the observance of this cove- 
nant, Stenkil in like manner maintained him- 
self on the throne. Olave had already meditated 
destroying the old temple at Upsala, but he was 
withheld from his design by the above-mentioned 
decree. When the Christian teachers now again 
insisted on the mea-sure, Stenkil answered them, 
that the only consequence of complying with their 
request would be for them death, and for himself the 
loss of his kingdom ; his subjects would expel him 
as one who had brought malefactors into the land, 
and heathenism would anew become dominant *. 
The contextshowsthatit was chiefly the inhabitants 
of Upper Sweden who excited these apprehensions ; 
since we are told that the same teachers, Adelward, 
bishop of Skara, and Egino, bishop of Lund, had 
destroyed the idols everywhere among the Goths 
without incurring any danger. It is also worthy 
of remark, that Goths alone are mentioned as 
taking part in the otherwise unimportant war with 
the Norwegians under this king's reign. Stenkil, 
it is said, died at the same time as the Norwegian 
king Harald Hardrada (hard-ruler) fell in Eng- 
land 5, which happened in 1066, shortly before 
William the Conqueror became master of England 
by the battle of Hastings. 

' So the race of Ivar, their ancestor on the maternal side, 
is termed in Hyndla's song in the elder Edda. 

2 Ad. Brem. iii. 17. Saga of St. Olave, 96. Olave the lap- 
king reckoned himself the tenth of this dynasty. Ibid. 71. 

^ According to the appendix to the Hervarar Saga, Olave 
changed his title into that of Swede king (Sveakonung). 

'' Ad Brem. 

■'' Appendix to Hervarar Saga. Saga of M-.gnus Barefoot, 
c. 13. 




Civil wars of Pagans 
and Christians. 


Reign of Inge. Trou 
bias in Swedeland. 


A great civil war now broke out in Sweden. 
" After the death of that most Christian king Sten- 
kil," says Adam of Bremen, " two kings, both bear- 
ing the name of Eric, contended for the throne, and 
in the war between them, all the chief men among 
the Swedes, and the kings themselves, are said to 
have fallen. When in this way the royal house 
had become extinct, the condition of .the realm was 
so utterly changed, and the Christians were so mo- 
lested, that from fear of persecution no bishops 
dared to enter Sweden. Only the bishop of Sca- 
nia directed the congregations of the faithful in 
Gothland." A single Swedish chief is mentioned as 
a defender of Christianity. This is the sole account 
preserved to us of these intestine commotions, and 
it deserves the more attention, as proceeding 
from almost the only contemporary witness to 
whom we can appeal for the events of those times. 
Who these contending princes were that drew down 
with them in their fall the chief men of Sweden, 
no other source informs us. They belonged to the 
old reigning family, as we may infer from the 
statement, that with them the royal lineage became 
extinct ; for thiscaimot apply to the house of Sten- 
kil, since he left two sons, both of whom afterwards 
filled the throne. We observe here the first vio- 
lent outbreak of those civil wars, often subsequently 
renewed, and extending over a long period, but 
which both in the motives immediately producing 
them, and in their progress, are but imperfectly 
known to us. The great general causes, however, 
lie before our eyes ; in them was fought the last 
struggle between heathenism and Christianity ; in 
them, after the federal association founded on the 
ancient religion was dissolved, the rival peoples 
combated for predominance. That this was a war 
waged between the Pagans and the Christians is 
proved by the sufferings which the Christians are 
said to have undergoue, but it appears also to have 
been a contest against the new sovereign house. 
Another nearly contemporaneous account informs 
us, that when the contending princes had perished 
in their mutual hostility, both the sons of Stenkil, 
one after the other, were raised to the throne, and 
expelled therefrom, after which a king named 
Haco was chosen *'. 

This Haco is also mentioned after Stenkil by 
Snorro Sturleson. The old Table of Kings in the 
Westgothic Law, on the contrary, assigns him a 
place before Stenkil, and names him Haco the Red, 
but communicates no other particulars of his 
history, than that he had been king for thirteen 
winters, and that he died in West- Gothland at the 
place of his birth. He probably possessed the 
name and dignity of king in this province during 
the period when the remainder of the country was 
torn by civil discord, for both these troubles and 
the thirteen years' reign of Haco fall between 1 066 
and 1081. The first is the year of Stenkil's demise ; 
in the latter we already find his sons Inge and 
Halstan reigning conjointly ; for they are doubt- 
less the same " kmgs of the West Goths" whom 

« The Scholiast on Adam of Bremen, iv. 15. He calls 
them Halstein and Anunder, which latter must mean Inge- 
munder, as Inge the elder was sometimes named. This 
writer states himself to have been a contemporary of that 

7 Celse, Apparatus ad Hist. Sviog. Sectio Prima Bullarii, 
p. 2.3. 

8 Karamsin, after Nestor. 

Pope Gregory VII. in a rescript of this date, ex- 
horts to protection of the Christians, and submission 
towards the Church ^. 

Inge, who is also called Ingemunder and 
Anunder, is said to have been invited over from 
Russia. In the course of more than two centuries 
from the foundation of the Russian empire by the 
Varangians, both the Russian and Scandinavian 
annals contain manifold proofs of the closeness of 
the ties which connected our forefathers with 
Russia. About 980, in the reign of Eric the victo- 
rious, the Russian grand-duke Vladimir (in the 
sagas Valdemar) the Great, sought and obtained 
help beyond the sea among the Varangians, and if 
any further proof were required that these Russian 
Varangians are the same who in the nortli, from 
their service in the imperial body-guard at Constan- 
tinople, were called Vterings, it would be found in 
the fact that Vladimir, designing after his object 
had been attained to rid himself of his dangerous 
auxiliaries, induced them to repair to Constanti- 
nople, at the same time requesting the Greek 
emperor not to permit their return to Russia'. 
With the assistance of the Varangians, Vladimir's 
son Jaroslav afterwards consolidated his power, 
and chose for his bride a princess of their nation, 
the daughter of Olave of Sweden. She was accom- 
panied to Russia by Earl Ragwald, father of king 
Stenkil. Ragwald and his son Earl Eilif are both 
mentioned among the chiefs of the Russians, and 
with them Inge, who was now called to the throne, 
passed a portion of his youth ^. 

Soon after the accession of this prince, discon- 
tents broke out anew in Upper Sweden. It is 
stated in the appendix to the Hervarar saga, " Inge 
was son of Stenkil, and the Swedes took him next 
for their king^. His reign lasted a longtime ; he 
was blessed in his friends, and was a good Chris- 
tian. He abolished the sacrifices in Suithiod, and 
enjoined that all folk should be christened, yet the 
Swedes put great trust in their heathen gods, and 
held firm to their old customs. They deemed that 
Ingd violated the old law of the land, because he 
annulled much that kuig Stenkil had allowed to 
subsist. ' At a diet which the Swedes held with 
Ing^, they proposed to him two alternatives, either 
to follow the old law or to abdicate the kingship. 
Inge answered and said, that he would not reject 
the faith which was the truest. Then the Swedes 
raised a cry, pelted him with stones, and drove him 
out of the diet. Swen, the king's brother-in-law, 
the most powerful man in Suithiod, remained be- 
hind him in the meeting. He offered the Swedes 
to maintain the sacrifices, if they would grant him 
the kingship, and to this they all consented. Then 
Swen was made king over all Suithiod. A horse 
was led forward in the assembly, cut in pieces, and 
divided for the sacrificial feast, and the tree of 
victims (the idol) was besprinkled with the blood. 
Then all the Swedes again rejected Christianity, 
began to sacrifice, and drove out Inge, who re- 
paired to West- Gothland. Blot Swen^ was for 
three winters king over the Swedes. Thereafter 

5 Saga of St. Olave, c. 95. Saga of Harald Hardrada, c. 2. 

1 This narrative, which ends with the sons of Halstan, 
and was probably written not long after these occurrences, 
knows of no king Haco, although the sagas occasionally 
mention him as successor of Stenkil. He was probably 
never acknowledged by the Swedes. 

* Blot Swen, from bMa, to sacrifice. 


Hostilities with Norway. 
Masjiius Barefoot. 


A Danish prince chosen 
by the \Vest-Goths. 



Inge marched with his household-men and an 
army, altliough but small in number, eastwards to 
Smalaud, thence to East-Gothland, and so on to 
Suithiod. He marched continually day and night, 
and came unexpectedly upon Swen one morning, 
surrounded the house, set tire thereto, and burned 
all that were within. Swen came forth and was 
there slain. Then Inge again recovered the king- 
ship over the Swedes, and raised up the Christians 
anew, governing the realm to his latest day, and 
dying a natiu'al death. Halstein was also son of 
Stenkil, and was king together with his brother 
Inge." It is doubtless by this relation that more 
recent historians liave been induced to ascribe to 
the king the destruction of the idol temple in 
Upsala, altliough of this old writers say nothing. 

Inge waged war with the Norwegian king, Mag- 
nus Barefoot'', who claimed the land between the 
Vener lake, the (iota river and the sea, as be- 
longing to Norway, and obliged him to abandon 
tliis pretension. At a personal conference of the 
three Scandian sovereigns (Eric Eiegod of Den- 
mark was also present), held in Konghall in the 
year 1101, a peace was concluded*. This reconci- 
liation was strengthened by the marriage of Mag- 
nus with Inge''s daughter Margaret, who thence 
received the surname of Fridkulla (the maid of 
peace). Another of his daughters was married to 
a Russian grand-duke *. To what period his life 
was'prolonged is not known ^. Probablj' the defec- 
tion of the Jemtelanders to Norway in the year 
1111, would not have been left unpunished if it 
had occurred under his reign. The sagas cele- 
brate him as a gracious and mighty king, the 
strongest and tallest of men. The Upper Swedes 
rose in rebellion against him, alleging as their 
grievance that he did not keep to the old law of 
the land. The West Goths allege that he ruled 
over Sweden with rigorous hand, but never vio- 
lated the laws observed in each individual pro- 
vince '. The testimonies of Pagans and Christians 
differ upon this point. His brother Halstan sur- 
vived him, and was succeeded by his own sons, 
whence it is probable that the son whom some 
accounts give to Inge died before him. 

The sons of Halstan, who reigned conjointly after 
their father and uncle, were called Philip and Ingo, 
but have left to history little beside their names. 
The former died in 1118"; the year of the latter's 
decease is unknown, but in i 129 he had already a 
successor. That conspii-acies were formed against 
him may be concluded from the manner of his 
death. He expired of poison, " brought to his end 
by an ill draught." He was the last of his house 
on the male side, and with him the progeny of 
Stenkil became extinct, of whicli the Table of Kings 
in the Westgothic law attests that it had ever 
gone well with the realm of Sweden so long as this 
family reigned. 

3 So named because in his wars in Scotland he adopted 
the garb of the Scottish Hifrhlanilers. 

■1 See the Chronology to the third volume of the Sagas of 
the Kings, Copenhagen edition. 

5 Mistislav. The sagas call hira Ilirald. The Russian 
annals inform us that his wife Christina died ii\ 1122. 

o His tombstone in the Abbey Churcli of Warnhem in 
West-Gothland, which invents a date for his death, in 1064, 
is of a much more recent period. 

7 Table of Kings, W. L. 

s Are Frode, Scheda^. 

In the royal house of Denmark there still existed 
descendants of this line on the female side, through 
Margaret Fi'idkuUa, daughter of Ingo the elder, 
who after a long and childless wedlock with the 
Norwegian sovereign, her first husband, married 
Nils Swenson, king of Denmark, and bore him a 
son called Magnus. This prince, of traitorous 
memory, by the hereditary estates of his mother, 
and his descent from the family of Stenkil, ac- 
quired in West-Gothland influence sufficient to 
procure his election to the throne upon the death 
of Inge', a choice which incensed in the highest 
degree the people' of Upper Sweden. Saxo, who 
wrote towards the end of the same century, and 
whose testimony respecting these times is perfectly 
trustworthy, sa} s ^ ; " The Goths, venturing to offer 
the supreme power to Magnus, and passing over 
the Swedes, who alone possessed the right of con- 
ferring it, attempted to raise their own importance 
at the expense of the prerogative of their neigh- 
bours. But the Swedes, despising this usurpation, 
did not suffer their own privilege to be diminished 
by the envy of an inferior people. Fixing their 
gaze on the shadow of their ancient power, they 
declared the title of king, prematurely usurped, to 
be invalid, and themselves elected a new sovereign 
who was forthwith slain by the Goths, and by his 
death left the kingship open to Magnus." Who 
this sovereign was, the old catalogues inform us ; 
they mention after Ingo a king Ragwald, surnamed 
Short-head (Knaphoide), of whom they remark, 
that he came audaciously and arrogantly to the 
diet of the West Goths, without receiving their 
hostages, and not as the law prescribed, and there- 
fore they slew him for the disrespect he had shown 
to the nation. This befel in the year 1129 ^ He 
was a son of Olave Naskoimng, who himself appears 
as king in some catalogues, and thus, notwith- 
standing the power of Stenkil's family, must have 
governed independently some portion of the king- 
dom. The Danish prince appears hardly to have 
reached the threshold of his reign ; he murdered 
in 1131 his cousin Canute Laward^, who was vene- 
rated as a saint after death, and fell three years 
afterwards in the civil war which this homicide 
produced in Denmark. But in 1133 a new election 
had already taken place in Sweden, by which 
SwERKER was called to the throne. 

By the conversion of Blot-Swen's family to Chris- 
tianity the Pagans had now lost the last su])port of 
their cause. This prince, set up by them as the 
antagonist of Ingo the elder, had a son named Kol, 
who, notwithstanding the disastrous fate of his 
father, obtained after some time the sovereignty 
of Upper Sweden ; for he is mentioned as king, 
with the remark that the Swedes styled him " happy 
in harvests," to denote the plenty which they en- 
joyed under his reign. He is said to have become 
a Christian in his old age, and to have died in East- 

9 L. xiii. 

' Of the two dates, 1130 and 1139, given for this event, the 
latter is, beyond doubt, an error ot the pen for 1129. 

" Laward is lord (Hlaford, Anglo-Sax.). Canute was son 
of Eric Eiegod (the good), duke of Sleswick, and king or 
prince of the Obotrites, or Slavons of Wagria. Magnus wa.s 
jealous of his designs, real or pretended, on tlie Danish 
crown. His son was afterwards Valdemar I. of Denmark, 
called the Great. See Dahlmann, History of Denmark, i. 
218—228. Trans. 

A. D. J 


Choice and fate of 
King Swerker. 

ESTABLISHMENT OF CHRISTIANITY. ^'- H'i''iwi%'l!fil? ''^ 43 

the Upper Swedes. 

Gothland ' ; and according to the most probable 
accounts, he was the father of Swerker, whom the 
East Goths, moved by tliefearof havnig a foreigner 
to rule them, first raised to the throne *. The 
West Goths delayed to acknowledge him, and wei-e 
for some time without a king, for we are told that 
after the death of Ragwald, " the justiciary and the 
chief men of the districts governed West-Gothland 
well, and were all faithful to their charge." The 
first monasteries in Sweden were founded in the 
time of king Swerker ; the oldest were Alvastra, 
Nydala, and Warnhem. Monks of Clairvaux in 
France were sent tiiither by St. Bernard, who had at 
first to contend with great difficulties ^. A Romish 
legate, the Cai'dinal Nicolaus Albanensis, who 
himself subsequently filled the papal chair under 
the name of Adrian IV., visited the North at this 
period, and arrived in Sweden in 1 152 ®. Upon 
this occasion, the contribution to the see of Rome 
linown by the name of St. Peter's pence was esta- 
blished, and prohibitions were issued against the 
universal and constant practice of carrying arms. 
The legate designed to erect an archbishopric in 
Sweden, as he had already done in Norway (in 
Denmai'k one had been established, at Lund, since 
1103) ; but a quarrel arising between the Swedes 
and Goths, who disagreed both as to the person 
and the place, obliged him to postpone the measure '. 
Swerker was an unwarlike king, yet he lived to see 
many troubles in his old age. His son John, who 
had made himself by his excesses an object of 
hatred, and had occasioned hostilities with Den- 
mark, fell a victini to popular indignation. King 
Swerker was assassinated by his groom while on 
his way to church, upon Christmas day, 1155. 

We are now arrived at the times of St. Eric, the 
first sovereign who saw Christianity firmly esta- 
blished in Upper Sweden, and may cast a glance 
retrospectively upon its slow progress. Regular 
ministers were first appointed in Gothland, where 
episcopal sees were speedily erected in Skara and 
Linkoping. The measures previously taken for 
the diffusion of Christianity in Swe(leland, were 
confined to Birca and its environs. While Chris- 
tianity had attained ascendancy in Gothland, the 
old sacrifices were still continued for a long time in 
Upsala, and the first Christians were compelled to 
purchase exemption from the obligation of attending 
at their performance and contributing to their sup- 
port *. ("onformably to a public decree, both re- 
ligions liad been recognized by law since the time 

3 The parish church of Kaga is said, according to a tradi- 
tion in the neighbourhood, to have been built by him. He 
is also named Kornuba, or Kornike, which latter is mani- 
festly a corruption of koinrike, corn-rich. 

•1 Saxo. 

s Compare Langebek, S. R. D. iv. 458. 

5 This was Nicholas Breakspeare, the English pope. T. 

? Saxo, 1. xiv. 

8 Ad. Brem. de Situ Dan. 

9 " At this time were found in Swedeland many heathens 
and bad Christians ; for there were some kings who rejected 
Christianity and maintained the sacrifices, as Jilot-Swen 
and Eric Aorsell." Keinisk. Saga of Sigurd the Pilgrim, c. 27 

' It was not in the spirit of Catholicism to destroy the old 
idol-houses; on the contrary, Pope Gregory the Great, at 
the introduction of Christianity into England, enjoined "that 
the temples should not be demolished, but consecrated and 
turned into Christian churches, after the idols were broken." 
Henr. Huntingdon, Hist. 1. iii. 

of Olave ; the same edict remained in force under 
his sons, and even Steiikil found himself obliged to 
observe its provisions. This peace, or truce of long 
duration, terminated in the civil war which followed 
his death, and the change in the relations of parties, 
appears clearly from the attempt of Ingo the elder 
to abolish the sacrifices, the ensuing revolt of the 
Swedes, and the election by the heathens of counter- 

These commotions extended to Gothland and the 
rest of the Nnrth. Sigurd, king of Norway, and 
Nils of Denmark, had concerted in 1123 a crusade 
against the heathens of Sraaland, which however 
was only carried into execution by the former ; and 
the Danish prince Magnus Nilson, the same who 
afterwards procured himself to be chosen king of 
the Goths, boasted of plundering a temple con- 
secrated to Thor, among the islets of the coast of 
Swedeland, whence the Swedish Pagans held him 
in abhorrence as a robber of sanctuaries. Mean- 
while Christianity was advancing among them 
through detached efforts of individual zeal, and 
almost every province of Sweden had its own 
apostle. Thus the Westmanlanders reverenced St. 
David, the Sudermanians St. Botwid and St. Askill, 
the Norrlauders St. Stephen. Most of them were 
English, and all those we have mentioned, except- 
ing the first, died the death of martyrs. Gradually 
the sacrifices were abolished, and Christian churches 
sprang up in the former seats of idolatry'. The 
festivals of heathenism were replaced by those of 
Christianity, observed about the same periods as 
the former ^ ; and when at last the old Folklands, 
which had been the chief stronghold of Paganism, 
embraced the faith of the gospel, they retained 
their old prerogatives under the new religion, and 
elected a Christian monarch, to whom both divi- 
sions of the kingdom paid obedience. Thus it came 
to pass that the Upper Swedes " placed in the 
royal chair of Upsala" Eric, called after his death 
the Saint, although the Eastgothlanders chose for 
their king Charles the son of Swerker. 

Eric's father was called Edward, " a good and 
wealthy yeoman," says the old Swedish chronicle^ ; 
his mother Cecilia was sister of Eric, already men- 
tioned as reigning in Swedeland. He was himself 
married to Christina, daughter of the younger Ingo, 
or as others state, the grand-daughter of Ingo the 
elder. Three things did holy king Eric endeavour — 
says the old legend — to build churches and reform 
religion, to govern the people as law and justice 
pointed out, and to overcome the enemies of his 
faith and realm. The establishment of Christianity 

2 It is related of Sigurd Thorson, a rich Norwegian, that 
"he had the custom, while heathenism existed, of keeping 
three sacrifices every year; one at the commencement of 
winter, the second in mid-winter, and the third towards 
summer. But after he had embraced Christianity, he pre- 
served the custom of giving entertainments. In harvest he 
kept with his friends a harvest-home, in winter a Christmas 
revel, and the third feast he held at Easter ; and many guests 
were gathered at his board." Saga of St. Olave, c. 123. 
Haco the Good of Norway had removed the pagan Yule, 
formerly observed as midwinter's night (midwmtersnatten), 
called also hawk's night (hokenatten), and kept at the be- 
ginning of February, according to the Harvarar Saga, to the 
catholic Christmas. Saga of Haco. c. 15. Candlemas, cele- 
brated at the time of the old winter sacrifice, is still called 
in some provinces I,ittle Yule. 

3 Script, rer. Suec. i. 246. 

. . Crusade in Finland. Eric's 
*■* death and character. 


Charles Swerkerson. State 
of the Swedish church. 

C A. r. 

J Iiei— C7. 

in Upper Sweden was undoubtedly his work. Be- 
fore him there were, even at Upsala, neither priests 
nor a conveniently built house for the congre- 
gation, wherefore he first applied himself to com- 
plete the Church " now called Old Upsala, and 
appointed clerks for the ministry of the altar*." 
An old table of kings denominates him the Law- 
giver, and the rights of Swedish matrons to the 
place of honour and housewifedoni, to lock and 
key, to the lialf of the mai-riage-bed, and the legal 
third of the property, as the law of Upland ex- 
presses it, are said to have been conferred by the 
law of St. Eric. Against the heathens of Finland, 
whose piracies harassed the Swedish coast, he 
undertook a crusade, and by introducing Chi-isti- 
auity, as also probably by transplanting Swedish 
colonists thither, he laid the foundation of the con- 
nection which so long subsistsd between Sweden 
and that country. St. Henry, the first bishop of 
Upsala, of whose active exertions in propagating 
Christianity history has preserved some record, 
accompanied the king on this expedition ; he was 
the first apostle of the Finns, and suffered at their 
hands the death of a martyr. At last, Eric was 
unexpectedly beleaguered in Upsala by the Danish 
prince Magnus Henryson, during the celebration of 
divine service. The king heard the mass out, and 
marched against tlte enemy. After a short but 
valiant resistance he fell dead covered with wounds, 
at East Aros, the present Upsala, on the 18th of 
May, 1160. His virtues, and the austerity of his 
life, procured him after death the reputation of 
a saint. He was reverenced as the Protector of 
Sweden ; his banner waved in the field to en- 
courage the Swedes in battle with the enemies of 
the realm ; the anniversary of his death was kept 
sacred throughout all the provinces ; the town of 
Stockholm bears his effigy on its arms, and the 
cathedral of Upsala still preserves his relics, once 
the objects of veneration. By the Church he was 
never canonized, although a hundred years after 
his death, the papacy, informed of the homage 
which the people continued to pay to his memory, 
exhorted the devout to make pilgrimages to his 
tomb. The Romish court, however, was far from 
being well-inclined to him at a period nearer his 
own, for in a papal rescript of 1208 his family is 
represented as having violently usurped the crown, 
to the injury of the house of Swerker, its legitimate 
owners. The old accounts unanimously assign him 
a reign of ten years ; he was therefoi-e raised to 
the crown in 1150, five years before the death of 
Swerker. His sovereignty at first extended only 
over Sweden Proper ; indeed he was acknowledged 
but for a time in Gothland, whose inhabitants liad 
nominated Charles Swerkerson. The latter is said 
to have held real possession of the government for 
two years before the death of St. Eric *, and is even 
accused of having been a party to the plot against 

The Danish prince Magnus Henryson was de- 
scended from Stenkil by his mother, who was 

•< Life of St. Eric, ibid. ii. 273. From the account of his 
death, it appears that he also built a church at East Aros, or 
the present Upsala. 

s Chronica Erici Olai. 

" Saxo, 1. xiv. 

' Margaret marned the Norwegian king Sverre in 1185. 

s Liljegren, Swenskt Diplomatariuni, p. 95. 

9 In a letter from Pope Alexander III. in IICI. 

daughter of the elder Ingo's son, and was thereby a 
coparcener of those hereditary estates in West- 
Gothland devolving on the Danish royal family, 
which accoi'ding to Saxo were the source of so 
mvich strife. It is expressly said that Magnus 
claimed the throne as his inheritance in right of 
his mother, and that he obtained a powerful native 
party of supporters. If we consider that he al- 
ready possessed by his descent the strongest claim 
on the attachment of the West Goths, and that the 
latter had once before called a Danish prince to the 
crown upon a like occasion, we shall probably con- 
clude that this was the last attempt at the restora- 
tion of the Westgothic dynasty. Magnus Henry- 
son, who is charged with having been privy to the 
murder of the old king Swerker ^, was in effect 
elected, and the Westgothic catalogue of kings 
mentions him as the fourteenth Christian sovereign 
of Sweden. He was not long allowed to remain in 
the enjoyment of his new dignity ; the people re- 
volted, and Charles Swerkerson also turning his 
arms against him, he was defeated and slain in the 
year 1161. Canute, son of St. Eric, was con- 
strained to flee into Norway, where two of his 
sisters afterwards married ' ; he had a brother 
named Philip * of whom nothing is known. 

Charles Swerkerson is the first whom we find 
mentioned as king of the Swedes and Goths ^ ; he 
is hkewise, so far as is known, the first Swedish 
king who bore the name of Charles. In the fabu- 
lous and partly invented list of sovereigns of early 
ages given by Joannes Magnus, Charles Swerker- 
son was made the seventh of his name among 
Swedish kings, a computation which usage after- 
wards sanctioned ' . During the reign of Charles was 
established, in 1 163, the archbishopric of Upsala. Bi- 
shops of Skai-a, Lmkbping, Strengnas, Westeras, and 
shortly afterwards of Wexio and Abo, are mentioned 
as suffragans of his see ; and he was himself subor- 
dinate to the archbishop of Lund, who bore the title 
of Primate of Sweden. This precedence, however, 
was afterwards brought into question, and finally 
abrogated. Papal briefs to the archbishops and 
their suffragans begin now to throw some light on 
the condition of the Swedish Church. Complaints are 
made that secular persons, at their own caprice or 
for money, and without the consent of the spiritual 
authorities, often ordained as priests runaway 
monks, homicides, or other malefactors ; that they 
embezzled the revenues of the churches, especially 
during the vacancy of benefices, and even broke 
open and plundered the sacred buildings ; that 
they cited the cleigy to appear before secular tri- 
bunals, subjecting them to the ordeals of battle, 
red hot iron, or boiling water, and if they refused 
to obey the summons, burning down their houses. 
Repeated mention of these remonstrances shows 
that the disorders complained of long continued. 
Bequests to the Church, in particular, furnished in- 
cessant matter of dispute. Pope Alexander III. 
had himself enacted that no man should be allowed 
in this way to dispose of his whole property, but only, 

1 Just as St. Eric is styled Eric IX., although this is in 
some measure defensible, if we include all the heathen kings 
of this name in the calculation. He was himself the first 
Christian king of the name, whence his grandson is called in 
the old chronologies and catalogues Ericus Secundiis, and 
his son again, Eric Ericson, actually entitles himself Ericus 

A. D. 



Renewal of the troubles. 
Feud of Eljaras. 


Swerker II. 
Eric Canuteson. 


if he chose, of the main portidii ; the heirs de- 
manded that no part should be allowed to be 
alienated without their consent. PajTnent of tithe 
was enjoined, and we find it introduced before the 
end of the century, yet complaints were still made 
in ]'232 that it was withheld by the peasants at 
pleasure. The Christian ceremony of wedlock was 
yet far from being in general use ; marriages 
were contracted and dissolved after the barbarous 
fashion of the Pagans, and the heathen practice of 
exposing children had not yet ceased. We observe 
too that the first monks tilled their fields with their 
own hands ; that they introduced horticulture, 
constructed water-mills, boiled salt, and opened 
mines. To build bridges and level roads were 
looked upon as works beseeming good Christians, 
and in these the bishops set the example. 

Charles SwERKERSoNjwho is said to have governed 
the realm sagaciously and with good intent, was 
slain in 1167 on the isle of Vising ^ by Canute, son 
of St. Eric, who returned from Norway after a 
three years' exile. A civil war ensued, in which 
Kol and Burislev, sons of the brother of Charles, 
were raised " one after the other to be kings against 
Canute ; but he overcame and slew them both. 
It may certainly be presumed that Canute had 
with him the men of Upland, who chose his father 
to be king, and the followers of Charles who opposed 
him, had on their side the East Goths, and pei'haps 
several other provinces." Such are the expres- 
sions employed by Olave Peterson * respecting 
these intestine troubles. In the Westgothic cata- 
logue of kings it is said of Canute Ericson, that he 
had won Sweden with the sword, bereft three kings 
of life, and fought many battles before he possessed 
the realm in quiet ; afterwards he proved a good 
king, and reigned twenty-three years. These how- 
ever are not to be reckoned from the death of 
Charles Swerkerson, but from the end of the civil 
war, which therefore lasted five years ; for king 
Canute Ericson died, according to the most credible 
accounts, in the autumn of the year llOS*. By a 
Swedish wife he had four sons. 

Although the king had previously to his death 
caused his subjects to pay homage to one of his 
sons as his successor elect *, yet Swerker II., son 
of Charles, who was carried while a child at his 
father's death to Denmark, where he obtained pro- 
tection, was now raised to the throne. In the 
fourth year of his reign (1200), this sovereign ex- 
empted the clergy from suit to the temporal courts, 
and freed the estates of the church from all ser- 
vices due to the crown. Under the year 1205, the 
short chronologies, which are for the most part the 
only sources for the history of this peiiod, make 
mention of the so-called massacre of Eljaras in 
West-Gothland, at which all the sons of Canute 
Ericson, except one who -escaped by flight, were 
put to death. Some writers denominate this trans- 
action the "feud of Eljaras." A papal brief of 
1208 contains an account of the event, fi'om which 
it appears that, the sons of Canute having revolted 
against Swerker, three of them had lost their lives 
in one encounter, while the fourth fled, but re- 

2 In the southern part of lake Wetter, in Gothland. T. 
^ Or Olaus Petri, the chronicler. T. 

•> A letter of this king of the year 1199, quoted by Lager- 
bring, has demonstrably an incorrect date. 
5 Celse, BuUarium, p. 45. 
c Saga of K. Inge Bardson, c. 20. 

turning after some interval, succeeded in expelling 
the king from his throne. Swerker took refuge in 
Denmark, whence he brought back an army to aid 
him in asserting his rights, but after an utter 
defeat at Lena in West-Gothland in the year 1208, 
he saw himself again compelled to flee. The me- 
mory of this bloody engagement was long preserved, 
and in the neighbourhood of the field of battle it is 
not j'ct forgotten ; children's children, says the 
Swedish chronicle, yet spoke of the deeds done 
that day. A Norwegian account represents the 
spirit of Odin as present (for the last time) in this 
conflict ^. Monkish verses celebrate the victory as 
won over a doubly superior number of Danes. An 
old Danish ballad asserts that the preponderance of 
force was on the Swedish side, and that of eight 
thousand men who marched out of Denmark only 
five and fifty returned, representing the combat 
likewise as one of a civil war, in which the nearest 
kinsmen bore arms against each other. The gain- 
ing of the victory is ascribed to the peasants of 
Upland ; and a Swedish chronicle informs us, that 
the Upper Swedes were animated by a profound 
haired of Swerker, on account of the fate which 
had befallen the sons of king Canute '. Gothic 
records, on the contrary, attest that the memory of 
Swerker held a high place in tlie popular affec- 
tions*. He made a fresh attempt to regain the 
crown, but fell in another battle which was fought 
atGestibren in the same province in the year 1210, 
it is said by the hands of his own kinsmen, the 
Folkungers. His second wife Ingrid was of this 
powerful family, a daughter of the earl of Swede- 
land, Birger Brossa. By her Swerker had two 
children, Helen (whose abduction from the convent 
of Vreta an old Swedish song describes), and John, 
who at his father's death was still of tender years. 

Eric Canuteson had resided during his exile with 
his kinsmen in Norway, and succeeded to the go- 
vernment by his victory over his competitor. He 
essayed to invest liis office with new sanctity, for 
he is the first Swedish sovereign who is mentioned 
as having been crowned. That he augmented the 
privileges of tlie clergy we learn from his charter 
to the monastei-y of Risberg in 1212, empowering 
the convent to receive from its vassals the royal 
share in the amercements fixed by law for offences. 
A reconciliation with Denmark was solemnized by 
a marriage between Eric and Rikissa, sister of the 
Danish monarch, Waldemar II. Sweden was still 
deficient in many of the conveniences of life which 
had already been introduced into Denmark. The 
Danish princess, arrived on the coast of Sweden, 
complained that she must climb on horseback, and 
could not have, as in her father's country, a car 
and a driver ; but the Swedish dames, we are told, 
made answer ; " Ye shall bring us no Jutish cus- 
toms here ^." Eric Canuteson, who from the abun- 
dant harvests which marked the seven years of 
his peaceful reign, is called a good harvest-king, 
died in 1216, his son Eric being born after the 
father's death. 

The Swedish prelates and magnates now elected 
John son of Swerker, called the young or the pious. 

" Chronica Erici Olai. 

8 Table of Kings in the Westgothic Law. 

9 See the popular song referred to this time in Peder Syv, 
p. 212. (The name Jutes, Juta, pron. Yutar, seems to be n 
mere variation of Gtitar, Goths, pronounced Yotar. T.) 


Kric Ericson. Results 
of the civil war. 


Papal legate aiipointed. f a. d. 
Disorders of the clergy. { 1216 — 48. 

to fill the tlirone, though he was still a child. On 
his coronation-day he freed the estates and property 
of the churches from contribution to the crown, 
and granted to the bishops the right of levying all 
fines from the peasants holding land of the church. 
These privileges he confirmed iu 1219, the third 
year of his reign, by a special brief setting forth as 
his ground, that ' since our first father's transgres- 
sion, all human memory is frail and perishable 
without the undying evidence of letters.' Against 
the election of the Swedes king Waldemar appealed 
to the papal chair, alleging the hereditary right of 
his nephew, the young prince Eric, to the throne, 
in preference to John '. On the other side, the 
princes of Swerker's family style themselves in 
their letters hereditary kings of the dominion of 
Sweden 2. Considering tiie frequent civil wars, 
which only died away because the competitors 
were of too tender age to appear in person at the 
head of their followers, it is impossible to suppose 
that in the so-called partition of the kingdom be- 
tween the houses of Swerker and Eric, there was 
any other compact between the parties than what 
might be extorted by arms, and written in cha- 
racters of blood. 

After John, the last of Swerker's lineage, had 
died in 1222, the young Eric Ericson, called "the 
halt and the lisper," w^as in fact raised to the 
throne, which, however, was scarcely to prove 
a more tranquil possession, although the family 
which had so long struggled with his had now 
descended to the tomb. 

The contests between the Gothic and Swedish 
ruling houses had gradually effaced the old generic 
diversities among the population. At the same 
time they powerfully contributed to elevate the 
magnates of the country at the expense of the 
kingly power, and one circumstance which marks 
their growing importance is, that in papal briefs 
they are separately addressed as the lords and 
princes of Sweden *. One family in particular at- 
tained great influence in affairs, that of the Folk- 
UNGERS. Their ancestry ascended into the heathen 
times ; they were nearly related to all the three 
royal houses of the north, and had held the rank of 
Earl of Sweden since the days of Birger Brossa, 
who died in 1202 ; for this ancient princely dignity 
had now become the chief office at coiu't, and 
thereby also in the government of the country. Its 
holder, who is called Earl of the Swedes, Earl of the 
Swedes and Goths ^, Duke of Sweden by the grace 
of God *, is named in the public documents next in 
order after the king, and was destined, like a simi- 
lar high officer among the Franks in former times, 
speedily to usurp the power and place of the 
sovereign. Canute Johanson, called the Long, a 
member of this family, espoused the king's sister, 
and was powerful enough, both from natural en- 
dowments and the alliances he had formed, to 
assert claims to the throne against a sovereign yet 
in his minority. Old wTiters denominate him the 

1 Celse, Bullarium, .56. 

2 So king Swerker II. entitles himself; Ego Swerco, filius 
Caroli regis, rex Sweorum, ejusdem regni monarchiam, Dei 

] gratia, hereditario jure assecutus. 

3 Proceres Svethia;, Magnates, Principes. 

•• Dux Sveorum — dux Sveorum et Gothorum. 
5 In a Swedish charter of 1248. 

^ The records have Olustrom and Alvastrum, wliich are 
manifestly the same. 

Folkunger king ; he took up arms, and with him, 
says the Rhyme Chronicle, " all the rout of the Fol- 
kungs ;" and he in effect filled the throne from the 
fight of Alvastra" in 1229, which compelled the 
young king to flee into Denmark, till 12.H4, when 
the victory of Sparfatra (near Upsala), won by the 
king's party after his return, ended the power of 
the usurper with his life. Eric recovered his 
crown upon his rival's death, although his in- 
fluence in the government was really less than that 
of the Folkunger Ulf Fasi ', who had already been 
earl under his kinsman Canute, and retained the 
office under Eric. Holmgeir, son of Canute, fled 
to Gestricland, and held his ground against the 
king in the northern portion of the country. So 
late as 1248, a papal legate who visited Sweden in 
that year speaks of intestine war between the king 
and the magnates as continuing, and the conflict 
was brought to an end at this time partly through 
the mediation of the legate himself , after the revolter 
Holmgeir (who is nevertheless reckoned among 
Swedish saints), had been made prisoner and 

This papal legate was the Cardinal William, 
bishop of Sabina, who had repaired thither to settle 
ecclesiastical affairs. The fii'st laws of the Swedish 
Church were framed in the republican spirit which 
reigned in the old political constitution, therein not 
at ail contravening the usages of elder Catholicism, 
before the hierarchy, swelling in greatness, demanded 
the separation of the Chxrrch from the state ^. In 
Sweden tiie priest was an officer of the people, 
elected by them with the consent of the bishop, 
who was himself chosen by the voices of the faith- 
ful, and inducted into his office by the king, who 
delivered to him the crosier and ring. But if the 
Church was thus more closely incorpoi-ated with 
the state, her members from this very cause took 
in times of violence a more prominent share iu the 
disorders of the temporal commonwealth. There- 
fore, when the popes make complaints of the " un- 
tamed hardness" of the people of Sweden, these 
in effect apply not less to the clergy themselves 
than to the laity. We find the former as well as 
the latter charged with homicide, outrages, dis- 
orderly and vicious lives. Priests, who were bound 
to keep aloof from the secular tribunals, appeared 
in the diets to plead as advocates for others ^ ; in- 
stead of husbanding the property of the Church, they 
appropriated it to their own use, and transmitted 
it as a heritage to their children, whence the sons 
of priests often made solicitation, and with success, 
to be appointed to their fathers' office. From the 
scarcity of preachers, little strictness could be 
exercised in their selection. While the upper pai't 
of the kingdom had too few churches, their number 
in West-Gothland was already so large, that in 
1234 the junction of the smaller pai'ishes was 
decreed i. For their privilege of contractiug 
marriage the Swedish priesthood appealed to an 

" Compare the Saga of Haco Hakanson, c. 259. 

>* Aniiquiores canones habent, quod consensus honorati- 
orum in civitate requircndus et admittendus sit in electioni- 
bus episcoporum. Disputatum est de illo canone acriter 
postea. Celse, Bullarium, 37. 

9 This was forbidden under the penalty of excommunica- 
tion by a brief of Pope Gregory IX., in 1234, to the bishop of 

' Diplomatarium Suec. 

A, D. 

Measures of the legate. 
Synod of Skenninge. 


Birger, Earl of Sweden. 
The king's death. 


old papal grace ^. In the Scanian revolt of 1180, 
it was one of the demands of the peasants, that 
their priests should be allowed to mari'y. Those 
of the clergy whose marriages were not connived at, 
generally formed instead irregular connections ; 
and if the bishops were zealous against all this, we 
find the priests on the other hand entering into 
bonds to pay no obi'dience to their mandates, and 
imposing penalties on those who should not make 
common cause with their colleagues in this respect. 
Remonstrances were also made by the minor clergy 
as to the burden of the expensive episcopal visita- 
tions, as well as the disagreements between the 
various classes of the spiritualty ; for great ani- 
mosity prevailed among the secular priesthood 
against the monks, of whom the numbers in 
Sweden were now augmented by the introduction 
of the Franciscans and Dominicans, or the so-called 
Gray and Black Friars. 

At the Synod convoked by the Cardinal at Sken- 
ninge in 1248, which was also attended by the earl 
and several temporal lords, marriage was forbidden 
to the Swedish clergy on penalty of excommunica- 
tion, and abolished ; the study of the canon law 
also was enjoined, and in conformity to its rules 
every episcopal election was to be managed by the 
chapter, all laical interference being excluded. To 
this end, in all cathedral churches which did not 
already possess them, capitular bodies were to be 
formed. As is generally the case, the execution of 
the law did not correspond to its letter. Ten years 
afterwards we still hear the complaint, that the 
ordinance respecting chapters had had no results ; 
these were, however, gradually founded, and the 
prebends endowed with revenues. How the pro- 
hibition of clerical marriages was obeyed, may be 
inferred from the circumstance, that for a long time 
after the synod of Skenninge, the provincial laws 
retained their enactments regarding inheritances by 
sons of priests and bishojis. In consequence of 
this prohibition also a papal bull was issued, by 
which the penalties against irregular connections 
of cler'gymen were mitigated. 

Earl BiRGER the younger, elevated to this dignity 
in 1248, and like his predecessor Ulf a Folkunger, 
was manned to the sister of king Eric. The gi-eat- 
ness of his power is attested by the words of the 
papal legate ; " By him is this land wholly go- 
verned." After the synod of Skenninge, measures 
were taken for the restoration of harmony with 
Norway, which had been for a long time back dis- 
turbed by the frequent interference of the Vernie- 
landers in the Norwegian troubles, and a Norse 
inroad thereby provoked. The earl next put him- 
self at the head of a crusade against the Tavasters 
of Finland, who had relapsed into Paganism, 
practising the most horrid cruelties against the 
Christians residing in that country, and often an- 
noying the Swedish coasts in conjunction with the 
Carelians and Esthonians. Birger subdued the 
Tavasters, and compelled them to embrace Chris- 
tianity ; he also founded the castle of Tavasteborg, 
and transplanted Christian settlers into the country. 
To him is ascribed the location of the Swedish 
colony in East Bothnia, as that in Nyland is to St. 
Eric. The Rhyme Chronicle asserts that Tavast- 
land, now become Christian, had formerly been 
subject to Russia. It is certain that the Swedes 
made an incursion into Russia shortly before or 
during this war ^ ; but they were driven back, as 
the Russian annals tell us, by the grand duke 
Alexander Newsky. He is alleged to have wounded 
Birger in the battle *, wherein the earl's son, per- 
haps his natural son Guttorm, is said to have been 
also pi'esent. 

King Eric Ericson died on the 2nd February, 
1250 ; a grave and righteous prince, say the old 
writers, but little versed in martial exercises. He 
had been married since 1243 to Catherine, whose 
parents were the Folkunger Sune Folkerson, and a 
daughter of Swerker II. ; but she gave her husband 
no heirs, and after his death entered a cloister. A 
hundred yeai-s after St. Erie had been chosen king, 
his line upon the Swedish throne became extuict 
with Eric Ericson *. 



earl birger and his sons. 


A. D. 1250— 1303. 


The accession of the powerful family now elevated 
to the throne betokens a new epoch, as well for the 
authority of the crown as the power of the aris- 
tocracy. Both gained increase of strength at the 
cost of the people, agreeing themselves in but one 
object, that of curbing the mass into obedience ; 
hence an age of absoluteness for the powerful, is 
also one of legislation for the' people. This legisla- 
tion, taken literally, shows the old fedei'ative system 
confirmed by the kings, but above its level two 
privileged classes are created, raised beyond the 

2 The pope alleged that he knew nothing of it. 

3 The pope's letters exhort to crusades as well against the 
Tavasters, who had apostatized from Christianity, as against 

law in their most important representatives, and 
usurping the place of the people in council and in 
the transaction of public affairs. At the same 
time, the contests which formerly divided the peo- 
ple are now transferred to a higher grade, and 
waged between their legislators. These remind us 
of builders who, when they have reared some lofty 
fabric, precipitate each other from its walls. 

Laws associated with such recollections, how- 
ever, are not the only memorials which this age 
has transmitted to us. The great Rhyme Chro- 

the unbelieving Russians, to whose assaults the Christians 
of Finland were exposed. 

•1 Compare Karamsin. 

^ Chronica Erici Olai. 


Choice of Waldemar. 
Discontent of Birger. 


Revolt of liis kinsmen. 
Its suppression. 

5 A. D. 

1 1250— i 


nicle, the main source for the history of Sweden 
during the latter period of the middle age, begins 
with the revolt of the I'olkungers against king 
Erie Ericson. It is the production of several writers 
nearly contemporary with the events it describes, 
though for the most part unknown by name, of 
whom the oldest lived about the year 1319. The 
best treatise of morals or politics which the Swe- 
dish middle age affords, upon " the government of 
kings and princes ^," was also composed under this 
dynasty. The autlior, who is imknown, had pro- 
bably like many of his countrymen in this age 
studied at Paris ', where the dissertation of ALg\- 
dius Romanus *, composed it is said for Philip the 
Fair of France, afforded him a model, although 
his work has much that is peculiar to itself. He 
seems to have written under a king who was still 
in childhood, and probably under the minority of 
Magnus Ericson. He is by no means zealous, 
though himself in all likelihood a clergyman, for 
the ascendancy of the church in temporal affairs ; 
and seems to have learned from the dangers of an 
elective monarchy and the tyraimy of an unbridled 
oligarchy, to advocate a hereditary throne and a 
kingly power foi-tified by the law and the people. 
The language is admirable for its olden simplicity 
and force, and its antique character affords the best 
proof of the authenticity of the work. Tlie great 
GusTAvus Adolphus, by whose order the book was 
first published, valued it so highly that he desired 
it to be used for the instruction of his daughter, and 
designed to introduce it as a text book in the public 
schools. From this age also have come down the 
greatest number of our old popular ballads. It was 
the age of knighthood in Sweden ; the romances of 
chivalry now found their way to the North, and 
there are copies of some existing in the Swedish 
language, of which the German and French ori- 
ginals are lost '. 

Earl Birger, who in the last days of Eric Ei'icson 
was already the real possessor of supreme power, 
was absent on his crusade against the Finlanders, 
when the throne became vacant. It was suddenly 
filled by the election of the earl's eldest son, young 
Waldemar, brought about chiefly through the influ- 
ence of the lord Ivar Bhi of Griineborg, a powerful 
baron, whose object in this expedient seems to have 
been to avert a civil war. To elevate Waldemar to 
the throne was to deliver the government into his 
father's hands ; yet Birger, having returned with 
his army, manifested no small dissatisfiiction, and 
demanded in wrath who it was that had dared to 
appoint a king ? " That have I dared," was lord 
Ivar's answer ; "and if thou rest not content here- 
with, we know right well where stands a king." The 
earl was silent for a while, and at last exclaimed, 
" Whom then would you have to be lung 1" " Under 
this mantle of mine," Ivar replied, "a king might 
well enough be found at need." With that earl 
Birger was fain to be content, and Waldemar, yet 

6 Um Styrilse Konunga ock Hbfdinga. First published by 
Joh. Bureus, 1634. 

' A letter of John, archbishop of Upsala, in 1291, contains 
instructions for the Swedes studying in Paris, who inhabited 
a particular house in that city bequeathed for their use, and 
received a fund for their support from the tithes of the see 
of Upsala. 

8 Peregimineprinripum. ,The edition I have used, Leyden, 
12mo. 1630, is published under the name of Thomas Aquinas. 

" As for example, the Swedish Saga of Theodoric of Berne 

a child, who with his brother was under the care of 
a preceptor, was crowned at Linkoping in 1251. 

They, whose rivalry for'power the earl had really 
to dread, were his own kinsmen. In those times, it 
is said, the Folkungers were powerful for every ill 
deed, and roamed through the land with their armed j 
bands, like robbers rather than nobles '. The 
sagas of the Norwegian kings inform us, that great 
dissensions were produced in Svv'eden by the elec- 
tion which had been made, because there were 
sevei'al claimants who regarded themselves as 
having an equal title to the crown. The heads of 
the malcontents were Philip, son of the Folkunger 
king, overthrown under the former reign ; Canute, 
son of the powerful Magnus Brok, by a daughter of 
king Eric Canuteson ; another Philip, the chief 
abettor of Holmgeir, who was beheaded in 1248 by 
order of earl Birger ; lastly, the young and brave 
Charles Ulfson, whose father had been earl of Swe- 
den before Birger. These were all Folkungers, 
and the first-named two were also pretenders to the 
crown ; the last is termed the most powerful of 
Birger's enemies, although he took no part in the 
revolt of his kinsmen. Philip and Canute sought 
foreign assistance, first unsuccessfully in Norway, 
next with better fortune in Denmark and German}-. 
Thence they returned with levies of troops, and 
made a descent on Upper Sweden, where probably 
the greatest number of their partisans was to be 
found, as especial mention is made of the Up- 
landers in their army. The earl met them at 
Herrevad's Bridge in Westmanland, and proffered 
peace and reconcilement. The insurgent leaders 
crossed the bridge unarmed to hold a conference 
for the purpose of adjusting terms of agreement, 
but Birger had them seized, and caused them to be 
immediately beheaded. This is the accoimt of the 
Rhyme Chronicle, with which the sagas of Norway 
agree, adding that the earl, for this deed, had to 
bear much blame ^. Tidings of it were brought to 
Charles Ulfson in Norway, whither he had con- 
ducted Birger's daughter to be the bride of king 
Haco's eldest son. Dreading on his return home 
that he might fall a victim to the machinations of 
the earl, he quitted the kingdom, and fell in a cru- 
sade against the Lithuanians. From this time no 
man in Sweden dared to rise against earl Birger. 
In 1255, the earl solicited and obtained per- 
mission from the pope to confer u]3on his other 
sons as well as Waldemar the government of cer- 
tain portions of the kingdom, which, as is said, had 
legally devolved upon him as duke of the Swedes. 
His design in this was to exalt his family above all 
other competitors ; but while he succeeded in this, 
he also threw the torch of discord into his own 
house. His first consort, mother of four sons, 
whose dissensions broke out over their father's 
grave, had died in 1254. Birger contracted a 
second marriage with Matilda, widow of the 
fratricide king Abel of Denmark, where he had 
also chosen a wife for his son in the daughter of 
the murdered king Eric Plowpenny ^. Waldemar 

(distinct from the Icelandic), and the poetical roraaunt, 
" Duke Frederic of Normandy," published in the Journal 
Iduna, Nos. 9 and 10. 

' Rhyme Chronicle. Joannes Magnus Goth. Sueonumque 

- Saga of K. Haco Hakanson, c. 269. 

3 (Plogpenning. So called, orfi??ridinm, from ataxorgavel 
imposed by him upon every plougliland. T.* 



— 7y. I 

Foundation of Stockholm. 
Death of Earl Birger. 


Dethronement of 


was distinguished for the beauty of his person, and 
was now in liis twentieth year ; his nuptials with 
the Danish princess Sophia were solemnized with 
great pomp at Jenkoeping in 12(52. At this time 
earl Birger made the law, that a sister should 
inherit half as much as a brother *, for before this 
time the daughter only inherited wlien there was 
no son ; in other cases the law said, " cap, come in ; 
hood, begone '." By him was also introduced the 
general land's-peace, called Edsore, because " it 
was confirmed by the oath of the king, and all the 
principal men of the realm ^." By this covenant 
was guaranteed under sevei'e penalties, the peace 
of the domestic hearth, of women, of churches, of 
courts of justice, and the exercise of irregular 
revenge was forbidden, for the power of the law 
did not yet extend further. Whosoever broke the 
pact, was to be proclaimed throughout the kingdom 
as having lost his peace ; he forfeited all that he 
possessed " above ground," and was not allowed to 
atone for his transgression by fine without the 
intercession of the complainant. To earl Birger's 
legislation appertains also the abolition of the 
ordeal by red-hot iron as a legal proof, and the 
interdiction of gift-thralls (gaftralar), as those were 
called who had voluntarily given themselves up to 
servitude, with several other ordinances, which the 
Law of East-Gothland more especially has pre- 

The foundation of the town of Stockholm has 
also been ascribed to Birger, although a settlement 
had been in progress upon this site since the de- 
struction of Sigtuua by the Finnish pirates in 1187. 
The little island lying between the two outlets of 
lake Malar, which contained the first town, was 
now fortified ' for defence against the piratical in- 
cursions of the Finns. These were still so formid- 
able in this age, that a papal bull of the year 1259 
exhorted the kings of Sweden and Denmark to 
make a joint effort to check the ravages of the 
pirates on the Swedish coast. Stockholm was a 
castle before the Malar, says the Rhyme Chronicle; 
its earliest author enumerates seven towns upon 
the banks of that lake, and the rise of these is also 
attested by several commercial treaties. With 
Lubeck and Hamburg reciprocal freedom of trade 
was established, which was not long afterwards 
extended to Riga. In the renewed treaty wdth 
Lubeck, reference is made to the alliance which 
had already subsisted between Sweden and the 
German towns since king Canute Ericson's time. 
Birger sought also to form connections with Eng- 
land. In the disputes of Denmai-k and Norway 
his mediation was received with defei-ence, and he 
afforded shelter in his court to a Russian grand 
duke *. Eai'l Birger, king without the name, the 
last and most powerful of the earls of Sweden, died 
on the 21st of October, (a. d. 1266,) lamented after 
his death, whatever blame might have attached to 

1 This was called "to inherit by the new law." East- 
Gothland Law, Aerf. B. f. 2. 

5 The law of East-Gothland uses this form of words, to 
express the preference given to males in the rights of in- 

6 So king Magnus Ladulas expresses himself in the con- 
firmation of his father's peace-laws. Edsore means oath. 

^ " With towers and walls," says Olave Peterson. But the 
walls were of wood, as were those with which the town was 
still encompassed in 1317, as is remarked in the Script, rer. 
Suec. i. sect. i. p. 5G. 

many of his actions during life. Old and young, it 
is said, mourned for him, and the women, whose 
rights and peace he had taken under his guard, 
prayed for his soul. 

Waldemar now began really to reign, but he 
now also yielded up the provinces which his 
father had allotted to his brothers. Magnus ob- 
tained Sudermania with the castle of Nykoe[iing ; 
in Waldemar's time he alone among the brothers 
bore the title of duke. Eric, whose fief is not 
specified, did not receive the title before the acces- 
sion of Magnus, and died shortly afterwards, in the 
year 1275. Bennet, the youngest, who entered 
the spiritual state, is styled, during the reign of 
Magnus, his brother's chancellor ; he was made 
duke of Finland in 1284, bishop of Linkoeping two 
years afterwards, and died in the possession of these 
dignities in 1291. He was mild and well-beloved, 
and sought, though vainly, to preserve harmony be- 
tween his brothers, of whom the elder two were 
speedily at strife with the king. Waldemar thought 
only of his own enjoyments ; the queen scofted at 
her brothers-in-law. Eric, whom from his insignifi- 
cance, she nicknamed Good-for-nought, repaired to 
Noi'way, and made the king's ear the receptacle of 
his complaints. Magnus, who was lean and dark- 
complexioned, she called Tinker. But he kept a 
far more splendid court than the king, and his 
numerous retainers excelled in all knightly ex- 
ercises. A love-intrigue at length lost Waldemar 
his crown. His consort Sophia, who had already 
brought him several heirs ^, received in 1 273 a visit 
from her sister Jutta, who left her cloister and 
came to the Swedish court, " fair as an angel from 
heaven," as the RhjTne Chronicle has it. Her 
guilty intercourse with the king, of which a child 
was the fruit, produced discord in his house, de- 
graded him in the eyes of the people, and drew 
down upon his head the censures of the church. 
That he was obliged to expiate his offence by a pil- 
grimage to Rome is probable, as the bull of January 
9, 1274 ', by which the pope forbids the choice of 
another king in Sweden, appears to have been pro- 
cured by Waldemar during this journey. No let- 
lers from Magnus with the kingly title are found of 
earlier date than the beginning of 1275, but as in a 
subsequent document he mentions the year 1285 
as the twelfth of his reign, he seems to have in- 
cluded in it his regency during the absence of 
Waldemar. The duke felt by no means inclined 
to restore the reins of power to the king on his re- 
turn. A conference of all the four brothers took 
place in the summer of 1274, at which the 
youngest, for the promotion of amity, vainly offered 
to renounce his governments. It led to no salutary 
result ; and in the following year intestine war broke 
out. Magnus and Eric concluded a league with 
king Eric Glipping in Denmark, who assisted them 
with troops, they engaging to pay six thousand 
marks sOver. The royal ai'my, consisting chiefly 

s Andrei Jaroslawitsch, brother of Alexander Newsky. 
Compare Karamsin. 

9 Namely, a son, Eric (an elder of the same name had died 
in 1268), and two daughters, Richissa and Marina, of whom 
the former married Duke Primislaus of Kalisch, afterwards 
King of Poland; the latter (of whose marriage a romantic 
tradition is preserved, compare S. R. S. i. s. 2. 12), Count 
Rudolph of Diepholt. Another daughter, Margaret, was, ac- 
cording to Eric Olaveson, a nun in the convent of Skenninge. 

' Celse, BuUariuni. 



His brother Maijiius 
crowrieil kintr. 


Revolts of the 


I A. D. 
[ 1279—90. 

of levies of country-people, took post at Hofva in 
West-Gothiaud, to defend against them the en- 
trance of the Tiwed forest. Waldemar with his 
court remained in the rear at Ramundeboda, in 
the heart of the wood, and abandoned himself 
to complete security. The king slept, it is said, the 
queen was playing chess, and made herself meri-y 
respecting duke Magnus, when a blood-stained mes- 
senger announced the overthrow and flight of the 
army. Waldemar, with his consort, and a son three 
years old, tied through the forests of Vermeland 
into Norway. He returned, was made prisoner, 
and obliged to submit to the conditions imposed by 
Magnus, according to which he was to be left iu 
possession of Gothland. Magnus was crowned 
in 1279, at Upsala, whither the archiepiscopal see 
had been removed from old Upsala. Waldemar, 
indeed, made some endeavours to recover his domi- 
nions by Norwegian mediation, and when the king 
of Denmark embraced his party, by Danish co- 
operation, but he soon gave up all for lost, and con- 
soled himself with a new mistress. An old account 
says : In the year 1279, Waldemar delivered his 
part of the kingdom into the hands of his brother 
Magnus, and betook himself to Denmark, moved 
by his love for a certain woman called Christina. 
After this we find him deserting his wife for the 
arms of three successive paramours, renewing more 
than once both liis claim to the throne, and his re- 
nunciation, and at last, in 1288, consigned to im- 
prisonment in the castle of Nykoeping. His captivity, 
howevei', was at no time rigurous^, and became 
still more easy after the death of Magnus ; though 
his son Eric was now also arrested, and obliged to 
share his own lot. Waldemar died in prison in 
1302 ^. Thereafter his son was released, and re- 
sided for some time in Norway ; he is styled duke 
in Norwegian records *, and was in 1322 one of 
the councillors of king Magnus Ericson. 

Magnus had been first elevated to the throne by 
the Uplanders, an appellation by which the Rhyme 
Chronicle designates the inhabitants of Sweden 
Proper generally. These appear to have forgotten 
neither their former privilege of nominating and 
deposing kings, nor their old spirit of contentious 
turbulence, tor we find them taking up arms in 
evei-y rising of the Folkungers. Magnus, as well 
as his father, had to quell one of these insurrec- 
tions after the close of the war with Denmark, 
which was confined to mutual predatory inroads. 
The favour and confidence wliich he lavished on 
foreigners in preference to his own countrymen, 
was intolerable to the Upper Swedes, and the 
more, that this partiality was not unfi-equently re- 
warded with ingratitude. Peter Porse, an exiled 
Dane who had won his good graces, made the king 
prisoner in the very castle of which the royal con- 
fidence had entrusted to him the custody, in order 
to enforce payment of a debt which he claimed. 
Magnus is said, nevertheless, to have remained as 
much attached to him as before. Ingemar Nilson, 
another Danish knight whom the king favoured, 
and had married to his kinswoman Helena, was 
the object of universal hatred. The Folkungers 

2 He subscribed his attestation to a rescript of Magnus a 
short time before the latler's death. 

3 H. R. S i. s. 1, 27. 

* Siihm, History of Denmark xi. 673. Those who have 
made him court-cba])laiii to Haeo Magnuson of Norway are 

excited fresh disturbances. Proceeding from me- 
nace to violence, they slew Ingemar Nilson (a. d. 
1278), seized the king's father-in-law. Count Gerard 
of Holstein, who had come on a visit to his daugh- 
ter, and compelled the queen to take refuge in a 
convent. Apparently they were not indisposed to 
replace Waldemar on the thi-one, and Magnus, 
who felt the danger of his position, resorted to dis- 
simulation, and endeavoured to mollify the revolters 
by caresses and promises. Letters and records of 
this time attest his seeming intimacy with Birger 
Philipson, one of the insurgent chiefs. He ac- 
cepted their hospitality, and invited them to his 
manor of Galaquist near Skara. Here, where the 
assassination of the king's favourite had taken place, 
they were seized and thrown into prison. After- 
wards they were removed to Stockholm, where four 
of the ringleaders were beheaded in 1280, many 
others also losing life and property. It is with 
some surprise we find the Roman law of treason 
adduced against the rebels on this occasion ^. This 
\\as the third and last insurrection of the Folk- 
ungers during three successive reigns. Of that 
dreaded name we no longer hear anything, although 
it is known, that besides the branch which was 
elevated to the throne, other important members 
of the family had survived their last fatal disaster. 
This seems to prove that it was latterly used 
oftenest as the appellation of a party, denoting tlie 
most powerful of those military leagues and factions 
which the long-continued civil wars had generated. 
It is worthy of remark, that subsequently (a. d. 
1285), the king, in the ordinance of Skeiminge, 
forbids under the severest penalties, all party asso- 
ciations or" secret confederacies," especially among 
the nobility, as a deeply-rooted evil, of which the 
kingdom had had painful experience. Whosoever, 
by writing, oath, or in any other mode should give 
consent to such an union, his estates should be 
wasted and he should be declared to have lost his 
peace for ever, unless the king's pardon were in- 

Much light is thrown on the condition of the 
Country, by the statutes that were now passed, after 
the cessation of civil discords. These perhaps 
have been regarded too much as the offspring of 
a legislation novel in its principles ; though they 
relate rather to an order of society previously sub- 
sisting, and it is chiefiy in this point of view that 
they are instructive. It is usually stated that king 
Magnus introduced diets of lords (herredagarna) 
for the transaction of public affairs, and thereby 
deprived the people of their legislative rights, which 
had been exercised in the old general assemblies 
(allsharjarting). But these had for the most part 
disappeared with the ancient sacrifices, and could 
not again be revived in the form of diets, so long as 
the contests regarding religion and the throne con- 
tinued. Amidst the disputes and counter-elections 
of opposite parties, and the struggles of rival 
dynasties, the real power ad already long j^assed 
into the hands of the magnates. Surrounded by 
bands of martial followers, between whom a slight- 

in error. The words " Magister capellarum nostrarum," 
which in the signatures of the charter mentioned by Suhni, 
id. 613, follow after the words " Dominus Ericus Waldemari 
quondam regis Sveorum filius," relate to another person. 

^ In legem Juliam niajestatis incidetunt. Letter of the 
king's brother Bennet, July 2o, 1282. 



D. > 

—90. J 

Enforcement of peace. 
Oppressions of the nobles. 


Claims of regalities proved 
to be unsound. 


ing word might cause a di.'aJly strife, as may be 
seen from the proliibition by king Magnus of in- 
jurious expressions, they employed their depend- 
ents in mutual feuds, and made use of their in- 
fluence on the common people for the instigation of 
revolts. Dangers of this kind threatened especially 
when the king convoked the men of his realm to a 
parley, on which occasions likewise the multitude 
of men that was assembled and claimed to live at 
the king's charge produced delay and heavy ex- 
pense. It is thus we understand the strict injunc- 
tions issued by king Magnus for the preservation of 
general peace in every place where the king should 
come to hold a conference, the cessation of all 
deadly feud at the same time between individuals, 
" howsoever highly born they might be," and even 
the removal of all weapons of strife, under penalty of of property and perpetual banishment ; thus is 
to be explained the prohibition against appearing 
on such an occasion without a summons, or with a 
greater retinue than the king, and the right of 
legislation which he claimed to himself " with his 
council and his good men (goda man)" in various 
cases which were "not guarded against bj' the law, 
nor set down in it f"." In that age this was an im- 
provement, and was so deemed by the people, for 
this power it was which enabled the king to give 
new force to the laws, passed by his father for 
the maintenance of peace, in virtue of which he 
took under his especial protection widows, father- 
less children, and old men, especially those who 
had done service to him, and issued edicts agamst 
exacting quarters from the peasants by force, or 
against " that abuse which had long existed, that 
all who travel through the country, be they ever 
so rich, demand entertainment without paying for 
it, and spend in a little while what the poor man 
has earned by the labour of a long time '." By 
these laws and the general strictness of his admin- 
istration, king Magnus acquired the surname of 
Ladulas (barn-locker), because he was a lock for 
the peasant's barn. " And this name of Ladulas," 
says Clave Peterson in his Swedish Chronicle, " is 
an honourable title, which has conferred greater 
praise and fame on king j\Iaguus, than if he had 
been called a Roman emperor. For there be 
found not many in the world, who can be styled 
barn-lock ; barn-breaker has ever been more 

It is necessary not to forget, that both the great 
rulers who enacted laws to secure the maintenance 

s These words are quoted from the ordinance of Skenninge 
in 1285. 

? Ordinance of Alsno in the same year. A purveyor was 
to be named for every village, who should provide sustenance 
for travellers upon payment being made. No man could de- 
TTiand a horse without the king's letters. Bishops' and no- 
blemen's mansions were freed from the obligation of enter- 
tainment. (The offence of valdgastning above described, is 
that of sorning, or exacting free quarters by intimidation, a 
practice common in former ages in Scotland and Ireland. T.) 

'' So called because it was alleged to liave been agreed 
to at a folk-mote held on Helgeand's Holm (or Isle) at 
Stockholm. The memorial was laid before the Royal Chan- 
cery and Chamber of Accounts by one Paine Erifson (Rosen- 
strale), a flatterer of King John III. This person is styled 
in an inscription on the document in another hand, "a 
capital liar," and the memoir itself, " Paine Ericson's ima- 
gined information." 

'■> Compare the edict of 1485, upon the dues which the 

of public peace in Sweden, had themselves stained 
their hands with blood treacherously shed ; as 
Magnus seems not to have reflected upon the 
transactions attending his own accession to the 
crown, when he obtained from the clergy assembled 
at the Synod of Telje in 1279, a declaration, that in 
future every man who offered violence to the per- 
son of a crowned king of Sweden, should be placed 
under the ban of excommunication, and never be 
acknowledged as a legitimate sovereign. But his 
age is incontestably distinguished by new and ex- 
tended ideas of the rights and power of the sove- 
reign, a spirit which shows itself so manifestly in 
all directions, as long afterwards to allow of several 
ordinances, fabiicated in the same view, being im- 
puted to Magnus Ladulas with some appearance of 
probability. This is the case with the so-called 
statute of Helgeand's Holm *, whereof no one had 
heard anything till in 1587 an individual, other- 
wise notorious for his striving after court favour, 
produced a memoir on the subject. According to 
this, the crown obtained in 1282 an exclusive 
right of possession over all mines, all fisheries in 
the great waters and streams of Sweden, all settle- 
ments upon unenclosed forests and lands, whereon 
a general assessment of taxes was asserted to have 
been ordered and carried into eff'ect, on the ground 
that the estate ofUpsala was no longer adequate to 
the supply of the king's necessities and the public 
expenditure in general. This statement, although 
its truth was doubted almost from the first, at- 
tained a kind of prescriptive credit in our history, 
which however cannot be sustained against in- 
dubitable evidence. Mines in Sweden were for- 
merly, as now, demonstrably the property of 
private persons ". So too were fisheries, as for 
example, those in the great streams of Norrland ', 
although there were instances in which property of 
this nature was held by our kings. With regard 
to common forests a similar tenure prevailed. In 
the provincial laws these are said to be the pro- 
perty of tlie several parishes, although common 
(allraenning) is also sometimes mentioned as be- 
longing to the king ^, and where no right of pro- 
perty existed, the crown naturally bestowed an 
authorized possession, as may be seen even in the 
time of the Folkungers, from royal ordinances con- 
cerning the disposal of the waste tracts surrounding 
the upper portion of the Gulf of Bothnia. Touch- 
ing the general assessment of the taxes, that repar- 
tition of the ground, which is said to have served 

crown might claim from mines, and the rights of the pro- 
prietor. If a pit was commenced upon ground liable to the 
taxes, the proprietor was to pay "tithe and rate to the 
crown, as heretofore hath been wont in the case of oiher 
mines;" if the ground were tax-free, the crown could claim 
no dues upon the procedure. The decree of 1396, by which 
the whole of the Kopparberg, with the exception of the por- 
tiim belonging to the bishop of Westeras, was pronounced 
to be crown property, is directed against the heirs of the 
high-steward Bo Jonson, and appears not to have been put 
in execution. In the time of Charles IX. the crown still 
possessed only a fourth part of the mine at Falun. 

' King Eirger Magnuson's ordinance of 1297, respecting 
the tithes payable by the Helsingers from salmon, herring, 
and seal fisheries, lays claim to no right of " property'' in the 
same on the part of the crown. 

2 Common is spoken of as crown property in the Law of 
East-Gothland. Egnas. i. 2. 



Taxation Freehold 
tenure of land. 


Footing of the old 

f A. I), 

i 1279—90. 

for its basis ^, is just as certainly older than the 
reign of Magnus Ladulas, as it is clear that tributes 
already existed beforo his time. Originally these 
were benevolences for the maintenance of the 
yearly sacrifices, and for the warlike expeditions 
of the king, which formerly for the most part took 
place every year, or his progresses of pleasure 
through the country ; but various contributions for 
the occasion, accruing in some cases fi'om the soil, 
in others from personal taxes, hiid gradually as- 
sumed under dissimilar appellations in different 
provinces the character of permanent taxes. For 
every new impost the consent of the people was 
requisite, although in this respect many abuses 
even in these times existed, as we learn from the in- 
junctions of Magnus to his governors (Lansmen), 
not to levy gavel against the will of the commonalty, 
and from his own apologies to the Helsingers for 
the demand of various extraordinary imposts, which 
they had paid " of grace and not of obligation," 
and which he " humbly for God's sake prays them 
indulgently to judge and to pardon, bearing in re- 
membrance on the other hand whatever good he 
might have effected in his day * ''. Even this king 
nevertheless looked upon the crown taxes as his 
private property, and gives assignments on their 
produce to furnish means for the rich endowments, 
which he beijueaths by his will to churches and 

It is an essentially false theory of the tenure of 
taxed lands in Sweden, which gave importance to 
the pretended statute of Helgeand's Holm. It was 
observed that from ancient times the settler on 
commonable ground acquired by payments to the 
crown a public recognition of his right of pro- 
perty, and the conclusion was thence drawn, that 
the crown had always been the possessor of the 
soil ; although when the common previously be- 
longed to a determinate parish, the payment of gavel 
(skatt) to the crown, as old law cases in which the 
point was tried establish, was a method by which 
the new settler freed himself from the dependence 
in which he had stood towards that parish ^. From 
this position there was but one step to another, 
that liability to taxation was generally incom- 
patible with a full right of pi'operty in the soil, or 
that the latter always belonged to the receiver of 
the taxes ; an opinion which has been asserted in 
Sweden, as it has also been triumphantly refuted ''. 
In itself, it is irreconcileable with the municipal 
law of Sweden, which is a stranger to the ideas 
that in other countries sprang out of a feudal 
system founded upon conquest '. Such a system was 
always foreign to Swedish institutions, and hence 
these relations have but an external resemblance 

3 As the coins were classed by the mark, the ore, theortug, , 
so the cultivated ground was reckoned by markland, tires- 
land, brtugland. Another division, by eighths (attingar), was 
followed chiefly in Gothland, though it is found also in Upper 
Sweden. Compare Diplomat. Suec. i. 179. 

* Quare vobis universis ac singulis humiliter in Domino 
supplicamus, quatinus in hoc velitis nobis parcere, et sic 
vestris de cordibus omnino dimittere, ut non nobis hoc 
coram surami Jiidicis oeulis imputetur. 

■'■ A whole parish, that of the Forest (Skog), in South Hel- 
singland, was formed in this way by a judgment given in 
1343, granting a right of independent property to persons 
settling there. 

« Edward Ehrensfen (councillor of state in 1683), wrote 
in the last years of Christina's reign the excellent "Proof I 

to those which are found in otlier countries. This 
holds true especially of the distinction between free 
and unfree (Frtelse and Ofraelse), defined no doubt 
more sharply under Magnus Ladulas, but still 
denoting only the exemption from or liability to 
payment of taxes to the crown ; the latter as well 
as the former being conjoined not only with per- 
sonal freedom, but with the full right of property 
in the soil. 

Maunus extended to their complete develope- 
meiit the immunities and privileges of the Swedish 
clergy, and granted to the secular nobility their 
first charter of exemption from taxation ; although 
this privilege was originally intended less to in- 
crease the power of the nobles than that of the 
crown. It may be properly described as an attempt 
to transfoi-m all nobility into the feudatory class, 
or to make the performance of service the con- 
dition of possessing its immunities. Exemp- 
tion from tribute was, without doubt, anciently 
among the rights of the so-called ' king's-men,' who, 
to use the words of Magnus himself, "attended 
him with rede and help, and therefore wei-e worthy 
of greater honour." They were likewise, for the 
most part, men of birth ; at least, none but free- 
born could attain to the distinction of being the 
king's comrade in arms ; but this nobility was 
essentially personal, not hereditary. There was 
besides a nobility of birth, acknowledged by gene- 
ral consent, older than all charters, and powerful 
enough to be able to dispense with them, although 
the crown made attempts betimes to transform this 
into a courtly or feudal nobility. The members of 
this old aristocracy, originally sprung from famihes 
either themselves of royal condition or allied with 
royal houses, are styled in the records of those 
times " the great *," " free barons and nobles of 
the realm ^," "high and well-born men." These 
too were surrounded by martial retainers, wliose 
numbers had been augmented in the intestine trou- 
bles of the country, who used their power as the 
measure of their freedom, and probably wanted as 
little the will as the ability to shake off their due 
share of taxation. That the " greater honour" 
which household service obtained was not confined 
merely to the king's court, may be seen from the 
higher value which the laws set upon the life of a 
courtier, whether the person were in the service of 
an earl, a bishop, or like great baron, who main- 
tains at least forty serving men in his household '. 
In the measure by which Magnus exempted from 
payment to the king " all persons serving on horse- 
back, in the service of whomsoever they might be ^," 
there is an evident design, partly to array in defence 
of the crown bands of warlike yeomen, who dis- 

against the Nobility's Claim of right to assessable Lands 
granted in fief;" printed at Stockholm, 17G9. 

? Thus the Folkland of the Anglo-Saxons (so called as dis- 
tinguished from land granted in fief), was in time called 
terra regia, or crown-land; and the false view that the king 
originally possessed the whole land, jure coronae, insinuated 
itself into the English laws from the Norman couquest. 

8 Magnates, majores in old letters. Iviherra (overlords), 
in the Law of East-Gothland. 

9 Barones Sueciee, nobiles, in Eric Olaveson. 

1 Law of East-Gothland, Drap. B. 14. Whatever was paid 
above the usual fine for the life of a freeman was called in 
those cases thukkabot (shame-bote), because it was to atone 
for the shame put upon the servitor's lord. 

2 Ordinance of Aslnii, I28.'i. 

A. D. 7 

1279— 90. J 

Magnus' justice ; benefac- 
tions to the church. 


Dying wish of 


tinguished themselves by more costly and brilliant 
equipment ; and partly, to establish service gene- 
rally as the condition of earning the privileges of 
nobility. Thus was instituted the tenure " of knight- 
service 3," by which every man who served on 
horseback against the enemies of the kingdom, 
furnished at his own cost, gained exemption from 
taxation for himself and his estate, on conditions 
which were more exactly defined in the sequel. 
This was called " to serve for a freehold" (tjena 
for fraelsc't), in contradistinction to " paying taxes 
and dues as a peasant." But the peasant might 
acquire his freedom from tallage by the like ser- 
vice, and many of them actually did so gain it ; as, 
on the other hand, the knight, according to the 
letter of the law, forfeited his freedom by neglect- 
ing to render his service *. Knighthood, which 
Magnus was the first of the Swedish sovereigns to 
confer, had become in Sweden also a personal dis- 
tinction for the nobility, whose whole classification 
at this time was formed upon the model of chivalry. 
In public documents, after the bishops, the knights 
are always first, and they alone are styled lords (her- 
remen); next the arm-bearers (vapnare) or squires- 
at-arms (svenar af vapen), literally, the serving 
nobility '. Both are included under the denomina- 
tion of well-born men, which again was, seemingly, 
not extended to the mere free proprietors or //-ae/sf;- 
men, who had earned their freedom from taxes by 

After the termination of the civil war and the 
hostilities with Denmark, Magnus enjoyed a tran- 
quil reign. By his neighbours he was held in 
great respect, and he had alliances with several 
German princes ^. In the quarrel between Nor- 
way and the Hanse Tow-ns, in which the " Germans 
of Wisby " appear on an equal footing of mdepend- 
ence with the other parties, Magnus acted as arbi- 
ter, and having adjusted (in 1288) the disputes 
between the peasants of Gothland and the burghers 
of Wisby, he re-established the old Swedish rights 
of sovereignty over the island. His court was 
brilliant, and enlivened by the continual practice 
of knightly exercises. The Marshal (marsk) and 
the Steward (drots), officers of the household who 
are very anciently mentioned, attained at this pe- 
riod so great influence, that the holders of those 
dignities resembled in power and consequence the 
former jarls. Magnus, during his reign, checked 
the excesses of the nobles. The powerful family of 
the Algotsons, of whom one had carried off" a bride 
by force, expiated the offence by exile, imprison- 
ment, or death '. In bounty to the church he was 
surpassed by no one who ever sat on the Swedish 
throne, whence he is sometimes called the Holy 
King Magnus. He founded five monasteries, and 

3 Adeliga rusftjenst, hone-service of the nobles. The word 
is from rus, ros, which in old Swedish means horse (hast). 

■* Compare Magnus Ericson's ordinance of 1345 

' Sven means servant (swain). 

6 The Margraves of Brandenburg, Otho, Conrad, and John, 
who with Gerard, Count of Holstein and Schauenburg, bound 
themselves to furnish him with assistance wlien necessary. 
Tlie last-named received in consideration of this a yearly 
sum of 600 marks in money, which, according to Olave Pe- 
terson, at this time amounted to 200 marks (pounds weight) 

!■ Algol, the father of the culprit, was lagman of West- 
Gothland. Joannes Magnus, x.x. 8. T. 

from his testament, which was framed in 1285, we 
learn that he had made a vow of a crusade to the 
Holy Land, for the delivei'ance of which a separate 
tithe was raised, during five years, by Papal en- 

By his maiTiage, in 1276, with Helviga of Hol- 
stein, who survived him, he had several children, 
of whom one son and one daughter died in mfancy, 
while the rest, at the death of their father, had not 
yet passed their childhood. Three of his sons, 
Birger, Eric, and Valdemar, of whom the first- 
named bore the title of king during his father's 
life-time, the others that of duke, were one day to 
contend for the crown. Of his daughters, Ilikissa, 
while yet a child, had been placed with great 
solemnities in the convent of St. Clara at Stock- 
holm ; Ingeborg, in 129G, was married to King 
Eric Menved, in Denmark, where her memory was 
long affectionately cherished. When Magnus felt 
his end approaching, he called his grandees toge- 
ther, recommended his children to their care, and 
appointed tlie marshal Thorkel Canuteson guar- 
dian of his sons. He died in the isle of Wising*, 
December 18, 121)0, and was interred in the burial 
place which he had set apart for himself in the 
Franciscan monastery at Stockholm, expressing 
his hope that "his memory might not die away 
with the sounds of the bells over his grave." 

Birger, who had been chosen in 1284, when but 
three years of age, to succeed his father, was now 
placed upon the throne, while Thorkel Canuteson 
assumed the functions of government. By his re- 
gency, the marshal won for himself so famous a 
memory, that according to the Rhyme Chronicle, 
" things stood so well with Sweden, that better 
days would scarcely come ;" yet it opened with a 
universal calamity, famine and great mortality pre- 
vailing, and most severely in 1291. Thorkel Ca- 
nuteson completed the work begun by St. Eric and 
earl Birger in Finland, establishing Christianity 
and Swedish dominion in the eastern part of the 
country, whence the heathen Carelians continued 
to issue on their devastating forays, which were 
marked by hideous cruelties ^. In a crusade under- 
taken in 1293, the Carelians were .subdued, made 
tributary, and again brought to Christianity, at 
least in name ^. For the security of the conquest 
Wiborg was founded, by which the Swedes were 
placed in immediate contact with Russia. In effect 
this Finnish crusade also produced a war with the 
Russians, m the course of which the Swedes took 
and fortified Kexholin. This place however was 
again lost, as was some years afterwards Land- 
scrona, founded by the marshal himself. 

Sweden yet possessed no code of laws collected 

s Lying in the great lake Vetter, and containing one of 
the royal mansions. T. 

3 In a letter of king Birger to Luheck and several Hanse 
towns, renewing the prohibition against exporting arms to 
the Finns, it is said that the Carelians spared neither sex, 
age, nor rank, and martyred their captives by flaying them 
alive and tearing out the entrails. Such cruelties (see a 
brief of Gregory IX. in 1237) had occasioned the crusade of 
earl Birger against the Tavasters. 

' The Russians, according to Karamsin, maintain that 
they had previously baptized them in 1227. Pope Alexander 
III. remarks that the Finns, when menaced by a hostile 
army, always engaged to eml)race Christianity, but on its 
departure renounced their profession and persecuted the 
Christian teachers. 


Functions of the Lawman. 
Provincial cotles. 


Revision of the Law 
of Upland. 



and ratified by royal authority. The legal customs 
observed in the diiierent provinces, out of which 
our old provincial laws were formed, were indeed 
generally confirmed by every king, wlien after his 
election at the ]Mora Stone he made his Eric's gait 
(Eriksgata), or ordinary progress of homage 
throughout the country ; but the conservation of 
the laws was left to the personal care of the justi- 
ciaries, whose duty it is stated to have been, to make 
yearly proclamation of them before the people 2. 
In the earliest times these appear to have consisted 
of short rules for the aidance of the memory, em- 
bodied in verses framed after the fashion then in 
use, as the alliteration found in our ancient law 
language proves ; and a collection of legal rules of 
this nature was distinguished by the name of 
Flock, which means a collection (ov flock) of verses. 
As it is expressly stated to have been the function 
of the justiciaries "to make and promulgate the 
law ^," while we cannot ascribe to them any right 
to enact new rules of their own authority, this may 
be so understood as that it belonged to them from 
the first, not only to bear in remembrance beyond 
others the judiciary customs, but to clothe them iu 
the form best adapted for recollection, and declare 
them in such sijrt before the people. Therefore the 
earliest legislation was uttered by speech, and not 
iu writing. The law is spoken — a lagsaga, or law- 
saying "^ ; and the oldest law-giver was a judicial 
poet — lagayrkir, a law-maker. Such was Wiger 
Spa in the days of heathenism *, the preface to the 
law of Upland tells us ; his law is called Wigers 
Flockar, or Flocks, and forms the basis of the law 
of Upland ^, as the law of the heathen Lumb was 
adopted for the framework of that of West Goth- 
land. It was late before tlie laws were transferred 
from the custody of memory to the records of or- 
dinary scription ; since it is certain that what was 
called in the North, after the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, " to reduce the law to writing " (att komma 
lag i skrift), refers not to the Runes, although 
these were even earlier employed for short inscrip- 
tions on stone or wood, but to the manner of wri- 
ting now in use, which was introduced by the clergy. 
Christianity itself supplied matter for new legis- 
lation which occupied the first place ; for the West- 
gothic code says, " through Christianity the name 
of Christ first came into our laws." Thus was 
formed the so-called Christian or Church section 
(Kristnubalk, Kyrkobalk) in the books, and with 

" Legislatores regni annis singulis tenentur coram populo 
legem consuetudinis publicare. Letter of pope Innocent IIL 
to the Swedish bishops, March fi, 1206, complaining that the 
justices upon such occasions forbade death-bed bequests to 
be made to the church without the consent of the heirs. Of 
all this king Swerker U. had informed him. 

3 See the catalogue of the justices of West-Gothland, at 
the end of the law-book. Giira och framfora lagen. 

* So Wiger's law is called in the preface to the law of 
Upland. Lagsaga afterwards meant the circuit of a juris- 

* Spa, probably instead of spamadr, soothsayer (spaeman), 

8 The statement concerning Wiger Spa in the preface to 
the printed law of Upland, " that he was sent out by Ingjald, 
king of Sweden," is not found, according to an observation 
obligingly communicated to me by Dr. Schliiter, in the old 
text ; yet this interpolation has been the cause of the history 
of Swedish law being commenced with a code of the time of 
Ingjald lllrada. 

the establishment of the Edsbre, or general land's- 
peace, the ordinances deriving therefrom became 
common to them all '. Particular alterations were 
also introduced by St. Eric, Canute Ericson, Eric 
Ericson, earl Birger, and Magnus Ladulas. Mean- 
while tlie laws mostly remained in scattered collec- 
tions ', without any other arrangement than what 
the individual text-writer had applied to them for 
his own use, till in 1295 the law of Upland was re- 
vised and amended by the Justice of Tiundaland, 
Birger Pederson ^ of Finsta, with the aid of twelve 
assessors from all the three Folklands. The law in 
its new form was proclaimed in the judicial motes, 
" approved by all men," and lastly it received the 
written confirmation of king Birger. The style 
given to the lagman in the act of confirmation, 
"the king's true servant," shows that these judges, 
from being men of the people, had now become the 
men of the king. From this time they continued 
to be members of the royal council. 

In the year 1298 were celebrated the nuptials of 
king Birger with the Danish princess Martha, who 
had been betrothed to him from her childhood, and 
educated at the Swedish court ; four years sub- 
sequently, the coronation of the royal pair, and 
the union of duke Waldemar with the Marshal's 
daughter. The condition of the land was pros- 
perous, and the joy of the people at the harmony 
prevailing between the three brothers universal. 
But in the following year, when the marshal laid 
down the guardianship, and the princes were to 
enter upon possession of the dukedoms assigned to 
them by Magnus Ladulas, " they began to recollect 
how their father, when himself duke, had dethroned 
his brother Waldemar, and took counsel thereupon 
with one another'." The king prevailed upon 
Thorkel Canuteson to continue in his service ; the 
others placed their affairs under the management 
of the lord Ambiorn Sixtenson (Sparre), steward of 
duke Eric. The magnates arranged themselves in 
parties on either side, and then were sown those 
discords which were to have so fatal an end. The 
continued influence of the marshal gave especial 
umbrage to the clergy. The war with the Carelians 
and Russians, the pomp and expense with which 
the marriages of the royal family had been solem- 
nized, the cost of maintaining several courts, of 
which the marshal's, after his marriage with a 
countess of the German empire ^j seems to have 

' Comiiiled into a so-called edsores balk, or king's balk. 
Balk, properly a beam, or block, means also generally a di- 
vision or section. Hence, the partition of the laws into 
balks, which again comprise several flocks or collections. 
(From what is above stated, the explanation which has been 
given of the term flocks, as originally " flakes, planks, or 
tablets," engraved with Runic characters, appears to be 
erroneous. See the article on the Ancient Laws of the Scan- 
dinavians, in the Edinburgh Review (xxxiv. 184), probabl> 
by the late Mr. Allen. The common meaning of flock, 
which is the same word as our own, and never occurs in the 
sense supposed, is all that we need look to. T.) 

8 See king Birger's confirmation of the Law of Upland. 

9 Of the same family afterwards called Brahe. 

• The words of Eric Olaveson. Eric had been nominated 
in his father's lifetime duke of the Swedes (Svearnas hertig), 
a title corresponding to the former one of earl. He possessed 
also his father's duchy of Sudermania, and a portion of Up- 
land besides. Waldemar is named duke of Finland, from 

- Helviga, daughter of Otho IL, count of Ravensburg. 

A. D. 1201 


Fraternal dissensions. 
Coniluct of ttie dulces. 


Tlieir (reaclierous seizure 
liy tlie Iving. 


been not the least brilliant, — all this had occasioned 
the imposition of new taxes, frona which tlie clergy 
themselves were not, according to the usage, ex- 
empted. A portion even of the tithes was confis- 
cated to the public necessities, and the king, in- 
stigated by Thorkel Canuteson, entertained a design 
of incarcerating the prelates who proved refractory. 
The bishop of Westeras, the former ally of the 
marshal in his Finnish crusade, fled into Norway. 
Nevertheless, in the same year, the succession of 
Birger's son Magnus, who was still of tender age, 
was guarnnteed, with the consent of the dukes as 
well as of the bishops and nohles, and the king 
engaged by a proclamation never to separate his 
interests from those of the marshal, or to prefer 
any other to him. In 1304 the dissensions between 
the brothers at length openly broke out. The 
dukes were obliged to give surety that they would 
not leave the kingdom without the royal permis- 
sion, nor appear in the king's presence without 
summons, or with a greater retinue than he should 
appoint, and never enter into any plot against him, 
his consort, or his children. In no long time there- 
after they were called before the king ; Eric was 
the only one who ventured to appear. Several 
heads of complaints were read, upon which the 
king angrily bade him begone from his sight, and 
soon afterwards commanded both his brothers into 
banishment. Intestine war ensued, in which the 
dukes were supported by Norway, and the western 
provinces of the kingdom were plundered. Next 
year, however, a reconciliation was effected, of 
which Thorkel Canuteson was the sacrifice. The 
marshal was seized in the presence of the king and 
the dukes, and exclaimed to Birger, " For this 
shame will be your part, lord king, so long as you 
live." He was thrown upon a horse's back, his 
feet being bound under its belly, and so was drag- 
ged night and day to Stockholm, where his head 
fell under the axe of the executioner on the sixth 
of February, 1306. Duke Waldemar repudiated 
his wife, the marshal's daughter, under the pretext 
that they were within the bounds of spiritual affinity, 
her father having held the duke at the baptismal 

Scarcely had eight months passed away since the 
death of Thorkel Canuteson, before king Birger was 
the prisoner of his brothei's. On a friendly visit to 
the royal mansion of Hatuna in Upland, having 
secretly brought with them a train of armed fol- 
lowers, they fell upon the king and took him cap- 
tive with his wife and children, the crown prince 
alone escaping in the arms of a faithful servant, 
who carried him into Denmark, and placed him at 
the knee of king Eric Menved. Connected by a 
double tie of affinity with Birger, the Danish mon- 
arch made his cause his own, and assailed the 
dukes. In consequence of this, Bii'ger, who had 
been meanwhile kept close prisoner in the castle of 
Nyktiping, was liberated in 1308, and declared 
himself satisfied to retain that portion of his king- 
dom of which the dukes might leave him the posses- 
sion. Immediately on his release he repaired to 
Denmark, and returning with his father-in law at 
the head of a Danish army, he advanced to Nykoe- 
ping, and laid siege to the place. Duke Eric had 
in the mean time quarrelled with Haco, king of 

^ Both were named Ingeborjr. 

< Tlie legal value of a cow, in the law of Upland, con- 

Norway, for the possession of North Halland, and 
the war had already commenced upon this side, when 
a conference was held at Ilelsingborg (a. d. 1310), 
the three kings, the Swedish dukes, and several 
princes being present, and a treaty was concluded. 
By this compact the kingdom was in fact divided 
between Birger and his brothers, who acknowledged 
him indeed as their feudal superior, but were other- 
wise to be independent in their several duchies. 
Not long afterwards the misunderstandings with j 
Norway, which had again broken out, were removed j 
by the marriage of duke Eric with a daughter, ana I 
that of Waldemar whb a niece of the Norwegian 
king 3, amidst festivities of which the contemporary 
description recalls all the pomp of the age of chi- 
valry. '• Yet these dukes," says Eric Ohiveson in 
his chronicle, " who violently grasped at dominion, 
brought manifold plagues upon the land by their 
feuds and liarryings, by the intolerable sorning, or 
rather hostile incursions of themselves and their 
companies of vagabond followers ; by the heaviest 
imposts, obliging the peasant sometimes to pay 
thrice in a year a contribution to the amount of 
one mark each time (which was double the price of 
a cow *) ; wherefore these lords, though they are 
styled bounteous and pranksome, were so to the ex- 
treme misery of the poor." Yet they seem to have 
been less disliked by the people than was the king. 
The Helsiugers expelled his bailiff; the Gottland- 
ers on one occasion seized his person ; the Sma- 
landers elected a prince of their own, whom Birger 
eventually succeeded in cutting off". 

Thus several years passed away in general dis- 
tress, aggravated by failure of the crops and a 
pestilence, but without any eruption of public hos- 
tilities between the brothers. Towards the close 
of 1317 duke Waldemar, journeying from CEland 
to Stockholm, took his way to Nykoeping, where 
Birger usually held his court. His welcome by the 
king and queen appeared so cordial that he pro- 
mised to visit them anew, and also to persuade his 
brother to bear him company. The dukes arrived, 
although they were warned by the way not to 
deliver themselves together into the hands of the 
king, and the seeming warmth of their reception 
so totally removed every suspicion from their 
minds, that they caused all their people to take 
quarters in the town, while they themselves re- 
mained in the castle. After they had betaken 
themselves to rest, heavy with wine, king Birger, 
late in the night, caused his men to arm, and 
ordered the dukes to be seized. Of three Swedish 
knights who refused to execute the order, two 
were themselves laid in fetters. There were othere 
who showed greater willingness, foreigners for the 
most part, of whom many served in the courts of 
all these princes. The dukes were seized and 
bound, the king himself being present, " with glar- 
ing eyes, and sorely enraged," and demanding of his 
brothers, " whether they remembered the game of 
Hatuna?" Thereupon they were thrown into the 
castle dungeon, and chains riveted upon their 
limbs. When the plunder taken from them and 
their companions, who were imprisoned in the 
town, was divided, the king clapped his hands as 
one in ecstasy ', blessed the counsels of his queen, 

firmed in 1296, is half a mark, but the value of the coin had 
since fallen. 
5 " Jnst as were he an Aniblode," says the Rhyme Chro- 


Tragical fate of 
the dukes. 


Choice of a new 


A. n. 


and exclaimed, " Now have I Sweden in my 
hand !" 

From the middle of December (a. d. 1317), when 
this came to pass, the dukes remained about four 
months in prison ^, until Birgeu, yet more exaspe- 
rated by the revolt which was spreading on all 
sides, caused the dungeon tower to be locked, and 
the keys to be thrown into the stream, and taking 
to flight, left his brothers to die of hunger. It is 
related that Eric, who had been beaten and wounded 
beforehand, lived but three days longer, and Wal- 
demar eleven. The former was upwards of thirty 
years old, the latter youngex*. The cruel fate of 
these princes awakened the profoundest horror 
througliout the north. The ballad upon their 
death, so well known throughout Sweden, Den- 
mark, and Iceland, imputes it to the treachery of 
the steward John Brunke. Contemporary accounts 
are full of their praises, and extol, especially, the 
beauty and knightly grace of the "gentle duke 
Eric." Posterity has not had the heart to blame 
those who were the victims of so fell a disaster ; 
they have had this compensation, that their faults 
have died with them, and only their virtues have 
survived in the memory of men. 

At the first rumour of the imprisonment of the 
dukes, their partisans took up arms. The inhabit- 
ants of several provinces revolted, to set them at 
liberty, and Norway prepared to afford them suc- 
cour. Stockholm cl<jsed its gates against the king, 
and he was obliged to flee from Nykopiug, which 
was besieged. The royal gan-ison of the castle 
exposed the dead bodies of the dukes, covered with 
cloth of gold, on biers outside the castle gate, in 
order to convince the besiegers that those for whom 
they fought were no longer alive. This had no 
other effect than that of still further incensing 
them ; the castle was taken, and razed to the 
ground. In vain Birger endeavoured to win the 
clergy by the privileges he confered upon them, 
and to defend the crown by the troops brought by 
his son from Denmark. After a short war, marked 
on his side by new acts of perfidy, he saw himself 
compelled, with his wife and two daughters ', to 
seek refuge, first in Gottland, and afterwards in 
Denmark. The crown prince Alagnus was obliged, 
after a valiant resistance in the castle of Stegeborg, 
to surrender to the enemy. The steward, John 
Brunke, was made prisoner, in a desperate attempt 
to relieve the prince, and shortly thereafter, with 
two of his accomplices in the murder of the dukes, 
beheaded and broken on the wheel at Norrmalm 
by Stockholm, on the sandhill, which from the cir- 
cumstance is to this day called Bruukeberg. 

nicle, which Ihre has e.xplained by the context as frenzied. 
But this Amblode is undoubtedly Saxo's Amlethus or Am- 
blethus, the Hamlet whom Shakspeare has immortalized, 
and the words quoted show how generally known in Sweden 
at this time the legend of this Danish prince was. 

6 Their testament is dated January 18, 1318. In a deed of 
the 18th April in the same year they are mentioned as cap- 
tives though still living ; in another, the duchesses entitle 
themselves their relicts. The deaths of the dukes must 
therefore have fallen between the 1 8th April and 6th May, 

7 Agnes and Catherine. Suhm, History of Denmark. 

*• Eric Olaveson. The Rhyme Chronicle does not name 

' Stora. Upon the mode of election, Olaus Magnus says, 
" The glorious constitution of our ancestors, handed down 

Two years subsequently (Oct. 28, 1320), prince 
Magnus Birgerson, the designated successor to the 
throne, was executed by the sword at Stockholm, 
in his twentieth year, although he was innocent of 
his father's misdeeds, and had received assurance 
of his life by compact. Grief for this calamity 
brought the fugitive king Birger to his grave in the 
following year. Thus the revenge exacted was not 
less fearful than the crime itself. Justly do the 
old writers observe, that since the settlement of 
Sweden a more miserable time had hardly been 
known than during the fraternal war which deso- 
lated the house of king Magnus Ladulas. 

The survivor of these scenes of mutual destruc- 
tion was a child of three years old, who was now 
acknowledged as the sovereign of two kingdoms. 
On Midsummer-day of the year 1319, the mag- 
Hates of the realm, the bishops, the nobility, and 
burgesses of the towns, who are now first men- 
tioned as participating in the management of public 
affairs', together with four peasants from every 
hundred, met at Upsala, to proceed to the election 
of a new king. Matthew Ketilmundson, a knight 
who, having signalized himself in the wars of the 
foregoing years by the most chivalrous valour, 
had eventually risen to be the leader of the ducal 
party, presented himself before the people assem- 
bled on the meadow by the Mora stone. The voices 
of the magnates ^ had raised him in the past year 
to the office of Administi-ator i, and he now carried 
in his arms MAGiNUS, the orphan son of duke Eric, 
who was proposed and elected king, receiving at 
the same time the Norwegian crown, as his inhe- 
ritance from his maternal grandfather king Haco, 
not long before deceased without male issue. Se- 
veral lords of the council ^ were despatched to 
Norway, in order to express assent to the elevation 
of Magnus to the throne of that country, " in the 
name of all Swedish men." Administrations were 
arranged in both kingdoms to conduct affairs during 
the minority. The Swedish government lasted till 
the year 1333, and is highly lauded by the chroni- 
cles ; it restored peace to the people '■', extended its 
bovmds by the redemption of Scania, and at first 
even watched over the rights of the commonalty. 
In effect, however, it strengthened the power of 
the magnates, and for a hundred years to come 
Sweden was governed chiefly by ai'istocratic asso- 

On the very day of the new king's election, the 
principal spiritual and temporal lords, together 
with the justiciaries, entered into a bond to support 
with rede and deed the High Steward Matthew 

by successive ages and generations, prescribes in the outset 
that, the inhabitants of Sweden being about to elect a king, 
the senators and nobles, and messengers of all the provinces, 
communities, and towns of the realm, shall be bound to 
assemble in Upsala, not far from which is a great field- 
stone (lapis campeslris amplus), called by the inhabitants 
from immemorial time. Mora sten, having twelve stones, of 
somewhat smaller size, fixed in the ground in a circle, whither 
the aforesaid senators, or councillors of the realm, and mes- 
sengers, are wont to resort." On the meaning of the word 
Mora, see note p. 21 of this volume. See also Chap. VII. T. 
' Riksfbrestandare. 

2 Radsherrar. 

3 The war with Denmark for Birger's sake ended in 1319, 
on the death of his brother-in-law king Eric Menved. Some 
warlike movements took place on the Russian frontier in 
1322, but were quieted by a peace in the same year. 



D. ) 

—43. J 

Aristocratic league. 
Influence of foreigners. 


New general law. 
Congress of Warberg. 


Ketilmundson, or whosoever should be appointed in 
his stead to conduct the government until the king 
should be of age. Promises were made to the 
people, on the other hand, that the arbitrary tallages 
by which some of the preceding kings and princes 
had violated the old liberties of the kingdom, 
should be no longer imposed, and that all should be 
left in possession of their former rights. Should 
the defence or welfare of the state require a new 
tax, it must be proclaimed to the people by the 
confederate lords ; in case it were approved, it was 
to be collected by their commissioners with the aid 
of two peasants from every province, and ajjplied 
only to its declared purpose. The true nature of 
these leagues is still more clearly explained by the 
union of Skara, which took place in 1322. By this 
act, thirty-five spiritual and temporal lords con- 
federated to govern the realm in such a fashion, 
that they might be able to answer it before 
God and the king. They engaged to defend one 
another like brethren, to submit their mutual dis- 
putes to the judgment of the league, from which 
they were on no pretext to separate. This associa- 
tion, which throws so much light on the nature of 
those older confederacies among the nobility, for- 
bidden by Magnus Ladulas under heavy penalties, 
is remarkable in other respects. It was an act of 
reconcilement between the royalist and ducal 
parties*, and contains an engagement mutually to 
counteract the influence of foreigners in public 
affairs. This latter condition, produced chiefly by 
the circumstance, that many foreigners had in- 
sinuated themselves into favour at court, since the 
time of Magnus Ladulas, and taken an active part 
in the intestine commotions of the country, was 
du-ected especially against the partiality which the 
young king's mother cherished for Canute Porse, 
a powerful foreigner, who liad been raised by king 
Christopher II. to the ducal rank, and governed 
South Halland. Banished from the kingdom by a 
compact with the confederated lords, to which the 
duchess acceded in 1.326, he nevertheless received 
her hand in the foUowmg year. Both parties for- 
feited by this step all influence in Sweden, and 
death shoi'tly afterwards set bounds to the ambition 
of the duke. The counts of Holstein at this time 
ruled with absolute sway in the internally divided 
and dissevered kingdom of Denmark. The pea- 
sants of Scania, impatient of its yoke, revolted, and 
slaying or expelling the Holsteiners (a, d. 1332), 
submitted themselves, with the inhabitants of 
Bleking and South Halland ', to the dominion of 
Sweden. Yet for the redemption of these pro- 
vinces from the claims of Count John of Holstein, 
as well as for the pajTnent of other pressing debts, 
so considerable a sum was required, that to procure 
it, the Swedish government was obliged to levy new 
taxes, to appropriate the tithes, and to mortgage a 
large share of the crown revenues. 

Magnus Ericson, who now styled himself king 
of Sweden, Norway, and Scania, personally assumed 
the government in 133-3, at the age of eighteen, 

* Therefore we now find Canute Jonson appointed to the 
dignity of king's steward. He had before filled this office 
under king Birger, and was one of those who refused to take 
any part in the seizure of the dukes. 

* The northern part had been annexed to Sweden by duke 
Eric's marriage. 

* Both the old chronologies which state the year of his 

and two years afterwards rode his Eric's Gait, on 
which occasion he declared, for the honour of God 
and the Virgin Mary, and " for the repose of the 
souls of his father and uncle," that in future no 
one born of Christian parents should be or be 
called a slave. In 1336, Magnus was crowned with 
his consort Blanch, Countess of Namur, and in the 
same year, died Matthew Ketilmundson ", a man, 
in whom the king is said to have lost his best 
counsellor, and the strongest prop of his throne. 
Nils Ambiornson ^ was named steward with autho- 
rity almost unlimited. Not only did the kmg him- 
self defend him and all his partisans, but twenty- 
three barons, as well as the king's sister Euphemia, 
subscribed a similar engagement. Renewed ordin- 
ances against the violation of the land's peace, and 
the roving of ai'med bands for plunder throughout 
the country, as well as the complaints made by the 
king himself, that no man guided himself by his 
wishes, whether he prayed, exhorted, or threatened, 
all this shows the independence assumed by the 
magnates, and after what fashion they were ac- 
customed to observe the laws that had been 

In respect to legislation, the present reign is not 
destitute of memorials. During the minority of 
the sovereign, the law of Sodermanland was re- 
vised and amended, and in 1327 it received the 
royal sanction for all its sections, that concerning 
donations and legacies to the Church excepted, 
upon which head it is I'emarked, that the clergy 
and laity had not been able to come to an agree- 
ment. The same obstacle was encountered twenty 
years afterwards, when the work of preparing a 
general code to replace the various provincial laws 
was at length really completed. At the baronial 
diet of Orebro, in 1347, the clergy entered their 
protest, and the whole matter fell to the ground. 
Nevertheless the Land's Law of king Magnus Eric- 
son, excepting the section on the Church, gradually 
obtained acceptation, and became of established 

At the congress of Warberg, in 1343, where 
king Magnus, king Waldemar of Denmark, to- 
gether with the councillors of Sweden and Norway, 
and deputies from the newly acquired Swedish 
provinces were assembled, II acq, the younger son 
of Magnus, was proclaimed king of Norway, and 
Eric, the elder, his successor upon the Swedish 
throne. The annexation of Scania, Halland, and 
Bleking to Sweden was confirmed, and Waldemar 
absolutely renounced all claims upon these terri- 

Hitherto the reign of Magnus had been one of 
almost unbroken tranquillity, yet the people were 
burdened with such oppressive imposts, that the 
king, acknowledging that many landowners had 
been obliged to abandon their estates, in order to 
escape from the weight of them, granted in 1346 
exemption from the taxes to all who would return 
and again cultivate their fields. In one of the 

decease have 1326, probably a clerical error for 1336 ; the 
rather as the conclusion of the king's marriage, which took 
place in 1335, is mentioned in the Rhyme Chronicle as the 
last public transaction in which Matt. Ketilmundson was 

' Son of the Steward Ambiorn Sixtenson Sparre, formerly 
mentioned. The son assumed the arms of his mother's 
family of Oxenstierna. 


Crusade in Russia. 
The great plague. 


The king and his son 
at variance. 

J A. D 



public apologies isssued by him, couched in very 
humble terms, he attributes this evil to the ransom 
of Scania ; but othei's were inclined to lay the 
blame rather upon his own carelessness which 
sufl'ered the crown to be robbed of its proper 
patrimony, in his profusion, and in that depraved 
partiality to young favorites which procured hira 
the repulsive sui-uarae of the caresser (Smek). 
His manners gave general scandal, and drew upon 
him the reproaches of his contemporaries, especially 
of his famous kinswoman St. Bridget. Siie pre- 
dicted the fate which would overtake him, saying 
that he was but a child in understanding, which he 
returned by calling her revelations, dreams. Under 
his minority, a considerable loan had been granted 
to him from the tithes, for the purpose of making j 
war upon the unbelieving Russians, who are still 
denominated heathens by the popes themselves, as 
also by the Swedish Chronicles. To fulfil this 
engagement, as well as, apparently, to raise his 
sinking reputation, Magnus in 1348 undertook in 
person a crusade of great magiutude and cost 
against Rus.sia, offering the Russians the alter- 
native of death or the pope, and causing, as the 
Rhyme Chronicle declares, all whom he could lay 
hold of to cut oft' their beards and receive baptism. 
But the Russians soon showed, it is added, that 
their beards had grown again ;inevv, and sur- 
rounded the king and his army, so that he escaped 
with difficulty and great loss. Count Henry of 
Holstein, who accom[)anied him, made demands 
which he was obliged to satisfy by the grant of 
territorial fiefs ; the foreign mercenaries who 
clamoured for tlieir pay, plundered the country ; 
fresh loans granted by the Church for the expenses 
of the war *, which still remained unpaid after the 
lapse of ten years, drew down an excommunication 
on his head ; and now his dominions were about to 
be visited by that terrible pestilence, which in the 
middle of this century, coming from the uttermost 
bounds of India, traversed the woi'ld in its devas- 
tating course. 

This plague was brought from London to Bergen 
in Norway by a ship, whose crew had every man 
peinshed, the cargo being imprudently landed. 
From Norway, where scarcely a third part of the 
population, it is said, remained alive, the contagion 
spread to Sweden, raging there with extreme vio- 
lence in 1350. This year was marked by great 
drought, and the next is likewise mentioned as being 
one of scarcity '. The malady discovered itself by 
spots on the breast, vomition of blood, and boils, 
killing both men and animals in a fearfully short 
time. Many quarters were utterly desolated ' ; after 
a long time churches were discovered in the midst 
of forests, as is related of that in the hundred of 
Eke, in Vermeland. In the mine-district of that 
province, only a young man and two maidens are 
said to have survived. In Upland, scarcely the 

" From the computation of the amount of these loans in 
silver made by tlie papal treasury ^see Celse, BuUarium, i. 
109, 127), we learn that a mark of silver at this time 
amounted to almost five marks of Swedish money. 

9 S. R. S. i. 1. 29. Suhm, History of Denmark, xiii. 240. 

> Ramus in his description of Norway (Norges Beskrivelse, 
166), relates after an old tradition, that Justedale in the dio- 
cese of Bergen was now first settled by persons flying before 
the infection, who all perished, one little girl only excepted, 
who grew up in solitude, wild as a bird, and thence, when 

sixth part of the inhabitants was left ^. The plague 
I'eached Western Russia in the spring of 1352, 
often breaking out anew in the same region 
throughout an entire century, as it did more than 
once in the rest of the north. Sweden was again 
visited in 1360, by the same or another pestilential 
disease which attacked the young more particu- 
larly ^, and was therefore called the child's death. 
It was otherwise generally designated as the great 
mortality. An ordinance of Magntis Ericson, 
issued in 1350, yet remains, prescribing days of 
public prayer and penance to be observed for 
deliverance from the plague. In it the king 
declares, that the greater part of the inhabitants in 
the countries lying to the west had been swept 
away by this sudden death, which was now running 
through all Norway and Halland, and approaching 
Sweden with such virulence and speed that, as 
was notorious, people fell dead in crowds, and the 
living were not able to bui-y the dead. 

Amidst such calamities, Haco, the younger son 
of Magnus (a. d. 1350), personally assumed the 
goverment of the greatest part of Norway, and at 
the same time his eldest brother Eric was raised 
to the Swedish throne by the malcontent party. A 
civil war now broke out between the son and 
father, or rather between the former and Bennet 
Algotson, one of the king's youthful favourites, 
who had found means likewise to insinuate himself 
into the good graces of the queen, and thereby be- 
came a duke, and the most powerful man in the 
kingdom. The war terminated in the banishment 
of the favourite, and Magnus now relinquished to 
his son a portion of his dominions, along with the 
newly acquired provinces, which he was suspected 
of intending to cede to Denmark, in order to ob- 
tain its support. King Waldemar, the ally of Magnus, 
also broke into Scania, and the war between the 
father and son was about to be rekindled, when in 
1359 the latter suddenly died. Eric himself 
declared on his death-bed that he was conscious 
that he had been poisoned by his mother's hand ** ; 
the Icelandic annals again state that the prince, 
with his wife Beatrice of Brandenburg, arid two 
children, fell victims to the pestilence. Aftei- 
Eric's death, Magmus was agam acknowledged as 
king, upon condition that the favourite should not 
be recalled. This notwithstanding was done *, 
and Scania, Halland, and Bleking, were actually 
ceded to Denmark, in 1300, upon a promise of sup- 
porting Magnus against the Swedish council. At 
the very time when the rumour of this tran.saction 
excited among the people the most bitter exaspera- 
tion agamst their sovereign ^, Oeland was ravaged 
by the Danish king, whom Magnus called his friend, 
Gottland was captured after the loss of three 
battles by the peasants of the country and the 
burghers of Wisby, which town was so completely 

she was discovered, received the name of Rijia (the grouse). 
She was in time wedded, and lier descendants were called 
the Ripa family. 

^ Vix sexta pars houilnum remansit. Script. Rer. Suec. i. 
1. 29. 

3 Ibid. In 1361 mention is again made of the plague in 

'* The Rhyme Chronicle. See Torfa?us, Hist. Norv. iv. 484. 

* Bengt Algotson was at this time slain. 

^ The Rhyme Chronicle says that both young and old spat 
upon him, pelted him with rotten cabbage, and sang lam- 
poons upon him. 



. D. 1 

)— 65. 5 

Magnus dethroned. 
Tlie union ape. 


Dislike to the new king. 
German favourites. 


sacked, that it never recovered its former pros- 

The Swedish council now induced the king's 
younfjer son, Haco of Norway, to seize his person 
"(a. d. 1361), to break off' his own betrothal to Marga- 
I'et, daughter of Waldemar, who afterwards became 
so famous, and choose instead Elizabeth, sister of 
Count Henry of Holstein, for his consort. The 
new bride, while on her voyage to Sweden, being 
driven by a storm on the Danish coast, was detained 
there. Haco, now elected also king of Sweden, re- 
conciled himself nevertheless with his father, and 
concluded the marriage he had formerly resolved 
upon with Margaret, after which, Magnus banished 
twenty-four of the most powerful among the 
Swedish barons. These, repairing to Gennany, 
offered the crown of tlieir native country to Albert 
Duke of Mecklenburg, a son of Euphemia, sister of 
king Magnus. Thereupon he set sail with a fleet 

for Sweden, where he arrived escorted by the 
exiled lords. Albert was chosen king in Stock- 
holm, on the 30th of November, 1363, and in the 
following year he received the homage of his sub- 
jects at the Mora Stone. Both Magnus and his 
son were declared to have forfeited the crown, 
and they were unsuccessful in an attempt to assert 
their cause by arms, losing the battle of Enkoping 
in 1365. Magnus was made prisoner, and did not 
recover his liberty until the peace with Norway, in 
1371. Subsequently he received certain revenues 
which were allotted to him in Sweden for his sub- 
sistence ; he spent the residue of his days with his 
son, and was drowned, in 1374, in the neighbour- 
hood of Bergen. The Norwegians, over whom he 
had reigned in peace, if we e.\cept some disturb- 
ances in 1339, styled him Magnus the Good. Thus 
ended the power of the Folkunger family in 





A. D. 13C5— 1470. 

In the Swedish commonwealth, the place of the 
sovereign was now really vacant. The name in- 
deed was still retained, and the magnates, who 
could not endure that one of their own number 
should wear the crown, imposed a succession of 
foi'eign princes upon their countrymen. The do- 
mination of the stranger made even such a king as 
Magnus Ericson to bo regretted, and for a long 
time after his death it was common to hear the 
people extol his government, when they compared 
it with the tyranny of tlie foreigners. The fate of 
the throne and the country was decided by the 
holders of power from the casual motives of tem- 
porary interest, and by such was the famous union 
of the three northern kingdoms produced — a mere 
mcident, which bears some resemblance to a de- 
sign. But of a consciousness of what such a union 
was, or of what it might become, no glimpse is to 
be perceived, either among its founders or in any 
other quarter. Hence external colligation produced 
division within, and the union is only a great name 
which has passed away without a meaning. The 
fountains of history flow more plentifully in this 
troubled period. The narrative of the great Rhyme 
Chronicle becomes more copious ; Eric Olaveson '' 
in his Latin, the brothers Olave and Lawrence 
Peterson in their Swedish chronicles*, afford much 
valuable light for the explanation of the period of 
the union, which was in part their own. Even 
Joannes Magnus, however much he may have 
invented in his account of the more ancient period, 

' The Chronica Erici Olai, in the Script. Rer. Suec. t. ii., 
comes down to the year 146-i. The author, who was dean 
and professor of theology at Upsala, diod in 1486. 

8 First printed in S. R. S. t. i. ii. They come down to the 
massacre of Stockholm in 1520. The chronicle of Laurentius 
Petri is a compilation from that of his brother, omitting such 
passages as gave offence to Gustavus I., and adding the his- 
tory of the kings, and military achievements of the e.\tra- 

may for the annals of that which we are now 
approaching, be consulted with profit, if with cau- 
tion. The works of his brother Olaus Magnus are 
of importance, with reference to the knowledge of 
old nortliern manners ^. 

Albert's victory over his rival did not leave him 
master of the kingdom. The deposed sovereign 
had still during his captivity a strong party, and 
the governors of most of the castles continued 
faithful to him for several years. By the prefer- 
ence which Albert showed for his counti-ymen of 
Germany, and his lavish bounty to them, great 
disgusts were excited. The Upper Swedes sent 
a proclamation to the inhabitants of Gothland, or 
the dwellers below the great forest, complaining of 
the oppressions and slavery they endured at the 
hands of king Albert and his Germans, i-enouncing 
fealty and obedience to him as a perjurer and 
traitor, and exhorting every man to return to his 
allegiance to the good and honourable lord, king 
Magnus, and to set him free from captivity. " If 
the councillors of the realm," they add, " will aid 
us, we will gladly pray their help ; if not, the guilt 
will be theirs, and the loss as well theirs as ours." 
The foreign notions, especially, which the king and 
those about him entertained respecting the serfdom 
of the common people appear to have awakened 
among them general indignation, and mcreased 
their impatience of the overweening arrogance of [ 
the strangers, wliich is depicted with so much life 

neous Goths, which Johannes Magnus treated difTusely, but 
which Olaus Petri, to the discontent of the king, excluded. 

9 Joannis Magni Gothorum Sueonumque Historia, or, as 
the title runs in the tirst edition, Historia de omnibus Gotho- 
rum Sueonumque regibus, &c., appeared at Rome in 1554, 
under the revision of his brother Olaus Magnus, who pub- 
lished in the year following his own Historia de gentibus 
septentrionalibus, earumque diversis statibus, conditionibus. 
moribus, S:c. 


Crown grants revoked. 
The steward Jonson. 


Margaret of Norway. 
The crown oifered to her. 

J A. D, 

il371— i 


in the old Swedish verBes, entitled "a pleasant 
likeness of king Albert and Sweden i". The great 
number of Germans who are mentioned at that 
time as members of the council and in command of 
the rojal castles, sufficiently indicate that these 
complaints were not unfounded. Such was the 
prevalent mood of men's minds while the kingdom 
was exposed at once to intestine war, and to hosti- 
hties from Norway and Denmark. Albert's allies, 
the powerful towns of the Hanseatic league, com- 
pelled indeed the foreign enemies to remain quiet, 
but king Haco, having in vain endeavoured by 
negociation to obtain his father's release, broke 
anew into Sweden, and pushing on to Stockholm, 
laid siege to the town. In this emergency Albert 
had no other resource than that of unreserved sub- 
mission to the council. The plenary grant by which 
he in 1369 appointed Bo Jonson Grip " his managing 
agent " over his court, houses and manors, his re- 
venues, bailiffs and servants, with the right even of 
inflicting capital punishment, bestowed upon this 
nobleman the same powers in all these respects as 
were j)ossessed by the king himself. In the com- 
pact made with the council, August 9, 1371, he 
admits that the royal commanders had, contrai-y to 
his wishes, exercised many violences against men 
of every class in the realm, for which reason he 
now transferred all the castles and fortresses of 
the crown, with the domains appertaining to them, 
to the custody of the council, by whom they should 
be bestowed only upon natives of Sweden. The 
vacated places in the council were also to be filled 
up by themselves, and no foreigners admitted to be 
members. Thus the whole administration of affairs 
passed into the hands of the council, now so much 
the more powerful, because the great plague had 
amassed extraordinary riches in the hands of a 
few. No man m Sweden ever attained to greater 
opulence than the high steward Jonson. Besides 
enormous j)i'operty of his own, he held in pledge 
for loans which he had advanced to the crown the 
whole of Finland and the largest portion of Swe- 
den, with the principal castles of the kingdom, and 
the lands belonging to the Upsala estate. And 
thus an old relation declares, that he ruled the 
country with his beck. In what excesses men such 
as he could sometimes give loose to their passions, 
we may learn from the circumstance, that the baron 
Matthew Gustaveson in 1372 assassinated Gott- 
skalk, bishop of Linkbping, hi a quarrel respecting 
the title to certain estates, and Jonson himself, in 
1381, being in feud with baron Charles Nilson 
Faria, pursued his antagonist into the Franciscan 
cliurch at Stockholm, and cut him down before the 
high altar. When such were the manners of the 
possessors of power, it may well seem futile to 
observe that in 1375 they confirmed anew with 
king Albert the covenant of land's-peace 2. 

• Script. Rer. Suec. i. 2, 210. 

2 For three years, it is said. 

3 Every third manor of their own property. 

^ Post cujus mortem milites et optiraates Sueciae cum rege 
Alberto discordare copperunt, eo quod idem rex ab ipsis 
quandam partem honorum regalium, quam ipsi a multis 
retroactis temporibus ac progenitores eorum tempore guerra- 
rum sibi usurpaverant, juridice exigebat; quod quidera prae- 
dicti nobiles regni indigne ferentes contra regem conspirare 
coeperunt, allegando quod rex patrimonia ipsorum vellet 
diripere ac Theutonicis suis elargiri. Script. Rer. Suec. i. 
Chronologia xiv. 45, 46. 

Unsuccessful attempts to reconquer Scania ag- 
gravated the king's necessities, and occasioned new- 
inroads on the property of the church. These again 
gave rise to new compacts, always ending on the 
king's side on more absolute dependence, till after 
the death of Jonson in 1 386 he ventured to come 
to an open rupture with the magnates, and to ap- 
propriate to himself, it is said, a third part of the 
estates of the spiritual and temporal lords ^, pro- 
ceeding forthwith to exact by force compliance 
with his demand. So mns the poetical account of 
the Rhyme Chronicle, which has been understood 
literally, and explained as a confiscation by the 
crown of the third part of the spiritual and tem- 
poral freeholds (fralset). But such an attempt is 
wholly incredible, even on the part of so rash a 
sovereign as Albert, and it is also clear from other 
sources of information, that here the question con- 
cerned only property of right belonging to the 
crown ; for a contemporary account declares that 
" when Boece Jonson, the steward of Sweden, died, 
dissensions sprang up between the knights and 
nobles of the realm and king Albert, because he 
required from them by authority of law a certain 
portion of the crown estates which they and their 
forefathers had for a long time held, having appro- 
priated them during the wars ; wherefore the said 
nobles being dissatisfied, began to conspire against 
the king, pretending that he wished to seize upon 
their patrimonies in order to bestow them upon his 
Germans *." 

It was against the heirs of the steward more 
especially, that this demand of revocation was 
levelled, but it was sufficient to kindle a civil war, 
and we now find the executors appointed under the 
will of this powerful thane disposing of the Swedish 
crown, and thereby preparing the union of the 
three northern kingdoms. Waldemar of Denmark 
had died in 1375, Haco of Norway in 1380. Clave, 
son of Haco by ISIargaret, and by his father and 
maternal grandfather king of both Norway and 
Denmark, died young in 1387, the last male scion 
of the royal line of the Folkungers, in virtue of 
w Inch descent he styled himself the rightful heir of 
Sweden. After his death, Margaret was named 
regent in Denmark, and queen regnant in Norway ; 
and in the same year the executors of Jonson 's tes- 
tament, in whose custody were the principal castles 
and strongholds of the kingdom, made an overture 
to her of the Swedish crown *. They were not 
diverted from their purposes by any scruples as to 
the want of any authority better than their own ; 
the disaffection generally prevalent among the 
Swedes found them adherents, Margaret furnished 
them with supplies of war and auxiliary troops ; 
and Albert's fate was decided by the battle of 
Falkoeping ''j fought on the 21st September, 1389, 

^ His testament is to be found in Hadorph's edition of the 
translation of the " History of Alexander the Great," made 
from the Latin into Swedish verse, at Bo Jonson's instance 
(Wisingsborg, 1672). In later times, indeed, we occasionally 
find this versified translation attributed to Jonson himself; 
but he had made so little progress in Latin that in his 
will, which is written in Swedish, he styles his executors in- 
variably executoribus. 

6 In West-Gothland. The 24th February, St. Matthias's 
day, in spring, is usually stated as that of the battle ; but the 
Rhyme Chronicle names St. Matthew's diiy, in harvest, 
though it gives the wrong year, 1388. (.loaniies Magims also 
says, on the day of Matthew the aposlle, xxi. 14. T.) 

A. D. 



Captivity of Albert. 
Piracy in the Baltic. 


Treaty of Calmar, 
July 20, 1397. 


in which he himself and his son Eric, with several 
German princes and knights, were made prisoners. 
This victory, which threw open the kingdom to 
Margaret, was won by the high marshal of Swe- 
den, Eric Kiellson^. Margaret, in revenge for the 
boastful and contemptuous sayings in which Albert 
had indulged himself at her expense, received him 
with contumely, set a fool's cap on his head^, and 
threw both father and son into the dungeon of 
Lundholm castle in Scania, where they remained 
for seven years. 

During this whole period Sweden was a prey to 
all the horrors of party hatreds and wars, almost 
no other trace of a government being visible than 
the taxes imposed by Margaret. The capital and 
many of the castles were in the hands of the Ger- 
mans, and from these stations they made incursions 
in all directions through the country with plunder 
and conflagration. In Stockholm an old grudge 
subsisted among the Germans and Swedes, a hostile 
outbreak of which king Albert had with difficulty 
averted, and the Swedish burgesses were now 
treacherously assaulted by the Teutonic faction. 
A proscription list, including seventy of the prin- 
cipal Swedes, had been drawn up twelve years 
before, and was now again produced and publicly 
read '. Those of the selected victims who were 
still to be found were seized and laid in fetters, 
some of them being tortured with carpenters' saws; 
at length they were shut up in an old building and 
burned alive. 

The towns of Wismar and Rostock, as also the 
Duke of Mecklenburg, embraced Albert's cause, 
relieved Stockholm, and gave protection in their 
harbours to every pirate who chose to seek plunder 
on the Swedish coast. These sea-robbers formed 
the original stock of the freebooters who long after- 
wards continued to infest the waters of the Baltic '. 
Several Swedish towns were laid in ashes ; in the 
country some held with Albert, others with Mar- 
garet. The people also suffered from failures of 
the crops, as in 1391, in which year, to quote the 
words of the complaint, " Nothing grew upon the 
earth, and the little that sprung up was snatched 
away by robbers or forceful sorners, so that one 
might easily find a hundred yeomen, who together 
did not possess half a ton of barley or a load of 
hay 2." The nobles fortified their houses, and so 
many petty robber fortresses arose, that the general 
demolition of these castles was afterwards found 
necessary. " In Sweden at this time," says the 
Rhyme Chronicle, "there were enemies on all 
sides, son against father, and brother against bro- 
ther." Other writers lament that the fields lay 
unfilled, and that the land had well-nigh become 

' He is said by our later historians to have been of the 
family of Vasa ; but lie did not bear their arms, and is called 
Puke in the Diary of Vadstena. 

s Sie liess ihm audi eine cappe schneide, 
Hatte fiinfzelin ellen in die weite, 
Der timpel wohl neunzehn ellen langk. 

A cap she caused set on his head. 
That had full fifteen ells in breadth, 
The peak was nineteen good ells long. 

(Mecklenburg Rhyme Chronicle in Behr, 

Rer. Mecleburgiearum lib. ii. c. 7.) 

9 In the council-chamber of the town, at a conventicle of 

the German burgesses and soldiery. Olave Peterson, S. R. S. 

i. 33. 277; Eric Olaveson, ii. 1. 119. The latter states that 

the burgomasters were at this time all Germans. Trans. 

a desert. Peace was at length restored by a treaty 
which in 1395 set Albert and his son at liberty. 
They bound themselves to pay not less than 60,000 
marks of silver^, for which the Hanse towns found 
security, receiving the town of Stockholm in pledge 
for the sum. Part of the ransom was discharged 
by the women of Mecklenburg, with the generous 
sacrifice of their jewels ; the last arrears were re- 
mitted upon the delivery of Stockholm into the 
hands of Margaret. Albert's son died in Gottland 
in 1397 ; he himself did not fully renounce his pre- 
tensions until 1 405, and is said, though the authori- 
ties differ, to have died in 1412. 

Sweden was now sufficiently depressed to accept 
the conditions offered by Margaret. Eric Duke of 
Pomerania*, her grand-nephew, had been already 
declared the future sovereign of Denmark and 
Norway ; he was now also elected king of Sweden 
by the council, in presence of Margaret, on the 1 1th 
day of July, 1396, and received the formal homage 
of the people at the Mora Stone. What Albert 
had fruitlessly attempted was now effected with 
full consent of the Magnates. All the estates of 
the crown that had come into their possession since 
" the war between king Magnus and the men of 
the realm began," in 1363, were resumed, it now 
being settled that the occupiers, especially the heirs 
of Boece Jonson, were to arrange their differences 
with the crown within a determinate time. It was 
likewise decreed that all new castles, erected within 
the above-mentioned period, should be destroyed, 
unless exempted by special grace ; that all the pri- 
vileges of nobility, so lavishly bestowed by king 
Albert, should be revoked, unless acquired on the 
tei'ms prescribed by law ; and that all landed yeo- 
men, whom the nobility had made their vassals, 
should again pay gavel to the crown. 

The coronation of the new sovereign took place 
in the following year at Calmar, where the chief 
spiritual and temporal barons of Denmark, Norway, 
and Sweden assembled. Here, on St. Margaret's 
day, the 20th of July (a. d. 1397), was concluded 
that union which was for the future to combine the 
three kingdoms of the north under a common 
sceptre. The chief conditions, besides those rela- 
ting to Margaret personally, stipulated that peace 
and amity should thenceforth prevail between the 
kingdoms ; that the election of the king should in 
future be transacted conjointly, the sons of the 
sovereign being preferred, if such existed ; each 
realm was to be governed according to its own 
laws ; fugitives from one country were not to be 
protected in another ; all were bound to take arms 
for the common defence, nor were the subjects of 
any of the three to pretend any right of not serving 

' These were called Vitalians or Victualling Brethren, be- 
cause they exercised their piracy under pretext of supplying 
Stockholm during its investment with provisions. 

' Letter of the chapter of Linkbping in this year. 

5 Each of 45 Lubeck shillings, about 3s. 6d. sterling, so 
that the ransom would be about £10,500. T. 

'' His father was Wratislaus VII., duke of Pomerania, his 
mother Mary, daughter of Henry, duke of Mecklenburg, 
brother of king Albert, and Ingeborg, sister of Queen 

Margaret . Ingeborg Henry . Albert 





Philippa of England. HISTORY OF THE SWEDES. The king's exactions. [isgr—li 


beyond its limits. This short aiui imperfect record 
of tlie terms of union, Imrriediy drawn up it is 
plain, is subscribed by seventeen barons. Its real 
contents were so little known in Sweden, that we 
find among the Swedish claims on Denmark, in 
1435, a demand that Sweden should be correctly 
informed of the true purport of the Act of Union. 
Our old chroniclers are entirely ignorant of the first 
convention, and are acquainted only with the more 
recent forms it assumed in consequence of the alter- 
ations and renewals which the conditions underwent. 

Margaret retained possession of the government ; 
for Eric was but in his sixteenth year when the 
union of Calmar was concluded. Some years after- 
wards he married Philtppa of England*, a princess 
who brought him a rich dowry, and was distin- 
guished by her gentleness no less than by her 
intelligence and courage. Her memory was che- 
rished in the popular affections, but her wedlock 
was childless and unhappy, and she was even per- 
sonally maltreated by her husband. Eric may be 
regarded as the co-regent of Margaret from the 
year 1401, when he accomplished his Ericsgait in 
Sweden. On this occasion a poi-tion of those extra- 
ordinary taxes which now appear under different 
appellations was remitted. Margaret also pro- 
mised the abolition of the rest in a proclamation 
two years afterwards, in which she humbly entreats 
forgiveness for the burdens she has been obliged to 
impose upon the people, laying the blame upon the 
exactions of the crown bailiffs and the expenses of 

Yet, not long afterwards, a new and extraordinary 
tax upon every hearth was levied for the redemp- 
tion of the Isle of Gottland, which Albert had 
mortgaged to the knights of the Prussian order, 
and Margaret now repurchased, while she severed 
it from the dominion of Sweden. The above-men- 
tioned letter of apology enables us to understand 
the incessant complaints of the people. From it 
we learn, that the commanders of the royal castles, 
who were chiefly foreigners, or adventurers with- 
out a country, vexed the peasantry by arbitrary 
exaction of labour and imposition of tribute, quar- 
tering the soldiery with their horses about the 
surrounding district, where these demeaned them- 
selves as if in an enemy's teiTitory. For the rest, 
the same law, or absence of law, reigned in the 
manor-houses of the powerful nobles as in the 
court of the sovereign. In the former, as in the 
latter, the privilege of private judicature over re- 
tainers and servants, was exercised ^ ; we even 
find the magnates raising individuals of this 
class to the rank of nobility for themselves and 
their posterity '. That the oppressions which pro- 
duced these complaints, however, were not inflicted 

' Daughter of Henry IV. of England, betrothed in HOI, 
married in 1406. She presided over the government in 1423, 
during the king's foreign travel and i)ilgrimage to the Holy 
Sepulchre, introduced improvements in the coinage, and de- 
fended Copenhagen in 1428 against the combined squadrons 
of the Haiise Towns and Holstein, while Eric lay hidden in 
tiie monastery of Soroe. She died in tlie con yen t of Wadstena 
in 1430. 

6 According to king Magnus Ericson's household law 
(gardsriitt), which Margaret and Eric of Ponierania confirmed. 

7 Such a right was exercised by Bo Jonson and Cliarles 
Ulfson (Sparre) of Tofta, patents issued by whom for this pur- 
pose are extant. Eric of Pomerania first, of the Swedish 
kings, granted letters of nobility with armorial shield.s. 

by foreigners only, is shown by the example of 
Abraham Broderson, who is praised indeed by the 
Rhyme Chronicle (generally favourable to the no- 
bility) for his bravery and skill, but whose tyranny, 
we learn from various other accounts, spared nei- 
ther men's property nor maidens' honour. Eric 
brought this nobleman, in 1410, to trial and execu- 
tion, less however, apparently, from iove of justice, 
than because the knight had been unsuccessful in 
his siege of the castle of Sonderburg, during the 
war of Sleswick, and because the fiefs which he 
possessed, both in Denmark and Sweden, made 
him too formidable a subject. He was the favourite 
of Margaret, who sought to save him from his 
doom ; she founded masses in memory of herself 
and him conjointly, and did not long survive him. 
She died, at the age of sixty, in a vesssel before 
Flensburg, some say of the plague, which in this 
year (a. d. 1412) ravaged the north, extolled by 
the Danes, and famous in Sweden for her sagacity, 
but loaded by our chroniclers with all that weight 
of hatred which was generated by the results of 
the union. 

Eric of Pomerania. as he is styled, sacrificed the 
greatest part of his long reign, from the time when 
he became sole king, in fruitless endeavours to 
secure the succession for the ducal house of Pome- 
rania, and in a war for the possession of Sleswick, 
which the ruler of the north waged for nearly 
thirty years, without success, against the not very 
powerful Counts of Holstein '. The former was, 
doubtless, the chief reason why the king thought it 
expedient to commit to foreigners the custody of the 
Swedish castles ; the latter, conducted with equal 
folly and obstinacy, although with frequent inter- 
ruptions and negociatioiis, occasioned continual 
levies of men, who for the most part perished 
miserably in captivity, and new taxes extremely 
oppressive, the weight of which was felt the more 
severely as they were mostly levied in money, in 
order that their produce might be transmitted to 
Denmark. Every town and mine-district was held 
responsible for a certain amount which the autho- 
rities did not blush to extort by means the most 
violent and inhuman. Notwithstanding the depre- 
ciation of the coins to which the king had recourse, 
these were so rare, that the property of the tax- 
payers was often taken in pledge for a small part of 
its real value. Justice was no longer administered ; 
not only the provincial diets and courts of inquisi- 
tion had fallen into disuse, but the ordinary 
judicial offices were either left tenantless, or filled 
by foreigners for the sake- of the emoluments ; and 
" such right as they have had therewith, such also 
have they shown to us," the peasants complain '. 
AH affairs were left to the management of the 

f' The Holsteiners admitted the right of the king of Den- 
mark to feudal superiority over Sleswick, but claimed the 
territory as a hereditary fief, which the latter refused, aiming 
at the possession of the duchy. The contest began after the 
death of Gerard of Holstein in 1404, respecting the guardian- 
ship of his children, and did not end before 14S5, when the 
king was compelled by the expenses which it entailed to 
make a treaty with Adolphus, count of Holstein, in which, 
however, the matter in dispute remained undetermined, in 
the same year peace was made with the Vendish towns 
Hamburg, Lunehurg, and Wismar, which in the nine last 
years had taken part with Holstein. 

9 Seethe remonstrances of the Swedish peasants in Hvit- 
I'eld's Danish Chronicle, Copenhagen, 1652, iii. 781. 

A. D 



Rising of Engelbert. 


His meeting with the 


foreign governors, whose cliaraeter may be judged 
from the fact that, among the commanders of the 
Swedish castles, were found four of the most noto- 
rious pirates of that day. In tliis trade, one of 
Erie's own chaplains ', even when archbishop 
of Upsala, was shameless enough to participate. A 
Danish nobleman, Josse Ericson, born in Jutland, 
and for many years royal governor of Westman- 
land and Dalecarlia, is charged with having tor- 
tured the peasants by hanging them up in smoke, 
and with having yoked pregnant women to hay 
waggons. An old Swedish ballad relates similar 
cruelties of the tyrannical feudatory of Fascaholm 
in Helsingland. 

Not far from the Kopparberg, in Dalecarlia, 
there dwelt at this time a miner, by name Engel- 
bert Engelbertson 2, a man of great spirit though 
of slight frame, having such skill in war as might 
be learned by one who had passed his youth in the 
households of great barons, eloquent and brave. 
This person undertook to lay before king Eric the 
grievances of the Dalecarlians, and repaired to 
Denmark, where he preferred a demand for justice 
against the tyranny of the governor, engaging to 
deliver himself up for imprisonment, and to stake 
his life against that of the accused, in case the 
latter should be found innocent. A royal mandate 
was sent to the Swedish council, agreeably to 
which an investigation was instituted, proving the 
charges to be well-founded ; but as the council 
confined themselves to admonitions, and the gover- 
nor would not consent to relinquish his office, 
Engelbert lost no time in again repairing to the 
king, before whom he urged the punishment of 
the offender with such boldness, that Eric in 
wrath commanded him to be gone, and never again 
to appear in liis presence. Engelbert replied, 
" Yet once more will I return." The men of his 
province chose him for their leader, and he marched 
with them against Westeras, which was held by 
Jiisse Ericson. The council indeed interposed its 
mediation, and twice induced the Dalecarlians to 
return home. But the governor continuing with 
impunity to enforce the paj-ment of his contribu- 
tions, and his place, when at length he was removed, 
being filled uj) by a foreigner, who was regarded 
with dread, all the Dalesmen rose upon Midsum- 
mer's Day of 1434, it is said, " like one man, and 
swore to drive the strangers out of the land." The 
castle of Borganas, lying upon an island in the Dal- 
elf, was stormed and burned to the ground. The 
Dalecarlians next invaded Westmanland, the pea- 
sants of which province joined tlie insurgent force. 
Westeras speedily surrendered, and thither Engel- 
bert summoned the surrounding nobility, calling 
upon them to give their aid, and warning them that 
if they refused, they must look themselves to the 
security of their lives and properties. They pi-o- 
mised fidelity to him and to the popular cause. 

• Arendt Clemens. " A worse knave was no priest of that 
day," says the Rhyme Chronicle. A former archbishop, John 
Jerechini, a foreigner Uke the other, and like him thrust 
upon the chapter, was deposed for his many notorious vices, 
and thereafter appointed to the bishopric of Skalholt in Ice- 
land. Here, after new enormities, the peasants tied a large 
stone about liis neck, and drowned him in the Bruar stream. 

2 Ingenuus seu libertus, Eric Olaveson styles him, which 
in tliat writer's phraseology means a fraelsemaii or franklin. 
(I use the English form instead of the Swedish Eugelbrekt. 
Bergsinan may be rendered either miner or mountaineer, 

At Upsala, the Uplanders came to join his ban- 
ner. Here, in an immense assembly of the people, 
he explained the occasion and the object of his 
enterprise, tlie people answering with blessings. 
Speaking so loudly that his voice was heard 
throughout the whole multitude, he asked them 
whether they would assist him in his endeavours to 
liberate the realm from the slavery in which it was 
held. Every man declared himself willing to follow 
his bannei'. With the assent of the nobles who 
were present, Engelbert now remitted a third part 
of the imposts. His letters and messengers 
traversed every district of the country. The 
NoiTlanders and East Bothnians took up arms 
under Eric Puk^ ; the Sudermanians stormed 
Gripsholm, whose detested governor took to flight, 
and himself set the castle on fire. For the town of 
Stockholm, a truce was concluded with the knight 
Hans Cropelin, the only one of the foreign com- 
manders who was esteemed for his justness and 
mildness towards the people. A convention was 
entered into with the governors of Nykoping and 
Orebro, by which these towns were to be sur- 
rendered if not relieved within six weeks. In 
Vermeland and Dalecarlia, the castles of the gover- 
nors were razed to the ground by the peasants. At 
Vadstena, Engelbert, on his way to the southern 
division of the kingdom, met the Swedish council 
which was returning from Denmark. He exhorted 
them to join liim in restoring the ancient rights 
and liberties of the kingdom ; since the times of 
the last king Magnus ', he told them Sweden had 
been ruled by tyrants, not kings. The council ap- 
pealed to the oath they had taken to the sovereign, 
but he, Engelbert replied, had broken his oath. 

" They said him nay, nor stirred a jot, 
But swift he caught them by the throat," 

and threatened the bishops who acted as their 
spokesmen, that he would cast them out among the 
people *. The council now showed themselves in- 
clined to be pliable. An absolute renunciation of 
fealty and allegiance to king Eric was subscribed 
upon the spot, and immediately despatched by 
Engelbert to Denmark. He now divided his 
forces into three companies, and marched south- 
wards, but not before he had exhorted the Up- 
landers in a public letter, to pay true service and 
obedience to the council of the kingdom at Stock- 
holm, for the capital had in the mean time passed 
over to his party. The style he adopted in this 
communication was, " I Engelbert Engelbertson, 
with all my coadjutors." Throughout all the j)ro- 
viuces, the people took up arms and streamed in 
troops to his standard. If we may trust an ac- 
count of later times, his army at last amounted to a 
hundred thousand men ^. More than twenty strong- 
holds and fortresses in all quarters of the kingdom 

and there are authorities for both designations. See Lager- 
bring, iv. 74 ; Tuneld, Engclbrekt Engelbrektson's Histuria, 
p. 76. T.) 

3 Magni regis ultinii. Eric Olaveson. The manuscripts 
used for the edition of the Chronicle of Olave Peterson in the 
Script. Rer. Suec. have Magnus Smek (not Magnus Ladulas). 

•* The Rhyme Chronicle, which adds, " tlien he first 
grasped Bishop Canute (of Linkbping), and was about to 
drag him out to the people ; Bishop Sigge of Skara he made 
as if he would treat likewise ; Bishop Thomas of Strengnas 
was in trouble too," &c. Script. Rer, Suec. i. 32, p. 70. T. 

' Joannes Magnus. 


Engelbert's success. 
His administration. 


Assassination of 


A. D. 

were taken and destroyed, and the more easily, 
that wood was the material of which many were 
constructed. Everywliere the foreign prefects 
were expelled, though none fell a victim to the 
popular vengeance, e.Kcepting Josse Ericson, who 
remained for some time concealed in the monastery 
of Vadstena. Two years after these occurrences, 
the peasants dragged him from his retreat and put 
him to death, an outrage for which they were 
obliged to pay a large fine to the convent '^. The 
property of the crown was plundered, but the 
effects of individuals were left unmolested, and we 
have the evidence of a current proverb, that no 
man lost so much as the value of a fowl by Engel- 
bert and his army. All this passed with incredible 
quickness. On the 16th of Augnst, 1434, the 
letter of renunciation to the king was drawn up in 
Vadstena. Before the end of October, the greater 
number of the castles and fortified places in the 
kingdom had been seized ; Halland besides was 
wrested from the Danes, Engelbert returned to 
Westeras, and the peasant army dismissed to their 

In November the king came for a short time to 
Stockholm ; which occasioned the issue of a new 
summons to the peasants to march towards the 
capital, and the holding of a diet at Arboga in the 
opening of the year 1 435, by which Engelbert was 
unanimously chosen administrator. From this 
moment the magnates gradually fell into the ranks 
of the royalist party. Their differences with the 
king were adjusted by a treaty which, first con- 
certed in Halmstad, and afterwards guaranteed by 
the councillors of Denmark and Norway, was rati- 
fied by the king in person upon his return to Stock- 
holm in the autumn of the same year. The high 
offices of steward and marshal of Sweden were to 
be restored, the taxes determined by the consent of 
the council, and judges again appointed throughout 
the country ; the castles which had not been burned 
down were to be delivered up to the king, and all 
of them, with the exception of Stockholm, Nykoeping, 
and Calmar, placed under the charge of native go- 
vernors. Orebro was to be granted m fief to Engel- 
bert, and Halland to be restored to Denmark. 
Christer Nilson Vasa, an aged noble, was nominated 
high steward, Charles Canuteson Bond^, the most 
brilliant of the young nobles of Sweden, was made 
high marshal. When the latter requested instruc- 
tions for the discharge of his functions, the king 
bade him be guided by the proverb, " not to stretch 
the feet further than the coverlet reached ;" his an- 
swer to the representations addressed to him by the 
council was, that " he would not be their yea-lord." 
On his return he himself plundered the Swedish 
coasts, and among his new governors we find men 
who obtained a bad distinction by their Lidiuman- 
ities ^. 

Engelbert and Charles Canuteson now made 
themselves masters of the town of Stockholm, 
although the Danish govei'uor still held the castle. 
At the election of a new administrator, instituted by 
thirty barons, Charles Canuteson obtained nearly 
all the votes. Neither Engelbert nor Puk^ con- 

" Diary of Vadstena under the year 1430, where it is said 
that this oppressor was " a special friend of the monastery, 
and conferred a great bequest." 

7 See the account in the Rhyme Chronicle of the new 
governor of Stegeborg. 

cealed their discontent, and the murmurs of the 
yeomanry were so loud that Charles Canuteson 
found himself obliged to consent to a division of 
power with the former. Engelbert, in an expe 
dition towards the Danish frontier, checked the 
tyranny of the new governors, once more reduced 
Halland, and falling sick returned to Orebro. 
In the neighbourhood of this town dwelt Bennet 
Stenson *, a powerful noble, and a partisan of King 
Eric '. Being at open feud with Engelbert, he re- 
quested and obtained a safe-conduct to hold an in- 
terview, at which an agreement was made, guaran- 
teed by mutual sureties, that they should commit 
their disputes to award of the council, and in the 
mean time live at peace with each other. Engel- 
bert now welcomed his enemy as his guest, and 
being called to Stockholm by the council, deter- 
mined, it is said, at his proposal, to cross lake 
Hielmar on his route, the rather that the debility 
which still clung to him made travelling on horse- 
back painful. In the evening, accordingly, Engel- 
bert, his wife, and only a few attendants were con- 
veyed in two boats for a distance of a mile and 
a half, to an island over against Bennet Stenson's 
castle of Goksholm, and lying no great way from 
it '. Here Engelbert intended to pass the night, 
and caused a fire to be kindled, the cold, at the end 
of April, being still severe. Another boat ap- 
proached the island, and Engelbert, who on seeing 
it, believed that it brought hospitable invitation to 
Goksholm, called the attention of his companions to 
the circumstance, as a proof of the good will of its 
owner. He beckoned to the new comers with his 
crutch, pointing out a proper landing-place. Sud- 
denly Magnus, son of his new pretended friend, 
sprang out of the boat, and vehemently demanded 
whether he was to have no peace in the land on his 
account. Upon Engelbert replying that he knew of no 
unpeace betwixt them, Magnus Bennetson aimed 
at him a blow of his poleaxe, which, though the sick 
man tried to parry it with his crutch, wounded him 
in the hand. Repeated blows on the neck and head 
brought Engelbert to the ground. The murderer, 
with the frenzy of a wild beast, beat in pieces the 
head of his victim, stuck the body full of arrows, 
and left him weltering in his blood, carrying his 
wife and companions prisoners to the castle. This 
happened on the 27th of April, 1436. Peasants 
who dwelt near the spot took up Engelbert's body, 
and interred it in the church of Mallosa, whence it 
was afterwards carried to Orebro. The strong 
castle of Goksholm was stormed by an exasperated 
force of the neighbouring yeomen, but the object of 
their pursuit eluded them, and a letter of protection 
was issued by Charles Canuteson, the new adminis- 
trator, forbidding any one to presume to molest the 
criminal, or to reproach him with the deed. Thus 
died Engelbert, who is said in a contemporary nar- 
rative " to have ruled over Sweden for three yeare." 
The powerful barons generally opposed liim, but 
some of the noblest among them loved and honoured 
him. The valiant Broder Swenson was his brother 
in arms, and Thomas, bishop of Strengnas, lamented 
his death in verses which move our sympathies even 
at the present day. Engelbert's memory was kept 

f' Of the family of Natt och Dag (nit;ht and day). 
'■> Hence he was one of those whom the king intended to 
nominate to the office of steward. 
1 It is still called Engelbert's Holm. 

A. D. 

H36— 42 


Charles Caniiteson's 


Oscillations of 


sacred by the people, as that of one who had died a 
martyr to the freedom of his country, and they 
believed that miracles were wrought at his tomb ^. 

One who now sought to curb these j>o])ular move- 
ments had more than any other man reaped advan- 
tage from them; this was Charles Canuteson Bond^. 
In the means he employed, as we have seen, he was 
far from being scrupulous, but even after the death 
of Engelbert he was not undisturbed by compe- 
titors, who leant for support on the aristocratic in- 
terest, or popular favour, or upon both. Broder 
Swenson, a baron and councillor of state, discon- 
tented at being passed over in the distribution of 
the fiefs, now that all the castles had fallen into the 
hands of the administrator, excited an opposition to 
his measures at the baronial diet of Sdderkoping in 
1436 ; he was arrested, and early on the following 
morning his body was found, after the executioner 
had dealt with him. The fierce and turbulent 
Eric Puk^, who was all powerful with the peasants, 
pex'secuted the new regent with threats, plots, 
popular disturbances, and declarations of war, all 
of which Charles Canuteson bore with for a long 
time ; but at length, during a conference for the 
settlement of their differences, held at Westeras in 
1437, lie treacherously seized upon his im fortunate 
rival, and caused his head to be struck off. The 
steward Christer Nilson, an old intriguer, accus- 
tomed to style the guardian, whose kinsman he was, 
his dear son, and to be called in return father, now 
covertly incited the Dalecarlians and Vermelanders 
to fresh conmiotions, and confederated with Nils 
Stenson, brother-in-law of Charles, whom Eric had 
lately nominated to the dignity of marshal, for the 
recall of the king. This revolt was however sup- 
pressed in 1438 ; in the year following, the steward, 
unsuspicious of danger, was surprised at his house, 
and carried to his fief, the castle of Wiborg in Fin- 
laud, while the new marshal fled with the king back 
to Gottland ^, where Eric, in the society of his con- 
cubine, and the pirates whose booty he was not 
ashamed to share, consoled himself for the loss of 
three kingdoms. 

From 1434, the year of Engelbert's rising, until 
the close of even Eric's nominal reign, we may 
observe within five years, no fewer than ten 
different associations, guarantees, covenants, and 
confederacies, without reckoning those in which the 
Swedish council alone was concerned, formed some- 
times under the mediation of Denmark and Nor- 
way, sometimes under that of the Hanse towns, all 
relating to the conditions on which the king's re- 
admission might be acceded to. This is a species 
of diplomacy, which might not improperly be 
denominated the pastime of the Union age, — per- 
petual congresses, appointed, deferred, again re- 
newed, exhibiting at once the weakness of the 
bonds by which the confederation was held together 
(although it was solemnly renewed at Calniar in 
1438), the interest of the magnates in maintaining 
it, and the policy followed by all the Swedish party 
leaders from the time of Charles Canuteson, of 
labouring for their own aggrandizement to all 
practicable lengths, shielding themselves in case of 
necessity behind the convenient screen of the 
federal royalty. For this purpose Eric served as 

2 Plurimis coniscat miraciilis. Diarium Vadstenense. 

3 In a new descent upon Sweden from (Jottland, Nils 
Stenson was made prisoner, and died of the plague, which 

well as any other prince, and therefore his followers 
did not desert him until he had deserted himself. 
Denmark and Sweden finally renounced fealty and 
obedience to him for ever in 1439 ; the Norsemen 
attempted during the same year an invasion of 
Sweden in his behalf, but were repulsed, and 
offered no further hindrance. Eric passed ten 
years in Gottland in the shamefid pursuit of piracy, 
in allusion to which our annalists record a satirical 
saying of his nephew and successor, " My uncle 
must live." Eventually he repaired to his native 
country Pomerania, and died in his seventy-fourth 
year at Riigenwald, in 1459. 

Christopher of Bavaria, son of John, duke of the 
Upper Palatinate, by Eric's sister Catherine, had 
been called to the crown, in 1 438, by the Danish 
council. Eric had made vain endeavours to secure 
the succession for his cousin-german Bogislaus, 
duke of Pomerania, accompanied by promises of 
privileges to the common people, which occa- 
sioned a sanguinary rising against the nobility in 
Zealand and Jutland, so that the Danish peasants 
took up arms for this king after those of Sweden 
had expelled him. Christopher, who at first as- 
sumed only the title of guardian, immediately 
opened negociations with the Swedish and Nor- 
wegian councils. In Sweden, the movements of 
party fluctuated in their tendencies. At a con- 
gi'ess of Danish and Swedish plenipotentiaries held 
in Jenkoping in the autumn of 1439, it was decided 
to adhere to the Union of Calmar. Upon this occa- 
sion the clergy, ever conspii-uous for their zeal in 
support of that settlement, declared their attach- 
ment to Christopher. In a baronial diet at Arboga, 
which met in the beginning of 1440, it was resolved, 
that a foreigner should never again be called to 
the Swedish throne ; and at the elective diet on 
the 4th October, of the same year, Christopher of 
Bavaria was chosen, after a private negociation 
with Charles Canuteson had assured to the latter 
the possession of all that he calculated upon being 
able to gain for the present. He obtained the in- 
fetidation of Finland ; Oeland was assigned to him 
in pledge of the satisfaction of his claims, and he 
was absolved from all responsibility on account of 
his administration. For Charles, this was but the 
l)ostponement of the crown, not its perdition. Mean- 
while it was generally rumoured, that a nun of 
great reputation for sanctity had foretold to him 
that he should yet be its wearer, and in the 
church of Vadstena a child had seen the diadem 
glistening on his head. On the royal entry into 
Stockholm, the people observed that the lofty 
stature of the marshal overtopped the king, a 
short, corpulent man, who walked ami in arm with 
him, and the general cry was, '' the marshal is 
comelier, and more worthy to wear the crowns ; 
woe to those who have ordered it thus *." Norway 
still hesitated. Here Eric had succeeded in pro- 
curing the hereditary kingship ; an object which 
he had vainly striven for in his other dominions. 
Hence the Norsemen took up arms for a short 
time on his deposition, but in 1442, Christopher also 
received the homage and crown of Norway. 

For his Swedish throne this king was so essen- 
tially indebted to the bishops, that the diary of 

in 1439 is said to have raged over all Sweden, 
loca Christianitatis." Diary of Vadstena. 
■* The Ilhvnie Chronicle. 


' et diversa 


Cliarles Canuteson higli stewai-d. 
Jealousies of the Magnates. 


Design to surprise Lubeck. 
Death of the king. 

A. D. 


Vadstena observes upon Iiis election ; " it took 
place conformably to the will of the prelates — God 
grant, of heaven." At his coronation and during 
his Eric's-gait, he showed dispositions so favourable 
to the clergy, that these now gave their consent to 
a measure which for a hundred years they had ob- 
structed, the adoption of the general land's-law. 
This code accordingly received the royal sanction 
on the second of May, 1442, with reservation of the 
inviolability of privileges, both clerical and laical. 
The archbishop of Upsala, Nils Ragwaldson, for- 
merly known as the representative of the Swedish 
church at the council of Basle, in 1434, obtained 
possession in perpetuity of the castle of Stacket, 
built and fortified by him, which was to attain 
mournful celebrity from its position during future 
internal commotions. At his visit to the monastery 
of Vadstena, the king, although his parade of devo- 
tion harmonized ill with his jovial temperament 
and the laxity of his manners, caused himself to be 
admitted into the holy brotherhood, which now in- 
stituted the first trial for heresy that Sweden had 
yet seen. A simple peasant, who styled himself 
the ambassador of the Holy Virgin, had declared 
before the monks various opinions, some of them 
relating to the life of the cloister, which occasioned 
an inquiry into the circumstances and the imprison- 
ment of the accused, until, weakened by long fast- 
ing, he renounced his errors. His ptiblic recanta- 
tion was solemnized by a procession in which the 
sinner, naked to the middle, carried a burning 
torch in his hand and a bundle of wood upon his 
back, thereby consigning himself to the flames if 
he should relapse into heresy. 

Charles Canuteson, whom the king at first gra- 
tified with the appellation of fathei", the honour of 
knighthood, and the office of high steward, at the 
same time confirming and augmenting the fiefs 
which he held, soon found himself superfluous at 
court. Among his many and powerful foes the 
first to move against him was Christer Nilson, the 
old steward, who, returned from exile, was loud in 
his complaints of the wrongs he had sutt'ered. To 
him and his heirs, Charles was compelled to re- 
linquish a portion of Finland. Shortly afterwards 
he was summoned by the king to Stockholm, and 
though he repaired thither with ten ships and five 
hundred knights and squires, Abo, Tavasteborg, 
Oeland, and Swartsio, were demanded from him ; 
and he was obliged in effect to surrender the first 
named place, for which he received VViboi-g, now 
vacant by the death of Christer Nilson. Hasten- 
ing to escape from the load of charges now poured 
upon him, he was forced to see himself excluded 
from the government to which the king, upon his 
own departure, committed affairs. This was com- 
posed of Swedish barons, who were for the most 
part enemies of Charles ; foreign governors were 
now no longer appointed, and in the only case in 
which an attempt was made to place fiefs in the 
possession of a foreigner, the king is said to have 
abandoned it upon remonstrance being made *. On 
the other hand the eagerness of the Swedish mag- 
nates to obtain them was sliarpened, and the king 
availed himself of their rivalry, to excite jealousies 

> Hvitfeld. 

" Ita ut infra unius anni circulum octo vel decern unum 
feodum taliter coniparasseiit. Adeo autem eraiit Sueci sua 
anibitione et mutua invidia e.xca'cati. Ericus Olai. 

among them, and to jn'ocure mc^ney for his own 
purposes, for the fiefs were sold in his chancery to 
every one who would pay the price of them, and 
the same often to several persons ''. At this tinie 
the country was afflicted by scarcity and famine ; 
and when the king, in 1446, again visited Sweden, 
accompanied by Ins yoiuig bride Dorothea of 
Brandenburg ', complaints were raised that every 
day five loads of corn were used for the horses of 
the royal household, while the common people were 
obliged to eat bark. Hence the peasants styled 
Christopher the bark-king, and called to mind the 
government of Charles Canuteson, with longing 
wishes for the return of those good times. 

At a baronial diet in Stockholm, to which 
Charles was summoned from Finland, a convention 
was formed with the Livonian knights for a joint 
assault upon Novogorod, and the Swedes are said 
also to have subsequently participated in an irrup- 
tion across the Russian frontier *. An expedition 
against Gottland was at the same time determined 
upon, as the pirates commissioned by the old king 
continued from that station to annoy the coasts and 
trade of Sweden. Nothing more came of this pro- 
ject, however, than a peaceful visit of Christopher 
to his uncle, which in Sweden was regarded as 
barren of good results, and ended on the return 
voyage in a shipwreck, by which the king lost all 
that he had amassed during his stay in Sweden. 
In general the king resoi-ted to every possible ex- 
pedient to procure money ; in 1446 he caused a 
number of English and Dutch ships passmg through 
the Sound to be brought in as prizes, and their 
cargoes to be sold. An enterprise of magnitude 
was planned by the king at this period. Drawing to- 
gether a considerable force, he appeared with a 
fleet before the Venedic seapoi'ts, demanding a free 
passage through their territory for himself and his 
followers, upon pretence of a pilgrimage to Wils- 
nach, in Brandenburg. Rostock is said to have 
consented, Wismar and Straisund to have refused 
compliance. The real design was to surprise 
Lubeck, to which place meanwhile several German 
princes, secretly confederated with Christopher, had 
repaired, as if on a friendly visit, carrying with 
them a supply of arms concealed in wine casks. A 
conflagration, which broke out during the night, was 
mistaken by them for the expected signal of assault, 
and hastening to take arms, they were discovered 
by the citizens and expelled from the town. Chris- 
topher now desisted from his abortive attempt and 
repaired to Sweden, having appointed to meet the 
council at Jenkoping. He fell sick on the journey 
at Helsingborg, and died on the 5tli January, 
1448, of an imposthume, according to the RhvTne 
Chronicle, which, in common with every other 
domestic authority, knows nothing of the Palatine 
account making him to have been poisoned. 
Upon his death-bed ho is said to have declared 
that his treasury had only been filled by him in 
the intent to annex Lubeck to the Danish domin- 
ions. He left no heirs. In Sweden he was 
lamented, we are told, by no one except Archbishop 
Nils, who on hearing the news of his death slied 
tears, and a few days after followed him to the 

7 Daughter of Margrave John, tlie alchyniist, married in 
Copenhagen, 1445. 

8 In 1448. Karamsin. 



L. D. J 

a- 50. J 

A new election. 
Attempt on Gottland. 


Wisby burned. 
Loss of Norway. 


Charles Canuteson, who had continued to reside 
at the castle of Wiborg, remained in Finland four 
months after receiving intelligence of the king's 
death. With followers well armed and equipped 
he arrived, May 3, 1449, in Stockholm, whither the 
bishops, prelates, knights and nobles, with the 
franklins, and the deputies of the peasants and the 
towns, had been summoned to a general diet ^. 
Prophecies of pereons who were regarded as saints, 
by which Charles was designated as foredoomed to 
wear the Swedish crown, were again bruited about, 
and the circumstance of rain falling during his en- 
try into the town was deemed by the people a pre- 
sage of good, inasmuch as the kingdom for several 
years previously had been visited by contiinial 
drought. Charles took up his quarters with his 
followers in the body of the town ; the castle was 
held by his opponents, the brothers Bennet and 
Nils Jonson (Oxenstiema), who at the previous diet 
of Barons at Jenkoping had been named adminis- 
trators, and had held, together with the deceased 
archbishop, the chief share in the government 
during the time of king Christopher. To the vacant 
office of archbishop was named the young Jens 
Bennetsou Oxenstierna, equally with his father and 
brother, the two administrators, the enemy of 
Charles. This powerful family is accused of hav- 
ing aimed at the crown, a purpose however which 
its heads soon renounced, in order to bring into 
play against the authority of the more powerful 
Charles the usual policy of the Union. Both fac- 
tions provoked one another from the castle and 
from the town by the interchange of contumelious 
epithets, and they were upon the point of pro- 
ceeding to blows, when at last it was agreed to pro- 
ceed to the election of a new king, which however 
was not conducted in tlie ancient form enjoined by 
the land's-law ^. Seventy chosen plenipotentiaries 
gave their votes in secret, of which sixty-two fell 
upon Charles ; the commonalty added their assent 
by acclamation. After the usual homage had been 
offered at the Mora Stone, the king's coronation was 
celebrated at TJpsala on the 29th of June ; and 
a few days after his consort Catharine '■' was crowned 
by the new archbishop, who had been consecrated 
in the interval. By this act the prelate gave a 
public proof that he acknowledged the new order of 
things, although his recognition had been tardy, 
artd not yielded without reluctance. 

The tirst object to which the new sovereign's 
attention was directed, was an expedition against 
Gottland and the old king Eric, and singularly 
enough, he conferred the command on Magnus 

' Epispopi, prfelati, milites, nobiles, liberti, ac rusticorum 
et civitalum nuntii speciales. Ericus Olai. 
' Non secundum formam legisterii. Ibid. 
2 Af alia de fruer man kan leta, 
Skal man aldrig skonare quinna weta. 

Of all dames heart can wish, I ween, 

A fairer sure was never seen. 

The Rhyme Chronicle. 
This lady, the second wife of Charles, died in 1450. She 
was (laughter of Charles Ormson, councillor of state, of Nor- 
wegian family, mother of four sons and five daughters, of 
whom all the former died in their childhood, and of the 
daughters, Magdalene was married to Ivar Axelson Tott. 
Charles Canuteson was first wedded to Bridget, daughter of 
Thure Bielke, and Christina, the offspring of this marriage, 
espoused Eric Ericson Gyllenstierna. On his death-bed the 
king was married to Christinn, daughter of a captain in the 
castle of Roseborg, in order by this means to legitimate the 

Gren, an ancient foe and new friend, whose good 
faith was more than suspected. The issue was as 
might be looked for. An easy reduction of the 
island and its town was followed by a long truce, 
which lasted until time was obtained for Eric to 
surrender the castle, and for Magnus Gren both 
the island and the Swedish squadron, to the Danes, 
who under the command of king Christian himself, 
surprised the Swedish garrison of Wisby (by trea- 
chery, as an old Swedish song complains), and set 
the town on fire. 

Thus was Gottland won and lost, and in a short 
time the crown of Norway also disappeared. Upon 
this Charles had cast eyes of hope, the more confi- 
dently that the Norsemen had already in 1441 con- 
cluded a separate alliance with Sweden ^, for the 
maintenance of the common liberties of both king- 
doms, and now showed little inclination to follow in 
the steps of the Danes, who had raised Christian 
of Oldenburg to the throne *. The archbishop of 
Drontheini with .several of the Norwegian council 
and the mass of the peasants^, declared for Charles, 
who was chosen king, and crowned November 23, 
1449, in the cathedral of the town. The col- 
lective body of the Norwegian commonalty both 
Noi'th and South of the Dofre mountains, now de- 
spatched a letter of renunciation to Christian, pur- 
poi'ting that they would acknowledge neither him 
nor any other Dane or German as king of Norway, 
but had elected Charles to be their sovereign, see- 
ing that Sweden and Norway, which two kingdoms 
God had so closely joined together, had from of old 
consorted in harmony and love. Two of the Nor- 
wegian council were named to manage the govern- 
ment, and Charles returned home by way of Jem- 

Energy and unanimity, however, sufficient to 
maintain what thus had been won were wanting, 
and Christian's party speedily attained predomi- 
nance in Norway, although the people, especially in 
the northern portion of the country, to the last re- 
mained faithful in the cause of Charles. A vain 
attempt to besiege Opslo ", which had admitted a 
Danish garrison, is all that is related to have been 
done for the defence of the Norwegian crown ; and 
at a conference held in Halmstad, May 1, 1450, 
twelve Swedish and Danish barons, specially de- 
puted on either part, resolved that thenceforward, 
for the maintenance of the Union, both countries 
should choose one common sovereign. Meanwhile 
the plenipotentiaries of Charles himself renounced, 
on their own impulsion, and under the strictest 
personal responsibilities in case the stipulation was 

son he had by her. But this union, to which the council 
were highly averse, was never recognized as valid, and the 
son lived and died in obscurity. Charles Ormson is men- 
tioned in 1411 as Norwegian lieutenant of Jemteland, and con- 
tributed by his connections to the king's election in Norway. 

3 The 9th February and 24th June, 1441. See Hadorph, 
Appendix to the Rhyme Chronicle. 

■< Son of Count Frederic of Oldenburg, and born in 1425. 
The settlement of the Danish crown upon him dates from 
the 1st September, 1448. He married Dorothy widow of 
King Christopher. It has been made matter of dispute 
whether the election of king took place earlier in Sweden or 
Denmark; but according to Eric Olaveson that of Charles 
Canuteson was prior. 

5 See the ditferent letters of the commons of Norway at 
FrostaTing, in Voss, Hedemark, the Uplands, and Romerige, 
in Hadorph, ibid. 

^ Now Christiania. T. 

F 2 


Hostilities with Chiistiau 
of Denmark. 


Danish incursion. 
Public calamities. 

A. D. 

' 1450—55. 

not fulfilleil, his right to the kingdom of Norway. 
By a secret article it was provided that the ticf's 
should thereafter be distributed at the jileasure of 
the council, that a security for the ()erformance of 
this should be required from king Charles at a new 
congress in Calniar, and if he refused to confirm 
the article, that the council should declare for king 
Christian. The secret was divulged, and in re- 
quital, Charles deprived several of the barons of 
their fiefs and ofHees, a step which creates less sur- 
prise than the fact, that among his commissioners 
at Hal'.nstad should again be found the same indi- 
vidual who had betrayed his cause in Gottland, and 
wlio now publicly passed over to the Danish party, 
while the rest were again seemingly reconciled to 
Charles. The new congress at Calmar, at which 
Charles appealed to the pope, expired without re- 
sults. It appeared no longer doubtful that the 
quarrel between himself and his competitor could 
only be adjusted by arms, and hostilities liad already 
been begun in the name of king Christian against 
Vermeland and East-Gothland. 

In the opening of 1452, Charles caused an army 
to be assembled on the Scanian frontier, " greater 
than had ever beiore been known to be raised in 
Sweden'," says the Rhyme-Chronicle, which de- 
scribes with complacency the declaration of war, 
the glancing banners, and the king's skill, acquired 
in foreign lands, of setting out his array. Twenty 
pieces of cannon, the first we find mentioned in any 
Swedish campaign, a;^-companied its march *, drawn 
upon sledges. A devastatmg inroad into Scania in 
the depth of winter, in which the land and towns 
were laid waste by fire, was all that was accom- 
plished by this great army, which the king soon 
quitted, leaving ordei's that similar ravages should 
be extended to Bleking. For this purpose the 
force was divided, but it appears to have soon dis- 
persed ; for when in the following spring king 
Christian commenced his campaign by an incursion 
into West-Gothland, the country lay open befoi'e 
him, and the castles fell into his hands in the course 
of the summei'. Charles indeed purposed ulti- 
mately to meet the enemy in the forest of Tiwed, in 
order to prevent the invasion of Ujjjier Sweden, but 
was recalled by the information that the capital, 
defended by peasants, was assailed by a Danish fleet. 
The Swedish squadron had been assembled at 
Stockholm and then sent ou ; when it retui-ned, all 
the hostilities that occurred were confined to the 
exchange of a few shots. That this should be the 
case need not excite wonder if, as we are told, the 
commanders of the Swedish shijjs were Danes", who 
allowed their countrymen to plunder and burn on 
the Swedish coast with impunity. Christian was 

7 The number is variously stated at from 40,000 to 80,000 
men. The army was ])receded by skyrannare (skidlopare), 
or skate-runners, using the skates made of long curved 
wooden staves, foi sliding over the surface of the snow. 

8 "Twenty carriage guns witli powder and stone-balls be- 
longing thereto." Cannon, however, were previously used in 
the fortresses. In the castle of Stegeborg in 1440 fourteen 
were kept (called Fbglare, or birds), whicli were directed by 
a German master gunner. Under Engelbert's rising, guns 
are mentioned in the castle of Stockholm. The town in 1431 
had a master gunner and a cannon founder, both salaried. 

^ Eric Olaveson. 

' Diary of Vadsteua. In the autumn of 14G1 the plague 
broke out anew, carried oif 7000 men in Stockholm, and 
lasted nearly two years, during which it also desolated 

even permitted in the autumn to retire unpnrsued 
from the interior, without any other loss than he 
sustained from the exasperated peasants in his 
march across the forest of Holwed. The valiant 
Thord Bonde alone, cousin-german of the king, 
who had nominated him to the office of marshal, 
successfully defended the western frontiers of the 

The following years resembled in insecurity and 
disturbance that just described, and exceeded it in 
public misei-y. In 1455, the plague which had 
raged five years before again broke out in Sweden; 
at Stockholm alone 9000 men died. A scarcity of 
three years' duration engendered at the same time 
a more grievous famine than had ever happened 
within the memory of man '. For the rest, mili- 
tary occurrences, without plan, alternated with pro- 
posals of peace which led to no result, and inces- 
sant conferences of the councils of both kingdoms. 
Sometimes these meetings were held amidst brilliant 
festivities, in which Charles displayed his pomp, his 
opulence, or his devotion ; as for example, at the 
consecration of his daughter in the convent of Vad- 
stena, where the king himself, decked in his royal 
robes, sang the gospel before the altar, and sub- 
sequently at the marriage of Thord Bonde, where 
he entertained the guests on fourteen hundred sil- 
ver chargers. Within a year this brave nobleman 
was treacherously assassinated by a Dane who stood 
high in his service and confidence; a ballad still 
[ireserved attests the popular griei and indignation 
produced by his murder. 

At this time it was not uncommon to find Danes 
in the service of Charles, as well as Swedes in that 
of Christian. In some instances these possessed 
property, and still more frequently had family con- 
nections in all the three kingdoms, or they sought 
their fortune by arms, indifferent what master they 
served ; so that men of humble station were soon 
the only class who knew what it was to have a 
country, or to suffer in its belialf. Charles himself 
was without heart for his office, looked too nar- 
rowly to his individual advantage, and from being 
a brilliant party leader had become a feeble king. 
Towards the magnates he cherished a w^ell-grouuded 
mistrust, which out of fear he for the most part 
concealed, and thereby afforded to his secret ene- 
mies opportunities of openly injuring him. Astute 
and compliant in all save pecuniary matters 2, he 
sought his ministers in men of mean condition who 
resembled himself in these qualities, and betrayed 
his interests. In rapacity his governors fell not at 
all short of the foreigners whom they replaced, al- 
though they plundered under the cloak of law ^. 

Russia. In Novogorod alone, according to Karamsin, 
48,000 men died. 

2 " Courteous, but greedy," an old account dtscribes him. 

^ Compare the character of Charles Canuteson as drawn 
by Eric Olaveson, his contemporary. Although he has been 
charged with partiality, his representation is by no means 
deficient in truth, and contains a more apposite judgment 
than that of the Rhyme Chronicle, which dwells upon the 
princely and glittering exterior of Charles. He is also corro- 
borated by other testimonies : " Habebat pra'fectos ad omnem 
nequitiam audacissimos et ad omneiu virtutem resque prs- 
claras imbellissimos," says Joannes Magnus. Olaus Magims, 
who extols the justice of the governois imder Steno Sture 
the elder, blames at the same time those of Charles Canute- 
son; tlieir conduct towards Iheir own master, indeed, suffi- 
ciently evinces their character. 



r-6. } Je:!:i":"l?^iK'a,'fe. christian I. OF OLDENBURG. 

Flight of CliRrles and 
oliiiu'L- of C'liiislian. 


The people, in whose memones Eiigelbert lived, 
were averse to Charles, laid when lie attempted to 
revive the old contest regarding the liberty of 
testamentary bequests to the church, and attacked 
the pi'operty and privileges of the clergy *, his posi- 
tion became the more critical from his want of the 
martial qualities which might have enabled him suc- 
cessfully to oppose an order, whose members in that 
day were not seldom wont to bear the episcopal 
staff conjointly with the sword. 

The intrigues of the archbishop Jens Bennetson 
and his party did not remain hidden from the king. 
The former, with Sigge bishop of Streiignas, had 
once already been convicted of treason, and for- 
feited his fiefs. He had been reconciled to the kintr 
through the interposition of the council, but con- 
tinued to hold a hostile tone. At a baronial diet in 
Westeras he openly expressed his discontentment 
with the administration of Charles, and his inclina- 
tion to Christian. To this the king paid no regard, 
confiding in his treasures and his stipendiary 
troops *. 

At the outset of 1457, when the archbishop was 
the king's guest in the castle of Stockholm, and 
each loudly upbraided the other with new griev- 
ances, a summons was agaui issued for one of those 
fruitless campaigns which every year of this reign 
witnessed. Oelaud, which the Danes had seized, 
was now the object ; and while Charles himself di- 
rected his march southwards, the archbishop re- 
ceived a mandate to accelerate his preparations in 
the upper portion of the country. But Jens Bennet- 
son repaired instead to the cathedral of Upsala, and 
depositing his priestly vestments on the high altar, 
girt on helmet, sword, and armour, affixed to the 
church door a declaration of war against his sove- 
reign, and immediately commenced hciStilities. 
Charles indeed hastened his retiu'n, and opposed to 
the disorderly crowd collected by the prelate a dis- 
ciplined, if not numerous, army ; bnt he allowed 
himself with incomprehensible carelessness to be 
surjirised in Strengniis. After a short conflict, be- 
ing wounded by an arrow, he fled to Stockholm, 
where he with ditticulty obtained admission. "And 
because he saw," says Olave Peterson, " that the 
archbishop and those of his party had undertaken 
the matter in such a way as that they intended to 
carry it through, and he also dreaded that the 
burghers of Stockholm, now that the country was 
adverse to him, would not stand fast by his cause, 
he disposed of his gold and silver, of which he had 
great store, went secretly on board ship by night '', 
and so came to Dautzic the third day afterwards, 
where he i-eceived safeconduct, and abode for seven 

The Swedish nobles whom fear of Charles had 
driven into exile now re-entered the country. The 

■* In 1451, when the clergy drew up a peremptory and 
detailed protest against his measures. Charles not only de- 
manded tliat restrictions should be laid upon bequests to the 
church, but he confiscated a number of its estates, and in- 
sisted that no noble should be permitted to enter the spiritual 
order before he had sold his estates to his relatives. Inves- 
tigations with a view to the reduction were prosecuted 
throughout the kingdom by his son-in-law, Eric Ericson 
Gyllenslierna, and the chancellor. Dr. Nicholas Ryting. 

5 The Rhyme Chronicle. 

' February 2-), 1437. Olave Peterson remarks, that of the 
"large treasure" which Charles carried with him, he lent a 
great sum in gold to the Prussian lords. Of this loan, made 

town of Stockholm, which in Albert's time had 
sustained a siege of seven years, surrendered within 
a month to the, w ho now styled himself 
prince and administrator of the realm. The go- 
vernor of the castle j ielded up both the fortress, 
and the children of his sovereign, who had been 
entrusted to his charge, without stroke of sword, 
only stipulating that no account shoidd be required 
from him of the monies which had (jassed through 
his hands. His compeers, the royal governors in 
the various provinces, excepting only Gustavus 
Carlson ' at Calniar, " who stoutly u])held his 
knightly houom'," all followed the example set 
them with so much alacrity, that when king 
Christian came before Stockholm with his fleet at 
Whitsunday, the Danes complained that nothing 
was left for them to do, and overwhelmed the 
clergy especially with scoffing eulogies. Yet re- 
alities were not forgotten for words, and the 
clerical order were gratified by a complete con- 
firmation of all their privileges. 

Christian I. of Oldenburg was now chosen king 
of Sweden, crowned at Upsala, June 19, 1457, 
and at a congress of the councils of all three king- 
doms held next year in Skara, he obtained their 
conjoint guarantee for the succession of his son. 
Even the peasants, against whose wishes he had 
been invited into the kingdom, although they had 
assisted the archbishop against Charles, acquiesced 
in the arrangement which had been eff'ected, and 
to use the words of the chronicle, " it first went 
well with the land under the rule of king Christian." 
But when he had reigned some years, it is said, 
"he began to lay many new taxes upon tlie country, 
and all who had any money were obliged to lend 
him large sums, of which they received nothing 
back. He bought the land of Holstein from the 
Count of Schaumburg, and his brother Count 
Gerdt, for which end he gathered much money out 
of all his kingdoms. By reason of the burden of 
these tallages, and because he took all out of the 
land with him, he drew on himself much ill-will 
throughout the kingdom, and his uitfriends began to 
call him a bottomless pouch, and said that he was a 
public spoiler, although he was otherwise a pious 
and good-natured man *." In 14G3, a rumour was 
spread that king Charles would return with an 
army to reassert his claims to the crown, which 
proved ultimately to be unfounded. But a trader 
whom the archbishop caused to be imprisoned, was 
said to have brought with him letters of that pur- 
port to the relatives and partisans of Charles ; 
several of whom, with the pretended letter-bearer, 
were subjected to the cruellest torture by the 
rack, so that some died, and others lost the use of 
their limbs. By these steps deep hatred was ex- 
cited against the archbishop, who was a man of so 

in 14.58 to the town of Dantzic, King Charles XII. exacted 
payment, in 1704, principal and interest, for the family of Gyl- 
lenstierna, which is descended from Christina, daughter of 
Charles Canuteson. Another part of liis treasure was con- 
cealed in the Dominican monastery at Stockholm, but was 
betrayed by the monks to King Christian. 

" Son of Charles Ormson, the king's father-in-law, before 
mentioned ; he afterwards did homage to Christian. 

8 Olave Peterson. Holstein had become vacant in 1459 
by the death of Duke Adolphus, whereupon, the year follow- 
ing. Christian received homage as Duke and Count of Sles- 
wick and Holstein, and bought off the claims of the other 


Cliristian's measures. 
Revolts excited. 


Charles Camiteson's 
recall anil death. 


A. D. 

•1G3— 70. 

malignant and obdurate a nature, that " whomso- 
ever he was wroth with, he was bent upon ruining 

King Christian came in person to Stockholm, to 
encounter the imaginary danger, imposed a new 
tax, and committed the levy of it to the archbishop, 
while he himself proceeded upon an expedition to 
Finland against the Russians, for which he had 
appropriated a portion of the subsidy lately col- 
lected by a Papal legate in the north for a war 
against the Turks. The peasants refused the new 
tax, protesting that they would rather die than pay 
any more illegal imposts, and taking up arms, they 
obtained a promise from the archbishop for the re- 
mission of the tax, perhaps the more readily, that 
even peasants holding of the church were not 
exempted by the king from its operation. Upon 
his return, however. Christian accused the arch- 
bishop of having himself instigated the revolt, and 
brought a multitude of charges against him bearuig 
upon the prelate's conduct towards Charles, al- 
though it was his rival who now called him to ac- 
count. Even in the council and among the burgesses 
the advei'saries of the archbishop had the pre- 
ponderance. In all the public places papers were 
posted up, bearing the words, " the archbishop is a 
traitor." Notwithstanding his threat of excom- 
munication, the king caused him to be appre- 
hended. The peasants, now regarding him as a 
martjT for the liberties of the realm, hurried to 
Stockholm, but were beaten back, and numbers of 
them treacherously slaughtered in a conflict which 
acquired for the marshal Thure' Thureson Bielke', 
the surname of peasant slayer *. Before his depar- 
ture, the king is said to have robbed the castle of 
Stockholm of all the ai-ticles of value it contained, 
from the gilt spire surmounting the tower, to the 
windows, pots and kettles, as well as to have 
broken down walls, dug in the ground, and even 
dragged the sea for hidden treasures ; so that a 
contemporary letter indignantly reproaches hira 
with having ransacked for money three elements, 
the air, the water, and the earth. 

Scarcely had the king quitted the capital, carry- 
ing off the archbishop with him a prisoner to 
Denmark, when the insurrection broke out anew 
under the command of his kinsmaji Ketil Carlson 
( Vasa), bishop of Linkiiping, who in tlie beginning of 
1464, assumed the title of administrator at Westeras, 
therein supported chiefly by the Dalecarlians, " the 
wildest and most warlike," say the monks of 

The Rhyme Chronicle. 

' Maxime feroces et bellicosi. Diar. Vadsten. 

2 See Memoirs relating to the History of Scandinavia 
(Handlingar rbrande Skandinavieiis Historia), v. 5. From 
this letter is taken the account of the dismantling of the 
castle of Stockholm by the king. 

Vadstena, among the inhabitants of Sweden ^. In 
the name of the Dalesmen and all the commonalty 
of Sweden, a letter was drawn up, full of the most 
vehement denunciations of the king's government ^. 
Christian now again came to the defence of 
Stockholm, in the depth of winter, but the Dale- 
carlians retired before him, and at length enticed 
him into a tliick wood at Haraker's church in 
manland, where he sustained a great overthrow, 
and after having been personally in danger, was 
obliged to flee to Stockholm, which the Dalecar- 
lians kept besieged during the whole succeeding 
summer. " Then a sudden cry went among the 
peasants throughout the land, that they must have 
king Charles back ; that Sweden was a kingdom, 
and not a captaincy nor a parsonage." The coun- 
cil was obliged to yield, and Charles was in effect 
recalled, but only to be again expelled after six 
months by the archbishop *, now let loose against 
him, and in league with bishop Ketil. 

During nearly four years, from January, 1464, 
to November, 1467i which the king, now a second 
time deposed, spent at the castle of Raseborg, in 
Finland, in so great poverty that he complains in 
his letters of being unable to pay fifty marks which 
he owed, we observe first bishop Ketil, then after 
his death the archbishop, and within a short time, 
opposed to him, the powerful Eric Axekon (Tott), 
filling the office of administrator, so that the parti- 
tion of the kingdom into several petty sovereign- 
ties, which is said to have formed one of the plans 
of the magnates at this time, might soon have been 
accomplished ■•. 

Charles Canuteson was finally for the third time 
called to the throne upon the 13th of November, 
1467. Shortly afterwards, his irreconcileable foe 
the archbishop died in exile. The old king spent 
the last years of his life in external and intestine 
warfare, against Christian, who attacked Sweden 
anew, and against Eric Carlson (Vasa), who put him- 
self at the head of an insurrection, until the name 
of the Sture' began to gather lustre in Dalecarlia, 
and the success of Nicholas and Steno Sture', first 
over domestic revolt, next over foreign aggression, 
allowed Charles to die in possession of his crown. 
He expired May 15, 1470, in the castle of Stock- 
holm, in his sixty-first year, and upon his death- 
bed transferred the government to Steno Sture, 
counselling him at the same time never to strive 
after the regal title and ensigns ^. 

3 Olave Peterson. " And it wanted but little that he 
should have been obliged to beg grace of him." 

■• "They vfould have divided the kingdom into four parts, 
and there were to have been four who should govern 
them." Id. 
I ' The Rhyme Chronicle. Joannes Magnus. 

A. D } Steno the elder chosen 
1471. J guaniiaii of the kingdom- 


Danish invasion. 
Hostile movements. 




A. D. 1470—1520. 

Through Engelbcrt the people had again risen to 
be a power in tlie state, and the Union had become 
identified with foreign domination. Cliai'les Canute- 
son, who could reap where he had not sowed, pro- 
fited by this state of things to win a throne ; yet his 
example proved that in Sweden at this time one 
might be all, but could not be king. While from 
his career the chiefs of the house of Sture learned 
not to grasp at a diadem, and to cleave with more 
sincerity to the people, they on their side were 
doomed to experience how difficult it becomes for 
a party leader to rule, although he may be all, 
witliout being king. Meanwhile the Union nomi- 
nally survived, still resting on the interest of the 
magnates ; till all these false relations were 
snapped asunder by a Danish war of conquest 
against Sweden, and the axe of Christian II. 
drowned in blood even the name of the confedera 

Steno Sture, called the elder, was son of the 
councillor and knight Gustavus Anundson Stur^, 
by king Charles Canutesou's half-sister Bridget 
Bielke'. He had first borne arms in the rising of 
bishop Ketil Vasa against king Christian in 1464 ; 
afterwards, in conjunction with Nicholas Sture^, 
who, although of the same name, was of another 
family, lie had saved the tottering throne of 
Charles Canuteson from overthrow in the last days 
of that sovereign. He was distinguished for great 
sagacity no less than for valor, " a skilful, cautious, 
and free-minded lord, and therewithal prosperous 
in his designs' ;" marked out by many qualities as 
the man of the people, yet influential also by his 
connexions, especially with the brothers Axelson ^, 
who were powerful both in Denmark and Sweden, 
and now hostile to king Christian. 

The town of Stockholm and the Dalecarlians, 
between whom, according to one account, there 
now subsisted a special alliance, which formed the 
main-stay of the power of the Sture's, immediately 
acknowledged Steno Stur^ as administrator. The 
people were generally on his side, and it is not 
without grounds that the Rhyme-Chronicle makes 
him say, 

With Sweden's commons grace and love were mine. 
Though all the lords would not my banner join. 

The council was divided ; as usual there was much 
discussion as to the maintenance of the Union. 
Eric Carlson Vasa and several exiled Swedish lords 

5 Boece Stenson {Natt och Dag), councillor of state, and 
father of Nicholas (Nils) Sture, married Catherine, daughter 
ot Steno Sture of Sleswick, of the Danish house, whose name 
Nicholas assumed after his mother. 

"! Laurence Peterson. 

8 There were nine brothers, sons of Eric Axelson Tott in 
Denmark, of whom Eric Axelson, then feudatory of Finland, 
n-iarried Elin Sture (aunt of Steno, not sister, as has been in- 

of the old archbishop's party had returned with 
ships and men from Denmark, in order again to 
dispute the crown with the expiring Chai'Ies 
Canuteson. They were indeed put to flight by 
Steiao Sture', but the dissensions contiimed, and the 
kingdom remained nearly a year without any acluiow- 
ledged head, until at length the jjcasants, twelve 
from every jirovince, assembled of their own autho- 
rity in Upsala, and urged the council of state to 
conclude upon some settlement among themselves, 
seeing, they said, that " such discords could nowise 
be endured in the land any longer ^." Thereupon, 
not without renewed hesitations, Steno Sture was 
chosen (May 1,1471,) administrator at Arboga, prin- 
cipally by the voices of the peasants and burgesses, 
but also with the concurrence of the greater 
number of the council. The delivery into his 
hands by Eric Axelson of the castles which he had 
held, and also the declaration in his fiivour by the 
new archbishop Jacob Ulfson, his foster-father, 
and his friend in the first instance, doubtless mainly 
contributed to this result. 

King Christian himself now appeared before 
Stockholm with a fleet of seventy ships. Proposals 
of accommodation were made upon both sides. 
To the arbitrement of commissioners chosen from 
the councils of all three kingdoms, were to be re- 
ferred the questions in dispute between Christian 
and Sweden, between the brothers Axelson and their 
legitimate king, between the seceding Swedish 
lords and Steno Sture's party m the council. All 
this was more than sufficient to hold the Danes in 
play through a whole summer, for the only object 
seems to have been to gain time. Neither Steno 
Sture nor his friends appeared before the com- 
mission upon the day appointed for its sitting. 
The administrator had repaired to East-Gothland ; 
Nicholas Sture had betaken himself to Dalecarlia, 
to assemble forces from the more remote provinces, 
for in the environs of the capital the partisans of 
the Danes were most active. Eric Carlson Vasa, 
and Trott^ Carlson, of Eka, had already induced 
the greater part of Upland to do homage to the 
king. The peasants were allured to the Danish 
camp by the cheap price of salt, the import of 
which had been designedly prohibited, and many 
remained under the royal standard. Steno Sture 
was careful to keep his movements secret, and as 
nothing was heard of him, the spirits of the Danes 

accurately stated); and Iwar Axelson, feudatory of Gottland, 
married Magdalene, daughter of CharlesCanuteson, an alliance 
which had re-opened the throne to this king. Steno Sture 
himself was married to Ingeborg, daughter of Ake Axelson. 
Through the death of another brother, and the sequestration 
of his fief, his family were brought into adverse relations 
with King Christian, against whom in 146? Iwar Axelson 
had declared war. 
9 Olave Peterson. 


Battle of Brunkebcrt!;. 
King Christian wounded. 


His defeat. 
Internal tranquillity. 




rose proportionably i. Christian called him "a lad 
wlio being about to be chastised with the rod, hid 
himself in the woods ;" his soldiers vaunted of the 
shames they would put upon tlie burghers of Stock- 
luihn, and their wives. Meanwhile the Sture's 
approached on the north with combined forces for 
the relief of the capital, and upon the 11th 
October, 1471,battle was joined at the Brunkeberg. 
This was a sandy height then lying without the 
town of Stockholm, but now levelled and built over, 
though still keeping the name it derived from the 
punishment of the inhuman Brunke' ; it had been 
fortified by khig Christian " with some new inven- 
tions," as it is expressed. A retrenchment or sconce 
(«kerma) had been ei-ected there, and planted with 
"many great cannon." King Christian himself 
took post with the Danish banner on the eminence, 
with the iutrenchment in liis rear, to defend it 
against a sally which was apprehended from the 
town. A second division of the army was planted 
below the hill at the convent of St. Clara ; the 
third remained stationary at the ships, which were 
moored by the Cajmchins' (now Blase's) Holm, 
then separated from Norrmahn (the North suburb) 
by water, across which the Danes had cast a bridge 
of poles m order to maintain the communication 
with theu" fleet. Steno Sture', having notified the 
cessation of the truce, also divided his army into 
three portions, of which one was sent to make a cir- 
cuit and fall upon the Danes at their ships, under 
the command of Nicholas Sture, who met with so 
many obstacles from marshes and woods in one 
of the cpiarters of Norrmahn, now so populous, that 
the delay in his arrival almost caused the loss oi 
the battle. Four times did Steno Sture storm the 
Brunkeberg, «hich was not won until the general 
had succeeded, by an attack upon the division of 
the Danish army posted beside the convent of 
St. Clara, in enticing part of the enemy's troops 
from their station on the hill. During this attack 
the wooden retrenchment on the mount was set 
in flames, having been taken by the burghers in a 
sally from the town. The arrival of Nicholas Sture' 
decided the victory. Christian, who was himself 
wounded, with difficulty escaped to the ships, and 
many of the fugitives were drowned, as the burghers 
during the fight had sawn through the wooden 
bridge. This battle, long celebrated and .sung by 
the Swedish country people, exhibits many charac- 
teristic features of old manners. Steno Sture', with 
his whole army, heard prayers and made confession 
in the morning before going into action. All his 
men set badges of straw or green boughs in their 
helmets and caps, to distinguish themselves from 
those of their countrymen and brethren who fought 
in the ranks of the foe. As they marched to the 
•attack they chanted St. George's song as their lay 
of battle, and to that knightly saint Steno Sture' 
afterwards dedicated an image, which may still be 

1 Koimng Christian intet af Herr Sten visste, 
Ty han for med stora tysste. 

King Christian nought of the lord Steno knew, 
for in great silence on he drew. 

The Uhyme Chronicle. 

2 (Dahlman (History of Denmark. .3, 231,) states that the 
Danebrog, or Danish standard, round which lay live hundred 
dead bodies, fell into tlie enemy's hands ; this was a white 
cross upon a red ground, said to have been consecrated by 
Pojie Honorius for King Waldemar 11. upon his crusade 
against the Esthonians in 121U. It was again taken Ijy the 

seen in the high church of Stockholm. The 
fiercest conflict was waged around the two chief 
banners ^ ; King Christian wounded with his own 
hand Canute Posse, who led the sally from the 
town ; Steno Sture was several times surrounded 
by the enemy. A poor peasant named Starke 
Biorn (the strong bear), ran during the whole bat- 
tle before his horse, and cleared a path for him 
with a huge broadsword. The consort of the ad- 
ministrator, with the principal ladies of Stockholm, 
viewed the battle from the castle walls, and caused 
food and alms to be distributed to the poor of the 
town ^. 

The battle of Brunkeberg was more important 
from its consequences than remarkable from tlie 
forces engaged. The strength of Steno Sture's 
army is stated at about ten thousand men, to which 
are to be added thirteen hundred well appointed 
liorsemen of the town of Stockholm. The infantry 
consisted for the most part of peasants, whose chief 
arms were still the bow and the northern battle- 
axe *, well known since the daj's of paganism. In 
the camp at Norrmahn king Christian had five 
thousand men well-equipped, and provided with an 
artillery, which for that day was numerous. In- 
cluding that part of the army which remamed with 
the ships, and the levies raised by the Swedish 
lords of Christian's party, his array was probably 
not very unequal in numbers to the other, and 
superior in discipline and equipment. On his side 
many Swedes perished in the battle, among them 
that Trotte' Carlson, whose wooden .shield coated 
with leather hung in the cathedral of Upsala imtil 
the conflagration of 1702. The survivors among the 
Sv^-edes who fought on the king's side fled to the 
ships ; the Danes wished to sacrifice them to their 
fury and throw them into the sea. To the honour 
of king Christian be it said, he prevented this use- 
less cruelty, and caused them to be liberated. He 
himself quitted Sweden never to return, and during 
the remaining ten years of his life he left it in 

The succeeding years were the happiest that the 
kingdom had known for a long time. The leaders 
of the opposition were reconciled to the adminis- 
trator, who was now allowed to devote himself to 
the cares which peace demanded. Heretofore one 
half of the burgomasters and councilloi-s in the 
towns had been Germans. After the fight of 
Bi'unkeberg, the burgesses and peasants de- 
manded the alteration of this provision of the 
Swedish town-law, else, they declared, they never 
would come to the succour and relief of the lords 
and councillors of Sweden ; it was accordingly 
abolished by a rescript of the administi-ator and 
the council *. Cultivation was now resumed in 
many tracts wherein the granges during the com- 
motions had gone to waste, as appears from the 
ordinances issued upon the subject ^. To prevent 

Ditmarsers in 1500, and retaken on their subjugation by the 
Danes in 1559. T.) A Swedish ballad upon this battle still 

3 A manuscript in the library of Linkiiping (of the year 
1519), states that si.\teen knights, with 614 men, were taken 
prisoners, and 2000 slain. Linkiipings Bibliotheks Handl. 
i. UO. 

■1 Called the Swedish poleaxe in some old verses of the 
union age. 

s Of October 14, 1470. 

6 See the llecess of Calmar, 1474. 

A. D. 

uri— ST. 

] ^'''\lnndid!\^7T''^ ADMINISTRATION OF THE STURES. 

Union of Calmar renewed. 
Non-fullilment of the treaty. 


the subdivision of the ancient yardlands, it was 
enacted that the oldest cultivator and inhabitant 
sliould possess the right of redeeming the allotment 
of the other heirs. Steno Sturi!: kept his governors 
under strict supervision ; when redress for wi-ong 
was sought by legal means, he allowed judicial seu- 
tences their due course, not only against them but 
liimself, and it became a proverb, that the lord 
Sture' would rather risk his life than allow a peasant 
to be deprived of a sheep unjustly '. The Rhyme 
Chronicle extols the years crowned with plenty, the 
cheapness of all commodities, the store of salt, hops, 
and foreign wares, for now many a good ship sailed 
to the Swedish havens.. 

In the general prosperity there was now time to 
give ear to the claims of learning and knowledge. 
A seminary had been founded by the earl Birger 
in the archiepiscopal see of Upsala, for the support 
of which provision was made out of the tithes, 
accoivling to a papal brief of the year 1250, and we 
find that scholars were sent thither from the dio- 
cesan schools of the kingdom to pursue their 
studies* ; on which account the Swedish delegates 
to the council of Constance were commissioned to 
bring with them on their return home some learned 
men who might instruct the Swedish youth in the 
seminary of Upsala, and thereby contribute to re- 
move from the clergy the reproach of ignorance ^. 
Pursuant to this end, one academic professorship, 
for a beginning, was founded at Upsala in 1 438, the 
incumbent of which was bound annually to hold 
l)relections " in the manner which a master uses to 
follow in chartered seminaries'." A papal brief 
had empowered king Eric of Pomerania to erect a 
university in the North, and a like permission was 
granted to king Christian for Denmark, on his visit 
to Rome in 1474. Archbishop Jacob Ulfson hav- 
ing in that year discussed the subject with the 
Swedish clergy at the synod of Arboga, an envoy 
was despatched to Rome, and obtained a brief from 
Pope Sixtus IV. 2, authorizing the establishment at 
Upsala of a general seminary of instruction in theo- 
logy, canon and civil law, medicine and philosophy, 
with the privilege of conferring degrees. The uni- 
versity of Upsala was solemnly consecrated on the 
21st of September, 1477, one year before that of 
Copenhagen, after the administrator and estates of 
the reatin had granted to the new institution the 
same privileges as were possessed by that of Paris. 

King Christian I. died on the 22nd of May, 
1481, " a prince," it is said, " in stature taller, 
larger, stronger, and more majestical than any 
of his successors ; in disposition pious, mild, 
religious, tender-hearted, and moderate ; who is 
reckoned among the good sovereigns that have 
ruled the kingdom of Denmark." Such is the 
Danish judgment of his character^ ; in Sweden his 
memory has shared those feelings of hatred 
cherished towards the Union, which strengthened in 
proportion as Denmark, under the house of Oldeu- 

' ScliefTer, Memorabilia Suet. Gentis. 

s An example is mentioned in 1468, S. R. S. i. p. 83. 

9 Celse, Apparatus ad Hist. Sveo-Goth. p 2. MS. in the 
library of Upsala. The burgesses of Stockholm received in 
my a papal charter for the old school connected with St. 
Nicholas' church. The school-house was burned down, and 
the Arclibishop Joannes Jerechini, of evil repute, refused 
permission to rebuild it, unless he were allowed to nominate 
the teachers, which had previously been done by the minister 
and the burgesses. Their right was now confirmed by the pope. 

burg, appeared more dangerous for the liberties of 
the north. That family soon became naturalized 
in the kingdom from its possessions as well as the 
genius of its members, whereas its foreign pre- 
decessors in the monarchy of the Union were no 
more acceptable to the Danes, than to the Swedes 
and Norsemen. 

Even Norway, although more tranquil than 
Sweden, because exhausted by the struggles of its 
middle age, began now to be more disquieted than 
heretofore by the predominance of Denmark in the 
Union. On the demise of Christian, the Norwegian 
council transmitted to that of Sweden a long list of 
grievances, adding, " that in Norway, during his 
time, foreigners had gained power and advantages 
far greater than ever before ; that the article re- 
specting the perpetual Union of the three kingdoms 
should be better considei'ed, since that arrange- 
ment had hitherto led to no good result ; on the 
other hand, a loving and friendly alliance between 
Sweden and Norway, would procure for both the 
full enjoyment of their freedom, their rights, and 
prosperity *." Meanwhile, a variety of negoeiations 
had been in progress between Denmark and 
Sweden, from the battle of Brunkeberg to the 
death of Christian, and although often broken off 
without issue, they resulted, shortly after the latter 
event, in a renewal of the Union by the treaty of 
Calmar, in 1 48.3. The conditions on which that 
monarch's son John, or Hans as he is commonly 
called, now received the crown of Sweden, suffi- 
ciently evince by what interest the Union was really 
upheld. After a solemn recognition of all the pri- 
vileges of the church, the plenipotentiaries of the 
three kingdoms agreed upon the following, among 
other terms of settlement. 1. The king, who was to 
be guided generally by his council, and was to re- 
side one year in each of the kingdoms alternately, 
was to conduct the government by good men, natives 
of the country, not setting over them persons of 
mean birth ; in the distribution of castles and fiefs, 
he was bound to have regard to the opinion of 
those members of his council, who resided in the 
district in which the appointment was to be made. 
2. The council was to be composed of nobles of the 
realm, and as many of the clergy as should be 
found necessary ; no new member was to be re- 
ceived without the consent of the rest, and every 
one who separated himself from his colleagues, to 
be expelled with disgrace ; the keys of the register 
and treasury of each kingdom were to be committed 
to four councillors, bound to give an account, 
and responsible for their safe custody. 3. The king 
was precluded from buying any noble's estate, or 
acquiring hypothecary possession of it ; on the 
other hand, a nobleman might hold crown estates 
in pledge, without service or burden ; the nobility 
had full liberty to fortify their houses, and might 
refuse the king access to them, while they might 
afford an asylum to those who had incurred the 

1 In studiis privilegiatis. For the teacher, Magister An- 
dreas Bondonis, a salary was found out of the tithes formerly 
allocated to the hospital of Enkoping. See on this subject 
the warrant of the bishops and the administrator Charles 
Canuteson in the Collections for the History of Sweden. 
(Samlingar i Svenska Histnrien. Upsala, 171)8, vol. i.) 

2 Given February 28, 1470. 

3 Compare Hvitfeld. 

•» Hadorph, Appendix to the Rhyme Chronicle. 


War with Russia. 
Indecisive movements. 


John of Denmark in- 
vited to Sweden. 

A. D. 


royal displeasure. Lastly, it is laid down that every 
good man, whether of the clergy or laity, should be 
king over his own peasants, excepting in such cases 
as concerned the rights of the sovereign. " And 
though these were hard terms, yet king Hans 
promised with oath, letter, and seal, that he would 
hold by them." 

The Calmar Recess of 1483, marks the highest 
point of aristocratic power in Sweden, and shows 
the end towards which the efforts of the nobles 
were directed. With respect to the fulfilment of 
its more innnediate object,' Steno Sture' well under- 
stood how to interijose hindrance and delays. " For 
though Sweden (to make use of the words of 
Olave Peterson) was promised and secui-ed to 
king Hans by treaty, yet full fourteen years passed 
before he obtained possession of it, partly because 
the debts of king Christian were still unpaid, 
partly also, because the Swedes were not well in- 
clined to the measure. In these fourteen years 
many prolonged conferences were held between 
the nobles of both kingdoms, that peace might be 
made and king Hans might obtain Sweden, but the 
matter made very slow progress, and was put off 
from one meeting to another. From all the pro- 
posals of the Swedes, it was easy to perceive that 
they wanted inclination and good-will to king 
Christian, else would they not so long have deferred 
the matter." 

Among the subjects of dispute between Denmark 
and Sweden, was the isle of Gottland. By king 
Christian it had been pledged to Olave Axclson 
Tott ; its next possessor was his brother Iwar, to 
whom Charles Canuteson gave his daughter in 
marriage, in the hope thereby to reannex Gottland 
to the Swedish crown. But this potent Danish 
family, which had joined the administrator out 
of enmity to Christian, soon showed the former 
that their support was not to be counted upon. 
Upon the demise of Eric Axelson, who held Fin- 
land in fief, he left the Finnish castles, contrary to 
his promise, not to his brother-in-law the adminis- 
trator, but to his brothers Lawrence and Iwar, 
who took possession of the land on their own ac- 
count. From this cause a feud at length arose be- 
tween Steno Sture and Iwar, of which the end was, 
that the latter in 1487 ceded the isle of Gott- 
land to king John, and himself sought refuge in 
Denmark. This domestic quarrel revealed the 
dispositions of the magnates towards the adminis- 
trator. Already in 1484 it had been proposed to 
deprive him of power, and he himself more than 
once offered to abdicate his office. Its functions 
were in tlieir very nature indefinite, and the am- 
biguity of his position could scarcely fail to exercise 
an infiuence on his public conduct. 

This vacillation was especially shown in the war 
with Russia, which, after several preluding dis- 
turbances, became really formidable by the Russian 
invasion of Finland, in 1405. While Canute Possti 
with admirable courage defended Wiborg, which 

■■* The so called explosion of Wiborg, by which Canute 
Posse is said to have destroyed 60,000 Russians at once, is 
spoken of by no contemporary, though we are told that the 
Russians Iiad in this siefre amazingly large cannons of 
twenty-four feet in length (hombardas et machinas magnas 
et mirabiles aliquas in longitudine xxiv. pedum), and that 
their retreat was occasioned by miracles. 

^ The standard was lost in the present campaign, and this 
was made one of the charges against Steno Sture. 

the Russians in vain besieged during three months *, 
Steno Sture assembled an army, the greatest that 
Sweden had seen in his time, and computed at 
more than forty thousand in number, placing him- 
self at its head under the banner of St. Ei-ic ^, 
which was brought with great solemnity from the 
cathedral of Upsala. But the passage of the army 
was delayed to so late a period of the autumn, that 
great part of it perished by tempests and cold, and 
when the administrator at length reached Abo, he 
kept his attention so immoveably fi-xed on his 
rivals in Sweden, that the Russians were allowed to 
devastate Finland with impunity. After a short 
interval, he relinquished the command to Suanto, 
son of Nicholas Sturg, who, while the administrator 
and the council were secretly watching one another, 
crossed the gulf in the summer of 14!)6 to Narva, 
and took and destroyed Ivangorod. A new army 
was raised in Sweden, and transported to Finland 
in the autumn of the same year, but these prepar- 
ations were fruitless, especially as animosities now 
broke out between the two Stures. Suanto Sture, 
who maintained that he had been wTonged in 
various points, and left ultimately without support 
in Finland, abandoned the army of his own autho- 
rity. He was soon followed by the incensed admin- 
istrator. Hastening to shut himself up in the 
castle of Stockholm, he thence carried on a negotia- 
tion with the council, which now renounced fealty 
and obedience to his authority. He was accused 
of having needlessly intermeddled in the quarrels 
of Livonia ', while Finland was left defenceless ; 
of having withheld from Suanto Stur^ his inherit- 
ance, and called him a runaway from the banner 
of the kingdom ; of having designed to introduce 
peasants into the government, and to annul the 
council by preventing new members from being 
chosen in the places of those who had gone out ; 
lastly, of having hindered the fulfilment of the con- 
vention of Calmar, although not long ago, in 1494, 
he had made a solemn covenant with the council 
for its execution. 

Calamities of different kinds had darkened the 
last years of the government of Steno Sture, great 
drought and failure of crops, terrible storms, the 
burning of Stockholm, and a renewal of the ravages 
of the plague. A papal excommunication issued 
against the guardian, because he withheld the 
revenues claimed by the Danish queen dowager ' 
in respect of her dower in Sweden, gave his enemies 
a new pretext for their opposition, and the confusion 
of public affairs was increased by the competition 
also of several foreign princes for the Swedish 
crown ^. 

King John now repaired to Sweden at the invi- 
tation of the council. Steno Sture betook himself 
into Dalecarlia, and threatened to become a second 
Engelbert. The Dalecarlians despatched letters to 
the Westmanlanders, the Uplanders, and the pea- 
santry of all Norrland, calling on them to join in 
"loving brotherhood," to avert injury and per- 
petual ruin from their country, their dear lord and 
cajttain, and their own hearths. To king Hans 

" By giving assistance to the Archbishop of Riga in 1485, 
in his war against the Grand Master of Livonia. 

f* Dorothy of Brandenburg, the wife first of Christopher, 
and afterwards of Christian I., died in 1495. 

9 Duke Frederic, brother of King John, and also the em- 
peror's son Maximilian, who had sent an envoy and great 
presents to Lord Sleno, according to Olave Peterson. 



— 1501. J 

Hostility of Stur6. 


Charges <^galnst Steno 


they declared they were all opposed, and would 
never submit themselves to his authority. The 
Hanse Towns, now in league with the adminis- 
trator, fanned the existing disaffection against the 
king, whose alliance with the Russian czar at the 
very time when Finland was burning and bleeding 
from the cruelty of the Muscovites, the Swedes 
could not forgive. 

Steno Sture, at the head of his levies of peasants, 
attacked the archbishop, who had long played the 
waverer, but was now shut up in his castle of 
Stacket with some of the council. The peasantry 
marched against Stockholm, while the royal army, 
chiefly consisting of mercenary troops, was like- 
wise conveyed before the capital in the Danish 
fleet, and encamped anew on the Brunkeberg, as 
had been done five and twenty years before '. 
Sturd's plan was that the Daleearlians should at- 
tack the hill, whilst he himself, sallying from the 
town, whose suburbs he had caused to be burned, 
fell upon the enemy in the rear. H is scheme was 
betrayed. The peasants, by the Danish account 
30,000 in number, were first surprised and defeated 
at Rotebro, and when the victorious army of Danes 
returned with Swedish banners flying, Steno, mis- 
taking them for his own men, marched out to meet 
them, and would have been made prisoner had he 
not thrown himself from his horse into the Norrs- 
trom, and obtained entrance into the castle by a 
secret door. This happened on the 28th of Oc- 
tober, 1497. A reconciliation was soon effected 
between Stur^ and the king, on condition that the 
former should be discharged from all responsibility 
for his administration, and receive the investiture 
of fiefs of immense extent ', the largest ever pos- 
sessed by any Swedish subject excepting Boece 
Jonson. They made their entry arm in arm toge- 
ther into Stockholm, and on arriving at the castle, 
the king is said to have jestingly inquired whether 
he had made all things pi-operly ready for him. 
Sture pointing to the Swedish nobles standing 
behind the king, replied, "That you will hear best 
from these, for it is they who have brewed and 
baked here." To this the king observed, " Lord 
Steno, you have bequeathed to me an ill legacy in 
Sweden ; the peasants, created by God to be slaves, 
you have raised to be lords, and those who should 
be lords you would degrade to be thralls ^." So 
uncontrollable was the anger of the magnates 
against Sture, that man^' of them clamc)ured for his 
death with a virulence that was blamed by the 
Danes themselves, and his head would perhaps 
have fallen if bishop Cordt of Strengness had not 
interceded in his favour *. 

Steno Sture wasstill formidable from the devotion 

• The king was also accompanied by the so-called great ] 
or Saxon guard, famous at this time in the service of several 
princes, whose strength is diiTerently stated from 3000 to 
6000 men. (The text has fourteen years, but this must be 
a .slip of the pen. T.) 

2 The whole of Finland with Norrbotten and Aland, Su- 
dermania, Swartsiii, with Faering's isle, and the estate of 
Gotala in West-Gothland. 

3 A Danish account says, that in 1497 at the diet of Funen, 
king John produced evidence against Steno Sture's accusa- 
tion that he wi.shed to enslave the peasants. Serfage was 
not yet introduced in Funen, although it was in Zealand. 

•* Olave Peterson. 

' Hvitfeld, however, laments that the gold chain began, 
from 1.500, to be the common ornament of the nobles. 

of the common people in his cause. To pacify the 
Daleearlians, who, in spite of their defeat, would 
not retire from before Stockholm, he employed his 
personal influence, and thej' submitted to the king 
only on condition that Steno Sture should thence- 
forward be governor over Westmanland and Dale- 
carlia, an augmentation of power which he after- 
wards voluntarily relinciuished to the king. That 
Sture' should have acknowledged king John seemed 
a thing so inci'edible to the people generally, that 
the council were obliged to despatch letters into all 
the provinces, with copies of the convention of Cal- 
mar, concluded in ] 4fJ3, in order t(j jjrove that he 
had already set his name to that act fourteen years 
before. On the 25th November (a. d. 1497), the 
king was crowned in Stockholm, on which occasion 
many new knights were ci-eated from among the 
nobility. The Rhyme Chronicle asserts that the 
desire of the Swedish ladies to see their husbands 
bearing tlie title of lords contributed not a little to 
open to John the path to the throne ; for knights 
only were at this time called lords, as their wives 
only were ladies, and this dignity, of which a golden 
chain round the neck was the badge *, could not be 
conferred by the administrator, though himself a 
knight, but by the king only. Steno Sture was 
nominated high chamberlain, Suanto, marshal, and 
the former was one of the four councillors to whom 
the government was committed when the king, iu 
January, 1498, repaired to Denmark. In the be- 
ginning of next year he retm-ned, attended by his 
consort Christina^ and his eldest son Christian, 
who was now in his eighteenth year, and had in 
1497 been acknowledged as his successor. Homage 
was now solemnly rendered to him in that capacity 
by the justiciary and twelve men of every pro- 

The exasperation of the domestic party which 
was hostile to Steno Sture was by no means yet 
appeased. Notwithstanding the acquittal he had 
obtained from all responsibility, the archbishop, 
armed with a papal brief, insisted on receiving 
compensation for all the losses which his see had 
.sustained during the late discords ; the rest of the 
bishops also, with Suanto Sture' and the council, 
preferred com]ilaints of violences committed by the 
guardian's order, and there are undoubtedly in- 
stances of wrong either commanded or permitted by 
Steno Sture in those troublous times '. The king 
endeavoured to accommodate their disputes even 
by the expenditure of money. A letter of agree- 
ment was subscribed by Steno Sture', containing a 
partial admission of the charges brought against 
him ; he was obliged also to cede the greater por- 
tion of Finland, and to j)ledge his honour never 

" Of Saxony; daughter of the elector Ernest, married in 

7 In the court-book of the townof Stockholm, an extract 
from which is among the Nordin manuscripts in the library 
at Upsala, complaints are made in the year H92, that Lord 
Steno had forbidden the export of grain on penalty of death, 
at the very time when he was an exporter himself. Towards 
the end of his administration he was not popular with the 
burghers of Stockholm, who began to take the side of the 
council. He was obliged to promise that he would replace 
cut of his own means all the damage that had been caused 
in H97 by the burning of the suburbs, and eight years after 
his death, the magistrates caused all the property he had 
left in the town of Stockholm to be sequestered for the pay- 
ment of Ilia debts. 


War witli Kiri{; John. 
Death of Steno. 


Siianto made guardian. 
His cliaracler. 

J A. n. 
I 1501— U. 

again to instigate the common people to disorders. 
But the misfortunes experienced by the king in the 
war for the subjection of the Ditmarshers, under- 
taken in 1500, with such higli-raised expectations of 
success, but in which the flower of the nobility of 
Denmark and Holstein fell in conflict witli an army 
of peasants inconsiderable in numbers, awakened 
dangerous recollections in Sweden. When John, 
in 1501, again set foot on its territory, attended 
but by a small retinue, as had been .requested by 
reason of the prevailing distress, distrust had already 
taken such deep root in his mind, that upon his way 
he evaded Steno Sture, who had come forth to meet 
him, and fled for refuge to the castle of Stockholm. 
Negotiations were indeed set on foot and confer- 
ences held with the former guai-dian, who with 
several of the councillors came to the capital, but 
no agreement with the king was eff'ected. With the 
late alteration in his Ibrtunes the Swedish magnates 
too had now abandoned John, and began again to 
rally around Sture, whom they had so lately perse- 
cuted, complaining that the Recess of Calmar was 
not observed. Steno Christerson Oxenstierna, who 
had been deprived of the salmon fishery at Elf- 
karleby, took up arms, and put to death one of the 
royal governors. Suanto Sture' declared war against 
the king upon his own account, because he had re- 
ceived small recompence for having " assisted his 
grace to the crown, against the will of the com- 
monalty," as the words of his declaration run. 

Steno Sture was again chosen administrator at 
Vadstena, July 29, 1501. The peasantry anew 
placed themselves in movement, and even the 
archbishop was forced by necessity to yield to the 
general voice. The rest of the prelates also made, 
as appears, common cause with the now united 
Stures and Hemming Gadd, the bishop elect of 
Linkoping, who had lately returned from Rome, 
took the command at the investment of Stockholm, 
where king John had left his consort Christina of 
Saxony with a promise of hastening to her relief. 
The town speedily opened its gates, but the castle 
stood a siege of eight months, and when the queen 
at length surrendered it, stipulating security of life 
and goods for herself and her defenders, among 
whom were sevei'al Swedish knights, but seventy 
men out of a garrison of one thousand were found 
alive, and among these hardly ten wei'e unwounded. 
Three days after the capitulation, king John with 
his fleet appeared before Stockholm to succour the 
queen, but was obliged to retii-e without accom- 
plishing his object. Of the three castles which had 
been occupied by royal garrisons, Stockholm, 
Orebro, and Calmar, the last alone remained to be 
won *. Norway too revolted ; and Canute Alfson, 
lieutenant of Aggerhus, became the ally of Steno, 
but was treacherously nnu'dered at a conference 
with the Danes, after which prince Christian 
quenched the rebellion in the blood of the Nor- 

^ The council had in 149S consented that the places named 
should be entrusted to Danish commanders, yet in the sequel 
this was one of the complaints urged against the king. 
Among the Danish governors Jens Falster, Captain of Ore- 
bro, made himself remarkable by the outrages cominitted 
under his sanction, and was slain by the peasants. 

9 The Rhyme Chronicle imputes this to Dr. Carl, Phy- 
sician of the Danish queen. Other accounts accuse Martha 
Iwarsdotter, wife of the Norwegian knight Canute Alfson, a 
lady of no good reputation, the mistress of Suanto Sture, and 
in 1504 liis second wife. 

wegian nobles. A Swedish auxiliary force sent by 
the administrator to Norway was unsuccessful. 
The prince made an attack on West-Gothland, 
burned Liidose, took Oresten and Elfsborg, jjutting 
the garrisons to the sword, although tliey had 
ofl'ered to capitulate. The peasantry attributed 
this disaster to Eric Ericson (Gyllenstiern), who was 
entrusted with the defence of the castles, and cut 
him down, although Steno's general, Ake Johanson, 
sought to cover him by interposing his own body. 
Thus passed away the eighteen months following 
the surrender of the castle of Stockholm, after 
which period the Danish queen, who had mean- 
while I'ound a refuge in the convent of Vadstena, 
was released and escorted to the frontier by Steno 
Sture. On his return he fell sick and died, in the 
neighbourhood of Jenkoping, December 13, 1503, 
according to the Rhyme Chronicle, of poison 'J. 
During the remainder of the journey, Hemming 
Gadd caused one of the train to personate the 
administrator, and forbade his decease to be made 
known on pain of death, until in conjunction with 
Su.\NTO Sture he had secured the castle of Stock- 
holm, where the latter was elected guardian, Ja- 
nuary 21, 1504. Steno Sture' was buried in the 
monastery of Gripsholm, which he had founded. 
His only son IMaurice had died in 1493 ; one 
daughter Bridget, a nun in the convent of Vads- 
tena, lived till 1536. 

Suanto was son of Nicholas Sture, the ancient 
comrade in arms of the deceased administrator, of 
the family of Natt och Dag. What is said of his 
election, that it was " not conformable to the old 
laws and customs of the land *," may be set aside 
as indifferent, since his title merely imported that 
he was now the most powerful man in the kingdom. 
Even of Steno the elder, Olave Peterson relates 
that the peasants gave him their votes for a cargo 
of German beer, an assertion for which the chro- 
nicler incurred the severest displeasure of king 
Gustavus I. Suanto Sture was a valiant warrior, 
of a bounteous and cheerful disposition. It was 
said of him proverbially, that no one was admitted 
into his service who was observed to wink be- 
fore the blow of a battle-axe, and that he would 
rather strip himself of his clothes than suffer a 
fellow-soldier to go unrewarded. He is censured 
as having looked chiefly to the weal of the soldiery, 
but his government was one of almost incessant 
war. The people ascribed the public calamities to 
the circumstances of the time, and gratefully re- 
membered on the other hand how the adminis- 
trator, on entering the cot of a peasant, greeted 
the owner, his wife, and his children, with a grasp 
of the hand, sat with them at the same table, and 
inquired after their aff'airs with good-natured 
courtesy. His assistant in the govenmient was 
Hemming Gadd ^ ; a priest by vocation and leax-n- 

' Joannes Magnus. 

2 He had been Steno Sture's agent in Rome for nearly 
thirty years. Pope Alexander VI. styles him, in a letter of 
Hyy, Cubicularium nostrum et Vice-Regis et regni SueciEe 
apud nos oratorem constitutum. In 1501 he had been elected 
bishop of Linkiiping, not, as Botin says, against the will of 
the chapter, and at the command of Alexander VI., but by 
the chapter, and against the pope's order, who had allotted 
the revenues of the bishopric to a Spanish cardinal ; hence 
in 1506, not only Hemming Gadd himself, but the two Stures, 
although Steno was now dead, were placed under the ban of 
the church ; the first because he had allowed him.self to be 

A. D. 



Peace with 


Steno the younger, 


ing, but not in his manner or character, designated 
to the crosier, but never its actual possessor, and 
oftener seen at the head of an army or a fleet than 
at the altar ; for the rest, well experienced in state 
affairs, and ardent in hate towards the Danish 
name. Their government, for we may speak of it 
as conjoint, was an uninterrupted war with Den- 
mark, carried on by yearly predatory expeditions, 
the intervals between them filled up with ne- 
gotiations and congresses, which, if little else is to 
bo learned from them, at least, through the names 
of the managers, make us acquainted with the per- 
sons who stood at the head of the peace party in 

Among these we observe the lord Eric TroUe, 
with a great proportion of the council and all the 
bishops excepthig Hemming Gadd, who did not 
scrujile publicly to reproach the others with carry- 
ing Danish hearts under the mantle of Swedish 
bishops. Proposals were continually made for a 
new recognition of king John, who appealed to the 
emperor, and obtained a declaration of outlawry 
against liis Swedish foes, in which we find even the 
deceased Steno Sture included. In 1509, the 
plenipotentiaries of the Swedish council in Copen- 
Iiagen, agreed that Sweden should pay yearly 
13,000 Stockholm marks, of which twelve and a 
half were reckoned equal to one mark of silver, 
until the king or his son were again admitted into 
the kingdom. But Suanto Sture and Hemming 
Gadd, with their adherents, protested against this 
compact, " because the commonalty," as the words 
run, " by voice and hands uplifted, had renounced 
king Hans and all his descendants, and were not 
inclined to send any sura of money out of the king- 
dom as acknowledgment." They also took notice 
that notliing was determined respecting the restitu- 
tion of Gottland, and reproached the king that he 
continued with his sworn brothers the Russians to 
plot mischief against Sweden. In the following 
year, ambassadors from Russia came to Stockholm, 
and concluded a peace to last for sixty years. An 
event of more importance was the intervention of 
the Hanse towns in the struggle. These, after 
their alliance with Steno Sture, had for a time 
composed their differences with the king, but as he 
continued olistinateiy to shut them out from all 
commercial intercourse with Sweden, and to fill the 
Baltic with privateers, they renewed their alliance 
with Suanto Sture, and in 1510, declared war 
against Denmark. Hemming Gadd received the 
envoys of Lubeck in the Swedish council with a 
long oration, in which he gave vent to all his hate 
against the Danes, describing them as a nation of 
robbers, who, with continual blasphemies on their 
tongue, lurked among the sand-banks of Jutland 
for the spoils of shipwreck, plundered trading 
vessels sailing through the Sound, and gathered 
upon their islands a scum of all nations, subsisting 
on the trade of piracy ^. With the support of 
Lubeck he was now able to blockade by sea, and 
eventually to capture, the castle of Calmar, called 
by the Danes the key of Sweden, which had been 

chnsen, the latter, because they had promoted the choice. 
Hemming Gadd, to wliom, in consequence of this, the council 
had denied investiture in the bisliopric, at lent,'th gave up all 
claim to it in 1512. Next year Bishop John lirask was 
chosen, who was confirmed by the pope, on condition of 
paying a yearly income to the above-mentioned cardinal. 
3 Joannes Magnus. 

already besieged for six years. Ocland and Bork- 
holm were also recovered by him, nor was he 
deterred by an age of seventy years from taking 
part in the cruise of the Hanseatic squadron against 
the Danish islands, or by liis ecclesiastical office 
from plundering and threatening with conflagration 
the monasteries of Laland, in revenge for the 
desolation of Finland and the burnuig of Abo by 
the Danes. 

In an incursion into Halland and Scania, fell the 
valiant Acho Johanson, whose slayer was rewarded 
by king John with letters of nobility. West Goth- 
land was devastated by prince Christian, from 
Norway ; the administrator, who marched against 
him, not risking a battle, but endeavouring to 
entice the prince into the forest of Tived. Chris- 
tian however turned aside to East Gothland, and 
was driven back by the peasantry. During this 
warlike turmoil Suanto Sture' expired on the 2nd 
January, 1512 ; his death occurring suddenly at 
Westeras, while a consultation was proceeding 
relative to a silver mine newly discovered. The 
assembled miners immediately made themselves 
masters of the castle of Westeras, and having, be- 
fore the news of the death of their beloved chief 
had spread abroad, secured by his partisans that of 
Stockholm likewise, they immediately despatched a 
letter in the name of the deceased to all the in- 
habitants of the realm, calling upon them to 
acknowledge his son, the young Steno Sture, as his 

Steno, surnamed the younger, son of Suanto, by 
his first marriage*, antl his only surviving child, 
the noblest and most chivalrous of his family, 
although flatterers sometimes abused his youthful 
inexperience, was regarded with great love by the 
people, for the alleviation of whose burdens he often 
employed his influence with his father. The 
younger barons appear also to have been favour- 
able to him, while their elder compeers and the 
council were zealous for Eric TroUe', a learned 
nobleman, of whom Gustavus I. remarks, " that he 
showed himself more fit for the priesthood than for 
the functions of secular government ^." The prin- 
cipal lords who attended entered into a covenant, 
which they confirmed by oath, to resist with all 
their strength those who designed to strip the 
council of state of that privilege, power, and autho- 
rity, belonging to it from of old according to the 
laws of Sweden, namely, of regulating the govern- 
ment when the country was without a king ; bind- 
ing themselves therewithal to restore harmony 
with Denmark, which had already concluded a 
peace with the Hanse towns <>. Both parties re- 
mained in arms against each other, and when at 
length the council was obliged to yield, the exaspe- 
ration of men's minds was so great, that the feast 
with which the election of Steno Sture' was cele- 
brated in the castle of Stockholm, did not pass 
over without the spilling of blood ^ 

King John died on the 21st of February, 1513 ; 
even by the testimony of Swedish writers, a pious 

-I With Iliana Giidda. 

s See the letter of Gustavus to his sons Eric and John, 
concerning the chronicle of Olave Peterson. Script. Rer. 
Suec. ii. sectio posterior, p. 153. 

c In Malmb, April 23, 1512. 

" Eric Abrahamson (Lejonhufvud), who belonged to the 
Danish faction, transfixed with his sword another noble who 
was present. 


Papal b»n and Interdict 
on the Swedes. 


Christian ll.'s 

I A. D. 


aud honest man ', though occasionally violent and 
cruel, as the murder of his secretary and chancellor 
proves". He was subject to attacks of moody and 
savage caprice, which sometimes irritated him to 
frenzy, and was inherited in too great measure by 
his son. 

Christian II., called in Sweden the ungentle, and 
also the tyrant, whose administration in Norway 
had already been stained with blood, and wlio now 
succeeded his father in that country as in Den- 
mark, laid claim also to the Swedish throne, to 
which he was once elected, and commenced nego- 
ciations, whereby the truce concluded with Den- 
mark was several times renewed. In 1516, the 
war broke out anew, produced by the intestine 
commotions which the new archbishop Gustavus 
Trolle excited. This prelate sprung from a 
family linked with the Union interest by its large 
possessions in Denmark, and which for two gene- 
rations back had been inimical to the Sture's. An 
attempt had already been made by one faction to 
set up his grandfathei", Arvid TrolM, against Steno 
the elder, while his father Eric Trolle' had lost the 
government by the election of the younger Sture. 
This Gustavus Trolls was of a temper that never 
forgave a past wrong, real or fancied, although the 
administrator liimself, to bring about a reconcilia- 
tion, had promoted his election to the archbishopric. 
Their animosities now led to open war, in conse- 
quence whereof Gustavus Trolle, after a Danish 
fleet had fruitlessly endeavoured to relieve him, 
was unanimously declared at the diet of Arboga to 
have forfeited his office, and his fortified castle of 
Stacket was demolislicd. Next year Christian 
himself accomplished a landing in the neighbour- 
hood of Stockholm, but suffered a complete over- 
throw from Steno Stur^. In this battle, fought at 
the Brenn-kirk, July 22, 1518, and celebrated in a 
popular ballad, the Swedish banner was borne by 
the young Gustavus Ericson Vasa. Being after- 
wards sent as a hostage to the Danish fleet on 
occasion of a pei'sonal interview which the king 
requested with the administrator, he was carried 
off prisoner to Denmark, contrary to the pledged 
faith of the former, along with Hemming Gadd and 
four other Swedish nobles. Thither Christian also 
returned, after he had so treacherously broken off 
the negociations which he had himself commenced. 
By the papal command, an investigation was insti- 
tuted into the charges which the deposed arch- 
bishop had brought against Steno, at the see of 
of Rome. A spiritual court commenced its sittings 
in Denmark ; the administrator with all his ad- 
herents was excommunicated, and the whole king- 
dom wjis placed under an interdict '. 

" The Swedes," says Olave Peterson, " did not in 
the least I'egard this ban and interdict." Christian 
however procured the execution of the sentence to 
be committed to himself, and the whole of the year 
1519 was spent in making preparations. New taxes 
were imposed ; levies were made in various coun- 
tries ; and in the beginning of 1520, the Danish army 

8 Olave Peterson. 

9 See the Relations of Andrew the secretary, and Paul 
Laxman, in Hvitfeld. j 

' Proclaimed by Birger, Archbishop of Lund, in the spring 
of 151 7. T. 

"^ The above named Eric Abrahamson. 

' See Proclamation of the Council of State (Ricksens Rads 
Utskrifveisc, &c.), respecting the tyrannical government of 

broke into Sweden under their general Otho Krum- 
pen, who caused the papal ban to be affixed to all 
the churches upon the march. Steno encountered 
the invaders on the ice of lake Asunden, by Boge- 
sund, in West-Gothland ; he was wounded in the 
opening of the battle, and obliged to be carried 
out of the conflict, the issue of which was decided 
bj' this disaster. Being conveyed to Strenguess, he 
soon received intelligence that the Danes, to whom 
a Swedish nobleman * pointed out the way, had sur- 
rounded the entrenchment in the forest of Tived, 
cut to pieces the troojis stationed there, and were 
already on their march to Upland. Collecting the 
remains of his strength, he hastened to Stockholm, 
but died in his sledge upon the ice of Lake Malar, 
Februai'y 3, 1520. By his death, all government 
in Sweden was dissolved ; the magnates indeed held 
consultations, but no one had courage to command, 
or will to obey. The country-people gathered in the 
view of attempting a stand against the enemy, but 
from want of a leader were soon dispersed by the 
foreign soldiery, whose track was marked by liomi- 
cide and conflagration, and who insolently boasted, 
that they would not care although in .Sweden it 
should rain peasants from heaven. The heroical 
Christina Gyllenstierna alone, widow of Steno, and 
the mother of four children still of tender age, did 
not lose heart ; she continued to defend Stockholm, 
and refused to accede to the convention ratified 
with the Danish generals at a baronial diet con- 
voked in Upsala, by which Christian was acknow- 
ledged king, on condition that he should govern con- 
fonnably to tlie laws of Sweden and the treaty of 
Calmar, and not exact vengeance for what had 
passed. These engagements were personally con- 
firmed by the king upon arriving with his fleet be- 
fore Stockholm, with the express addition, that the 
measures adopted against Gustavus Trolle, who was 
now restored to his office, should be forgotten and 
forgiven. The same promises were repeated in the 
king's letter to all the provinces, and being seconded 
by the efforts of the prelates and nobility, com- 
pletely disarmed the resistance still kept up by the 
people. These assurances were again renewed, 
when Hemming Gadd, after a life spent in strug- 
gling against Danish domination, now appeared in 
his old age as its advocate, and by the weight of his 
influence at length induced Christina Gyllenstierna 
to surrender Stockholm, although against the wish 
of the burghers. When the king in the autunni 
returned to Sweden, and was crowned in Stock- 
holm, he once more confirmed by oath and recep- 
tion of the sacrament the securities he had given. 
But at this very moment Christian had resolved 
that the blood of the chief men of Sweden should 
be shed, although he himself " appeared friendly to 
all, and was very merry and pleasant in his de- 
meanour, caressing some with hypocritical kisses, 
and others with embraces, clapping his hands, 
smiling, and displaying on all hands tokens of 
affection'." The instigator of this resolution was 
Theodoric Slaghoek, formerly a barber, and a reta- 
king Christian in Sweden, Strengness, .Tune 6, 1523; in 
Stiernman, Acts of Diets and Conventions (Riksdags och 
Miitens Beslut), vol. i. It was Christian's manner thus to 
conceal his designs. Tyrannus est statura justa, corpore 
amplo, tnici vultu ; sed quem in congressibus praecipua 
comitate contegat, are the words of Jacob Ziegler, who de- 
scribes the massacre of Stockholm after contemporary ac- 
counts, in an appendix lo his Scandia. 

A. D. > 
1520. 5 

Charge by the archbishop. 
Massacre of Stockholm. 


Cruelties of the king. 
His departure. 


tive of Sigbrit, a Dutch huckster, who by tlie beauty 
of her daughter had gaiued an ascendant over the 
khig's mind, which she had tact enough to preserve 
during his whole reign *. 

On the third day of the solemnities which fol- 
lowed the coronation, the gates of the castle of 
Stockholm were unexpectedly barred, and the arch- 
bishop Gustavus Trolle came into the king's pre- 
sence, to complain of the violences and injuries 
suffered by himself and the archiepiscopal see of 
Upsala, at the hands of the deceased administrator, 
for which he now demanded satisfaction. He was 
probably himself ignorant of the atrocities, for the 
perpetration of which he was to be used as an m- 
strument. He is said, as we may conclude from a 
contemporary account, to have maintained that the 
question of punishment and compensation must be 
referred to Rome, but the king negatived his pro- 
posal, declaring tliat the matter should be adjudi- 
cated forthwith. As the prelate's charges were 
really directed against Steno Sture, his widow 
Christina stood up and appealed to 
the resolution of the estates, whereby Gustavus 
Trolls was unanimously declared to have forfeited 
his dignity, and which the principal spiritual and 
secular lords had subscribed under an express 
obligation to common responsibility. Such of these 
as were now present, and among them two bishops, 
were immediately seized and thrown into prison * ; 
the remainder were confined over night in the 
castle, the clergy in a separate chamber. Next 
morning, the question was proposed to them, whe- 
ther it were not heresy to confederate and conspire 
against the holy see of Rome, which they were con- 
strained to answer in the affirmative. This was 
regarded as a delivery of sentence and condem- 
nation. On the same morning public proclamation 
was made, that the inhabitants of Stockholm should 
not quit their houses before the signal was given. 
It was the eighth of November, 1520. Towards 
mid-day the burghers were summoned to the great 
market-place, uiJOU which the captives were now 
led forth ; Matthias, bishop of Strengness, who had 
laboured more to advance the Danish party than any 
other man in Sweden, — Vincent, bishop of Skai'a, — 
twelve temporal lords, most of them councillors of 
state, and lastly, the burgomasters and council of 
Stockholm, with many of the burgesses. Nicholas 
Lycke, a Danish knight, spoke to the people, and 
exhorted them not to be alarmed at what was about 
to happen, saying that the archbishop Gustavus 
TrolliJ had thrice adjured the king upon his knees 
to suffer that this punishment should overtake the 

•< Memoirs for the History of Scandinavia, Stockholm, 
1817, iii 6. 

* B-shop Hans Brask of Linkdping, who had secretly 
placed a protest under the seal with which he had ratified 
the above named act, was left free, as was Otho, Bishop of 
Westeras, who had supported the archbishop in his accu- 

6 Me vidente ac trepidante, lie says himself. 

7 The south suburb, where St. Catherine's churcli now 

8 November 9, 1520. 

9 Olave Peterson. (Some of Christian's retinue were 

guilty. At this bishop Vincent raised his voice, 
exclaiming that nothing of it was true, and that 
the king was a traitor against the Swedes. Several 
of the captives began to call out to the same effect, 
but were silenced by the executioners. All were 
beheaded ; the consolations of religion being denied 
them. Handicraftsmen were dragged from their 
work to the slaughter ; and bystanders were also 
pulled into the circle by the headsmen, who did 
their bloody office upon them, because they had 
been seen to weep. The brothers Olave and 
Laurence Peterson escaped a like fate only from 
tli(i circumstance that a German who had known 
them in Wittenberg protested that they were not 
Swedes. Olaus Magnus saw ninety-four persons 
beheaded" ; others were hanged or butchered with 
the keenest torments. During the night, the houses 
of the killed were plundered, and the women out- 
raged. The assassinations were continued for a 
second and third day, after public proclamation of 
peace and security had enticed new victims from 
their retreat. The corpses lay for three days on the 
market-place, before they were carried out of the 
town, and burned at Sodermalm '. Steno Sture''s 
body, with that of one of his children, was torn 
from the grave and cast upon the funeral pile. 
Before the massacre had terminated, the king de- 
spatched letters to all the provinces ", purporting 
that he had caused Steno Sturm's chief abettors to be 
punished as notorious heretics, placed under the ban 
of the church, according to the sentence of the bi- 
shops, prelates, and wisest men of Sweden, and that 
he would hereafter govern the kingdom in peace after 
the laws of St. Eric. Meauwhile the massacre, in 
conformity with his command, was e.\tended to 
Finland, where Hemming Gadd was not saved by 
his defection from laying his head, at the age of 
eighty, upon the block. The king's whole progress 
from Stockholm continued to be marked by the 
same cruelties, not even the innocence of childhood 
being spared. More than six hundred heads had 
fallen before he quitted the Swedish territory, at 
the begmning of 1521 ^. 

While these horrors were being acted, a noble 
youth, wandering in the forests of Dalecarlia, flee- 
ing before the emissaries of the tyrant, and hidden 
from his pursuers, sometimes in a rick of straw, 
sometimes under fallen trees, or in cellars and 
mines, was preserved by Providence, whose great 
soul was already meditating the salvation of his 
country, and eventually achieved it by the aid of 
" God, and Sweden's Commonalty ^" 

heard to say, that the Swedish peasants might thenceforth 
follow the plough with one hand and a wooden leg. In all 
the towns through which the king's route lay, gibbets were 
erected before his arrival in the market-place ; so in Linkd- 
ping, where he kept his Christmas. In the monastery of 
Nydala, the king caused the abbot and five monks to be 
bound and thrown into the water, because they had con- 
cealed a portion of their stores in the woods ; the abbot, a 
young active man, scrambled out, but was unmercifully 
thrust back again. Dahlmann's History of Denmark, iii. 
348—9. T.) 

' Device of Gustavus I. 


General character of 
this period. 


Tlie monarchy a 




Sweden's middle age is full of confusion, and 
destitute of that splendour which fasciniites the 
eye. Whatever of pomp and grandeur the hier- 
archy, feudalism, powerful and flourishing cities, 
exhibited in the rest of Europe during those times, 
extended but in a small degree to this region ; and if 
we put faith in common assertions, many admu-able 
qualities, which distinguished our Pagan ancestors, 
must have perished with heathenism, and have 
been replaced in great part by new vices and errors 
of belief. To us, neither the old excellence nor the 
new corruptions are fairly apparent. In the gloom 
of Paganism there is ample scope for the play of 
imagination, if we refuse to hear, in the complaints 
of a desolated world, the witness of the reality. 
From the so-called energy of the Northmen, Europe 
suffered severely ; and of the calamities which its 
own excesses brought upon tliemselves, after they 
were reduced to seek their fields of battle in civil 
wars at home, the annals of the northern middle 
age furnish abundant proof. But no one can deny 
that the people of Sweden best withstood that trial 
in which Norway lost its political independence, 
and Denmark the freedom of its people, lu Sweden 
both were securely established, and this issue is 
sufficient to awaken interest for an age which had 
not laboured in vain, when such was to be its re- 
sult. This struggle of our middle age we will here 
attempt to comprehend and to appreciate. 

Repartition according to ties of kindred and com- 
panionship in war, appears to have formed the 
groundwork of the social structure among our 
ancestors, of which the simplest elements were the 
family on the one side, and the Hundred on the 
other. From the arrangement of battle by cen- 
turies ' (whence the name hundari or hnerad^), 
sprang a confederacy for mutual jirotection during 
peace, a social union founded upon compact, as the 
family was one primary and formed after nature. 
New relations of this compact were continually un- 

2 Or more accurately, by companies of one hundred and 
twenty; for our forefathers reckoned ten dozen to the hundred, 
which in some provinces is still called sinrhundrade, or long 
hundred. The division by hundreds is found, both as re- 
gards the name and the fact, in Tacitus Icenteni ex singulis 
pagis, idque ipsum inter suos vocantur), who besides remarks 
that the army was arranged clan-wise. Nee fortuita con- 
glohatio turmam aut cumeum facit sed familias et propin- 

' Har, army, means in a more narrow sense a number of 
one hundred, according to the Edda. Htrrad was the term 
usual in Gothland ; hundari in Swedeland ; as may be seen 
from the old laws. The hccrads were again divided into 
fierdingar, fourths, whence the Jierdings-ting, or quarter- 
court spoken of in the laws, but this arrangement is now 
obsolete, though the name and office of fierdlngs-man, or 
quarter-man, among the peasants, may be thence derived. In 
the Westgothic law, that part of a hundred over which a ' 

folded, and at the end of the heathen period, the 
whole polity wears the appearance of a confedera- 
tion ; every Hundred a league between the free 
householders, every Land, or every province with- 
in boundaries pointed out by nature, an association 
of certain Hundreds united under a common law ; 
and the realm itself, an association of the various 
provinces or nations (as they were still called in 
the fifteenth century) under the Upsala king, the 
manager of the common sacrifices, as lord para- 
mount. He was called Folk-king *, by way of dis- 
tinction from many others who at first shared his 
power. For the name of king, properly denoting 
high birth in general, was long borne in common by 
the shepherds of the people, the smaller as well as 
the greater, the chief of the Hundred as well as 
the sovereign ; until at length the sub-kings dis- 
appeared from the country (though recurring at 
sea and in warfare), and in their place appear the 
Justiciaries or Lagmen, the elected judges and 
speakers of the vai-ious provinces, tliemselves 
yeomen without titles*, and protectors of the peo- 
ple against such as bore titles. 

The judicatory power is as old as the social 
union. Among the ancient Germans, a jurisdic- 
tion exercised by elected judges in conjunction 
with the Hundred ap])ears to have subsisted ^. But 
the employment of the judicial office in the Lag- 
men as a sort of tribunate, counterbalancing the 
nobility, was an arrangement peculiar to the north, 
and probably a defensive expedient on the popular 
side against the rising pretensions of the court-men, 
or warriors bound by personal service to the kings, 
and sharing wiih them the dangers of the field 
and importance at home. To be in this fashion 
the king's man became, from being a condition of 
dependence, an honour, and imparted, after bril- 
liant achievements, even during peace, an authority 
which might easily become dangerous to the rights 
of the commons. Thus was created from the court, 

namnde-man (or assessor in the court) had the supervision, 
is called skire, the English shire. The division into hun- 
dreds is still used throughout all that part of the country 
extending to the Dal-elf. Beyond that stream and in Norr- 
land, both repartition and cultivation are more recent. The 
hundreds on the coast were formerly and are still partially 
called skepps-lag, a name recalling the original military 
import of the whole arrangement. 

■i Thiod-konungr. We may not call them Folk-kings who 
are tributary, the Edda says. 

■■ The tignar-name. Tign means honour, dignity ; pro- 
perly a regal, princely, or what was at first the same, noble 
dignity ; until the tignar-name was also applied to the prin- 
cipal officers of the court. 

'' Tacitus says of the judges among the Germans, Cevleni 
singulis ex plebe comites, consilium simul et aucloritas. 
adsunt. Genn. 12. According to northern ideas, we should 
refer this to a hundred-court. 

strength of the popular 


Mofle of election. 
The Kricsgait. 


by companionship in arms with the king ', the first 
nobility of service, as nobility of birth had arisen 
out of kindred with the king (for all nobility 
springs out of the royal house) ; and among the 
Germanic peoples domiciled by conquest, this war- 
like household of the kings became afterwards 
the root whence by the hereditary descent of the 
fiefs, that feudal monarchy grew up which once 
governed Europe. To Scandinavia this system, in 
its full developement, ever i-emained unknown ; 
for in Denmark alone, of the northern countries 
in this age, were fiefs hereditarily descendible, or 
such as approximated to that condition, with the 
consequences thence flowing both for king and 
people, introduced through foreign influence*. 
Within the limits of the peninsula itself, the old 
state of things continued, but with Christumity as 
a new subject of dissension. Among the powerful 
families, who neither constituted a feudal nobility, 
nor wished to be transformed into a mere nobility 
of vassalage, the recollection so much the longer 
survived, that the ancient royalty had been a many- 
headed polycracy. We see in effect the old and 
untameable race of uidependent chiefs, driven from 
the sea, wasting their own forces and those of the 
country in intestine strife, especially in Norway, a 
land disjointed by nature, and violently united by 
Harald the Fair-haired, whose older history is 
entirely made up of such struggles, and tynes away 
at their close ; as stillness reigns upon a field of 
battle, when the leaders lie slain. 

The contests of the Swedish middle age are 
characterized, both at its commencement and its 
end, by enhanced activity of popular influence, 
although in dissimilar shapes. Reposing on tiie 
religion established by Odin, the sovereignty of the 
Upsala kings formed the key-stone of the old 
Swedish federative system, and supplied the germ 
of a political unity, which never afterwards wholly 
perished. This unity was betimes so conspicuous, 
that the government struck the first distant ob- 
servers as a monarchy, although, even according to 
the earliest account (that of Tacitus), embracing 
several commonwealths. It was discovered on 
closer examination that here popular power 
bore as great a part in public affairs as kingly 
domination ; and hence the same constitution 
which to the teachers of Christianity had appeared 
monarchical at a distance, assumed to them, when 
residing in the country, the aspect of democracy. 
With the fall of the old religion, the bond which had 
linked together the separate provincial confedera- 
tions was dissolved. After the extinction of the 
dynasty of Upsala, conflict arose between the rival 
races, each claiming to nominate the sovereign of 
the whole realm, first the West-Goths, the earliest 
to embrace Christianity, after them the East-Goths ; 
on the other side the Upper Swedes. This anta- 
gonism lasted long, with frequent changes of 
dynasty, until the Swedes, at length becoming 
Christians, were placed in a condition again to 
vindicate the pi'erogatives which they had pos- 
sessed under the old form of society. In the letter 

? The well-known Comitatus of Tacitus. 

8 " What has produced a greater change in the course of 
government among our ancestors than this, that the people 
gradually lost their freedom .'" says Tyge Rothe of Denmark. 
Polity of the North, ii. 248. " The feudal system was im- 
ported earlier into Denmark than into the other countries of 
the north." Ibid. 269. 

of the law, the ancient confederation was again re- 
newed, but stripped of its former vitality, under 
the influence of the chm'ch and the nobility, and a 
regal authority which rested upon their supjwrt, 
and was eventually overthrown by their joint 
encroachments. The aristocracy then sought a 
bulwark for their power in the Union, until the 
danger of foreign oppression appeased the rivalries 
of provinces and races, and called forth the Swedish 
people united by adversity, under E.ngelbert and 
the Stures, to conflict under Gustavus Vasa to 

The transition from one state to the other is 
formed by the royalty of the Folkungers, which we 
have already described as leagued with the church 
and the nobility. This is pre-eminently tlie 
monarchy of the Swedish middle age ; many of its 
features were borrowed from the feudal monarchy ; 
it is in fact characterized by the ascendency of the 
aristocracy. And yet, how little is all this to be 
remarked in the legislation of that age ! 

According to the law, Sweden was an elective 
monarchy, although the kingship originally went 
by inheritance, and the elective and hereditary 
principles were afterwards intermingled. The 
eldest son commonly followed his father upon the 
throne, and even when it was contested by rival 
houses, as by those of Eric and Swerker, both sides 
appealed to their hereditary right. In older times 
it was not unusual for two brothers to reign con- 
jointly, and the hereditary right appears generally to 
have been attached rather to the family than to 
the per.son. In proportion as the elective scheme 
obtained preponderance, the kings showed greater 
solicitude for the performance of homage to their 
sons during their own lifetime. The right of elec- 
tion belonged primarily to the Folklands, or the 
inhabitants of Upland, and was first extended in the 
age of the Folkungers to delegates of the other 
provinces in elective diets, which now became 
general. But let us hear the law itself speak ! 

In the law of Upland, amended by king Birger, 
and confirmed by him in 129G, the three first chap- 
ters of the section relating to the crown (Konunga- 
balken), which we give, with slight modification, in 
their ancient form, run as follows : I. " Now when 
these lands behove to choose a king, then shall the 
three Folklands first take him ; these are Tiunda- 
laud, Attundaland, and Fiadhundraland. To the 
Lawman of Upland it belongs, first to doom him at 
Upsala to be king ; then all the Lawmen one after 
another, of the Suthermen, of the East-Goths, of 
the Ten Hundreds ", of the West-Goths, the Neri- 
kers, and the Westmen •. They shall ordain him 
to the crown and the kingship, that he may bear 
sway and govern the realm, strengthen the law and 
keep peace in the land. Then is the estate of Up- 
sala to be awarded to him. II. Now hath he to 
ride his Ericsgait ; they shall attend upon him, 
give hostages and swear oaths ; let him give laws 
to them and swear peace. From Upsala they shall 
accompany him to Strengianess ^. There shall the 

9 Tiohffirad was the south-eastern part of Smaland, which 
constituted a separate jurisdiction, while the north-eastern 
portion was subject to the justiciary of East-Gothland. Com- 
pare Collins and Schlyter on the law of East-Gothland, 399. 

1 The inhabitants of Nerike and Westmanland. 

2 An old place of sacrifice for the SuthermanUnders or 
Siidermanians (locus idolorum in the legend of St. Eskill), 
now the town of Strengnas (or Strengness). 



Elective Customs of the 


Privilege of tlie Upper 

Suthermen take it up, and attend him with greet- 
ings ^ and hostages to Swintuna*. There shall the 
East-Goths meet him with their hostages, and 
accompany him througli their land, until the mid- 
dle of the forest Holawidh ^. There shall the Sma- 
landers meet him, and follow him to the stream 
of Jima*'. There shall the West-Goths meet him 
with greetings and hostages, and attend him to 
Ramundaboda '. Then shall the Nerikers meet 
him and accompany him through their land, and so 
to the bridge of Uphoga *. There shall the West- 
men meet him with greetings and hostages, and 
attend him to Eastbridge ^. Then shall the Up- 
landers meet him, and follow him to Upsala. Then 
hath the king come lawfully to his land and realm 
with Uplauders and Suthermen, Goths and Gott- 
landers ', and all the Smalanders ; then hath he 
duly ridden his Ericsgait. III. Now hath he to 
be consecrated to the crown in the church of Up- 
sala by the archbishop and the under-bishops. 
Then hath he right to be king and to wear the 
crown. Now belong to him the estate of Upsala, 
the price of blood, and the heritage of the stranger 2. 
Then may he give fiefs to those who do him service. 
If he be a good king, God grant him long life." 

The older law of West-Gothland speaks only of 
Swedes and Goths, but informs us more exactly 
of the manner in which the reception of the new 
king by the province was conducted. " The Swedes," 
it is said, " have the right to accept, and also to re- 
ject the king. He shall pass from the upper 
country with hostages into East-Gothland. Then 
shall he despatch messengers to the parliament of 
all the Goths ^. Then shall the Lawman appoint 
hostages, two from the southern and two from the 
northern part of the land, and shall send with them 
four other men of the country. They shall meet 
him at the stream of Juna. The East-Gothland 
hostages shall attend him thither and bear witness 
that he has been received among them as their law 
prescribes. Now let the parliament of all the Goths 
be convened to meet him. When he arrives at the 
Ting, he shall swear truly to all the Goths that he will 

3 Grud or grid, peace, security. 

* Now Krokek, in the midst of the forest Kolmord. 

5 Hohveden, the chain of wood-covered hilis, which still 
forms the boundary hetween East-Gothland and Smaland. 

s A river runnuig into lake Vetter at Jonkoping. 

' In the forest of Tived. The place is now called Bodarne. 
Here in Catholic times was a monastery in the middle of 
the wood, as at Krokek in the Kolmord. 

6 Over the Opboga or Arboga stream, at the east end of 
the forest of Kaglan. 

9 Over the Sag at Nyquarn, the frontier between Upland 
and Westmanland. 

1 Gutar. 

2 Dulgadrapanddana-arf. The formername was applied to 
a murder of which the perpetrator could not be discovered, 
and for which the hundred paid the fine. The latter means 
the property of foreigners who died in the kingdom without 

3 Aldra Gota Ting. So the provincial diet of the West- 
Goths was called. 

■* In the Legend of St. Eric. According to the Edda and 
Heimskringla, Rik was the first in northern lands who took 
the' title of king. Domestic legends and popular songs in 
Sweden name the first king Eric. Hence perhaps Eriks- 
gata in the sense of king's way, unless with Ihre we explain 
the word as " a progress round all the kingdom," since e in 
composition means all. (/?;/•, in Swedish, is kingdom.) A 
similar royal progress is mentioned both among the Franks 

not wrest the right law of our land. Then shall the 
Lawman first adjudge him to be king, and tliere- 
after the others whom he shall command. Then 
shall the king give peace to three men, being such 
as have committed no shameful crime." Such was 
the strict order taken in old days, that the king 
upon these occasions should only enter the province 
" as the law enjoins," that the West-Goths, when 
king Ragwald Curthead came to their parliament, 
without having received the appointed hostages, 
slew liim " by reason of the disparagement he had 
offered " to all the community. As this event be- 
longs to a period earlier than that of St. Eric, the 
opinion of those who derive the Ericsgait from that 
prince appears to carry no weight, although it is ex- 
pressly related of him, " that he fared all round his 
kingdom in right royal fashion *." 

This royal progress, also remarkable as indicating 
the ancient extent of the kingdom, remained un- 
changed, although the inmiber of provinces en- 
titled to vote at the election of the king increased 
in process of time. The law of Upland still limits 
the strict right of election to the Folklands, whose 
decision in the matter was only communicated to 
the rest of the provinces during the Ericsgait, for 
tlieir confirmation. It was this right of the Upper 
Swedes to dispose of the crown, inherited from the 
days of paganism, which, after the introduction of 
Christianity, was the subject of so many contests. 
It was confirmed in the law of Upland after it had 
lost from the power of the magnates almost all im- 
portance, but it was soon expressly extended to the 
other provinces. The law of the Suthermen, con- 
firmed in 1327, says, that "all the council of Swe- 
den " shall take part with the Folklands in the 
election ; but when the law of Upland was revised, 
the justiciaries had been already received into the 
council, and the provision first enacted in king 
Magnus Ericson's Land's Law of 1347, for the con- 
joint participation of all the justiciaries and com- 
missioners from the various provinces, was before 
observed at the election of this king in 1319 ^■ 

and in Germany. Compare Grimm, German Legal Anti- 
quities, p. 237. 

5 The enactment in Magnus Ericson's Land's Law, that 
all the Lawmen, with twelve "intelligent and skilled men," 
from every province, should take part in the election at 
the Mora Ting, is properly derived from 1319 (if not in 
point of fact still older), according to what is stated in a 
manuscript of the Sudermanian law, preserved in the Royal 
Library at Copenhagen. Here that regulation, in the form 
in which it is found in the general codes of Magnus Ericson 
and Christopher, is adopted in the second chapter of the sec- 
tion " on the crown," with the remark that king Magnus had 
been thus elected in 1319; although the fomi and oath of 
election were not made public in the law-book before his 
days, as he himself efTected, for good example. In the same 
manuscript a more detailed description of the Erics-gait is 
given than in any other source. The oaths were to be taken 
in Strengness, Linkiiping, Jiinkijping, Skara, Orebro, and 
Westeras. It is also mentioned that Magnus rode his Erics- 
gait in 1335, and probably the manuscript is not much more 
recent. Hence it is plain that although the old form of elec- 
tion is still adopted in the Sudermanian law of 1327, only 
with the addition of the council sharing therein, the new 
form, with the participation of the provincial deputies, had 
already been used in king Jlagnus Ericson's election, and 
been confirmed by him. The author is indebted for this 
observation, as well as generally for many important illus- 
trations of the subject, to Dr. Schlyter. A safe basis for the 
history of the Swedish constitution in the older times was 

The yeoman and his 


Law of inheritance. 


Newly added justiciaries are, in the Suderraanian 
law, the Lawman of Vermeland, in the Land's Law 
those of Oeland, with North and South Finland ^. 
Here also we find a more complete account of the 
mode of election. This was held on the meadow of 
Mora, one mile ' from Upsala, whence the assembly 
itself was called the Mora Ting. The justiciaries 
were to repair thither, every one attended by twelve 
men " discreet and well skilled," chosen with the 
assent of all the resident inhabitants of the circuit 
(lagsaga). The voices of these deputies and the 
Lawman constituted the votes of the province. The 
justiciary of Upland voted first, then the rest in 
their order. Thereupon the king swore to the peo- 
ple, " on the book with holy relics m his hands '," 
the oath embodied in the law, and lifting up his 
hand, promised to keep to God and his people what 
he had sworn, and by no means to break it, but 
rather to augment it by every good work, and es- 
pecially by his royal love. In like manner the 
justiciaries and the people took their oath to the 
king, and by this were bound both young and old, 
the living and the yet unborn, friend and unfriend, 
the absent as well as tlie present. This was called to 
swear by or at jMora Stone, and an old record states 
that the Idng immediately after his election was 
raised upon the stone '*. It was now mcumbent on 
the king to ride, in the manner before mentioned, 
his Erics-gait, or as it is called in the Land's Law, 
" to ride romid his realm with the smi (rattsyles)." 
After the general code had replaced the provincial 
laws, the demand for the individual confirmation of 
these latter was no longer made, but the king on his 
journey through the shires, gave instead and re- 
ceived the same oath which had at first been reci- 
procally sworn at the Mora Stone. Although 
restricted in exercise, first by the power of the 
magnates, and then during the Union by the influ- 
ence of foreigners, the old federative system legally 
subsisted in this form, so long as a Swedish elective 
diet was known, down to the days of Gustavus 

If the law thus sedulously guarded ancient 
liberty in matters of public right, we might con- 
clude beforehand that pi-ivate right, from which 
the former had emanated, was no less adequately 
secured ; as the root of the tree is less exposed 
than its crown to the storm. And so accordingly 
we find the fact to be. The true prop and life- 
spring of the Swedish constitution was the odalbond 

lirst laid by the careful and excellent editions of the old 
laws by Collins and Schlyter. 

6 For Norrland, it was long subject to the Lawman of 
Upland, while Dalecarlia and Westinanland had the same 
judge. The Land's Law of King Christopher adds, that in 
case the sovereign could not himself go to Finland, the 
steward or some other member of council, with the bishop 
of Abo, might take and receive the oath in his stead. 

7 Six English miles and a half. Tr. 

8 The relics of saints. 

' See Attestation of a Notary Public as to the writing 
which is found at the Mora Stone, touching the election of 
Eric of Pomerania to be king of Sweden, dated May 21, 
1434, in Hadorph's Additions to the Rhyme Chronicle. 
From this document we learn that for every new king a 
new stone, with an inscription stating the time of the elec- 
tion, was laid at or near the old Mora Stone. This, accord- 
ing to the account of Olaus Magnus, was a large round stone, 
so supported as to be raised a little above the ground. 
1 Around were placed twelve smaller stones, whence it would 
I seem that the whole resembled the old judicial rings 

or yeoman, the " man for himself," freeholder of 
his gx'ound, responsible in the eye of the law for 
his own, towards the authorities and his equals 
acknowledging only reciprocal obligations, which 
he had himself accepted, but otherwise naturally 
respecting every hereditary right i, since upon that 
principle his whole substance depended. To his 
freedom he was born by his descent (asttborin), as 
to his odal-ground, which therefore was called the 
property he was born to as his old birth- right 
(byrd), and as a family possession could not be 
diminished or alienated without the consent of the 
kindred. This held good of the king as of every 
other person. " Now if the king will sell his own, 
he shall offer it to his kinsmen, as well he, as the 
peasant," says the Law of the East-Goths, which in 
disputes as to property between the sovereign and 
the peasant allows more weight to the word of the 
latter, in order that the influence of the powerful 
may not lessen the odal-ground. To this end pre- 
cautions so jealous were generally taken, that even 
when landed property was taken in satisfaction of 
a fine, a right was reserved to the relatives of the 
father to redeem his heritage, to those of the 
mother hers ; and the church, which introduced the 
notion of testamentary bequests, could never with 
all its influence procure that legacies for the soul's 
weal, when they affected the patrimonial groimd, 
should be unconditionally acknowledged valid with- 
out the consent of the heirs. Only when the 
kindred did not redeem the birth-ground upon 
proffer made *, was the purchase open to every 
man ; or as the Dale Law says, " then is the purse 
Odalsman." That the daughter inherited, as was 
at first the case, only when there was no son, or 
(according to Earl Birger's new laAv of inheritance) 
received only half the brother's share, was no 
doubt likewise an expedient to prevent the sub- 
division of the family estate, and for the same end 
the eldest son had also the privilege of redeeming 
his brothers' portion of the heritage ^. It is said 
indeed, " it is best for brethren to dwell together ;" 
yet any one who wished to part might enforce his 
choice against the other ; in which point the law 
of Upland so far favours the youngest, that he 
might take his allotment " next to the sun," that 
is, on the east and south, for every bye or hamlet 
was to be sun-split (solskiftad), or laid out exactly 

(domare-ringar). Some of the smaller stones only, with the 
inscriptions for the most part obliterated by the weather, 
still remain on the spot. In the time of Gustavus I. the old 
Mora Stone had already been removed, as we find by the 
following note in the Palmskold Collections: "Anders 
Nilson of Edby, parish of Denmark, related, August 6, 1623, 
that his father, who dwelt in the same grange, was one of 
the soldiers who in the time of old king Gustavus searched 
for the real Mora stone, but could not find it." 

1 Hence the Land's Law sanctions the old custom, that in 
the election to the crown preference should be given to the 
king's sons. 

2 Neither could the estate be mortgaged, which was for- 
merly regarded as a kind of conditional sale, before it had 
been offered to the relatives. A man might alienate what 
he had himself acquired, yet, according to the additions to 
the law of the West-Goths (iii. lOS), only a third even of 
purchased ground, a right, however, which was afterwards 
extended. One method of keeping property from the legal 
heirs otherwise than by a testament, consisted in the person 
giving himself to be the thrall of another, his property fol- 
lowing therewith. This was forbidden by Earl Birger. 

3 Law of the East-Goths, Eghna Sal. f. 1 1. 



Protection of privaie 


Homicides outlawed. 
The inan-l)0te. 

by the cardinal points *. So late as the thirteenth 
century, although piracy was no longer followed as 
a vocation, the peasant had not abandoned the old 
custom of sending off his sons to sea, that he might 
gain skill and substance upon the waters, or else in 
the households of the great ''. 

Life and honour as well as property were placed 
under the common protection of the kindred. 
Good name and repute were so narrowly looked to, 
that when, after a previous legal betrothment 
(which the families thereby connected treated as an 
affair of high importance), the bride took back her 
word, she was obliged to restore the spousal 
presents, to pay a fine of three marks, and to take 
an oath before twelve men, " that she now knew of 
no more defects or vices in her former wooer and 
his family, than when she was sought by him and 
betrothed." The same law ordained that " if the 
man's liking changed," the spousal presents could 
not be demanded back". An insult must be 
wiped out by blood, and the law of Upland quotes 
as a provisiiin " of the old law which was used in 
the heathen time," that whosoever upljraided 
anothei', as not being " a man's match, nor a man 
in his heart," should render himself to do battle 
with the man he had insulted, at a spot where 
three ways met. If the person against whom the 
words had been spoken came not to the meeting, it 
is said, then must he needs be such a one as he 
hath been called, and can never again bear valid 
testimony, nor take oath. If the person who spoke 
tlie woiils came not, he was to be publicly pro- 
claimed infamous (niding), and a memorial of the 
fact nmst be erected at the spot '. 

Revenge for blood was a sacred obligation, and a 
right acknowledged by law ; it was at once the 
dearest heritage ", and the condition of every other, 
for in the olden time, if the father lay slain, the 
son could not inherit until he had avenged him. 
But in order that revenge might not continually 
generate new revenge, the law essayed its earliest 
exercise of authority in reconcilement. The homi- 
cide, if he was not taken in the fact, must himself 
give it publicity ; for to kill secretly was murder 
and an infamous crime. He was bound to give 
himself up before night-fall*, and afterwards to 
appear in the court under safeeonduct, where he 
might offer a price in atonement of his offence. To 
the prosecutor was left open the alternative of 
avenging himself or of accepting the fine ; the 
latter, however, was at first so rare, that the law of 
Gottland declared him who accepted it at the first 
offer, even after the expiration of a year, to be a 
shameless person. Meanwhile, the perpetrator was 
an outlaw without peace and right, obliged to flee 
the neighbourliood of inhabited places and retire to 
forests and wildernesses. Hence it was said of the 
man who sought to atone for his crime by bote, 

* 111 the division of landed property the laws required that 
the ground should be measured by the site of the courtilege, 
or as they express it, " the homestead is the mother of the 
croft " (tomt ar tegs moder), no doubt in the view that each 
might have his lot near hand. In a legal division it was 
also a general maxim that all should share alike " in good 
and bad, in the best and in the worst," as well in respect to 
fields and meadows as forests. 

5 Law of the East-Goths, Drap B. f 5. 

Law of Westmanland, Arf B. f. 4. 

7 Such a mark was called Nidstang. (Niding is our word, 
nidiiig, niderling. T.) 

that he must "ransom himself from the wood.' 
With the criminal himself, his father, son, brother, 
or nearest relatives were, in old times, obliged to 
flee ' ; only certain times or places consecrated to 
peace gave them security. This outlawry was in fact 
intended less as a punishment than as a means of 
safety for the accused. Even the severe Magnus 
Ladulas says of the man who flees from revenge, 
that " he may hide himself from his enemies as 
well as he can^ ;" and after the ordinary wearing 
of arms was forbidden, one in such circumstances 
was still allowed " to carry full arms for his defence, 
if he will offer botes and amend his fault-'." But 
on the other side it is said, '' the homicide shall 
never regain his peace until the lawful heir of the 
slain man entreats for him, except when the king 
is newly-elected, rides his Ericsgait, and makes his 
entry into the province ; then may he grant peace 
to three men *." Yet to this peace they were not 
admitted before the heirs were appeased by the 
payment of the mulct. For the murder of a man 
who was so old that he could not come to the 
court,nor walk without a crutch (kroklokarl, crutch- 
man), and for the murder of a woman, a double 
mulct was paid. Whosoever broke the home- 
peace of any man, and was killed in his assault 
within the curtilege, lay unavenged, or was left 
" with his deeds." 

The compensation was at first paid partly to the 
nearest heirs, on whom tiie exaction of revenge 
was incumbent, and partly to the kindred of the 
slain man by that of the slayer '. The offender 
was besides required to swear with twelve men of 
his family, that he would him.self be content under 
like circumstances with an equal bote. This was 
called the oath of parity, corresponding to the oath 
of surety ", by which all further revenge was re- 
nounced. The slayer was, besides, for breaking the 
peace obliged to pay fines to the king and the 
hundred, which is thus shown to have formed 
a union for the maintenance of the public tran- 
quillity. The share of the hundred in the fine 
represents that of the people ; hence it is said to 
have been paid " to all men," and was probably of 
older standing than that of the king, which seems at 
first to have been paid only wlien he gave judg- 
ment in person. With the extension of the royal 
power the kin-bote gradually ceased ', and the fine 
went in three parts, to the king, the hundred, and 
the prosecutor, whose right to personal revenge 
was more and more limited, until at length homi- 
cide, unless excused by imminent danger to life, 
was capitally punished, when the offender was 
caught in the fact. In other cases, if the perpe- 
trator came before the king, or whosoever speaks 
his doom in Sweden, and confessed his crime, he 
was still permitted by the Land's Law of 1442, to 

8 It was called vig-arf, hereditary feud. Law of the Hel- 
singers, Arf. B. f. 15. 

9 Dale Law, Manh. B. f. 22. 
■ Law of Gottland, c. 13. 

2 Ordinance of Skenninge, 1285. 

3 King Magnus Ericson's ordinance of IS.^S. 
■» Law of the East-Goths, Drap B. f 5. 

' yEtt(ir~bof, kin-bote. 

6 Jamnader-ed. Tryghder ed. Compare Law of Scania, 
v. SO. 

7 In the laws of the Gothlands and Helsingland we find it 
retained, and it was first entirely abolished by king Magnus 
Ericson, in the ordinance of .Skara, 13.S5. 

The ordeals. 


Judicial office rnid 
power. Mulci.s. 



ransom himself from banishment, and receive his 
peace, if the prosecutor were content, and inter- 
ceded for him. 

Thus slowly did the judicial authority assert its 
due sway over the litigants before the tribunals. 
In the beginning these had taken the law into their 
own hands, wherefore, in times foregone, their dis- 
putes could often be adjusted only by an appeal to 
what was called God's doom, of which the duel 
among nations of the same stock with ourselves 
furnishes one example '. That this was also prac- 
tised in Sweden is clear from the papal prohibition 
issued against it, although no further mention of it 
is made in the Swedish laws. It is merely al- 
luded to in that of Upland as a Pagan custom. 
Another class of these appeals was the ordeal by 
red-hot iron, first abolished by Earl Birger, but 
permitted nevertheless by the law of Helsingland 
down to 1320. But no methi.d of proof was more 
extensively used than the oath ; to submit to the 
oath, and to submit to the law, are phrases which 
in the books have the same meaning. Oath was 
confinned again by oath, and the usage so long 
preserved in Swedish judicial procedure, of admit- 
ting compurgators (edgardsmen, oath-guarders), 
who swore to an oath taken on one side as being 
true and lawful ", likewise shows how long the in- 
fluence of family and friends was in a certain 
measure allowed by the law ; for originally these 
compurgators no doubt consisted of persons who 
would else have been ready to grasp their arms in 
the cause of the accused, and now instead appeared 
as legitimate auxiliaries with their evidence. In 
general the legal forms wei-e these ; either the pro- 
secutor might prove by witnesses (vittna), and the 
accused deny (dylia) by his own oath and those of 
his compurgators, or a jury (nsemd) usually of 
twelve men, in whom both parties placed con- 
fidence, might investigate the cii'cumstances and 
deliver their opinion i. 

In earlier times the judge was elected by the 
people 2. According to the Land's Law, the king 
noniicated to the judicial office one of three men 
whom the hundred or the province thereto pro- 
posed. A judge was considered necessary for 
every sentence, but not a nsemd for every proof; 
hence at first it was only chosen for the occasion, 
in causes where its assistance was deemed needful. 
That this body should make its authority more and 
more felt, was a result entirely conformable to its 
character. Its composition ensured impartiality, 
and made it a check on the compurgators when 
brought in support of a party. Gradually the 
ntemd became permanent ^ ; the bounds separating 
its functions fi'om those of the judge were oblite- 
rated, and it has finally remained a constituent 

8 Deum adesse bellantibus credunt, says Tacitus of the 

9 "That those who beforehand swore had sworn both truly 
and legally." Law of the East-Goths, Drap. B. f. !■!. 

' Judicial causes in which the first method of proof was 
followed, were called witnismal (witness causes); those of 
the second kind, dulsmal (denial causes) ; the third, naem- 
damal (jury causes). Compare Scblyter, Observations on 
the controversy regarding the former relation between the 
Judge and the Nsemd. Svea 2. 25.5. 

2 " The lagman all the yeomen shall choose, with God's 
help," says the Law of West-Gothland. The h;era(ls-hbfding 
as judge of the hundred, and the lagman as judge of the 
province. By the provincial laws of Sweden Proi)er there 

portion of the tribunal. And still the twelve pea- 
sants, who sit in tlie Swedish courts throughout 
the country with the justice of a province (Lag- 
man) or a hundred, though their opinion only 
holds good against tiie judge's when all the 
sors are unanimous, are the representatives of 
natural equity in the tribunal. " Because," it is 
said in the charge addressed by an ancient judge to 
a naemd, after the institution had assumed per- 
maneuc}', " all cases which may arise cannot be set 
down in a law-book, but where no written law is to 
be found, men must borrow their decisions from 
that natural law which God hath implanted in our 
hearts and brains, therefore the law-book saith in 
many places touching doubtful questions, let the 
jury of the hundred examine this. Wherefore 
take heed for the weal of your souls, and so do that 
ye may be held for honourable counsellors, and not 
for trifling jesters*." 

We remark, in reference to the execution of 
judicial sentences, the same slowly augmenting 
influence of public authority, as in the declaration 
of the law itself. That the fines fixed by law mio-ht 
be realized, the prosecutor was originally empow- 
ered himself to take ^ the required amount from 
the moveable goods of the culprit ; provided it 
were not done " within homestead and doorposts ;" 
for every man, except the outlaw, had peace in his 
own house. In the time of king Canute Ericson 
personal distraint was forbidden, but if any one 
was mulcted and refused to pay, the matter was to 
be referred to the king's judgment, and the court 
publicly appointed persons for the purpose of ap- 
praising the fines, — according to later determi- 
nations, either the same jurj^ approved by the 
disputants themselves, which had sentenced the 
offender, or twelve other impartial men whom the 
judge or the king's prefect (Lansman) selected 
thereto. From the law of East-Gothland •', which 
informs ns of the alteration we have just men- 
tioned, it seems that so late as the time of Canute 
Ericson, towards the close of the twelfth century, 
the king had no share in any fines, other than 
those in levying which he had himself assisted, 
after complaint made to him of the denial of right. 
" Afterwards," it is said, " it so came to pass that 
the king takes whether he is by or not." Com- 
plaints of the denial of right gave occasion for 
removing contested matters from a lower court to 
a higher, and the appeal from the judge of the 
hundred to the lawman is expressly particularized 
under Magnus Ladulas '. It was afterwards or- 
dained that the king's inquest (Rajfst) should be 
held at least once a year in every province by the 
sovereign himself, or the person mto whose hands 

were two judges (domare) in each hundred; b^ those of 
Githland, only one, namely the hundred-courtman, as the 
Land's Law also directs. Yet in some places the oldest of 
the liaenulemen is still called haeradsdomare (demster of tlie 

3 Its progress to this result maybe remarked in the direc- 
tions of the Land's Law Touching the uaemd, when the king 
sits in person. Konunga B. f. 35. 

■1 This exhortation may be found in the Celsian manu- 
script collections. Miscellanea in 4to. No. 46, Library of 

5 This was called Nam (nim). 

6 Rsfsta B. f. 3. 

^ Diplomatar. Suec. i. 591. Compare Law of Upland, 
Tingmals B. f. 10. 


Measures of police. 
Punisliraent of offences. 


Influence of the church. 
Serfdom early aliolislied. 

he had deputed his judgment *. But geuei'ally it 
was by no means considered necessary that a cause 
should first have been before an inferior tribunal in 
order to come before a higher. Nothing hindered 
the plaintiff from both instituting and terminating 
his suit before the superior judge, if he were pre- 
sent in his court ; and although Steno Sture the 
elder, in 1491, issued an edict enjoining that no one 
should bring his plea before tlie king or the admi- 
nistrator, uidess he had previously sued before the 
court of the hundred, or the lawman, or the 
burgomasters, — this regulation was for a long time 
afterwards not observed. 

The law was made for freemen, and to be in the 
"yeoman-law" (bondelag) implied a participation 
in the rights and privileges of the people. Only 
"yeomen and indwellers," not " vagabonds, or hired 
servants," without any property of their own to 
risk ^, might speak in the court. For every hun- 
dred there was a fixed court-stead, anciently under 
the open sky, a custom not yet wholly disused in 
the beginning of the sixteenth century ^ All the 
members of the hundred were bound interchange- 
ably to offices of succour. A fire-rate is ordered to 
be levied within the hundi'ed by the law of East- 
Gothland, and the inhabitants were conjointly 
obliged to keep a "road for carl and king," or a 
public way and bridge. 

When outrage or robbery was committed, leading 
to hue and cry, a staff of summons (budkafle) was 
cut, and sent round in haste. This was a short bat 
or stick, with certain marks, by which all the sur- 
rounding inhabitants were called upon to render 
assistance, and by this expedient Magnus Ladulas 
enjoined those from whom entertainment was ex- 
torted by the armed hand to procure themselves 
help 2. On the invasion of the country by an 
enemy, fire was kindled on heights appointed for 
the purpose, and the staff of .summons was de- 
spatched, burned at one end, and with a loop 
fastened at the other, for a sign, it is said, that 
whoever neglected to forward it without delay, 
should be hanged or have his house burned ^. 

The punishment of a freeman by death was im- 
known to the old laws, except for such offences 
as involved dishonour. The disgraced man was 
branded with the epithet of infamous (niding), and 
nidingswork was the name applied by the laws to 
the gravest offences against the safety of the per- 
son, when committed under circumstances of trea- 
chery, as slaying in places of sanctuary, in a church, 
or in a house, killing a sleeper or one imable to de- 
fend himself, or the master of the house, or him 

8 The raefst was the ordinary, the rasttare-ting (or court of 
error) the extraordinary tribunal, in which the king's judg- 
ment wait delivered. They were of different natures : the 
former was the royal court of the province, under the pre- 
sidency of the king, and not as usual of the lawman, for 
which assessors or naemdemen were chosen out of thelagsaga 
or shire ; the latter, on the other hand, was a court appointed 
for a specific case, the namd of which was taken from the 
same hundred wherein the court was held, and was there- 
fore, so to say, a royal hundred-court. 

9 Law of East-Gothland, Drap. B. f. 3. 

' Olaus Magnus, de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, xiv. 17. 

2 See before, p. 51. 

3 Olaus Magnus, vii. 4. 

■* This was called Ihriilbarja, and was an infamous crime 
if committed upon a freeman and causing his death. 

5 We may conclude from the governing maxim of all our 
old provincial laws, that if either of the parents was free, the 

with whom one shared food and drink, or a woman 
(for " she hath peace at fair and market, let feud 
between men be ever so great," says the law of the 
West- Goths), killing with cruelties or torments, 
bearing arms against one's coimtry, going in a 
warship to rob on the seas, which last prohibition 
shows that Christian morals were by this time in 
course of dissemination. All these could not be 
atoned for by a pecuniary mulct. In general such 
offences were deemed to deserve the severest penal- 
ties as were committed in a cowardly and malicious 
mode ; hence also the thief was doomed to death or 
slavery. Corporal punishment was confined to those 
in thraldom, who were beyond the pale of law. 
"To beat one like a slave*," "to have as little 
right as the scourged house-girl," or the female 
slave, are expressions found in the laws. 

For the developement of notions of legality and 
the amelioration of manners the church exerted a 
powerful influence. Personal revenge was discoun- 
tenanced ; all holidays, and periods of some length 
at the great festivals, were consecrated to peace. 
This was called God's halidom (helgd) or peace, 
phrases still used among the common people on 
entering a house. Other seasons were also sacred 
to peace, as those of sowing and harvest. To steal 
from a field is called in the laws to break God's 
lock. Through the influence of the church the 
condition of women was improved ; the wife re- 
ceived her legal share of the chattels, and the sister 
was permitted to inherit with the brothers. With 
extended rights, women were also subjected to legal 
responsibility, so that king Magnus Ericson in his 
Eric's-gait of 1335 made a general ordinance, that 
" the woman should make compensation for offences 
like the man, especially those touching life." On 
the same occasion thraldom was abolished, which in 
Sweden seems to have existed anciently in a mild 
form *, hence its eradication was effected here much 
earlier than in other countries. The sale of a 
Christian had been already forbidden by the law of 
Upland, and manumissions, which through the ex- 
hortations of the clergy were viewed as works of 
Christian piety, were made " for the soul's sake." 
As a multitude of causes were brought before the 
episcopal courts, which, in so far as they were not 
of purely spiritual concernment, must be adjudi- 
cated with relation to prevailing foiTus of law, 
occasion thus arose for the developement of its 

It was chiefly by the efforts of the church that 
the so-called " judgments of God " were abolished, 
the abuse of compurgators restricted ^, and public 

child also was ("gangin barn a bsettras halvo," let the bairn 
go to the better half) ; while in Germany and France, chil- 
dren so born were thralls {" das kind folgt der argern hand," 
the child follows the worse hand ; en formariage le pire em- 
porte le bon). In Denmark the offspring of a female slave 
were thralls. 

6 Ferventis aquae vel candentis ferri judieiuTi), sive duel- 
lum, quod monomachia dicitur, Catholica Ecclesia, contra 
quemlibet eliam, nedum contra episcopum, non admittet, 
says Pope Alexander II. in a letter to the Swedish bishops. 
Honorius VII. in a letter of 1218, denounces the malpractices 
to which compurgation gave rise even among the clergy : 
" Unde contigit, quod quandoque ad purgationem suam sui 
similes criminosos adducunt, ut eis debeant in similibus 
opportuno tempore respondere," which, "pestis coiitraria 
omni juri," it behoved the priesthood to abolish, and to 
adduce in proof the evidence of irreproachable witnesses. 

Social customs and 


Land's Law. 


prosecutors appointed'; whence the ecclesiastical 
sections of the provincial laws throw much light on 
the subject of legal procedure. Probably also those 
portions of the laws which affect the privileges of 
the church were first recorded iu writing by the 
care of the clergy. But a long time elapsed before 
this method was generally considered necessary for 
the knowledge and preservation of legal customs. 
The ancioit usage, that the justiciary should every 
year make known to the people the consuetudinal 
law (legem consuetudinis) **, is by the testimony of 
the church itself of older standing tlian any at- 
tempt made by the clergy to I'egister the laws ". 
Instead of the written word, men had the living 
record of memory, and symbolical acts for tokens. 
For this reason, bargains were to be struck, and 
debts paid, " with friend and witnesses," that is, in 
presence of a good man, whom both parties had 
called in, with two witnesses. Handtakiug in their 
presence formed a legal sign of the conclusion of a 
purchase '. The transfer of ground sold, granted, 
or pledged, was made by circuit, buyers and sellers 
with one surety, and all the landowners of the ham- 
let walking round the fields and meadows, and so 
back to the homestead ; a custom analogous to the 
Eric's-gait by which the king took the realm into 
possession. Thus too property in land might also 
be transferred by the gi-antor casting a turf into the 
lap of the grantee. In those days the ability of the 
clergy as penmen, furnished them with a new means 
of making their services indispensable. The royal 
chancellors were regularly selected from their 
order ^ ; and the influence of the clergy, as well as, 
through them, of the civil and canon jurispimdence 
on Swedish laws, is in several respects con- 
siderable. Yet so deeply rooted wei'e these latter 
in the memory and manners of the people, that both 
in their form and contents what was national was 
studiously preserved ; wherefoi'e the Land's Law 
specially requires the king to see, "that no out- 
landish law shall be brought into the realm to the 
detriment of the people." 

By extending ideas of law and legal authority, 
the church laboured in the cause of temporal 
authority, which here as everywhere else was the 
disciple of the former. To restrain the enfoi'ce- 
ment of personal revenge, the observance of the 
king's peace, as well as that of the church, was 
speedily enjoined *. Royal procurators *, similar 
to those of the bishops in spiritual causes, were 
soon appointed, to discharge the functions of public 
prosecutors in crimes against personal safety ; and 
by the introduction of the Edsoere, or oath of 
assur'ance, all such misdeeds were declared offences 

J This officer was called in matters of episcopal jurisdic- 
tion biskops-socknare (bishop's proctor) or biskops-laensman, 
(bishop's delegate). According to Christian L's cliarter of 
clerical privileges, October 28, 1457, he was to be elected by 
the commonalty. 

8 We have already mentioned that it was the duty of the 
justiciary " to make and promulgate the law." (See Law 
of West-Gothland, iv. 14.) Hence in the provincial laws the 
lagman is sometimes introduced as speaking in his own 
person, as in the Law of East-Gothland, E. S. viii. where it 
is said, "now bear in mind, yeomen, that this is so ordained." 

9 Compare the letter of Innocent IIL to the archbishop of 
Upsala, March 10, 1206. Diplomat. Suec. 

1 Land's Law, Tiuf. B. c. 15. 

2 The only exception is that of the councillor of state, 
Gustavus Magnusson, of Revelstad, who is mentioned in 

against the peace which the king had sworn to his 
subjects. To the section of the law which treated 
of tlie church and its rights, was added in course of 
time one relating to the sovereign and his rights, 
which is common to all the later provincial codes. 
The amended law of Upland was the first statute- 
book publicly confirmed, and although binding only 
on the foremost province of the kingdom, became a 
model for all the rest. Fifty years afterwards the 
first general Land's Law was drawn up, and its 
authority was gi-adually admitted ^ ; although an- 
other century passed away before the royal confir- 
mation was imparted. 

As the " king's oath, called Edsosret," was also 
taken by "all the chief men of the realm," it seems 
to follow that the Folkungers, who introduced this 
oath, ill fact r'eigned conjointly with the magnates. 
Nevertheless, the nobles did not obtain, like the 
clergy, the right of private jurisdiction ; though 
the king's court-law (gardsriitt) was also commonly 
enforced in the households of the great. Of these 
the oldest was embodied in a written I'ecord in 
1319, though its substance existed in a period much 
more remote. But every great household bore in 
old days a military character, whence in Swedish 
documents of the middle age, a court-man means a 
soldier by profession, and after the introduction of 
the equestrian tenure, more particularly a horseman. 
These court laws, obeyed by the warlike retainers 
of the great, corresponded to the Articles of War of 
later times, and are distinguished from the common 
law of the laud by rigorous punishments, as those 
touching life and limbs, imprisonment with bread 
and water, and flogging. In the latter, " all men's 
law," as it was formerly called, no exceptions are 
made with respect to the nobility ; unless we con- 
sider it as such, that for the homicide of a house- 
hold-man, besides the ordinary botes, a separate 
compensation was likewise to be paid to the person 
in whose service the slain man had been ^. Other- 
wise, the laws discover their jealousy of those living 
in such a state of personal dependence ; whence we 
find it ordered that no servitor shall be a juryman 
unless by assent of the peasants and the judge of the 
hundred ', which however was so far altered, that 
according to the Land's Law, the ntemd in the 
king's court of inquisition might consist half of 
peasants, and half of retainers, yet good and sufti- 
cient men, of whom the people and the parties be- 
fore the court approved. Changes of greater im- 
portance are discerned in particular ordinances, 
not embodied in the law. Thus the Calmar Recess 

1417, as chancellor to Eric of Pomerania. Uggla, Catalogue 
of the councillors of Sweden. 

3 So the general peace proclaimed on the king's visit to a 
province was termed. 

■< Konungs-soknare, or laensmen. 

5 Namely, Magnus Ericson's Land's Law of 1347, from 
which that confirmed by king Christopher in 1442 differs 
little. Notwithstanding the protest of the clergy in the old 
dispute respecting the liberty of bequests to the church, the 
former came gradually into use, and is undoubtedly that 
" law of Sweden, which they had in the upper country.'' 
The West-Goths state that they adopted it at the accession of 
queen Margaret. Hadorph, Ancient Ordinances (Ganila 
Stadgar, &c.), 42. See Note G. 

6 For the homicide of a " king's man," Earl Birger raised 
the latter fine to tlie same amount with that payable for an 
ordinary homicide ; so as to make the man bote double. 

'' Law of the West-Goths, iii. 77. 


Jurifdiction of the nobility. 
Towns and burgesses. 


Seats of trade. 
Crown revenues. 

of 1483 says, "that every good man, clerical or 
laic, slia'.l be king over his own dependents, except 
in matters which by the law are committed to the 
sovereign." By this, however, neither arbitrai'y 
power nor private jnrisdiction was meant, but only 
the concession of right to levy the king's share of 
legal fines, a right also granted to the church, in the 
widest sense, over its estates and tenants. As in 
general the fiefs (Isenen) consisted simply in grants 
of certain crown revenues to the royal governors in 
the various districts, manifold abuses were thereby 
created. For although the letter of the law did not 
recognize the power of the magnates, yet history 
shows all the more plainly that tiiey felt themselves 
to be raised above its behests ; since the justiciaries 
had been seated in the king's council, and the 
affairs of the realm began to be managed at baro- 
nial diets ; since the old odal-class had lost, from 
the extension of the privileges of nobility through 
the equestrian tenure, its most substantial mem- 
bers, and the burden of the taxes weighed more 
oppressively on the rest ; since armed bands of 
their own retainers plundered throughout the 
country with impunity. To these signs of their 
potency it may be added, that the fraternal wars of 
Earl Birger's family had long converted the king- 
dom into a field of battle, so that we may view it as 
a kind of return to legal order when the councillors 
of state, in the covenant made by them at Skara *, 
in 1332, engaged to submit their individual dis- 
putes to the decision of their colleagues. By 
similar confederacies was Sweden governed for a 
hundred years afterwards ; until Engelbert and 
the Stures revived against these baronial leagues 
the old associations of yeomanry, and thereby re- 
stored the people to political influence. 

For the towns, which in other countries of 
Europe supplied a counterpoise to the power of 
the nobility, were of small importance. In the in- 
terior of the country, where they sprang up on the 
sites of ancient fairs', or at episcopal seats, many of 
the conditions required for their prosperity were 
wanting. Wisby, in Gottland,was for a long time rich 
and powerful, but might rather have been called a 
German than a Swedish town, and in all German 
burghers were so numerous, that down to 1470 one 
half of the town magistrates were taken from among 
them. The borough law, formed on foreign models, 
of which the oldest example in Sweden is the so- 
called Bi6r¥6aralt, followed in the time of Magnus 
Ericson by one of gi'eater detail, had little influence 

8 Pactum confccderationis et eoncordiae. Hadorph, In tlie 
Rhyme Chronicle. 

9 Hence the termination ka'pinft, fair or market, lit. selling, 
in the names of so many Swedish towns. T. 

1 Especially under the Stures. Steno the elder is said to 
have also given in H70, the first example of including the 
inferior clergy in the writ of convocation, which otherwise 
during the Catholic period was confined to prelates. 

2 Skatlriiafr, tribute-gifts, they are called in the Ynglinga- 
saga, c. 12. 

3 Both objects were combined. Saga of St. Olave, c. 33. 

* Lama appears to mean hindrance, properly laming. 
Tingslama, which in the Law of AVestmanland, Tingm. B. f. 
6, denotes a hiiirirancc or interruption of the court, appears 
in the Law of Upland, K. 15. f. II, with the meaning of tax. 
That the leduiis'sla'.na was paid wlien no expedition took 
place, is manift'st from the Law of Westmanland, K. B. f. 
12, and from King Walrtemar's Account Book, where it is 
rendered, reuemtio expt'ditionis. An aid for provisioning 

beyond its own limits. Yet Eric Olaveson mentions, 
that so early as 1319, when Magnus Ericson was 
raised to the throne, burghers w ere summoned to 
the elective diet ; and in the writs issued during 
the Union are mentioned " bishops, clerks, noble.s, 
and franklins (frtclsemen), burghers, and the com- 
mon yeomanry '," the elements whence, instead of 
the old representation of the people by provinces, 
the later plan of representation by estates, witii 
various clianges of order and composition, was to 
be developed. 

The first Swedish taxes, originally voluntary 
donations ^, arose from the custom of yearly follow- 
ing the king on his warlike expeditions (ledung), 
and of entertaining him with liis train when he 
made progress througli the country to hold courts, 
or to take his pleasure '. By degrees it became 
usual to pay the yearly contributions required for 
these purposes when the king remained at home, 
and in this way the payments became permanent. 
Hence the names ledungslama (laming of the war) 
and tingslama (laming of the court) for those taxes, 
when any obstacle * prevented the warlike or peace- 
ful assemblage from being held, but they appear 
also under others. Conti-ibutions for the main- 
tenance of the king and his court, or the principal 
spiritual and secular officers on their journeys, were 
called gengard (sustentation tax ^). Tribute was 
levied from all resident inhabitants, so that he 
whose seed-corn and cattle reached a certain 
amount paid the full tax, others with less land and 
cattle only the half. He who did not possess a 
dwelling paid for his person ; at the age of twenty 
a man became liable to all assessments '. Certain 
imposts were from the first of a personal kind ; one 
" for every nose," in support of the sacrifices, is 
mentioned under the heathendom ; and a so-called 
nose-tax (Nsefgjald) is mentioned in the testament 
of Magnus Ladulas, perhaps the same with that 
called in the Law of West-Gothland " all men's 
pence" and in the towns " all men's tax *." Pay- 
ments from certain forests ' are also mentioned 
among the royal revenues from the middle of the 
thirteenth century, and as it is demonstrable that 
the kings formerly possessed private woodlands, 
and as the Land's Law speaks of the " king's parks" 
(parker), the tax must have been paid for the use 
of these by persons cutting timber or making 
settlements. In like manner the community of 
every hundred received from those who established 
themselves on their commons, certain revenues, of 

ships was called skeppsvist. According to the Law of Upland 
a part was paid in money. 

* On the king's first entry into a province during his 
Eric's-gait, this tax was called inlandning. East-Gothic Law, 
D. B. f. 5. In the Law of Helsingland it is called va^dsia 
(veitzla), which properly means a feast. In the demand by 
the nobles of such entertainment for themselves and their 
train during their journeys, chiefly consisted the otfence of 
sorning by violence, forbidden by Magnus Ladulas, but com- 
plained of long after his time. 

<5 See the king's '• receipts from the noble and good land of 
the West- Goths," W. L. v. 

r Uplands L. K. B. f 10. 

f Allmfennings cere, allmaenningsgia'ld. Pijilomal. Suec. 
i. 507. {Na'fejdid comes from ntpf, also n(uljb, nel) or nose, 
and girild, debt ; the modern term used by Proftssor Geijer is 
ndfs/iritt, nose-scot. T.) 

9 Skopaskyld, opposed to land skyld. Compare Diploni. 
Suec. i. 4.53 

Taxation. Tithes. 
Kojal domain. 


Boundaries. Mines 
of Iron and copper. 


which the Land's Law ordained that a third bhcaild 
be allotted to the crown. There was then no re- 
gular rate of assessment on landed^ property, al- 
though its division into Markland, Oresland, and 
tlie like, might lead us so to conjecture. Definitions 
casually occurring in the laws vindicate who were 
to be regarded as full-stead yeomen (fullsuten 
bonde). All these were taxed in like propoi-tion, 
in such wise that their payments should not be 
raised by reason of any excess above the standard, 
but lessened in the measure of their short coming ; 
and especial care seems to have been taken to pre- 
serve the old number of substantial yeomen un- 
diminished. On this account Christian I. complains 
in an ordinance of 1459, that by yeomen purchas- 
ing two or more granges, " the taxes and revenues 
of the crown are much niinished and wasted ;" 
wherefore he enjoins, by the advice of his well-be- 
loved councillors, that " no yeoman shall thencefor- 
ward take into his hands more assessable estate than 
in the judgment of twelve unbiassed men is suffi- 
cient for his establishment ;" in case of disobedience 
he should pay agreeably to the Calmar Recess of 
1474, forty marks, and be called " the king's full 
thief.'' To the same penalty a nobleman became 
liable by the Land's Law, who acquired ground as- 
sessed to the crown-taxes. On the other side, 
excessive parcelling out of such land was for- 

Various provisions are to be found in the law, 
regulating the obligations reciprocally affecting the 
labourer who tilled another's fields and the land- 
owner. Nor did they leave indigence unrelieved 
to its fate. The Law of Upland enacts that poor 
and infirm men shall be carried from hamlet to 
hamlet, every peasant being bound to keep him for 
one night. On the other hand the yeomen had at 
first the rigfit to withhold that proportion of the 
tithe which went to tiie poor ; for after the priest 
had received his third, the residue was divided into 
three equal parts, between the ])arish church, 
the bishop, and the suppoi't of hospitals and poor ; 
although this last share was gradually diverted to 
other purposes, as to tlie uses of the chapter and the 
maintenance of students. With the thirteenth cen- 
tury tithes were introduced — and what other impost 
so burdensome ? — in the face of strong opposition. 
The church, though not contributing to the public 
necessities, in fact possessed from tithes, donations, 
and bequests, as well as the grant of temporal fiefs 
to the prelates, gi-eater revenues than the crown 
itself, without including what the papal agents 
drew from the kingdom, sometimes for the recon- 
quest of the Holy Land from the infidels, some- 
times for indulgences, or on other occasions. 

But the king, says the Land's Law, " it befits to 
live from the estate of Upsala, from the crown-lands, 
and the yearly legal taxes of his realm, and in no- 
thing to lessen these for any other king, nor lay any 
new burdens on his land." Only in the four following 
cases might an extraordinary aid be demanded ; on 
the breaking out of war, for then the men of the 
realm were bound to follow the king in his expedi- 

9 South Helsingland, Angermanland, and Medelpad paid 
their taxes partly in linen ; thus long have the inhabitants 
of these provinces practised weaving, which still constitutes 
one of their chief sources of support. 

' The Law of West-Gothland forbids the iron-blasters to sell 
iron of bad quality. 

tions, yet not beyond the frontiers without their 
own consent ; on the marriage of one of his chil- 
dren ; on his coronation, or when he rode his Eric's- 
gait, or finally when he required an aid for his 
buildings, for the repair of his houses, or the im- 
provement of the estate of Upsala. Then the 
bishop and judge of each province, with six house- 
hold-men, and six yeomeu, wei'e to deliberate 
among themselves " what supportable aid the 
commonalty might and should pay to their sove- 

The ancient compass of the kingdom is shown by 
the Eric's-gait, embracing Swedelaud and Gothland, 
with Smaland. The remainder in part belonged to 
Denmark, as the southern coasts, in part was sub- 
ject alternately to Sweden and Norway, as Verme- 
land, in part was not settled until a later day, as 
Dalecarlia and Norrland. We may besides observe 
regarding its boundaries under the Catholic period, 
that Jemteland and Herjedale, in the time of Ingi 
the younger, submitted to Norway, though they 
contituied dependent on the see of Upsala ; that 
Finland was annexed to the dominions of the crown 
by three eminent chiefs, St. Eric, earl Birger, and 
Thorkel Canuteson ; that the isle of Gottland was 
lost to Sweden mider Albert, and remained dis- 
united for two hundred and fifty years ; and that 
under Magnus Ericson, the provinces of Scania, 
Halland, and Bleking, were both won and lost. 

Not the least important conquests were those 
made by cultivation ; and in the time of the last- 
named sovereign began the settlement of Upper 
Norrland above Umea. Those portions of the mid- 
dle territory in which mining districts were after- 
wards formed, remained longest in their original 
wildness. Thus the law of West-Gothland, which 
enumerates the churches subject to the bishopric 
of Skara, does not mention one in all East Verme- 
land, which therefore in that day was thinly in- 
habited, while tlie account in the Heimskringla, on 
the other hand, of the inroad by the Norwegian 
king Haco Hacoson into its early settled western 
portion, mentions every where granges and ham- 
lets which subsist at the present day. Thus too 
the name of the mining district Skinskatteberg 
shows that here the taxes were paid in the skins 
of animals, as the Law of the Helsingers orders for 
Ujjper Norrland '■*. 

The oldest mining charters in Sweden which 
have been preserved are those of Magnus Ericson. 
Iron furnaces existed in Gothland in the thirteenth 
century ' ; the charters for the mining districts of 
Norberg and Nerike, in 1340 and 1350, mention 
them in middle Sweden. Those of the copper mines 
at Falun are of 1347. but refer to others which had 
preceded ; and the antiquity of mining is attested 
by the circumstance, that in 1268 an estate was 
sold at that place for eleven skeppunds of copper^. 
That the Lubeckers liad betimes acquired a share 
in the mine is shown by the letter of Magnus Eric- 
son in 1344, confirming to them all the property 
and revenues which they possessed there " by an- 
cient right ^." In 1367, king Albert pledged to the 
counts of Ilolstein, from the crown's proportion of 

2 Diplomat. Suec.i. 2CS. (Eleven skeppunds are nearly 30 
cwt., 100 about 13 tons.) 

3 See the Latin deed in Sartorius, Documentary History 
of the rise of the German Hanse, edited by J. M. Lappenberg, 
ii. 378. 




Traffic. The Gottlanders. 

the copper mines, one hundred skeppunds of copper 
yearly, which they long continued to collect by their 
own commissioners on the spot. At this time the 
bailiffs of the mines and the masters of the works 
were Germans *. That the copper mines of Gar- 
penberg also were worked by them appears from 
the fact, that Garp was a name formerly given in 
Sweden to a German, although the word properly 
signifies an arrogant bragging fellow. King Eric 
of Pomerania, in 1413, granted to all those who 
would settle as miners at Atvidabei'g in East-Goth- 
land the same privileges granted to tliose of the 
Kopparberg in Dalecarlia ; in the same year also 
lie took the iron mines of Vermeland under liis 
protection, and confirmed the charters granted by 
queen Margaret. Under Steno Sture' the elder 
the iron mmes of Danemora were discovered ; the 
silver mine of Sala apparently not before the time 
of Suanto Sture', about 1510°, to which Christian 
the Second sent a hundred Fiulanders. Yet men- 
tion is made of older silver mines, as at Tuna, 
Wika, and Lofasen in Dalecarlia. The bishop's 
mines, as they are called, in various districts show 
that the clergy also engaged in mining. The prin- 
cipal places of the mining tracts were asylums for 
offenders, excluding however traitors, assassins, and 
thieves, and this privilege was called the mine-peace. 

The different species of grain cultivated are 
mentioned in the laws. That of West-Gothland 
ordains tithe to be taken of wheat, rye, barley, and 
oats. Corn, though a term common to all, was ap- 
plied more particularly to barley, which seems to 
mark this grain, ripening within six weeks '', as the 
first introduced. Wheat and rye are mentioned in 
a papal letter of 14GG, to the bishop of Strengness, 
as " new and unheard-of above the forest of Kol- 
mord," and to be made titheable without delay '. 
Yet the bishop of Strengness was unquestionably 
better informed, for the Sudermanian law of 1327 
allows the bishop at the consecration of a church a 
train of twelve men and fourteen horses, and orders 
a tun of wheat and rye-bread, among other arti- 
cles, to be pi-epared for his use *. In 1295 the Law 
of Upland orders tithe to be taken from wheat and 
rye, " as the manner anciently had been." In the 
time of Olaus Magnus, the rye of Swedeland was 
held the best ; it was raised on land cleared by fire, 
both in spring and winter. The husbandmen sowed 
in the beginning of May. or even later, and reaped 
in the middle of August ', generally assisting each 
other in the labours of the field, and at the reapers' 
feast the marriages of the year were arranged. 
When much snow fell, the peasants promised them- 
selves a plentiful crop. The winter seems to have 
been longer and more rigorous, the summer hotter 
than in later times, and generally the differences of 
the seasons more strongly marked. 

Fruit trees were first introduced into southern 
Sweden by the clergy, although the laws of Upland 
and Sudermania mention them, with some kinds of 

•• Langetek, on the Norwegian mines, 90. 96. 

s Ibid. 140. 143. 

6 Actordins to Olaus Magnus ; it still does so in Norrland. 

? Celse Bullarium, 201. Ex segetibus tritico et siligine 
supra Kolmordiam novis et insolitis. That siliso here 
means rje is proved by the old Latin notes to the Law 
of West-Gothland. Compare the Glossary of Collins and 

^ Besides this, a tun of barley bread, two flitches of bacon, 
four sheep, eight hens, three lispunds (about .'i I lbs.) of butter. 

vegetables, in the middle portion of the kingdom. 
Flax, hemp, peas, turnips, beans, and hops were 
cultivated ; in bi-ewing not only hops but the 
wild myrtle were used ^. Bee-hives supplied im- 
portant articles of produce, encouraged by the de- 
mand for wax tapers by the church, and not less by 
the use of mead. Speaking of the entertainment 
of a bishop on his progress, the Law of West-Goth- 
land says, " let him drink mead with all his clergy." 
With other classes candles of wax or tallow were 
rare luxuries ; the houses were lighted by wood 
fires and pine torches, with one of which in his 
hand, the thresher, in past times as now, betook 
himself to the barn in the early harvest morn. 
Handmills were used for grinding grain ; to ply the 
mill was the work of the female slave in the house; 
in the Law of Upland, windmills and watermills are 
also mentioned. Hard and thin bread was used 
then as now, which might be kept for several years; 
the Yule bread was soft and made very large. Salt, 
a condiment indispensable to man, was procured 
from abroad ; by the distribution of a supply we 
find Christian II. trying to gain the attachment of 
the Swedish peasants. 

In these days, Sweden could not be said to 
possess any commerce, although Gotxland was long 
the seat of a very extensive trade. This fertile is- 
land had received its inhabitants from Sweden in a 
remote age, who soon increasing in numbers were 
obliged to seek for new dwelling-places. Some, we 
are told in the supplement to the Law of Gottland, 
occupied the island of Dago, on the coast of 
Esthonia ; others advanced along the course of the 
Duna into Russia, and are said to have received 
land from the Greek emperor. The Gottlanders, 
who acknowledged the superiority of the Upsala 
king, and became Christians upon the visit of St. 
Eric, submitted themselves in spiritual matters to 
the bishop of Linkoping, and engaged to accom- 
pany the king of Sweden in his expeditions with 
seven ships, or to pay a yearly tribute instead. 
While yet heathens, they possessed, according to 
the same account, a considerable trade, and it may 
be conjectured, that after the Varangians had be- 
come the rulers of Muscovy, the Gottlanders pro- 
fited by the connections which those adventurers 
long maintained with the country of their descent, 
to carry on a traffic with the Russians. Of this 
however the Swedish archives afford no more 
ancient evidence than the injunction of Pope 
Gregory IX. in 1229, to the bishop of Linkoping 
and the Cistercian abbot of Gottland, that the in- 
sular traders should be restrained by the authority 
of the church, from holding intercourse with the 
Muscovites, the foes of Christianity. Otlier testi- 
monies, however, speak both of the antiquity of this 
intercourse, and of the early settlement of German 
traders on Gottland, whose inhabitants undoubtedly 

two cheeses, four stockfish, five pounds of wax, and three 
casks of beer, with hay and oats for the horses. 

9 Olaus Magnus xiii. 8. In chapter iii. it is said that 
winter-rj'e was sown at the end of the dog-days, therefore 
shortly before the middle of August, old style. Spring 
rye, with wheat, barley, and oats, was sown in fine Tauri 
(about the llth May, O. S.), and reaped in corde Leonis 
(about the Cth August). Seedtime was thus in middle 
Sweden three centuries ago later than at present. 

> Pors, Swed. The myrica gale, or heath myrtle, not the 
ledum palustre (wildpors), or wild rosemary, which is noxious. 
March beer was held the best. 

Privileges of tlie Germans. 

SWEDEN IN THE MIDDLE AGE. Coinage; its depreciation. 91 

threw open to the former, avenues of commerce 
with Russia. Early in tlie thirteenth century was 
founded from Gottland the great commercial 
settlement of Novogorod, the most ancient guild- 
statute of which, in the many Swedish terms it 
contains, shows traces of Swedish influence *. In 
the year 1229, the same in which the Pope forbade 
through the bishop of Linkoping the Russian trade, 
a convention was formed in Gottland between the 
traders of Wisby and Riga, and the Grand Duke of 
Smolensko, regarding the trade on the Duna, from 
which the wares were conveyed overland to the 
Dnieper. From this treaty we learn that the 
Russians also traded from Gottland to Lubeck. 
The German commercial association on the island 
was so powerful, that even the league of the Hanse 
towns appears (from recent investigations) to have 
sprung mainly out of the connexions formed in 
Gottland between the traders of the different cities. 
There was a time when Wisby itself excited the 
jealousy of Lubeck, but its power was broken by the 
invasion and sack of the Danish king Waldemar, 
in 1361. The island was soon entirely severed 
from Swedish dominion, and Gottland, whose mari- 
time law had furnished a model to Northern 
Europe, continued for a long time to be a haunt 
for pirates. 

In Sweden all trade, both internal and foreign, 
was confined to the Germans. The first commer- 
cial privileges of Lubeck were granted by Earl 
Birger about 1250, and the charter refers to others 
which the town had enjoyed since the end of the 
preceding century, and the time of king Canute. 
These privileges were afterwards extended to 
Hamburg, Riga, Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, and 
generally to all the Hanse towns. Their clerks 
and agents ^ obtained the right of settling in Swe- 
den and living under the Swedish laws, of import- 
ing their wares toll-free, and of transporting them 
from the Baltic, if they thought fit, by the land 
road aci'oss Sweden to the North Sea, of selling 
salt and travelling with their wares through the 
interior. One consequence of the commercial 
power of the Germans was shown in the authority 
they exercised in the Swedish towns, and in their 
tyranny in Stockholm, in the time of king Albert. 
Even under the reign of Christian I. complaints 
were made that all the municipal offices of the 
capital were so crowded with Germans, that 
hardly one was left for a Swede, unless he chose to 
be a beadle or a gravedigger *. On the other hand, 
the corresponding rights which were stipulated for 
Swedish traders in the treaties with the Hanse 
towns, were it is plain never available for them. 
Some attempts were made to abridge the com- 
mercial immunities of the Germans, but these had 
no other effect than that of temporarily interrupting 
the traffic. Charles Canuteson indeed, when ap- 
plication was made to him for their renewal, is said 
to have replied, that if the Hanse association 
would not come to Sweden, they might stay at 

2 See the document itself in Sartorius, ii. 16. 

3 Termed Sveni in the original charter granted by Earl 
Birger, preserved in the archives of Lubeck (Sartorius ii. 
52), not Sueci, as we read in several copies, even that printed 
in Swedish Diplomatarium. Sveni means servants (svenar), 
or apprentices, answering to the knapar, as they were called, 
who in the guild of Novogorod were subordinate to the 

■» See the letter of the Dalecarlians, enumerating their 

home ; but that the restrictions imposed did not 
answer their purpose is manifest from the ordi- 
nance of the council at Telge in 1491, in which they 
declare, that upon perusing the " register of the 
kingdom," they had observed what advantage and 
pi'ofit the realm obtained at the time when the 
Germans had licence to trade in the country, them- 
selves buying up in the places of staple the wares, 
which then there was no need to carry abroad, a 
course that had led only to confusion and the gain 
of the Danish towns. For this i-eason free markets 
were now appointed to be held every year for six 
weeks, at Calmar, Soderkoping, and New Lodose, 
(which with Stockholm and Abo, were the chief 
trading towns,) where both natives and foreigners 
might freely traffic with each other. This was 
regarded of the more importance, as th.e toll formed 
one of the principal means of rectifying the 

Sweden did not possess a coinage until a late 
period. If the goods of the buyer and seller were 
not of equal value, the difference was made up by 
pieces of gold or silver of the size required on the 
occasion, usually shaped into larger or smaller 
circles, such as are often found in the soil with 
marks of abrasion. Trade and piracy brought the 
precious metals and foreign coins into the kingdom. 
The little silver coins which our elder antiquaries 
ascribed to heathen kings are all more recent ^. 
Among a multitude of foreign coins found in the 
earth, a few only have here and there been met 
with, which are referred by modern inquirers, al- 
though not unanimously, to the first Chiistian sove- 
reigns of Sweden, Olave the lap-king, and Anund 
Jacob, although even these appear to have been 
struck by Enghsh mint-masters. Coins of the 
Folkunger kings are fomid, which may safely be 
pronounced of domestic mintage ". The coinage 
was divided into marks, ceres, of which eight went 
to a mark ; oertugs, whereof three to an oere; and 
pence, of which in Gothland sixteen, in Swedeland 
eight, went to an oertug '. Originally a mark of 
money corresponded to a mark of silver, but they 
soon became so widely distinct in value, that about 
the middle of the fifteenth century, a mark of 
silver was equal to eight and a half marks cur- 
rency. For the restoration of the standard, we 
find Magnus Ericson ordering that all traders 
bringing specie into the country should carry to 
the mint, for every forty marks value of goods, one 
mark of silver, and receive in return five of coined 
money, deducting half a mark. From the minute- 
book of the town of Calmar for 1384, we learn that 
this toll was paid on all goods imported, amounting 
to more than ten marks in value, with the ex- 
ception of provisions ^. In 1476, was abolished an 
abuse prevailing in several of the staples among 
those charged with the collection of the tolls, of 
receiving beer instead of silver ". 

complaints against Christian I. in Memoirs for the History 
of Scandinavia, vol. v. 

5 Compare Observations on the oldest Swedish Coins, by 
J. II. Schroder, in Transactions of the Academy of Science, 
Historj-, and Antiquities, vol. xiii. 

6 The Law of Upland speaks of stamped certugs. 

7 Towards the end of the Catholic period, whole and half 
oertugs, with smaller change, were the only pieces struck in 

8 MS. in the Library of Upsala. 

9 Hadorph, Appendix to the Rhyme Chronicle, ii. 290. 


Produce. Fisheries. 


Iiistitulion (if guilds. 

The country people bartered their wares. The 
Norrlanders and Eastlanders, or Finns, were ac- 
customed from the earHest times to bring the pro- 
duce of their herds, the chase, and fisheries to 
Stockhohn and the lower country, witli which they 
procured themselves other necessary articles, as the 
miners exchanged their iron and cop]>er for grain. 
The Helsingers had an old privilege of travelling 
with their wares between the different places of 
trade, and more particularly frequented, as is still 
the case, the fair of Disting in Upsala '-. Olaus 
Magnus states, that in his days Swedish horses 
were yearly exported to Germany ; they were 
hardy, though of small size, and roamed the heath 
unconfined, even in the winter season, until their 
thii-d year. He speaks also of a nobler stock, in 
West-Gothland, highly prized in war, whose ex- 
portation was forbidden ; Oeland was remarkable 
for its singularly small race of ponies ; Gottland 
was famous for its breed of sheep. O.xen were 
used in some places for tillage and winter-carriage, 
yet not generally, for Gustavus I. afterwards en- 
couraged their employment in this way. In several 
provinces, Smaland, a part of East-Gothland, Dais- 
land, Vermeland, and the whole of Norrland, the 
people derived their chief support from their Hocks 
and herds. The chase yielded a rich return of 
furs and skins, large quantities of which were sold 
for export. Elk-hides were shipped by the thousand, 
with minever, ermine, and marten skins. 

In the gulf of Bothnia the fisheries, especially 
of salmon and herring, were largely productive. 
Fishermen and buyers from different quarters col- 
lected in spring at the mouths of the great streams 
of Norrland. Persons from Stockholm and other 
towns of Sweden and Finland, regularly every year 
visited these fishing stations^, from which towns 
afterwards arose. In Tornea, most of all, at Mid- 
summer the concourse was large, with many Rus- 
sians and Norwegians. The herring fishery on the 
coast of Scania was pursued chiefly on account of 
the Hanse Towns. Of that in the islets of Bohus- 
land we hear less, until in the latter half of the six- 
teentli century it became uncommonly abundant, 
after that of Scania had declined. 

Among the civic customs of the middle age was 
the institution of guilds, of which, in the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries, more than one hundred are 
said to have existed not only in the towns, but 
throughout the country. These were societies 
founded in honour of some saint or relic, admitting 
pei^ons of both sexes under certain obligations and 
rules, and blending, at determinate times, religious 
exercises and works of charity with the entertain- 
ments of the table '. The principal guilds had halls 

' Scai)(linavian Memoirs, iv. fiC. From Olaus Magnus 
(xiii. 38) we learn that the country people of the hundreds of 
Mark and Kind in West-Gothland were already during the 
middle ages noted as turners and hawkers of platters, bowls, 
boxes, and other articles of the kind. The peasants some- 
times abused the opportunities of this inland trade, to carry 
"merchants' wares" as well as "peasants' wares," which 
was forbidden by the Calniar Recess of U74. 

2 For tbese fisheries were framed the Harbour Rules 
(Hamne-skra) of King Charles Canuteson, " for those who 
use to fish in the king's common fishing-ground.'' This 
mode of exi>ression refers to the powers of regulation and 
taxation ; various suits respecting the Norrland fisheries 
shov/ that tliey were considered in the middle ages as private 

of their own, and often held large revenues, arising 
from donations and bequests, of which the motive 
is to be sought in the devotional services and 
masses celebrated by these societies for the souls of 
their deceased brethren. Hence there were few of 
which the clergy were not members. Even the 
guild feasts were opened with divine worship, which 
was followed by the drinking of toiists, with hymns 
of praise to the saint, in memory of whom the cup 
was drained. The guests ate what each had pre- 
pared for himself, bringing to the board not more 
than two or three di-shes ; beer, which must be 
tasted Vjeforehand, since there was a fine for 
blaming it during the compotation ■•, was procui-ed 
by the joint contributions of both brethren and sis- 
ters. The guiidliall was decked with fresh bouglis 
and fragrant flowers, the floor strewed with pine 
sprigs and grass, and on the outside of the doors 
large leafy branches were ])laced. While the re- 
fection was in jjrogress the musicians of the guild 
played, among whom the most important was the 
organist ; fifers, trumpeters, tymballers, drimmicrs, 
and lutanists are also mentioned as serving in the 
Guild of the Body of Christ in Stockholm. The 
society was governed by an alderman and stool- 
brothers ; and although princes and nobles joined 
these fraternities, the incorporations of craftsmen 
have yet the same origin. Among their objects 
mutual protection was one of the most important ; 
during tlie earlier period of their existence they 
avenged conjointly homicide or outrage done upon 
any of the brethren of the lodge, and assumed a 
jurisdiction over their own members, which the 
most powerful guilds, as that of St. Canute in Den- 
mark and Scania, exercised with the consent of the 
ci'own even in capital causes. 

Times of violence and fierce tempers generated 
heinous crimes and licentious manners, especially 
among the possessors of power. Of the lengths to 
which the vengeance of the great occasionally pro- 
ceeded, sufficient examples have been already ad- 
duced. Nor were the clergy exempt from the 
general corruption. Bishop Olave Gunnarson was 
poisoned at the synod of Westeras in 1461, because 
he had zealously denounced the immoralities of the 
priesthood ^. The monasteries, of which the num- 
ber ultimately rose to about sixty, did not uni- 
versally set an edifying example of continence ; 
hence St. Bridget, rebuking the clergy for laxity, 
compares such cloisters, in her zeal, to houses of 
ill fame. Pity that those founded upon her 
own rule soon exposed themselves to a like re- 
preach. The disorders arising from the consoci- 
ation of monks and nuns in the Bridgetine con- 
vents, occasioned citations to Rome and before the 
council of Basle, without however being effectually 

' Compare Muhrberg, on the Guild of our Lord's Body at 
Stockholm, Acad. Transac. vol. ii. ; and Fant, Disseriatio 
de Conviviis sacris in Suecia. 

■< " NuUus cerevisiam culpet — bil)ant honeste sine con- 
tencione et blasphemia." From the Rules of the Guild of 
our Lord's Body. (Convivium corporis Christi.) For a 
banquet given to this guild by its aldermen in 1513, at 
which only fourteen of the brethren were present, there 
were purchased the half of an ox, two sheep, forty pounds of 
smoked beef, two hams, three neats' tongues, eighteen 
pounds of butter, and two casks of beer with spices. The 
statutes were called skra, a word also signifying the guild 

5 Diary of Vadstetia, S. R. S. i 178. 



Morals of llie people. 
State of kiiowletlije. 


Introduction of printing. 
Domestic manners. 


corrected thereby, as is proved by scandalous nar- 
ratives still preserved ''. Referring to the Carthu- 
sian order, which had been newly introduced, the 
councillors of state declared in 1491, their hope 
*' that by the example of this order, and the grace 
of the blessed virgin, the brethren and sisters of 
other religious houses would amend their life, and 
observe their rules with better faith and constancy 
than they had hitherto used." 

Of science and art scarcely aught is to be said ; 
but of yore there were found minds in the North, 
attracted, more than other men, from the night 
and fogs of earth into " that other light," as even 
heathenism beforetime called the supernal world. 
St. Bridget is the seer of Catholicism, as we may 
call Swedenborg, in modern days, of Protestantism. 
Both distinguished by virtuous lives, and intellect 
higher than the ordinary standard, they appeal to 
revelations and visions, remarkable in the annals of 
the human soul. Of these we will content oui-selves 
with observing, thatcontrastedly they show how the 
unsubstantial may take the image, garb, and colour 
of different ages, and speak to extraordinary men in 
the echo of their own breasts, cramped though 
they be by the bonds of prejudice. The revela- 
tions of St. Bridget, albeit afterwards brought into 
question at the coimcil of Basle, are yet not rejected 
by the catholic church, which canonized her in 

Whatever learning was to be found in those days 
was almost entirely confined to the clergy ; if lay- 
men are sometimes extolled on this ground, as 
Baron Charles Ulfson Sparre', whom the Rhyme 
Chronicle declares to have been skilled " in the 
seven bookish arts and in all the laws," or Baron 
Eric Trolle, such cases are but rare exceptions. 
Archbishop Gustavus, son of the latter, was one of 
the few who are said to have known the Greek. 
The new University of Upsala has no name of mark 
to show save Eric Olaveson, professor of tlieology, 
who composed the first detailed history of hi.s 
native country from the earliest times to the year 
1464. In the monastic and cathedi-al schools, a 
scanty instruction was doled out to such youths as 
devoted themselves to the ministry, as also to the 
children of persons of rank, until their military 
education commenced in a royal or baronial house- 
hold. Typography reached Sweden early; the first 
book having been printed in 1483 *. Ingeborg, 
consort of the administrator Steno the elder, en- 
couraged the new art, causing books to be printed 
at her own expense, and collecting a library in the 

" Compare Appendix v. to the Diary quoted, on the morals 
of the Bridgetine convent at Dantzic, in 1506, S. R. S. i. 

7 Bridfjet was the daughter of the Lawman of Upland, 
Birger Person of Finsta, of the same family which afterwards 
assumed the name of Brahe ; she was married to the Lawman 
of Nerike, Ulf Gudmarson, by whom she had eight children, 
among them one daughter, Catharine, afterwards canonized. 
Bridget died at Rome in 1373, aged seventy. There was a 
proposal to elect her son Israel Birgerson to the throne after 
the deposition of Magnus Ericson. Her conventual rules 
were sanctioned hy the pope in 1370, and the parent cloister 
was founded at Vadsteiia. Her revelations were recorded 
by her confessor ; she herself wrote down her Prayers, per. 
haps the only Swedish book, which has been translated into 
Arabic. The Orazioni di S. Brigida, in Arabic and Italian, 
appeared at Rome in 1677. 

s Dialogus Creaturarum optime moralizatus. At the end, 
Iinpressus per Johannem Snell, artis impressoriae magistrum 

Carthusian monastery foimded by her husband at 
Marisefrcd ^. A printing-house at Vadstena was de- 
stroyed by fire in 1495 '. From scarcity of paper, 
splints or rind of the birch tree were sometimes 
used for writing, and judicial sentences thus re- 
corded are still spoken of by the common people. 

The two princi]iles, which lie at the foundation 
of national morality, reverence for age, and the 
sanctity of wedlock, our ancestors cannot be ac- 
cused of setting at nought. According to the tem- 
per of their time, they were often turbulent, espe- 
cially in the border provinces ; hardnatured, and 
strongly attached to their old customs. In the 
country nuptial usages are still nearly the same 
with those described by Olaus Magnus three hun- 
dred years ago ; only the bride-torches are dis- 
used. The wreath beforetime, as now, was the 
ornament of the stainless bride at the altar; other- 
wise it was, with the ample veil, and the rich 
girdle, an ordinary dress with damsels of condition. 
In noble families a spear formed part of the inor- 
rowing-gift ^ to the bride, which on the day of mar- 
liage was thrown out of the window, whether to 
denote the obligation of the mistress of the house to 
take part in its defence, we do not pretend to deter- 
mine. It is certain that in the middle age a Swe- 
dish wife was sometimes called upon to partake this 
duty ; and the women of the hundred of Verend in 
Smaland, who in the absence of their husbands 
once repulsed a hostile attack, still enjoy for that 
reason the privilege of inheriting equal portions 
w'ith their brothers, and have long preserved at 
their marriages various military fashions and dis- 
tinctions ^. 

As old observances still subsisting may be men- 
tioned, the race from the church on the day after 
Christmas ; for he that first reached home, it was 
thought, would first reap the harvest of the year * ; 
the fires kindled in some provinces on May Day 
Even, and the May-poles at Midsummer, both 
circled by the dance ; as well as the wrestling 
games of the youth on the tops of the barrows, 
a custom still not uncommon fifty years ago in cer- 
tain districts. The feasts of the chief men were 
distinguished by pomp of costume and abundance 
of meats, while a multitude of the present conveni- 
ences of life were unknown. Even in houses of the 
better class the window was sometimes in the roof, 
and filled with tarred linen or parchment instead of 
glass. So highly valued was the latter material. 

in Stockholm, inceptus et munere Dei finitus est anno Do- 
mini MccccLXxxiii. mensis Decembris in vigilia Thomse. 

9 Some of the books, inscribed " Frowe Ingeborg quondam 
uxor Sten Sture," are in the Library of Upsala. 

' Conflagraverunt ibidem diversa instrumenta pro impres- 
sura librorum, realiter aptata el jam per medium annum in 
usum habita, videlicet torcular cum litteris stanneis, &c. 
Diar. Vad. 

^ Morgongafva, Ger. morgengabe, present made to the 
bride on the morning after the marriage day. The term in 
the text is still used in some parts of Scotland. T. 

3 Tradition places this occurrence in the heathen period, 
though it is probably less ancient. 

■» Under Catholicism prayers were offered up at this festival 
for a good harvest ; doubtless a memorial of the Pagan mid- 
winter sacrifice for a plentiful year, which was held in 
February at Candlemas tide. (See note p. 43.) 

' In 1493 Baron Hans Akeson was shot with an arrow 
through the window in the roof of his own housg, the mur- 
derer having first made an opening. Diar. Vadsten. 


Education of youth. 


Attachment to liberty. 

that the whidows of the castle of Stockholm ai-e 
said to have beeu carried oft' by the Danes under 
Christian I. 

Youth was trained to hardy and martial habits ; 
the boy, we are told, must earn his morning's meal 
by hitting the mark with the arrow *'. When he 
had reached an age wliieh admitted of his defending 
himself against violence, he received a blow on the 
back, with an exhortation never again to submit to 
one without resenting it '. The Gothlanders and Fin- 
landers were regarded as the most expert bowmen ; 
the battle-axe and spear were regarded as the chief 
weapons of the inhabitants of Sweden Proper. 
Despite the prohibition of the general use of arms, 
the peasant seldom quitted his house, even for the 
church, unarmed, if only on account of the wild 
beasts, of which the wolves were the most formid- 
able. Sometimes the length of the distance and the 
difficulties of the country prevented him from re- 
pairing thither more than once or twice in the 
year *. On such occasions the weapons were de- 
posited in the porch, whicli still bears from this 
circumstance the name of the weapon-house. 
Relics of the catholic period are still found here 
and there among the country people in isolated 
superstitious usages and broken Latin prayers. A 
belief in various elemental spirits, on the other 
hand, was descended from the days of heathenism, 
unless we suppose that the manifold legends of 
such beings are ever genex'ated anew by com- 

5 Ut non panis pueris exhibeatur, nisi sagitta prius teti- 
gerint metam. Olaus Magnus, xv. 1 . 

7 Stiernhnek (de jure Sueonum vetusto), says that this was 
only in the case of sons of nobles. 

8 So it was in certain districts of Vermeland at the end of 
the fifteenth century, according to the statement of Olaus 

9 See the poem in S. R. S. v. ii. sub fin. Bishop Thomas 
died in 1443, as stated on his grave-stone at Strengness. (The 

munings with nature, in her vast and savage soli- 
tudes, among the forests and mountains of the 

To value life not too highly, and freedom above 
all price, may be noted in conclusion as the leading 
feature of old northei-n religion. This conscious- 
ness of their rights no dominant power had been 
able to extinguish, and still amidst the perils of 
foreign oppression, the men of Sweden cherished 
the hope of a coming deliverance. Therefore did 
bishop Thomas of Strengness, in his elegy on the 
death of Engelbert ^, thus sing : 

Thou noble Swede, now hold thee fast. 
Mend what was faulty in the past, 

'Gainst wile and fetch defend thee ; 
Gage thou thy neck, ply well thy brand, 
To x-escue thine own father land, 

And God may comfort send thee. 

The bird his brood-nest tends with care, 
So does the wild beast guard his lair. 

Then mark what is beseeming ; 
Thee sense of truth and right God gave, 
Be rather free than other's slave. 

The while life's gifts are teeming. 

verses quoted, slightly modernized in the spelling by Pro- 
fessor Geijer, are as follows : 

O edla Svensk, tu statt nu fast, 
Och battra thet, som forra brast, 
Tu lat tik ej omvanda ; 
Tu vaga tin hals oc swa tina hand, 
At fralsa tit egit fadernesland, 
Gud ma tik triist val siinda. 

En fogil han wiir sin egin bur, 
Swa gbra oc all willena djur 
Nu mjerk hwat tik btir gora; 
Gud hawer tik giwit sinn oc skal, 
Var heller frij an annars tral 
A medan tu kant tik rora). 




The Gods. 



The Ynglings. 
Fiolner, son of Yngwe Frey. 









Alrek and Eric. 

Yngwe and Alf. 


JoRUND and Eric. 

Ane, the old. 






Braut Anund. 

Ingiald Illrada •. 

Line of Ivar and Sigurd. 
Ivar Widfamne. 

Auda the rich, married, 

1. to RoREK : 2. to Radbert. 

I I 

Harald Hildetand. Randwer. 

Sigurd Ring. 

' " The Upsala kings were the highest kings in Suilhiod, 
at the time when there were many kings of hundreds." 
Ynglingasaga, c. 40. " It is a saying of men, that Ingiald 
put to death twelve kings, and all by fraud ; therefore was 
he called Illrada (the bad ruler); he was king over the 
greatest part of Suithiod." lb. c. 43. " After Ingiald the 
Upsala power was taken from the Ynglings," c. 45. 

2 Lists of kings which do not agree, refer to a continued 
partition of the kingdom under several contemporary 
prinoes. Many sea-kings, who ruled over a great war-force, 
but had no lands. Ynglingasaga, c. 34. 

3 Anskar, the first teacher of Christianity. 

•* When Anskar, in 853, visited Sweden for the second 
time, a king Olave was ruler in Birca. 

5 (Segersall.) Reigned conjointly with his brother Olave, 
till the death of the latter. One Ring and his son Eric are 
spoken of as kings at the same period by Adam of Bremen. 

6 The first Christian king. He styles himself in the 
Chronicles of the kings, the tenth over-king of his family in 
Upsala (Saga of St. Olave, c. 71); but he renounced the ap- 

SiGURD Ring. 

Ragnar Lodbrok. 

BioRN Ironside. 

Eric Biornson and Refil. 

Eric Refilson ^. a- b. 

Edmund and BioRN of the Hill' ... in 829 

Eric Edmundson * + 885 

BioRN Ericson + 935 

Eric the Victorious ^ + 993 

Olave the Lap-king 6 + 1024 

Anund Jacob + 1052 

Edmund the old ^. 


Line of Stenkil. 

StenkilS + 1066 

Haco the Red ^. 

Inge the elder and Halstan '. 

Philip (+ 1118) and Inge the younger 3. 


Lines of Swerker and St. Eric. 

SWERKER^ + 1155. 

St. Eric* + 1160. 

Charles SwERKERSON ^ + 1168. 

Canute Ericson ^ +1 195. 

Swerker Carlson + 1210. 

Eric Canuteson + 1216. 

John Swerkerson + 1222. 

Eric Ericson ? + 1250. 

pellation of Upsala king, and assumed that of Swede king 

7 Reigned but a short time. The year of his death is 

8 Son of the West-Gothic Earl Ragwald Ulfson. After 
Stenkil's death intestine war. Two kings Eric. Thereafter 
both the sons of Stenkil, who afterwards reigned, were 
chosen and driven out. Olave Niiskonung is mentioned in 
several old catalogues at the same time. 

9 By some placed before Stenkil. 

' Sons of Stenkil. The death-year of neither is known. 
Heathen counter-king. Blot Swen ; then his son Eric, who 
in his old age became a Christian. 

■^ Sons of Halstan. After the death of Inge the younger,. 
Ragwald, son of Olave Naskcnung, appears as king. He 
was slain by the West-Goths, who chose the Danish prince 
Magnus Nilson, son to a daughter of Inge the elder, and 
after his death in 1134, were for some time without a 

3 First elected by the East-Goths. 

■1 Called also Eric the Lawgiver. King of Swedeland in 

s The first who is named king of the Swedes and Goths. 
He overcame the murderer of St. Eric, the Danish prince 
Magnus Henrickson, whom likewise the catalogue of kings 
appended to the law of West-Gothland, as well as some others, 
reckon as king. 

6 Son of St. Eric ; slew Charles Swerkerson, with two 
other counter-kings, Kol and Burislef. 

7 Counter-king, the Folkunger Canute Johanson, 1229— 




The Folkungers. 

A. D. 

+ 1302. 

+ 1290. 

^ 1321. 

+ 1374. 

Waldemar * (dethroned) .... 

Magnus Ladulas ^ 

BiRGER Magnusson * (dethroned) 
Magnus Ericson 2 (dethroned) . . 


Foreign and Union-Kings. 

Albert of Mecklenliurg^ (dethroned) . + 1412. 

jNIargaret ^, founds tlie Union in 13!)7 • ''" 1412. 

h^Ric of Pomerania* (dethroned) . . . + 1459. 

Christopher of Bavaria ^ + 1448. 

Christian I. of Oldenburg' (dethroned 

in Sweden) + 1481. 

John * (dethroned in Sweden) . . . + 1512. 

Christian II. the Tyrant " (dethroned) + 1559. 

8 His father, Earl Birger, regent till his death in 1266 ; 
bestows dukedoms on his other sons. 

9 Revolted against his brotlier VValderaar in 1275. King 
of Swedeland 1276, of the whole realm 1279. 

1 The High Marshal Thorkel Canuteson, guardian till 
1303. King Birger imprisoned in 1306, by his brotliers the 
dukes Eric and Waldemar, is compelled to share his king- 
dom with them in 1310; imprisoned them and cut them off 
by hunger in 131S; is expelled. 

- Son of Duke Eric, chosen king in his third year, 1319 ; 
in the same year king of Norway. Matts Ketilmundson, 
administrator in Sweden during the vacancy of the throne, 
and the most influential man during the minority till 1333. 
Counter-kings; Eric, eldest son of Magnus, 1350 — 1359, 
Haco, the younger son. King of Norway, chosen in Sweden, 
1362; dethroned along with his father in 1363. 

3 Sister's son to King Magnus Erieson. King 1363. 
Captive 1389. Liberated 1395. 

* Chosen in Sweden 1388. 

' Chosen in Sweden 1396. Co-regent with Margaret; 
dethroned by Engelbert in 1434. Again acknowledged ; 
dethroned in all the three kingdoms in 1439. ' 


Swedish Regents under the Union. 

A. B. A. 1) 

Engelbert Engelbertson ^ . . 1434 + 143(i. 

Charles Canuteson (Bonde) 

Administrator, 143G — 1441. 

Bennet and Nicholas Jonson 

(Oxenstierna), Administrators, 1448. 

Charles Canuteson 2 King . . + 1470. 

Archbisliop Jens Bennetson (Oxen- 
stierna)^, Prince and Governor 
of Sweden, 1457, 65, GO. 

Bisliop Kettil Carlson (Wase), 

Administrator, . 1464. 

Eric Axelson (Tott), Admmistra- 
tor, • 1466, 67. 

Steno Sture the elder, Adminis- 
trator, 1471—97, 1501 + 1503. 

Suanto Nilson Sture, Adminis- 
trator, 1504 + 1512. 

Stexo Suanteson Sture, Adminis- 
trator, 1512 + 1520. 

" Chosen King of Sweden 1440. 

^ King of Sweden 1457; dethroned 1464. 

8 Chosen in Sweden 1483. Became possessed of the throne 
first in 1497 ; deposed in 1501. 

3 Acknowledged as heir of his father on the Swedish 
thronein 1499. King of Sweden 1520; dethroned 1521 ; flees 
from his dominions 1523. 

' Rusticorum, qui vocantur Dalakarla, Dux et Princeps — 
qui tribus annis regnavit et postea Interfectus est. Diarium 
Vadstenense, S. R. S. 1. 151. 

2 Chosen King in Sweden 1448; in Norway, 1449; re- 
nounced the Norwegian crown in 1450; flees to Dantzic in 
1457, recalled 1464 ; dethroned anew 1465 ; again king 1407. 

3 " The worthy Lord and Father in God, Jens Archbishop 
of Upsala, has embraced the care and burden of setting us 
free, by God's help and St. Eric's, from the slavery and ruin 
into which King Charles had brought us all." Assurance 
of the Council of State. Stockholm, July 11, 1457. Hadorph, 
on the Rhyme Chronicle. 









A. D. 1?20— 1523. 

GuSTAVUs Ericson, as he was called and wrote him- 
self before he became king, was descended from an 
old Swedish family, which had already given mem- 
bers to the council of state for two centuries ^. The 
name of Wasa, which some derive from the estate of 
Wasa in Upland, and others, with more probability, 
from the family arms ^, was borne neither by him- 
self nor his forefathers, suniames not being yet in 
use among the Swedish nobility. This family was 
raised to high consideration by the Steward Christer 
Nilson, who aimed at the Acquisition of supreme 
power for himself, and had a son-in-law and three 
grandsons, who actually possessed it, or approached 
its attainment^. John, the son of this powerful 
noble, allied himself with the family of the admi- 
nistrator, Steno Sture the Elder, by a marriage 
with his sister Brita, which reconciled the patriotic 
party to a family that had hitherto zealously em- 
braced the interest of the Union. The old hostility 
of the Vasas, but for some time also both their in- 
fluence and their activity, seemed slumbering. Nei- 
ther the grandfather of Gustavus, John Christerson, 
nor his father, Ei-ic Johanson, councillor and knight, 
possessed much weight in public affairs. The latter 
was married to lady Cecilia of Eka, who was like- 
wise of a family which had shed its blood for the 
Danish domination in Sweden*. 

Eric Johanson is styled " a merry and facetious 
lord ;" but in his younger days his temper was un- 
controllably violent. In 1490, at an agreement with 
the town of Stockholm in the council-chamber, he 
was obliged to sue forgiveness for different acts of 
outrage he had committed, and to engage that in 
case of wood being cut in his forests, or fish taken 
in his waters by any poor peasants, he would not on 

1 His oldest seal bears the arms, with the inscription, 
Gostaf Ericson. The first of this family who is known with 
certainty is tlie knight Ketll Carlson, member of the coun- 
cil from 1322 to 1330. Compare Peringskbld, Monumenta 
Uplandica, 70, and Genealogy (JEttartal). 

'- A wase, meaning bundle, and here properly a fagot, 
such as is used for filling up ditches, whence the family is 
also called Stormwase. Therefore the wase in the arms was 
originally black, but Gustavus having given it the yellow 
colour, it has since been taken for a wlieatsheaf. (Wase, in 
the sense of wisp, occurs in Chaucer. The Swedish ortho- 
graphy of the name is Wasa, the tv being pronounced as v, 
and now generally retained only in proper names. Trans.) 

3 The husband of his daughter, Bengt Jenson (Oxen- 
stierna), was administrator in 1448 ; her son was the arch- 
bisliop Jens Bengtson, administrator in 1457 and 14C5. His 
grandsons on the male side were Ketil Carlson, bishop of 
Linkbping, administrator in 1464 ; his brother Eric, in a 
letter to his wife, promises that he will in a short time set 
the crown on her head. 

■• She was daughter of Magnus Carlson of Eka, brother of 

the instant " place them in irons, or treat them like 
senseless beasts, but allow them their rights in 
law 5." 

Gustavus, the eldest son of his parents ^, was born 
on the manor of Lindholra in Roslagen, then be- 
longing to his grandmother Sigrid IJaner, in the 
year 1490, if we may trust the unanimous assurances 
of the more recent historians, who claim to Icnow 
more than their predecessors ; for these, even such 
as were nearmost to Gustavus himself, are uncer- 
tain as to the year of his birth. King Charles IX., 
who himself revised the history of Eric Johanson 
Tegel 7, where that date is found, assigns to his 
father, in the Rhyme Chronicle composed by him- 
self, an age greater by two yeai's. Peter Brahe *, 
nephew of Gustavus, supposes that he was born in 
1495. Other old manuscript chronicles of the reign 
of king Gustavus, which differ little from each other, 
(they were followed by Tegel, and we have ourselves 
compared several of them,) give either the 
named year, or those of 1497 and 1496, of which 
the latter appears to be the cori'ect one. The day 
of his birth, however, is better known than the 
year ; it was the twelfth of May, " \vhich then was 
our Lord's Ascension Day 3." Of all the years 
stated, the only one in which this feast fiills upon 
that day is 149G, and the explanation to which this 
points is borne out by several other cu-cumstances. 

Gustavus was only a few years old when king 
John, during one of his latest visits to Sweden ', 
saw him at play with others of his age ; it is said 
that, like Cyrus of old, he played the king. John, 
as the story goes, patted him on the head, saying, 
that " he would yet be a man remarkable in his 
days, if he lived," and, it is asserted, kept the boy 

Trotte Carlson, a brave warrior, who fell fighting for Chris- 
tian I. in the battle of Brunkeberg. 

5 Extract from the Minute-book of the town of Stockholm, 
in the Nordiii Collections, in the Library of bpsala. 

6 Magnus, a younger brother, took his designation from 
Rydboholm, died unmarried in 1529, and is otherwise un- 

7 " So that it may with justice be called his majesty's own 
v/ork," Tegel says in the dedication of his History of Gus- 
tavus I. to Gustavus Adolphus. 

8 In his manuscript Chronicle of King Gustavus, properly 
a copy, with additions and emendations, of Rasmus Ludvic- 
son's Chronicle. 

9 So Tegel, after the chronicles, although he himself gives 
1490 as the year. This date, however, is not more trust- 
worthy than the account of those same chronicles, that Chris- 
tina Gyllenstienia, as consort of Steno Sture the younger, 
was present among the elderly dames at the birth. She 
was yet a child in the house of her mother, Sigrid Baner, 
and was married November 11, 1511. 

1 In 1499 or 1501. 



School-days of Gusfavus. 
His early exploits. 


A prisoner in Jutland. 
Escapes to Lubeck. 


in his train, and wished to carry him to Deumark. 
But Steno the Elder, aiipreheiiding the king to be 
more bent on procuring a hostage than a foster-son, 
averted from the child the danger which afterwards 
overtook the youth. Gustavus was sent to his 
father, who was then lord feudatory of Aland. At 
this time, say the chronicles, the children of 
Sweden's nobles were termed wolf-cubs by the 

All accounts agree that the young Gustavus was 
placed in the seminary of Upsala in 1509 ; a fact 
which confirms the view we have taken as to the 
year usually given for his birili being erroneous, 
fi'om the improbability that this step should not 
have occurred until his nineteenth year. For it 
is known that he was in fact placed in the grammar- 
school, and was subjected to personal chastisement 
while there by the Danish schoolmaster 2. The 
latter was informed that his young pupil had on 
some occasion said, " See what I will do ; I will go 
to Dalecarlia, get out the Dalesmen, and knock the 
Danes on the head." Gustavus sufi'ered his school- 
flogging ; then drawing out his little sword, he 
thrust it through his Curtius, and quitted the school 
with a malison never to return. A hundred years 
afterwards, the country people could point out the 
places in the neighbourhood of Upsala he frequented 
with his playmates, and tell how he had been at a 
wolf-chase hunting merrily. 

Old narrators are also unanimous that in 1514 
(his eighteenth year, most of them say) he was 
received into the household of Steno Sture' the 
younger ; with which corresponds the remark often 
made by the chroniclers, that he was early taken 
from his studies to military service and court life ; 
" a noble youth, comely, ready-witted, and prompt 
in action," say they, " whom God had stirred up for 
the salvation of his native country." He first bore 
arms in the feud of Steno Sture' the younger against 
the archbishop Gustavus TroUe, and is spoken of at 
that time as distinguished among his comrades for 
valour, persuasive eloquence, and a joj'ous tempe- 
rament. At Dufveness, in the summer of 1517, he 
defeated the Danish force sent to the prelate's as- 
sistance ; and in the following year, when Christian 
himself arrived with his fleet before Stockholm, he 
carried the Swedish banner in the combat at Brenn- 
kirk, which forced the Danes to retreat. Famine 
had already wasted their camp, and became yet 
more fatal in the fleet, which was detained by con- 
trary winds. A portion of the troops voluntarily 
gave themselves up to the generosity of the enemy, 
and were permitted to return home without hin- 
drance. The king, to gain time, opened negocia- 
tions for peace. Steno Sture himself supplied his 
fleet with provisions ; he was even with difliculty 
dissuaded from going on board, and made no scru- 
ple in sending six of his followers as hostages, when 
Christian pretended a desire to pay him a visit. 
Gustavus was among the number ; and with hi in 
doctor Hemming Gadd, to whose lessons he had 

" Master Ivar. " He was harsh to all, and gave Gustavus 
a thrashing." After the elevation of his former scholar he 
fled from the country, which displeased Gustavus, who said 
that he had nothing to fear. Micolaus Bothniensis, Notes. 

3 This was not all in money, but consisted partly of iron, 
butter, and other wares, exported on the legate's account. 
Christian confiscated the cargo in Elsinore, and caused 
the agents of the legate who conveyed it to be drowned. 

■*■ Hvitfeld. The winter of this year too was severe, so 

listened in his youth, and Lawrence Siggeson, in 
aftertimc one of the props of his throne. When 
the boat which carried them had reached the open 
sea, its return was cut off' by a Danish shi]) of war; 
they were seized, taken on board, and the sails 
having been meanwhile swelled by a favourable 
wind, treacherously carried off" to Denmark. 

Gustavus was committed to the custody of Baron 
Eric Bauer, his kinsman, governor of the castle of 
Kalloe, in North Jutland, where he spent upwards 
of a year in a captivity that would have been tole- 
rable in other respects, if the fate which threatened 
his native land had allowed him quiet by day or 
sleep by night. For tlirough all the country men 
now spoke only of the great military preparations 
against Sweden, for which new taxes were imposed, 
and sums of money besides collected by loans or 
plunder. Even a papal legate was robbed of the 
amount he had amassed by the sale of indulgences 
in Sweden ^. Copenhagen was crowded with French, 
Scottish, English, and German soldiers. With the 
winter of 1520 the campaign was to begin ; for the 
paths across the Holwed and the Tiwed, by which 
alone an army could advance to the interior of the 
country, were still at that time more dangerous to 
traverse in summer than in winter ; hence the 
Danes considered that a war against Sweden was 
best carried on in winter *. These preparations 
formed the common subjects of discourse among 
those by whom Gustavus was surrounded. At the 
table of his host he heard the young warriors 
vaunt that they would play St. Peter's game with 
the Swedes, alluding to the papal interdict, which 
served as the pretext of the war ; he heard them, 
while jesting among themselves, cast lots for 
Swedish lands and Swedish damsels. " By such 
contumelies," it is said, " was lord Gustavus Ericson 
seized with anguish bej^ond measure, so that neither 
meat nor drink might savour pleasantly to him, 
even if he had been better furnished than he was '. 
His sleep was neither quiet nor delectable, for he 
could think of nothing else than how he might 
find opi^ortunity to extricate himself from the un- 
just captivity in which he was held ! " 

At length, in the early morning, he effected his 
escape, disguising himself, some say as an ox-herd, 
others as a pilgrim, and passed on his way with 
such speed that on the first day he is said to have 
travelled twelve miles s, and reached Lubeck in 
safety on the last day of September, 1519. Here 
he stayed eight months, long enough to hear that 
Steno Sture had fallen, and that Sweden was sub- 
dued. The consequences which were to follow to 
all the Swedish leaders were already predicted in 
Lubeck, whence Gustavus is said to have sent 
warning to his father and others of the Swedish 
nobles. His former host and keeper soon repaired 
thither and demanded his captive from the council 
of Lubeck, being held responsible in a heavy sum 
by the king for his safe custody. To the charge of 
having broken his oath Gustavus made this answer : 

that lakes, streams, and marshes were covered with strong 

5 His fare, it is said, was in truth not very palatable, con- 
sisting of salt meat, sour beer, black bread, and rancid 

" The chronicles protiably reckon by the old Swedish 
Forest-miles, two of which go to one of the modern scale. 
Six Swedish miles on foot in one day (which may here 
mean a day and a night) is in any case considerable. 


He repairs to 


Attempts to raise tlie „_ 
Smalanders. •'■' 

'• This shall no honourable man establish on any 
good grounds, — that I am a captive and not a host- 
age, who with other good lords, my companions, 
came to the king of Denmark according to his own 
wish, upon his oath and promise, letter and seal, 
that we should again return back to our chief, lord 
Steno, without danger or hindrance. Let one 
appear who may prove fairly and in truth, in what 
skirmish and fight we were made prisoners, and who 
those were that took us. Hence it befits not we 
should be called prisoners, but men surprised, over- 
reached, and deceived. For with what justice can 
he be called a captive that never merited captivity, 
and whom neither obligation, nor law, nor justice, 
has brought into bondage ^ I " " Yet would this 
have little helped," continues the Chronicle, " had 
not Master Nicholas Broms, burgomaster of 
Lubeck, and the principal men of the council 
remembered, how it had been the purpose of king 
Christian to oppress the Vendish towns, the rather 
that he was now also lord of Sweden. For that 
reason they deemed it was better to dismiss this 
Gustavus Ericson to his own country ; for who 
knew what he might effect ?" 

Stockholm and Calmar were the only strong 
places in Sweden which the enemy had not yet 
won, and, singularly enough, they were both 
defended by women. Gustavus had wished to 
offer his services to Christina Gyllenstierna, and 
the merchant-ship from Warnemunde which took 
him on board was bound to Stockholm. But 
Christian had already blockaded the capital by 
sea and land, while before Calmar lay a detach- 
ment of the Danish fleet, under Severiu Norby. 
Gustavus landed secretly at Stensoe, a promontory 
in the vicinity of Calmar, and proceeded to the 
town. John Magnusson, who had hitherto held 
the command, was the son of the assassin of Engel- 
be-rt, whom he resembled both in his untameable 
passions, for he was an accomplice in the homicide, 
and in his hatred of the Danes. His father, we are 
told, sacrificed to his remorseful vengeance several 
Danes who had instigated him to the commission 
of the deed, and was at last incited by anguish of 
conscience to an attempt on his own life *". Magnus- 
son had lately refused admittance with contumely 
to Christian himself*^ ; but he was now dead, and 
the castle was held by Anne Bielke, his widow. 
To her Gustavus repaired and found but a 
comfortless welcome ; for the courage of the 
burghers had sunk, and the German garrison in 
the castle was so ill-disposed, that they threatened 
him with death when he exhorted them to a valiant 
defence. Being with diflBculty protected by the 
burgesses, he quitted the town on the same day 
on which it was summoned by Severin Norby, and 
retired to the hilly district of Smalaiid, among 
some peasants who held land of his fatlier. He 

" Even after his elevation to the throne, Gustavus de- 
fended himself against the charge of having broken his vford 
to Eric Baner, an(l drawn upon him by flight the appointed 
penalty, which Christian in fact demanded. "We lay not 
there," he says, " as a captive, and had given him no pledge 
to remain there, although we hear that he so allegeth without 
any proof." Letter to Magnus Goye, to bid Eric Ericson 
desist from such words as stain the king's honour and good 
repute. Register in the State Archives for 1529. 

>* Joannes Magnus, who had bt-en tutor in the son's family. 

'He complains in a letter to the West-Goths, dated Calmar 
Sound, May 3, 1520, of the refractoriness and insolence with 

found the whole country filled with discords and 
mutual treachery ; for the Swedes, it is said, 
" were so dull and blinded, that they became in 
many ways the helpers of their oppressors and 
enemies, who gladly saw them slandering, calum- 
niating, deceiving, and ruining one another." The 
Smalanders showed anxiety for their own safety in 
the first place, and had concluded a league with 
their neighbours of the then Danish province of 
Bleking, for peaceful intercourse and mutual 
defence against all acts of violence which might be 
attempted by either of the two kingdoms. They 
took also the oath of fidelity to the envoy of Chris- 
tian, who traversed the country and distributed 
letters of protection from the king. Many such 
were at this time issued for the chief men, whether 
barons or yeomen, of the different provinces, " so 
that the letter was of more power than the sword *." 
Gustavus sometimes appeared in assemblages of 
the peasants, and " warned them against the ban- 
quet which was now prepared for the Swedes."' 
Their usual answer was, that king Christian would 
take order that there should be no scarcity either 
of herrings or salt in the country ; and some shot 
bolts and arrows at him. A revolt of the East- 
Goths was already quelled ; the West-Goths and 
the Vermelanders, as also the Smalanders, had sub- 
mitted to the king '^. Upper Sweden alone was dis- 
turbed, and Gustavus from the first determined to 
repair to Dalecarlia, as we learn from his proposal 
to a nobleman of Smaland to accompany him 
thither ^. Pursued, disguised, and wandering 
mostly in lonely tracks, a price having been already 
set upon his head *, where he concealed himself 
during a great portion of this summer is unknown ; 
but in the month of September he arrived without 
money or clothes at the manor of Tarna, in Suder- 
mania, where he found his brother-in-law, Joachim 
Brahe, already summoned to the coronation ^, and 
in vain entreated him not to obey the call. 

The son of Joachim Brahe, in his Chronicle, has 
acquainted us with his father's answer. " I am 
specially cited to the coronation," he said ; " if I 
should remain absent, what would then become of 
my wife and children ? Perhaps ill might even 
come of it for her and your parents, as well as for 
others of our friends. With you the matter stands 
quite otherwise, for not many know wliere you are 
stead. It can go no worse with me than with all 
the Swedish lords who are already gathered about 
the king." In this prudent mood the baron de- 
parted, to meet in their company au unexpected 

After visiting his brother-in-law and his sister 
Margaret, Gustavus repaired to his father's estate 
of Rajfsness, and there lived for some time under 
hiding. He made himself known to the old ai'ch- 

which he had been repelled at Calmar. Hadorph on the 
Rhyme Chronicle. 

' Olave Peterson. 

2 Messenius, Scondia, iv. 85. 

^ Bengt Ericson of Scaelsness, in the parish of Hult, hun- 
dred of South Wedbo. He had already received the king's 
protection, repaired to Stockholm, and perished in the 

■• Narrative of Clement Rensel, Scandinavian Memoirs, ii. 

^ Tills summons could not have been issued before the 
surrender of Stockholm on the 7th September, after which 
the king, returning for a short time to Denmark, convoked 
the coronation diet for the 1st November. 
H 2 


Clergy and nobles favour 
the Danes. 


News of the massacre. 
Flight ol'Gustavus. 


bishop, Jacob Ulfson, who had sought refuge in the 
neighbouring cloister of Maricfred, and received 
from him a detail of the state of things in tliis part of 
the country, where the enemy, on tirst penetrating, 
had been met by a stout resistance, though from a 
peasantry left without leaders. In the conflict of 
Balundsas ^, and the still bloodier action fought 
shortly after at Upsala, wliich niight have been 
changed into a victory, had not the peasants dis- 
persed to plunder', the royal forces had suffered 
great loss. The Dalesmen had taken part in this 
rising ; whence their first answer to Gustavus 
when he attempted to rouse them was, that they 
well remembered Good-Friday at Upsala *. Ex- 
asperation against the prelates, all of wliom, except- 
ing bisltop Arvid of Abo, were of the Danish 
faction, and the barons, who had allowed them- 
selves to be employed by the king as intriguers, 
liad occasioned tumults and violence in some places. 
Jacob Ulfson had been himself surprised in his 
manor of Arnus ; bishop Otlio of Westeras was 
seized in his own cathedral; bishop Brask of Lin- 
koping was besieged by the East-Gothlandcrs ; 
Eric Abrahamson, who had pointed ovit to the 
enemy the road aci-oss the Tiwed, was made pri- 
soner by the peasants of Nei'lke; and Hemming 
Gadd was well-nigh slain when he ventured to 
speak of the capitulation of Stockholm. 

Since tlie resolution taken by Steno Stur^ the 
younger, with the estates at tlic diet of Arboga in 
1517, "rather to die sword in hand than to submit 
to king Christian," rapid progress liad been made 
with the fortifications of Stockholm. The old de- 
fensive works had been improved or recon- 
structed. The town was well suj)plied with military 
stores, and the king, who had besieged it through- 
out the summer, gave it u]) for lost if it were not 
reduced before the winter. This the Swedish barons 
in his camp procured, and Stockholm was given 
up by the nobles in the town, " against the will of 
the commonalty ^." 

The clergy at this juncture saw more distinctly 
than any other class, tliat the fate of the union 
must now be decided once for all, and wished to 
soften the impending eruption by dexterous ma- 
nagement. " If we inquire," said bishop Matthias 
of Strengness to the peasants of Nerike, " the real 
cause of those pernicious troidjles v.hich have so 
long raged in this realm, the truth plainly is, that 
their source and commencement were the dis- 
sensions prevailing among the barons ; of whom 

^ Half a mile east of Westeras. The place is still called 

" " Because they had no such leaders as they greatly 
needed." Olave Peterson. He reckons the peasants slain 
on this occasion at some hundreds, while Hvitfeld, viho 
generally follows his authority in Swedish affairs witli literal 
closeness, makes them ten thuusand, and others double the 
number. So discrepant are the historical accounts of this 
war, composed after popular legends. 

s The battle took place on Good-Friday, April 5, 1520. See 
the old Dale song in the Svenska Folkvisor (Swedish Popular 
Songs), V. ii. 

Olave Peterson. The capitulation of Stockholm is sub- 
scribed by the archbishop Gustavus TroUe, the bishops Mat- 
thias of Strengness and Otho of Westeras, as also by twelve of 
the councillors present, and among them Gustavus's father. 
In this they engage to hold the castle for king Christian, and 
after his death for his queen and son ; on the side of the 
burghers a similar guarantee was given ; both are dated 
Sept. 8, 1520. The originals are in the archives of Christian 

there were some that raised themselves to the 
power of kings and chiefs, stripping the council of 
its legitimate authority, and by lying discourses 
and rumours crept into favour with the commons 
of Sweden, whose simplicity and good-will they 
used for their own purposes in the name of the 
country * !" These expressions of the bishop f(jund 
many who assented to them, and a similar judg- 
ment was often passed upon the Sture's. The king 
rewarded all submission with the most gracious 
promises, while the infliction of the crudest 
penalties on those who had ventured to stir up the 
peasants discovered the lengths to which his venge- 
ance might extend. Most of those who possessed 
any rank or consequence in the country at this time, 
desired that the state of insecurity and confusion 
which had so long subsisted should be terminated ; 
and the father of Gustavus himself, in conjunction 
with the remaining barons of the kingdom, set his 
seal to the act by which Christian, on the 30th 
October preceding his coronation, was declared 
hereditary king of Sweden ^. 

The old archbishop advised Gustavus likewise to 
submit to the present order of things, informing him 
that he was already included in the amnesty which 
had been stipulated at the surrender of Stockholm 2, 
and offered his mediation with the king. Once after 
such a conversation, when Jacob Ulfson had em- 
ployed his eloquence m vain, it happened that an 
old servant of Joacliim Bralie presented himself 
at the castle of Gripsholm *, and rather by sighs 
and tears than words, imparted the first tidings of 
the massacre of Stockholm. The terrible news was 
soon confirmed. The archbishop was dumb from 
horror, and Gustavus ])repared for flight. 

It was on the 25th November that he rode av»'ay 
secretly from the house at Raifsness, accompanied 
by a single servant, who robbed and deserted him 
at crossing Kolsund's Ferry. Gustavus took his 
way to Dalecarlia, and arrived at the Kopparberg 
at the end of the month. He was now clad in a 
peasant's dress, and worked for daily hire in this 
quarter, where the common people .still remember 
with pride, that Gustavus plied axe and flail among 
their forefathers, and have stored up in their me- 
mories his adventures and perils. The barn in 
wliich Gustavus threshed at Rankhytta, is pre- 
served as " a state monument ^ ;'' as are also the 
barn in the hamlet of Isala'', where he likewise 

II., transmitted to his majesty (Charles John) from Munich, 
and now in Cbristiania. 

' Assurance of the burgesses of Orebro, and yeomanrj' 
of Nerike, September 29, 1520. Hadorph on the Rhyme 

2 In support of this nomination were alleged the pretended 
descent of Christian from St. Eric, as well as that enactment 
of the Land's Law, that the king's sons should have preference 
In the election ; wherefore, as Christian was the sole surviving 
son of his father, the principle of hereditary right, and not 
that of election, should be applied. So had the imperial legate, 
Dr. Suckot, and the Danish bishop, Jens Beldenacke, ex- 
plained the law of Sweden to the estates. See the document 
in Hvitfeld. 

3 His name is found in the letter of protection to Christina 
Gyllenstierna. Hadorph, ibid. 

■« He is called the Goodman (gubbe) of Trannevick; 
Joachim Brahe's farmer or renter; though Celsius has 
made of the latter term a rentniaster, or intendaiit. 

5 Royal letter of April 26, lUGS. 

6 King Charles XI. visited it in 1C84. It is now marked 
by a monument of porphyry, with this inscription, " Here 


His wanderings in 


Agitation against 
tlie Danes. 


laboured, and tlie house at Orness, where his life 
(as was more than once the case) was saved l>y the 
sympathy and decision of a woman. The place in 
the forest at Harness ', where he lay three days 
concealed under a fallen fir-tree, and the peasants 
brought him food ; the hillock surrounded by 
marshes, ou Asby moor', which also served him for 
some time as a place of refuge ; that cellar in the 
hamlet of Utraedland ', where he hid from his pur- 
suers ; the spot where he harangued the peasants 
of the Dales, by the church of Mora ; all these are 
still shown by the descendants of those who for- 
merly shared his dangers, which are as little likely 
to be forgotten, as the treachery of Arendt Person, 
or the good faith of Sweno Elfsox. 

The former was a nobleman, owner of the estate 
of Orness, whither Gustavus proceeded from Rank- 
liytta. A gold-embroidered shirt-collar, under the 
woollen jerkin, had discovered the distinguished 
thresher to a maid-servant at the latter place, on 
which the master of the house, the rich miner 
Anders Person, refused to harbour him any longer. 
Arendt Person, as well as the latter-named indi- 
vidual, had been the school companion of Gustavus 
at Upsala, and received him now with friendly words 
and assurances of welcome ; but went on the very 
same day to Bennet Branson, the king's bailiff in 
the district, with whom next morning he retm-ned, 
attended by twenty men, to seize his guest. The 
object of their search had however disappeared ; its 
failure was owing to Barbara Stigsdotter, the wife 
of Arendt, who thus incurred the irreconcileable 
enmity of her husband. Suspecting treachery in 
him, she had warned Gustavus in the night, and 
furnished him with a horse, sledge, and guide, by 
which he escaped to Master Jon, the priest of 
Swierdsio. In this neighbourhood dwelt the king's 
ranger Swen Elfson, who, with his wife, now granted 
shelter to the persecuted fugitive, and afterwards 
accompanied him to his friends, Peter and Matthew 
Olson of Marness, who kept him concealed in the 
forest. It was ou this journey that Gustavus was 
wounded, being concealed in a load of straw, which 
the emissaries of the bailift' were searching with 
their spears ; and he would have been betrayed by 
the blood dropping on the snow, had not the faith- 
ful ranger taken the precaution, when unobserved, 
of cutting his horse in the foot, so that it bled. Nor 
must we decline to state, as an example both of the 
dangers and manners of that time, that Gustavus 
in his fugitive condition was obliged for his own 
safety even to shed blood. His arrival in Dale- 
carlia had now become notorious. Among those 
whom Henry of Mellen, the king's lieutenant in the 
castle of Westeras, had despatched to this province 
" to seize or kill him, or at least do him prejudice 
with the Dalesmen," was Nicholas the West-Goth, 
under-bailiff in Dalecarlia. Meantime, it is said, 
Rasmus the -Jute, a Dane, formerly a soldier with 
Steno Sture, but now a resident in Dalecarlia, had 
joined Gustavus. They surprised the bailiff at his 
official abode in Mora, and slew him *. 

worked as a thresher Gustavus Ericson, pursued by the foes 
of the realm, but selected by Providence to be the saviour of 
the country. His descendant in the sixth generation, Gus- 
tavus III., raised this memorial." The barn still belongs to 
the family of Sweno Elfson, and his eighth successor re- 
ceived a medal from Gustavus III. in 1787. 

'' In the parish of Swaerdsice. 

^ In the parish of Leksand ; it is still called King's Hill. 

Gustavus first .spoke to the people at the church 
of Rettwick, and afterwards' at Mora in Christmas- 
tide. He bade the old to consider well, and the 
young to inform themselves, what manner of 
tyranny foreigners had set up in Sweden, and how 
much they themselves had suffered and ventured 
for the freedom of the realm ; the remembrance 
neither of Josse Ericson's oppressions, nor of 
Engelbert's heroism, had yet died away in the 
Dales ; Sweden was now trampled underfoot by 
the Danes, and its noblest blood had been shed ; 
his own father had chosen " rather with his associ- 
ates, the honour-loving nobles, in God's name to 
die *," than to be spared and survive them ; might 
they now show themselves men wlio wished to guard 
their native land from slavery, then would he be- 
come, by God's help, their chief, and risk life and ! 
welfare for their freedom and the deliverance of the i 
realm. So, it is said, ran his discourse ; but the | 
matter was yet too new for the peasants of the 
Dales. The rumour of Christian's cruelties had 
yet hardly penetrated to these distant quartei's, 
nor did they know this stranger who spoke to 
them, and who, deserted by all others, sought there 
a refuge. The peasants of Rettwick declared their 
sympathy, but would undertake nothing unless after 
deliberation with the other parishes. From the 
men of Mora he received at this time an answer no 
wise favourable ; they said that they were resolved 
to remain true to the homage they had sworn to 
king Christian, and bade him " take himself off 
whither he could." In the last days of 1520, Gus- 
tavus continued his flight over the wilderness which 
separates East from West Dalecarlia. 

Meanwhile the Dalesmen came to a better dispo- 
sition. Shortly after Gustavus quitted Rettwick, 
several of the Swedish nobles of the Danish faction 
arrived there with the view of securing his person. 
Some peasants who saw them coming in with about 
a hundred horse on the ice of lake Silian, hastened 
to the church and rang the bells. The wnd blew 
towards the upper coimtry ; a great concourse of 
people assembled as was their wont on occasions of 
conmion peril, and the strangers, who had sought 
refuge, partly in the priest's house, and partly in 
the tower, which long afterwards shewed marks of 
the Dalesmen's aiTows, could only ransom their 
lives by the assurance that they would do no harm 
to Gustavus. 

About the new year there arrived at Mora 
Lawrence Olaveson, a captain of great experience 
in the service of Steno Sture the younger, and 
shortly after a nobleman of Upland named John 
Michelson. They drew so lively a picture of the 
massacre in Stockholm, that tlie bystanders were 
affected to tears. The Erics-gait of the king, they 
said, was at hand ; his way would be marked by 
gallows and wheel ; all the arms of the Swedish 
peasants would be wrested from them and con- 
sumed ^, and if theLr limbs were left unmutilated, a 
stick in the hand would be the only weapon allowed 
them for the future ; the imposition of a new tax 

3 In the parish of Mora. 

' So the Manuscript Chronicles, which Tegel has not here 
followed exactly. 

2 Such is said to have been the answer of lord Eric Johan- 
son, when Christian offered him his life. 

3 This was actually done upon the king's journey from 
Stockholm, whence the peasants, as the Rhyme Chronicle 
says, called him king Stock. 


Rising of the Dalesmen. 

HISTORY OF THE SWEDES. Apathy of the Helsingers. [1520- 

for the maintenance of the foreign troops was 
daily expected *. The people inurmured, and com- 
plained that they had allowed Gustavus Ericson to 
depart. In this, their new guests told them they 
had done wrong ; such a noble leader they stood 
much ill need of ; many a worthy Swedish warrior 
was now wandering like themselves, a fugitive in 
the forests, who would never submit to the domi- 
nation of the Danes, but lead a free life so long as 
he might, until Sweden should receive from God a 
captain and chief, for whom he would willingly put 
to hazard his life and welfare. The Dalecarlians 
now sent off runners on snow- skates to seek out 
Gustavus day and night, and bring him back. 
They found him in the liamlet of Seln, in the 
upper part of the parish of Lima, whence he in- 
tended to seek a path across the mountains to 

He returned in their company to Mora, where 
the principal and most influential yeomen of all the 
parishes in the eastern and western Dales elected 
him to be " lord and chieftain over them and the 
commons of the realm of Sweden ^." Some scho- 
lars who had arrived from Westeras, brought with 
them new accounts of the tyranny of Christian. 
Gustavus placed them amidst a ring of peasants to 
tell their story, and answer the questions of the 
crowd. Old men represented it as a comfortable 
sign for the people, that as often as Gustavus dis- 
coursed to them the north wind always blew, 
" which was an old token to them, that God would 
grant them good success." Sixteen active peasants 
were appointed to be his body-guard ; and two 
hundred more youths who joined him were called 
his foot-goers. The chronicles reckon his reign 
from this small beginning ; while the Danes and 
their abettors in Stockholm long contmued to 
speak of him and his party as a band of robbers in 
the woods. 

Thus the Dalesmen swore fidelity to Gustavus, 
the inhabitants, namely, of the upper parishes on 
both arms of the Dal-elf, where a numerous people, 
living amidst wild yet grand natural scenery, and 
hardened by privations, is still known by that name. 
Gustavus came to the Kopparberg with several 
hundred men in the early part of February 1521, 
there took prisoner his enemy Christopher Olson ", 
the powerful warden of the mines, made himself 
master of the money collected for the crown dues, 
and of the wares of the Danish traders on the 
spot, distributed both tlie money and goods among 
his men, (who made their first standard from the 
silk stuffs there taken,) and then returned to the 
Dales. Not long afterwards, on a Sunday, when 
the people of the Kopparberg were at church, 
Gustavus again appeared at the head of fifteen 
hundred Dalesmen. He spoke to the people after 
divine service, and now the miners likewise swore 
fidelity to his cause. Thereupon the commonalty of 

■• This year the great silver-tax, for the payment of the 
troops, was levied in Sweden. Hvitfeld. The Rhyme 
Chronicle complains that it was rigorously exacted. 

5 So the Dalecarlians express themselves in a subsequent 
letter regarding this election. (Troil, Memoirs for the His- 
tory of the Swedish Reformation, iv. .356.) It was therefore 
the election of an administrator undertaken on their own 
authority. It is also clear that Gustavus bore that title pre- 
viously to the election in Vadstena. 

Swinhufvud (Swinehead)^ brother of Otho, bishop of 

the mining districts and the Dalesmen wrote to 
the commons of Helsingland, requesting that the 
Helsingers might bear themselves like true Swedish 
men against the overbearing violence and tyranny 
of the Danes. Those cruelties which king Chris- 
tian had already exercised on the best in the land, 
they said, would soon reach every man's door, 
and fill all the houses of Sweden with the tears and 
shrieks of widows and orphans ; if they would take 
up arms and show themselves to be stout-hearted 
men, there was now good hope of victory and tri- 
umph under a praiseworthy captain, the lord Gus- 
tavus Ericson, whom God had preserved " as a drop 
of the knightly blood of Sweden ;" wherefore they 
begged them to give their help for the sake of the 
brotherly league by which, since early times, the 
commonalty of both countries had been united. 
Ten years afterwards, the Dalecarlians recall the 
fact ^, that they had received a friendly answer to 
the request which their accredited messengers had 
preferred on that occasion, and that their neigh- 
bours the Helsingers had promised to stand by 
them as one man, " whatever evils might befall 
them from the oppression of foreign or native 
masters." When Gustavus had begun the siege 
of Stockholm, every third man of the Helsingers 
in fact marched thither to strengthen his army. 
Yet at first they hesitated to embrace the cause, 
although Gustavus himself went among them, and 
spoke to the assembled people from the barrow on 
the royal domain of Norrala. Thence he pro- 
ceeded to Gestricland, where fugitives from Stock- 
holm had already prepared men's minds. The 
burghers of Gefle, and commissioners from several 
jjarishes, swore fidelity to him in the name of the 
whole province. Here the rumour reached him, 
that the Dalecarlians had already suffered a defeat ; 
he hastened back, and soon received an accotmt of 
the first victory of his followers. 

Theodoric Slagheck ', the principal instigator of 
the Stockholm massacre, had been appointed the 
king's lieutenant in Sweden. He was also inducted 
into the see of Skara, vacant by the murder of its 
bishop, as was Jens Beldenacke " into that of 
Streugness ; "strange men for such an office," says 
Olave Peterson, " as they well proved by their 
actions." They administered public affairs from 
their station in the capital, in conjunction with 
those of the Swedish councillors whom the axe of 
the executioner had spared, or who did not blush 
with such names to associate their own. The ma- 
gistrates of Stockholm, under the influence of the 
Danish garrison and the Germans of the town, 
whose hatred is said to have cost many of the 
Swedish burgesses their lives >, showed at this time 
great zeal for the cause of king Christian. Gorius 
Hoist and Clans Boye, the former an accomplice, 
the latter well-nigh a victim in the massacre, now 

" In another letter to the Helsingers. Troil, ibid, 
f* Or as he was called in Sweden, Slaghoek. He was by 
birth a Hollander, formerly a barber, and a kinsman of the 
huckster Sigbrit, who, even after the death of her daughter 
Divika, preserved all her influence over Christian. 

" Jens Anderson, so called from his baldness. He had 
been bishop of Odense. 

1 " The Tyske redde fast thertill, 

Som ene ville regera kopmansspill," 
(Thereto the Germans fast plans lay, 
Alone in chapmanhede to sway,) 
says the Rhyme Chronicle of the massacre of Stockholm. 




Attempt to quell 
the revolt. 


Rout of 


vied in ardour for him, as burgomasters of the town, 
and maintained an active correspondence with tlie 
king 2. So early as the tenth of February, 1521, 
they wrote to him " that some disturbance had been 
excited by Gustavus Ericson, which it might be 
feared would extend to several provinces." Letters 
of the magistracy of Stockholm, which were sent 
over the whole kingdom, warned the people to 
avoid all participation in the revolt. Relief was 
supplicated from the king ; additions were made to 
the fortifications of the capital, sloops and barks 
were equipped, in order, as it was said, to deprive 
"Gustavus Ericson and his company of malefactors 
of all opportunity of quitting the country," but 
really to keep the approaches on the side of the sea 
open, which were obstructed by the fishers and 
peasants of the islets, who had begun to take arms 
for Gustavus. Special admonitory letters were de- 
spatched to Helsingland and Dalecarlia, signed by 
Gustavus Trolle, his father Eric TroUe, and Canute 
Bennetson (Sparre) of Engsoe, styling themselves 
the council of the realm of Sweden, by which, how- 
ever, say the chronicles, the roj'al cause was rather 
damaged than strengthened. " For when the Dales- 
men and miners heard the letter, they said it was 
manifest to them that the council at this time was 
but small and thin, since it consisted of only tiiree 
men, and these of little weight." 

Gustavus Trolls, the Danish bishops, Canute 
Bennetson above-named, and Henry of Mellen, 
the king's lieutenant at Westerns, (where they had 
recently been assembled with commissioners from 
the magistracy of Stockholm, by bishop Otho,) now 
marched with six thousand men of horse and foot 
towards the Dal river, and encamped at the ferry of 
Brunback. On the other side the Dalecarlians 
guarded this frontier of their country, under the 
command of Peter Swenson of Viderboda, a power- 
ful miner, whom Gustavus had appointed their 
captain in his absence. When those in the Danish 
camp observed how the Dalesmen shot their arrows 
across the stream, bishop Beldenacke is said to 
have inquired of the Swedish lords present, (to use 
the words of the chronicles,) "how great a force 
the tract above the Long Wood (the forest on the 
boundary between Westnianland and Dalecarlia) 
could furnish at the utmost ?" Answer was made 
to him, full twenty thousand men. Yet further 
he asked, where so many mouths might obtain sus- 
tenance ? To this it was replied, that the people 
were not used to dainty meats. They drunk for the 
most part nothing but water, and, if need were, 

2 Gorius Hoist, while the town was yet reeking with the 
blood of the leading inhabitants, gave the king a great ban- 
quet, with dancirg and other revelry. See his own note 
thereupon in the minute-book of the town of Stockholm, 
quoted by Muhrberg, Memoirs of the Academy, iv. 86. 
Claus Boye escaped the massacre from the circumstance of 
his corpulence hindering the soldiers in their hurry from 
pulling him through the prison-doors. 

3 Squirrels. 

■* Beer supposed to be flavoured with wild rosemary. See 
p. 90, n. 1. T. 

5 Siioskrafvorna och Furufnatten i trad 
Val Dalpilen rakar uppa, 
Christiern den bloderacken ock med 
Skull iiigalunda battre ga. 

Sa kiirde de Jutar i Brunneback's elf, 
Sa vattnet dem porlade om, 
De sorjde derbfwer att Christiern sjelf 
Han ej der tillika omkom. 

could be satisfied with bark-bread. Then Belde- 
nacke declared, "men who eat wood and drink 
water the devil himself could not overcome, 
much less any one else : brethren, let us leave this 
place !" The story makes the Danes hereupon 
prepare for breaking up their encampment. How- 
ever this may be, it is certain that Peter Swenson, 
with the Dalesmen, crossed the Dal secretly, by a 
circuit, at Utsund's Ferry, surprised the camp, and 
put the foe to the I'out. An old lay of the Dales 
still sings : — 

Fir-hoppers ^ and ptarmigans in the tree. 

The Dale-arrow hits right well ; 
With bloodhound Christian, the foe of the free, 

'Twill hardly better mell. 
Headlong the Jutes tumbled in Brunneback's elf, 

While the waters purled merrily round ; 
And sad they grieved that Christian's self 

Had not like fortune found. 
So now the Jutes ran all with might and main. 

Loud raising this pitiful dirge ; 
The fiend or he the porse-beer * might drain. 

That was brewed in the Dale-carl's forge ^. 

Gustavus had himself dealt with the inhabitants 
of Helsingland and Gestricland, in order to insure 
himself against leaving foes in his rear ; and, after 
his return to the Dales, he prepared for an expe- 
dition into the lower country. He assembled his 
troops at Hedemora, and sought to inure them to 
habits of order and obedience by military exercises. 
The Dale peasant had no fire-arms, and knew little 
of discipline ; his weapons were the axe, the bow, 
the pike, and the sling ; the latter sometimes throw- 
ing pieces of red-hot iron ^. Gustavus instructed 
his men to fashion their arrows in a more effective 
shape, and increased the length of the spear by four 
or five feet, with a view to repel the attacks of 
cavalry'. He caused monetary tokens to be struck; 
an expedient which seems to have been not uncom- 
mon in Sweden, since, from a remote period, even 
leather money is mentioned ^. The coins now struck 
at Hedemora were of copper, with a small admix- 
ture of silver, similar to those introduced by the 
king, and called Christian's Mippings; on one side 
was the impress of an armed man, on the other, 
arrows laid cross-wise, with three crowns. 

Gustavus broke up from his quarters,and marched 
across the Long Wood into Westmanland. His 
course lay through districts which bore traces yet 
fresh of the enemy's passage. The peasantry rose 

Sa togo de Jutar nu alle till fiykt 
Och leto slikt bmkeligt quad ; 
Hin ma mer dricka det Porsbl de bryggt, 
I smedjan vid Dalkarlens stad. 

In another old ballad on the same affair it is said — 
Brunneback's elf is deep and broad. 
With drowning Jutes its waves we load ; 
So from Sweden the Danes were chased out. 

Brunback's elf ar va! djup, ocksa bred, 

Der sankte vi sa mange Jutar nCd, 

Sa kdrde de Dansken ur Sverige, 
(The termination back, brook, answers to burn in English, 
as Brunneburn. Trans.) 
6 Olaus Magnus, vii. 16. 
^ Ibid. c. 5. 

** Coriaria pecunia certis argenteis punctis, quibus valor in 
pondere et numero pensaretur, variata. Ibid. c. 12. 


Successes of the patriot 


Combats of Westeras 
and Upsala. 


as he advanced. On St. George's Day, the 23d of 
April, he mustered his army at the church of Roni- 
fertuna. The number is stated by the chronicles at 
from fifteen to twenty thousand men ", yet on the 
correctness of this little reliance can be placed, even 
if we do not absolutely class this account with those 
which compare the multitude of Dalesmen in the 
fight of Brunneback to the sands on the sea-shore 
and the leaves of the forest, and their arrows to the 
hail of the storm-cloud. The liberation of Sweden 
by Gustavus Vasa is a history written by the peo- 
ple, and they counted neither themselves nor their 
foes. The army was now divided vmder the two 
generals, Lawrence Olaveson and Lawrence Eric- 
son, both practised warriors. Gustavus next issued 
his declaration of war against Christian, and marched 
to Westeras. He expected here to be met by the 
peasants of the western mining district from Lin- 
desberg and Nora, who had already taken the oath 
of fidelity to him through his deputies ; but instead 
of this he was informed that Peter Ugla, one of 
those entrusted with the performance of this duty, 
had allowed himself to be surprised at Koping, and 
cut to pieces with his whole force '. On the other 
hand, tidings arrived that the peasants on Wermd 
isle had i-evolted, slain a band of Christian's men in 
the church itself, and made themselves masters of 
two of his ships. The letters conveying the news, 
and magnifying the advantages gained, Gustavus 
caused to be read aloud to his followers ^. 

Theodoric Slagheck, exercising power with bar- 
barous cruelty and outrage, had himself taken the 
command of the castle of Westeras. He caused all 
the fences of the neighbourhood to be broken down, 
in order to be able to use his cavalry without im- 
pediment against the insurgent peasants, who, on 
the 29th April, approached the town. Both horse- 
men and foot, with field-pieces, marched against 
them ; and Gustavus, who had interdicted his men 
from engaging in a contest with the enemy, in- 
tending to defer the attack till the following day, 
was still at Balundsas, half a mile from the town, 
when news reached him that his young soldiers 
were already at blows with tlieir adversaries, and he 
hastened to their assistance. The Dalecarlians 
opposed their long pikes to the onset of the 
cavalry with such effect, that more than four hun- 
dred horses having perished in the assault, they 
were driven back on the infantry, who were posted 
in their rear, and compelled to flee along with 
them, while Lawrence Ericson pushed into the 
town by a circuitous road, and possessed himself of 
the enemy's artillei-y in the market-place. When 
the garrison of the castle observed this, they set 
five to the houses by shooting their combustibles, 
and burned the greatest part of the town. The 
miners and peasants dispersed to extinguish the 
Hanies or to plunder, bartered with one another the 
goods of the traders in the booths, jwssessed them- 
selves of the stock of wine in the cathedral and the 
council-house, seated themselves round the vats, 
drank and sang. The Danes, reinforced from the 

9 Some thousands, the council of Sweden say in their 
Rescript on the tyrannical government of king Christian in 
Sweden, June G, 152:J. The Danish account says 5000. 

1 By the Danish lieutenant Anders Person, who afterwards 
gave up the castle of (irehro, and received a letter of peace 
from Gustavus. He was however killed by the relatives of 
the slain men six years afterwards. 

castle, rallied anew, and the victory would undoubt- 
edly have been changed into an overthrow, had not 
Gustavus sent Lawrence Olaveson, with the fol- 
lowers he had kept about him, again into the town, 
where, after a renewal of the confiict, the foe was 
put to ail utter rout, ilany cast away their arms, 
and threw themselves, between fire and sword, into 
the waters. Gustavus caused all the stores of spirit- 
uous liquors to be destroyed, and beat in the wine- 
casks with his own hand. 

The fight of Westeras, from its influence on public 
opinion, acquired greater impoi'tance than of itself 
it would have possessed. Little was gained by the 
conquest of the town, so long as the castle held out ; 
and liow miserviceable a force of peasants was for 
a siege, Gustavus was often subsequently to ex- 
perience. Wherever the tidings of his victory 
came, the people revolted, and he was already 
enabled to divide his power, and to invest the 
castles of several provinces. Siege was accord- 
ingly laid to Stegeborg, Nykoping, and Orebro. A 
division of the Vermelanders, with the peasants of 
Rekarne, in Sudermania, was employed in be- 
leaguering the castle of Westeras ; of whose ex- 
ploits, however, nothing else is told than that they 
shot the councillor Canute Bennetson (Sparre), to 
whom Slagheck transferred the command, so that 
lie tumbled in his wolf-skin coat from the wall 
into the stream. Howbeit, another detachment 
reduced Honiingsholm in Sudermania ; Chris- 
tian's governors in Vermeland and Dalsland were 
slain ; the people of the former province, under the 
command of their justiciary, prepared for an at- 
tack upon the councillor Tliurd Jonson, the king's 
lieutenant in West-Gothland, and, crossing Lake 
Vener, entered that district. In Dalsland, 1500 
men took up arms ; several thousand peasants from 
Nerike marched across the Tiwed with tlie same 
object^. Gustavus had been obliged to grant a, 
furlough to his Dalesmen about seed-time ; and to 
supply tlieir place, he caused the people of several 
districts of Upland to be summoned to assemble 
in the forest of Rymningen, at QDresundsbro ; from 
which point his two captains essayed an attack 
upon the archbishop of Upsala. It was St. Eric's 
day (May 18th), and a great confluence of people 
was present at the fair. An assault was expected ; 
for a deputation of four priests and two burgesses, 
sent from Upsala to the forest, had received from 
the leaders the answer, that it must be Swedes, not 
outlandish men, who should bear the shrine of 
holy Eric, and that they would come to take their 
part in the festival. Bennet Bjugg (Barley), the 
archbishop's bailiff, to show his contempt of such 
foes, caused a banquet to be set out in the open 
space, between the larger and smaller episcopal 
manor-houses of that day *, where, before the eyes of 
the people, he made himself and his fellows merry 
till late in the night with drinking, dancing, and 
singing. Roused from a late sleep by an assault on 
the gates of the fortified house, and finding it beset 
by the enemy, they attempted to escape by a con- 
cealed passage, which then connected the bishop's 

2 Narrative of Clement Rensel, 1. c. He drew up the 
letter, which alleged that he had brought 4000 spearmen 
from Germany for the service of Gustavus. 

3 See the annotations of Lawrence Siggeson Sparre; Mauu- 
script in the Upsala Library. 

■* The former where the Exercise House, tlie latter where 
the Academy of Gustavus now stands. 


J 523.] 

Siege of Stockholm 


Election of 


house with the cathedral. But the peasants set 
fire to this passage, which was of wood, and sliot 
fire-arrows at tlie roof of the episcopal residence, 
in which the flames soon bm-st forth. The building 
was laid in ashes, and next day the females of the 
household, with some bui'ghers of Upsala, crept out 
of its cellars, in which they had taken refuge. 
Great part of the garrison perished. The bailiff 
escaped with a wound ft'om an arrow, of which he 
died after rejoining his master in Stockholm. 

This prelate, archbishop Gustavus TroUe, had 
lately returned from a journey to Helsingland, 
undertaken in order to retain this part of his 
diocese in its allegiance to the king. Shortly 
afterwards, he received by a messenger from Gus- 
tavus, who had himself come to Upsala at Whit- 
suntide, a letter exhorting him to embrace the 
cause of his country, to which his chapter had 
been persuaded to annex a memorial to the same 
effect. The archbishop detained the messenger, 
saying that he would carry the answer himself. He 
broke up immediately with 500 German horse and 
3000 foot of the garrison of Stockholm, and had 
come within half a mile of Upsala, before Gustavus 
received intelligence of his approach. This the 
latter did not at first credit, but remained expect- 
ing an answer to his overture of negociation ; until, 
about six in the morning, being on horseback upon 
the sand-hill near Upsala, the spot where he after- 
wards Ijuilt a royal castle, he saw the archbishop 
marching across the King's Mead (Kungsiing) to- 
^^•ards the town. Gusta\'us had but two hundred of 
his so-called foot-goers, and a small number of 
horse with him, for the peasants had returned to 
their homes. He made a hasty retreat, but was 
overtaken by Trolle's horsemen at the ford of 
Laby. Here a young Finnish noble who was next 
to him, in the confusion rode down his horse in the 
midst of the stream ; and he would have been lost, 
liad not the rest of his followers turned upon the 
enemy with such effect, as to make them desist 
from the pursuit. 

Gustavus now betook liimself to the fn-est of 
Rymningen, raised the peasantry of the adjoming 
districts, and sent out the young men under his 
best cajttains to surprise the archbishop on his re- 
turn. The remains of cattle slaughtered on the 
road betraj'ed the ambush to the prelate, who 
drew off in another direction. He was neverthe- 
less overtaken and attacked, escaping the spear of 
Lawrence Olaveson, only by bending downwards 
on his horse, so that the weapon pierced his 
neighbour, and brouglit back to Stockholm hardly 
a sixth part of his army. Gustavus followed close 
after with his collected force, and encamped under 
the Brunkeberg. Four gibbets on this eminence, 
stocked with the corpses of Swedish inhabitants, 
attested the character of the government in the 

Thus began, at Midsummer of 1521, the siege 
of Stockholm, which was to last full two years, 
amidst difficulties little thought of now-a-days, after 
the lapse of ages, and the admiration which men 
so willingly render to exertions in the cause of 
freedom, have deprived events of then* original 
colours. The path of Gustavus was not in general 
one of glittering feats, although his life is in itself 
one grand achievement. What he accomplished 
was the effect of strong endurance, and great 
sagacity ; and though he wanted not for intrepidity. 

it was of a kind before which the mere warrior 
must vail liis crest. All the remaining movements 
of the war of liberation consist in sieges of the various 
castles and fortresses of the country, undertaken as 
opportunity offered, with levies of the peasantry, 
whose detachments relieved each other, though 
sometimes neglecting this duty when pressed by the 
cares or necessities of their own families. Hence 
the object of these investments, w^hich was to de- 
prive the besieged of provisions, could only be im- 
perfectly attained, and there were many fortified 
mansions, of which the proprietors adhered to the 
Danish party, as that of Wik in Upland, which re- 
mained blockaded throughout a whole year. These 
difficulties were the most formidable where, as at 
Stockholm, access was open by the sea, of wliich 
Severin Norby, with the Danish squadron, was 
master. The scantiness of the means of attack 
may be discovered from the circumstance, that 
sixty German spearmen, whom Clement Rensel, a 
burgher of Stockholm, himself a narrator of these 
events, brought from Dantzic in July, for the 
service of Gustavus, were regarded as a rein- 
forcement of the highest importance. " At this 
time," say the Chronicles, " Lord Gustave enjoyed 
not much repose or many pleasant days, when he 
kept his people in so many campings and invest- 
ments ; since he bore for them all great anxiety, 
fear, and peril, how he might lend them help in 
their need, so that they might not be surprised 
through heedlessness and laches. So likewiise his 
pain was not small when he had but little in his 
money-chest, and it was grievous to give this 
answer, when the folk cried for stipend. There- 
fore he stayed not many days in the same place, 
but travelled day and night between the camj)s." 

In the month of August, he arrived at Stegeborg, 
which was now besieged by his general, Arwid the 
West-Goth, who had recently repulsed with great 
bravery Severin Norby's attempt to relieve the 
castle, and had even begun to take homage for 
Gusta\Tas from the people of his province, although 
in this he experienced dfiiculties. The East- 
Goths declared that they had been so chastised for 
their attack on the bishop's castle at LiukopLng, 
the preceding year, that they no longer dared to 
provoke either king Christian or bishop Hans 
Brask. The pei'sonal presence of Gustavus de- 
cided the waverers, and even the bishop received 
him as a friend, because he would otherwise have 
stood in danger of a hostile visitation. Gustavus 
now convoked a diet of barons at Vadstena, which 
was attended by seventy Swedish gentlemen of 
noble farail}', and by many other persons of all 
classes in Gothland. These made him a tender of 
the crown, which he refused to accept. On the 
24th of August, therefore, they swore fealty and 
obedience to him as Administrator of the kingdom : 
" in like manner, " add the Chronicles, " as had 
formerly been done in Upland ;" whence they seem 
to have assumed that he had aU'eady been acknow- 
ledged as such in Upper Sweden, here called Up- 
land, as we often find it in the Chronicles of the 
middle age. This was the first public declaration 
of the nobility in favour of Gustavus and his cause ; 
although the greatest barons in this division of the 
kingdom, such as Nils Boson (Grip), Holger Carl- 
son (Gere), and Thure Jenson (Roos) in West- 
Gothland, all three councillors of state, were still 
in arms for Christian. That the first- named noble- 


Progress of the war. 
Cruelty of the king. 


Relief and capture of 


man joined the party of Gustavus before the end 
of the year, we know from his letter of thanks, for 
a fief of which he received the investiture ^. Both 
the latter were proclaimed in 1523, to be enemies 
of the realm ^, as was also the archbishop Gustavus 
TroUd. He had repaired to Denmark two years 
before, in order to obtain, by his personal in- 
stances with the king, the often promised relief for 
the besieged garrison of Stockholm, but was re- 
ceived with coldness and reproaches. 

After the baronial diet of Vadstena, the Goth- 
landers acknowledged the authority of the adminis- 
trator, and the Danes having been driven out of 
West-Gothland and Smaland, the seat of the war 
was removed to Finland. By the commencement 
of next year, the principal castles of the interior had 
fallen into the hands of Gustavus, and some, as those 
of Westeras and Orebro, were razed to the ground 
by the exasperated peasantry. Stockholm and 
Calmar, as well as Abo in Finland, yet stood out, 
and by help of the reinforcement which they re- 
ceived at the beginning of 1522, through the Danish 
admiral, Severin Norby, the enemy were again able 
to resume the offensive. By sallies from the be- 
leagured capital on the seventh, eighth, and thir- 
teenth of April, the camp of Gustavus was set on 
fire and destroyed, and for a whole month after- 
wards no Swedish force was seen before the walls 
of Stockholm. The besiegers of Abo were likewise 
driven off, and the chief adherents of Gustavus 
being obliged to flee from Finland, Arvid, bishop of 
Abo, with many noble persons of both sexes, 
perished at sea. 

Christian himself added to the detestation with 
which he was regarded in Sweden by new ci'uelties. 
The wives and children of the most distinguished 
among the barons beheaded in Stockholm had been 
conveyed to Denmark, and among them the mother 
and two sisters of Gustavus, whom the king, in 
spite of the entreaties of his consort, threw into a 
dungeon. Here they died, either by violence, as 
Gustavus himself complains in his letter of 1522, 
concerning the cruel oppression of king Chris- 
tian, directed to the Pope, the emperor, and all 
Christian princes^, or as others assert of the 
plague. An order had also been recently issued by 
the king to his commandei-s in Sweden, to put to 
death all the Swedes of distinction who had fallen 
into their hands. The Chronicles say that Severin 
Norby had received this order so early as the 
summer of 1521, but instead of complying with it, 
permitted the escape of many noblemen, who after- 
wards did homage to Gustavus at Vadstena, in 
order, as he expressed it, that they might rather 
guard their necks like warriors, than be slaughtered 
like chickens. But in Abo a new massacre was 
perpetrated at the beginning of next year by lord 
Thomas, the royalist commander there, who after- 
wards, in an attempt to relieve Stockholm, fell with 
all his ships into the hands of Gustavus, and was 
hanged upon an oak in Tynnels island *. 

■'' Published by Fant ; de Historicis Gustavi I. 

ij Holder Carlson reconciled himself in 1524 with Gustavus. 
Nils Boson was slain in 1525 by the peasants of Wingaker. 

7 See Hadorph on the Rhyme Chronicle, where the letter, 
in which Gustavus styles himself governor (gubernator) of 
Ssveden, is dated the 2flth December, 1523, but incorrectly. 

* With a bast rope. He expressed great disgust at the 
method of his execution, as being an indignity. (Junker 

After Severin Norby had relieved the capital, 
the secretai-y, master Gotschalk Ericson, wrote 
thence to Christian ^, " that there were but eighty 
of the burghers, for the most part Germans, who 
could be counted on for the king's service, but of 
footmen and gunners in the castle there were now 
850 men, well furnished with all ; the peasants 
were indeed weary of the war, but were still more 
fearful of the king's vengeance, and put faith in no 
assurances, whence the country could only be re- 
duced to obedience by violent methods ; if a suffi- 
cient force were sent, East-Gothland, Sodermanland, 
and Upland would submit to the kmg, and his grace 
could then punish the Dalecarlians and Helsingers, 
who first stirred up these troubles." The governor 
of the castle of Stockholm informs the king in a re- 
port on the military occurrences of the winter, " that 
his men had compelled him to consent to an increase 
of pay on account of the successes they had gained ; 
that he had expelled from the town, or imprisoned, 
the suspected Swedish burghers ; that the peasants 
would rather be hanged on their own hearths than 
longer endui'e the burdens of the war ; that Gus- 
tavus, who had in vain tempted his fidelity, had 
already sent his plate, and the chief part of his own 
moveable property, to a priest in Helsingland ; he 
(the governor) also transmitted an inventory of the 
goods of the decapitated nobles ^" 

But by the end of one month Gustavus, who in 
this letter is styled "a forest thief and robber," had 
again filled three camps around Stockholm with 
Dalesmen and Norrlanders ; and when, pursuant to 
a convention with Lubeck, he received thence, in 
the month of June, an auxiliary force of ten ships, a 
number that was afterwards augmented, he was ena- 
bled to dispense with tlie greatest portion of his pea- 
sants, and retained about him only those who were 
young and unmarried. The assistance of the Lu- 
beckers it was true was given only by halves, and 
from selfish motives ; they did not forget their profit 
on the arms, purchased Swedish iron and copper for 
klippings, with which worthless coins they came well 
provided, and exacted a dear price for their men, 
ships, and military stores, refusing even, it is said, 
to supply Gustavus with two pieces of cannon at a 
decisive moment, although upon the proffered secu- 
rity of two of the royal castles. This occurred on 
occasion of a second, and this time unsuccessful, 
attempt made by Norby to relieve Stockholm ; 
in which he was only saved from ruin by the re- 
fusal of the admiral of Lubeck to attack. Mean- 
while Gustavus, despite the losses which he sustained 
by sallies, pushed his three camps by degrees close to 
the town, then covering little more than the island 
which still contains the town properly so called. 
At length, after Kingsholm ^, Langholm, Soder- 
malm, Waldemar's island, now the Zoological Gar- 
dens, had been connected by float-bridges, and the 
port closed with block-houses and chains, the place 
was invested on all sides. Yet it held out through 
the winter, until the news of Christian's fate, joined 

Thomas. Junker was a title given to the sons of noblemen, 
equivalent to our lord or squire. T.) 

9 See the letter in Hvitfeld, dated February 22, 1522. 

' Paper in the Archives of king Christian II. entitled, 
" Schedule of Articles to the King's Majesty of Denmark, 
Sweden, and Norway, my most gracious Lord ;" together 
with a subsequent letter of April 29, from Henrik Slagheck, 
perhaps a brother of Theodoric. 

2 Then called Munklider (monk's shed or barn). 




Proceedings of 


His flight. 
Gustavus king. 


to the pangs of hunger, deprived the garrison of all 
spirit for further resistance. 

That monarch, after having caused so much 
bloodshed in Sweden, had made a splendid visit to 
liis brotlier-in-law, the emperor Charles V., in the 
Netherlands, to solicit the arrears of his queen's 
dowry, and obtain assistance from the emperor in 
his quarrel with duke Frederic of Holstein, his 
uncle by the father's side, and the Hanse Towns. 
Such was the number and variety of tlie designs 
with which he was generally occupied, and the im- 
petuosity with which he commenced, abandoned, 
then resumed them, that he soon evoked from 
these schemes so many weapons which might be 
turned against himself. It was to the celebrated 
Erasmus that he declared, in the course of this 
jom-ney, "men accomplish nothing by gentle means; 
the most powerful agents are always those which 
shake the whole body ^." He wished to crush the 
power of the clergy and nobility, to elevate the 
burghers and peasants, break the commercial 
power of the Hanse Towns, annex Holstein, con- 
quer Sweden, and, above all, to rule with absolute 
sway ; he wished to effect all this by laws*, schools, 
executions, fraud and arms at once, and with a vio- 
lence only exceeded, if possible, by the leviiy with 
which he passed from one extreme to another, and 
embraced all methods as legitimate. It was the 
same Christian who made a papal bull the pretext 
for' his cruelty in Sweden, and wished to introduce 
the Reformation in Denmark ; the same who main- 
tained a correspondence with Luther, and called 
Carlstadt to Copenhagen, and who, when an inves- 
tigation into the murders m Stockholm was threat- 
ened from Rome, made application to the pope for 
the canonization of two saints ; the same who raised 
his favourite, the universally abhorred Didrik Slag- 
heck, to be archbishop of Lund, and afterwards 
caused him to be put to death by the gallows and 
stake, in the presence of a papal legate, as the con- 
triver of the massacre '. One year after this re- 
volting attempt to rid himself of the imputation, 
Christian, just as he was on the point of imposing 
a fresh tax for the payment of his newly levied 
soldiery, received a letter of renunciation from the 
Danish council ^, in which they informed him, that 
having taken into consideration the rigorous and 
dangerous government which had been used in his 
time, as also what had been done in Stockholm, 

3 Erasmi Epistolae, Basle, 1533, p. 453. 

'' See Christian II. 's so-called Geistlige Lev (Ecclesiastical 
Law), given provisionally, May 26, 1521 ("until our dear 
lieges the general council of the kingdom of Denmark 
shall come together," c. 141^; and his ordinance or Verlds- 
lige Lov (Civic Law), given January 6, 1522 (" with consent 
of our dear lieges, the council of the realm"), both last pub- 
lished by Kolderup Rosenvinge, Collection of old Danish 
Laws, Copenhagen, 1824, 4 vols. "He had some intention 
also with respect to the law-book of Sweden if time had 
sutfered." Olave Peterson. It is possible that Gustavus 
alludes to this in the Articles of Vadstena of 1 524 (Stiernman, 
Resolutions, i. 34), where it is said that the law-book should 
be amended, as was before resolved upon ; this however was 
not done. 

5 He was led up some steps to the gallows, thereafter taken 
down, and thrown alive into the fire. This took place Jan. 
24, 1522. 

6 This first letter of renunciation is dated Viborg, Jan. 20, 

^ In a letter of February 5, 1523, king Christian acquaints 
his (jueen with the renunciation of the council. In an in- 

where so many bishops, knights, and good men had 
lost their lives without law or right, they dreaded 
lest the same fate should at length be brought home 
to their own doors " by the instigation of that bad 
woman Sigbrit ', who maligned the nobility of the 
realm as rogues and traitors, especially seeing that 
foreign mercenaries were again called into the king- 
dom ; wherefore they disclaimed homage and fealty 
to him." The crown was offered to Frederic, duke 
of Holstein, who accepted it, and concluded a league 
with the Hanse Towns. It was in vain that the 
people of Zealand, where Christian had lightened 
the fetters of serfage *, and also the nobles of 
Scania, took an oath of fidelity to his cause. He did 
not dare to trust either his subjects or his soldiers, 
collected twenty ships, in which he embarked the 
public records, with the treasiu-e and crown jewels, 
his consort and child, and his adviser Sigbrit, who 
was concealed in a chest. Deserting his kingdom, 
he sailed away in the face of the whole population of 
Copenhagen, April the 20th, 1523. 

Thus ended the reign of Christian II., a king in 
whom one knows not which most rivets the atten- 
tion, the multiplied undertakings he commenced 
and abandoned in a career so often stained with 
blood, his audacity, his feebleness, or that misery 
of many years by which he was to expiate a short 
and ill-used tenure of power. There are men who, 
like the storm-birds before the tempest, appear 
in history as foretokens of the approaching out- 
break of great convulsions. Of such a nature was 
Christian, who, tossed hither and thither between 
all the various currents of his time without central 
consistence, awakened alternately the fear or pity 
of the beholders. 

Frederic I., who was chosen to succeed him in 
Deimiark, wrote to the estates of Sweden, demand- 
ing that in accordance with the stipulations of the 
Union of Calmar he might be acknowledged king 
in Sweden also. They replied, "that they had 
elected Gustavus Ericson to be Sweden's king." 
That event came to pass at tlie diet of Strengness, 
June the seventh, 1523^. Thus was tlie Union 
dissolved, after it had lasted one hundred and twen- 
ty-six years. Norway wavered at this critical mo- 
ment. The inhabitants of the southern portion 
declared, when the Swedes under Thure Jenson 
Roos and Lawrence Siggesou Sparre had pene- 

closed note he speaks of the universal dissatisfaction with 
mother Sigbrit, and requests the queen to receive her into her 
own abode at the castle, that she may keep her mouth closed. 
How great this woman's influence was may be seen from a 
public rescript dated Copenhagen, December 29, 1522, in 
which he declares that Sigbrit Willems had accounted com- 
pletely for the customs and finances of the realm, and was 
completely free from all responsibility in this respect. 

8 The third chapter of Christian's Geistlige Lov, forbids 
the wicked, unchristian custom which had hitherto prevailed 
in Zealand, Falster, Lolland, and Mben, of selling the pea- 
sants like creatures devoid of reason, and gives them the 
right of leaving their master's service if he dealt with them 
dishonestly, as the peasants in Scania, Jutland, and Funen. 
After the dethronement of Christian in Denmark, this law 
was publicly burned by the council at the provincial diet of 
Viborg, " as a pernicious and destructive law, against good 
policy and government." Hvitfeld. 

9 Dominica infra octavam corporis Christi, which happened 
this year on the 7th June, as is correctly stated in bishop 
Brask's correspondence, Scandinavian Memoirs xvii. 141 ; not 
on the sixth, though this incorrect date appears in Stiem- 
man's Resolutions, and is generally received. 


Dissolution of the 


The noliles and the 


trated into their country as far as Opslo, that they 
would unite with Sweden if they might rely upon 
its support ^ Bolmsland was subdued, Bleking 
hkewise on another side, and Gustavus souglit, 
botli by negociations and arms, to enforce the old 
claims of Sweden to Scania and Halland. The 
town of Cahnar was taken on the 27th May, and 
the castle on the 7th July. Stockholm having sur- 
rendered on the 20th June, on condition of the fi'ee 

departure of the garrison with their property and 
arms, and of every other person who adhered to 
the cause of Christian ^, Gustavus made his public 
entry on Midsummer's Eve ; before the end of the 
year Finland also was reduced to obedience. The 
kingdom was freed from foreign enemies, but in- 
ternal foes still remained ; and Lubeck was an ally 
whoso demands made it more troublesome than 
it would have been as an enemy. 




A. D. 1524—1543. 

A TOWN wasted in the civil war had been the 
scene of the election of Gustavus Vasa to the 
throne. In the capital, when he made his public 
entry, one half of the houses were empty, and of 
the population scarcely a fourth part remained. 
To fill up the gap, he issued an invitation to the 
burghers in other towns to settle there, a summons 
which he was obliged twelve years afterwards to 
renew, " seeing that Stockholm had not yet revived 
from the days of king Christian ^." The spectacle 
which here met his eyes was a type of the con- 
dition of the whole kingdom, and never was it said 
of any sovereign with more justice, that the throne 
to which he had been elevated was more diflficult 
to preserve than to win. 

The Union was now dissolved, and had left be- 
hind it ruins. It would be an error, however, to 
consider this period generally as one of great op- 
pression. Such it was no doubt at intervals 
durmg its course, and it terminated in a tyranny ; 
but it was still more a period of great license. 
This was shown on the one hand, by the inde- 
pendence of the magnates, or in the power re- 
served to the council according to the Union, of 
governing in the absence of the king, which they 
exercised in such a maimer, as to be in fact sove- 
reigns within the limits of their own feudatory pre- 
fectures (Ian), in which also they were generally 
by their own possessions the most important per- 
sonages. Hence the distribution of those fiefs (so 
much the more that they were not hereditary) 
formed a perpetual subject of quarrel with the kings 
under the Union, and the contests arising therefrom 
drove Charles Canuteson twice from the throne. 
Hence, too, one of the first questions put by Gus- 

' See the letter from Thnre Jenson to bishop Brask, of 
April 23, 1523, in Linkoping's Bibliotheks Handlingar, ii. 183. 
(Opslo is now Clu'istiania.) 

2 I5y an undated instrument in the archives of Christian 
II. with the title " (Artichle oc bewillinsje, &c.) Articles and 
Agreement which the King sends to Stockholm, conform to 
which they shall give up the Town and Castle," we see that 
the king had consented to its surrender, although all the con- 
ditions there demanded were not granted in tlie capitulation. 

3 Letters to the trading towns, of July 14, 1523, and Sep- 
tember 2G, 1535, in the Registry of the Archives. The 
burghers, it is said in the latter, were considering how to 

tavus to the council was, " whether he might not 
freely propose and dispose of the crown fiefs, as the 
Law-book declared, without ill will * ?" The pos- 
sessors of these levied the revenues of the crown, 
and applied them to their own use ', for the kings, 
with few exceptions, at least during the latter days 
of the Union, i-eceived no part of the proceeds. 
Hence the scheme, which was sometimes openly 
urged, of parcelling the kingdom into .several prin- 
cipalities under dift'ereut rulers, was something more 
than a mere vague project of the grandees. The 
lilan was even to no inconsiderable extent carried 
into eflTect. We find these provincial magnates still 
flourishing under Gustavus I., with pretensions more 
or less openly put forth ; and that they still con- 
stituted what was called the Council of the Realm, 
or more particularly the council in Upland, West 
or East-Gothland, Finland, and so forth, we learn 
from the letters of Gustavus himself, in which the 
council is thus designated according to the pro- 

On the other hand, during the Union, and in 
opposition to the aristocracy, the people had also 
become a powder. At the call of Engelbert they had 
taken up arms, which for a century afterwards were 
not laid down, and thus wore an aspect menacing to 
all authority. The fortunes of Charles Canuteson 
had seemed almost to prove that there could hence- 
forth be no king in Sweden, whether a native or a 
foreigner. The power of the Administrator, in 
which men sought a refuge against anarchy, was 
essentially too indefinite to afford any security. It 
was democratic in the hands of the Stures, but like- 
wise involved in perpetual war against foi-eign and 
domestic enemies, and of necessity lawless. The 

attract the trade of Lubeck to Stockholm ; a town where one 
might reap a good harvest, especially if he were conversant 
with trade, and could look well to his atfairs. 

■> Articles of Vadstena, October, 1524. (Lebu, Swed. Anglo- 
Sax, and Scot., fief, is the same word as loan. 'J'.) 

5 " Never have we heard that the good lords of the council 
of state were subject to any other burden than to attend for 
the service of the realm with their followers, every man 
according to his lief," says bishop Brask in a letter to Thuve 
Jenson, of October 22, 1524. But a summons of this kind 
for the service of the Union kings did not take place, or 
was not obeyed, during the latter period of the Union. 



Position of the 


Demands of tlie 


partition which threatened the kingdom from the 
domination of the nobles was also latent, although 
under a different shape, in the developement of 
popular power. The political influence of the pea- 
sants gave new importance to the democratic forms 
of the ancient federative system, which put forth its 
last energies in revolt. How often in those times 
do we not see the commonalties of different pro- 
vinces acting in the exercise of self-rule, taking up 
arms, forming aUiances, and renewing with each 
other compacts of bygone days ! It is Upper Swe- 
den more particularly which presents this spectacle ; 
whereas, in the South, the nobles po.ssessed the 
ascendancy, excepting in Smaland ; and hence this 
province during the reign of Gustavus was, next to 
Dalecarlia, the principal seat of disturbance among 
the peasantry. Accustomed to insecurity of life 
and property, the armed commons were yet in their 
poverty mipatient of taxation ; and this Gustavus 
himself was destined to experience ". 

The church might be regarded as a foreign power 
established in the kingdom, which in the absence of 
any supreme civil authority, looked well to its own 
interest. Its dignitaries constituted the most pow- 
erful portion of the aristocracy, the more that the 
bishops were also the holders of temporal fiefs. 
They had ever signalized themselves by devotion 
to the Union, and had therefore soon drawn upon 
their heads the hostility of the patriotic party. 
Engelbert had already openly menaced the per- 
sonal safety of the bishops, and throughout the 
reign of Charles Canuteson, as well as the adminis- 
tration of the Sture's, an incessant struggle against 
tlieir power was maintained. A revengeful arch- 
bishop opened the way for Christian the Tyrant to 
the throne ; hence no man was ever more detested 
in Sweden than Gustave TroUe '. In the ensuing 
war the popular exasperation broke out with sin- 
gular violence against the persons and property of 
the bishops ; and we find frequent threats of ven- 
geance addressed to the monks and priests, called 
forth by their licentious and disorderly manners ^. 
In general, the church suffered much durmg the 
war from the tyrannical proceedings of Christian, 
even towards his own friends '. Yet it was beyond 
comparison the richest corporation in the country, 

<> " Neither in this our realm are the common people of 
such a humour that they will bear to have great imposts and 
tallages laid upon them, as in other lands and realms, unless 
we should expect to have a rising among them therefrom." 
King Gustavus to Eric Fleming, December 5, 1535. Registry 
of the Archive?. 

' On the mere report of a reconciliation with the arch- 
bishop, the Dalesmen wrote to Gustavus " that they could in 
ti)at case by no means keep the engagement of fidelity they 
had made to him ; he should not think it ill in the poor people 
of the valleys that they spoke this opinion so boldly." When 
the archbishop, nevertheless, afterwards attempted to excite 
disturbances among them by letters and messengers, they 
informed him that they would rise up against him and his 
faction, every man in the Dales who was fifteen years old, 
and as long as their arrows and bolts lasted. See the letters 
in Troil, Memoirs, iv. 352, 356. 

8 One of the chaplains of Gustavus killed another with a 
battle-axe, January 28, 1523. Correspondence of bishop 
Brask. Scandinavian Memoirs, xvii. 83. For an example of 
tlie corrupt manners of the mendicant friars, see p. 193. 

9 See the letters of bishop Brask to Rome, com])laining of 
the state of the bishoprics, March 5, 1523, and therefore 
before the elevation of Gustavus to the throne. " Ecclesia 
Arosiensis in maxima paupertate relicta, Strengnesensis 

and exercised through the inferior clergy great 

It was under such circumstances that Gustavus 
had to re-establish iu Sweden a regal power no 
longer existing, and to commence his reign with 
the requirement of the greatest sacrifices. 

So early as the elective diet of Strengness, in 
1523, two senators of Lubeck delivered in an ac- 
count of expenses incurred for assistance rendered 
m the siege of Stockholm, whicli was not yet 
terminated, demanding immediate payment of the 
sum, or as the price of delay, an unconditional 
confirmation of the commercial privileges enjoyed 
by Lubeck within the kingdom, according to a 
statement drawn up by themselves. This powerful 
town, which boasted of raising np and dethroning 
the sovereigns of the north ', had newly concluded 
an alliance with king Frederic of Denmark, and 
pi'omised him conditionally its aid for the acquisi- 
tion of the Swedish crown. The envoys dropped 
threats on this head -, and the negociation for the 
surrender of Stockholm being in their hands, it 
was found necessary to grant all their demands ^. 

Christian II. still continued to be formidable 
from his alliances, although by the commencement 
of the year 1524, only the isle of Gottland acknow- 
ledged his superiority ^ ; " things have now gone 
so far, that nothing besides this poor land is left to 
your grace," writes to him Severin Norby, who 
governed the island in his name, and exercised 
piracy upon vessels of all nations. Both Gustavus 
and Frederic, the Swedish council as well as the 
Danish, had in vain assailed his fidelity by tempta- 
tion. In his letters to his fugitive master, Norby 
complains of treachery. Calmar, which he had 
well furnished with stores for a whole year, had 
notwithstanding been surrendered, with a cowardice 
which deserved the gallows and wheel. In Fin- 
land, which was the more important, " as this 
was, for rent, the best pnrt of Swedf n," the king's 
troops, according to Norbj-, had not conducted 
themselves better, so that there was not time left 
him to reach the country when he wished to 
defend it, though he had resolved to do so in case 
of necessity with Russian assistance. Now, he 

clerus ter uno anno spoliatus, Scarensis ecclesia per hostes 
incensa, Upsalensis tot afRictionibus preventa, Vexionensis 
in terminis hostium, Linkopensis communis praeda;" and 
the church, instead of comfort, received nothing but mock- 
ery, and "sarcastic consolations." This he ascribes to the 
Lutheran heretics, by which it was already attacked on all 

1 " It is the Lubeckers and their adherents who have set 
up in Sweden a new king in our stead," says Christian II. 
in a letter to a canon of Cologne, dated Berlin, September 
26. 1527. Archives of Christian II. 

2 Coloratis verbis obductas minas. Letter of the bishop of 
Skara to Brask, bishop of Linkoping, the latter of whom 
shrunk from personal attendance on the diet. 

3 Lubeck and Dantzic and the towns in alliance with 
them, to which Lubeck granted permission, obtained an 
exclusive right of trading with Sweden free of duties, con- 
formably to a charter subscribed by the king and the council. 
A Finnish councillor, Canute Ericson (Kurk), refused his 

4 Norway renounced obedience to him August 5, 1523. At 
the commencement of the following year, Copenhagen and 
Malmoe acknowledged king Frederic. Gustavus sent a com- 
pany of foot to assist in the siege of the latter place, and 
contributed ten ships to the reduction of the island of Born- 


Expedition to 


Luther's doctrine 


wrote in the winter of 1524, Gustavus Ericson lay 
ready to attack Gottland, as soon as the sea should 
be open, with the whole power of Sweden ; where- 
fore if it were impossible for the king to relieve the 
island, and save it from the hands of the Swedes, 
he begged permission to make terms in good time, 
" in order that the land might not be wrested from 
the crown of Denmark ^." The attack on Gottland, 
whose issue we have hereby indicated, was resolved 
upon in the baronial diet of Vadstena, at the begin- 
ning of the year. Lubeek, v/hich suffered most from 
Norby's piracy, had pressed that it should be un- 
dertaken, promising through a special envoy its 
support, with the remission of the interest on the 
debt, and indemnity for the expenses of the war, 
if Sweden should not be able to hold the island. 
Bx'ask, bishop of Linkoping, of whose diocese it 
formed a part, and who afterwards complained 
that the enterprise had miscarried through the 
Germans who advised it, now united his repre- 
sentations to theirs, and Gustavus gave, although 
unwillingly, his consent. A fleet carrying 8000 
men was collected for the expedition, of which the 
command was entrusted to Bernard of Melen, a 
German knight, who had passed over from the 
service of Christian, and had been admitted into 
the Swedish council, invested with the government 
of Stegeborg, and married to Margaret Vasa. 
This lady, a kinswoman of king Gustavus, but 
inimical towards him, from a dispute regarding an 
inheritance, was not without influence on the con- 
duct of her husband. Bernard of Melen reduced 
the country without difficulty, but was so slack in 
conducting the siege of the town and castle of 
Wisby, that Norby, with whom he had a secret 
understanding, obtained time to place liimself and 
the island under Danish protection. In the mean- 
time a personal interview of Gustavus and Fre- 
deric took place at INIalmoe, and Lubeek interposed 
its mediation between the kings. By the conven- 
tion of Malmoe, dated September 1, 1524, Gustavus 
bound himself to restore Bleking to Denmark, and 
to refer the dispute respecting Gottland to future 
settlement. Bohusland, however, he retained for 

5 Letters of Severin Norby, March 7 and September 14, 
1523, and March 14, 1524. Archives of Christian II. 

<• The contract, which exists in the Archives of Christian 
II., and is dated Brandenburg, May 1. 1 526, begins " I, Bernard 
of Melen, knight, &c. openly acknowledge by this instrument 
that I, out of true and dutiful inclination, have undertaken 
to conquer, with God's help, the kingdom of Sweden, once 
for all," &c 

7 " Know ye for certain that it beseemeth our power to 
protect every one of our subjects against violence;" writes 
the king to bishop Brask. Scandinavian Memoirs, xiii. 5S. 

^ Ut aliqui deputentur in certis diocesibus— inquisitores 
heretic ■ pravitatis. Letter of Brask to Johannes Magnus, 
who had arrived as papal legate in 1523 (1. c. xvii. 146), and 
obtained from Gustavus a letter against the opinions and 
books of Luther (see Litteraa Domini Regis contra opinionem 
Lutherianani, ibid. 159). It is plain, however, from the king's 
letter to bishop Brask in 1524, that this was not publislied : 
" For what you write to us respecting the books of Luther, 
that we should forbid their sale, we know not how this may be 
done, seeing that we have heard Ihem censured by imp:irtial 
judges as not useless, but especially because books against 
this Luther have been brought into the country; therefore, 
according to our poor mind, it might be profitable that both 
the one side and the other should be placed before men's 
eyes." Scandinavian Memoirs, xiii. 58. Two years after- 
wards the king forbade bishop Brask to translate and pro- 

a time, and negatived for ever the Danish claims 
of superiority, and the renewal of the Union. 
IMeanwhile the treachery of Bernard of ]\Ielen was 
revealed. He induced his troops to take an oath 
of fidelity to himself, occupied the castle of Calmar 
on his own behalf, and proceeded for reinforce- 
ments to Germany, where he entered into a bond 
to reconquer the kingdom of Sweden for Christian 
II. ^ The castle of Calmar was defended with the 
bravery of desperation against Gustavus, who did 
not take it without a heavy loss in men, and sub- 
jected seventy of the garrison to the pimishment 
of traitors. These events already stand in con- 
nexion with the first revolt against Gustavus, which 
however, as well as subsequent insurrections, had a 
deeper cause. 

The principles of the Reformation had now be- 
gun to spread towards the north. It was soon 
manifest that the king had placed himself at its 
head in Sweden, although he took his measures 
with that mixture of pliant subtilty and boldness 
which ever distinguished him, more strongly 
marked the more his character was tested by 
events. Olave and Lawrence Peterson, two bro- 
thers, who had studied in Wittemberg, and were 
disciples of Luther, returned in 1519 to their native 
country, and preached his doctrines there for the 
first time. They attracted the attention of Gus- 
tavus, and received his protection ^, although 
bishop Brask, who had already procured a brief 
from Pope Adrian VI. for the extirpation of 
heresy in Sweden, demanded the establishment of 
inquisitors in all the bishoprics, and the prohibition 
of Luther's writings *. The king, who was himself 
in correspondence with Luther ^, appointed Olave 
Peterson, whose bold sermons at the elective diet 
of Strengness excited general attention', to be 
minister and town-clerk of Stockholm, and made 
his younger brother Lawrence professor in Upsala. 
Here the king caused a disputation for and against 
the new doctrines to be held, in consequence of 
which twelve questions were drawn up, to be 
examined thereafter in an assembly of the Swedish 
Church 2. For his chancellor, he selected Law- 

mulgate the letters of the pope, the emperor, and duke 
George of Saxony against Luther, as instigating to revolt. 
He also suppressed the printing-house founded by the bishop 
in Sbderkbping. Scan. Mem. xvi. 43. 

" " We have, from the very commencement of our reign, 
been adherents to the true and pure word of God, so far as 
grace hath been bestowed upon us for the understanding of 
it;" says the king in a letter to Luther, August 16, 1540; 
printed by Spegel in the documentary proofs to his Chronicle 
of the Bishops. 

> They were levelled from the first at the secular power of 
the clergy : Periculose pullulare incipit heresis ilia Lu- 
therana, per quendam magistrum Olavum in ecclesia Streng- 
nesensi, prsesertim contra decreta sancts Romanae ecclesiae 
ac ecclesiasticam libertatem ad efTectum, ut status moderna 
ecclesiae reducatur ad mendicitatem et statum ecclesiae pri- 
mitivae. Brask to the bishop of Skara, July 12, 1523. Scan. 
Mem. xvii. 143. 

2 The disputation was held at Christmas, 1524, between 
Olave Peterson and Doctor Peter Galle, provost of Upsala. 
and each of them by the royal command drew up a particular 
answer to the questions proposed, which was printed. These 
were, "1. Whether doctrines of holy men, and usages or 
customs of the Church, which have not God's word for them, 
should be received as binding. 2. Whether our Lord Jesus 
Christ hath granted to the priesthood, the pope, or the 
bishops, any other authority or dominion over men, but only 


Debt to Lubec'Ji. 
New Taxes. 


Vrevalenee of 


reiice Anderson, provost of Strengness, and after- 
wards of Upsala, who had spent his early years in 
Rome, and now in his old age was a pupil of these 
younger men. The nature of the maxims now 
prevalent respecting the property of the Church 
may be perceived from the words addressed by the 
chancellor to the monks of Vadstena, when they 
complained of the aid demanded from the convents, 
for the expedition to Gottland. He answered 
them : " The monies of the congregation are those 
of the people ^." 

Three months after the king's elevation to the 
throne, when he rendered an account to the people 
at the fair of Westeras of the revenues of the king- 
dom, he stated the expenses of the war at 960,000 
marks *, wherefore he had been obliged to contract 
large debts. Those due to Lubeck, as they were 
acknowledged at the diet of Strengness, amounted 
to (J8,()8l Lubeck marks for military stores, with 
8,fiO!) marks in cash advanced ^, not including 
200,000 guilders for the payment of the soldiery •', 
which, however, were proliably refunded in the 
same year with the plate of the churches, since 
this debt is not afterwards mentioned. To these 
besides were to lie added the expenses incurred for 
the conquest of Finland, for the expedition against 
Gottland, for the suppression of the revolts, the 
establishment and maintenance of a new govern- 
ment. Thus the first years of Gustave's reign 
were all marked by new and extraordinary levies 
of money, which pressed with especial severity on 
the church, and were excused by the l<ing on the 
ground of the public need'. So early as 1522 an 
aid was required from the clergy, and in 1523 a 
tax in money, under the name of a loan, was im- 
posed on all the churches and monasteries of the 
kingdom ; in 1524 a new benevolence was granted 

to proclaim the word and will of God, and whether it is fitting 
that any should be priests but such as do this. 3. Whether 
their laws, injunctions, or ordinances, can load a man with 
sin, if he act against them. 4. Whether they have power 
by excommunication to sever any one from God. as a limb 
cut off from God's congregation, and to make him to be a 
limb of the devil. 5. Whether the lordship which the pope 
and his tribe have exercised be for or against the lordship of 
Christ. 6. Whether God's service be anything else than to 
keep liis commandments, not men's inventions, which God 
hath not enjoined. 7. Whether a man may be saved by his 
merits, or only by God's grace and compassion. 8. Whether 
the monastic life have any ground in Scripture. 9. Whether 
any man have or have had power to dispense the sacrament 
in wine and bread otherwise than as Christ himself ordained 
it. 10. Whether we should put faith in revelations which 
are said to have been made, other than are proved by Holy 
Scripture. 11. What ground may the Scriptures afford for 
purgatory. 12. Whether men should honour, venerate, and 
pray to the saints, and whether the saints are our defenders, 
patrons, mediators, and intercessors before God." See the 
whole in Troil's Memoirs for the History of the Swedish 
Reformation, v. i. (Handlingar till Svenska Reformationens 

3 Quando dicimus ecclesiae pecuniam, quid aliud quam 
pecuniam populi dicimus? Scan. Mem. xvii. 206. 

* The document (entitled " Thette wartt framsatt, &c. 
This was explained to the common people at Westeras a. d. 
1523, at Martinmas, and may be promulged in other places of 
the country,") is published by Fant : Dissertatio de causis, ob 
quas Gustavo I. contra Christiernum II. opitulati fuerint 
Lubecenses, Upsaliae, 1782. If we reckon the Swedish mark 
of that time at twenty skillings in silver, or Sjrf. (compare 
Hallenberg, on the Value of Coins and Wares in Sweden 
under the reign of Gustavus I.), the sum above-mentioned 

on account of the expedition to Gottland, for which 
end the king also sent his own plate to the mint; in 
1525 the cavalry were removed into quarters in the 
convents, and the chapters were charged with the 
maintenance of soldiers assigned upon them, the 
king receiving nearly the whole of the church tithes 
for the j-ear ; and 1526, two-thirds of their pro- 
duce, although he complains that " from some con- 
cealed practice of the priesthood " these revenues 
had by no means equalled his expectations. The 
tithes were to be applied towards discharging the 
public debt. For the same purpose the nobility 
and clergy also granted an aid in 152G ; the towns 
were taxed, and a heavy tallage laid over the whole 
kingdom, on such goods as the common people 
were best aljle to spare, " because at that time 
there was very little money to take in the land "." 
Various unfavourable circumstances made the pres- 
sure of all this to be more severely felt. The tokens 
or need-money, called Mippings ^, which had been 
current at four times their worth, were at once 
cancelled in 1524, instead of being reduced to their 
real value. Misunderstandings with the Hanse 
Towns, combined with the piracies of Norby, cut 
off all importation of foreign goods, by which the 
price of salt was so much enhanced that the poorer 
classes were compelled to boil sea water ' ; and 
when this want was supplied by means of a com- 
mercial treaty which the king concluded with the 
Netherlands, a grievous dearth took place in 1527 
and 1528. Next year the kingdom was ravaged 
by that wasting epidemic which i-eceived the name 
of the English or cold sweat. Upon the famine the 
chronicles remark, that "the people had nothing 
for bread but bark-cakes, and any one who was 
able to buy chaff or mash, looked upon himself as 

will amount to 400,000 silver rix-dollars (which, taking the 
rix dollar at Is. 8rf. is £3.'i,333 of the present English money, 
an enormous sum for Sweden in that day. T.). 

'■> Tegel. Sartorius, History of the Hanseatic League iii. 
159. The Lubeckers demanded two marks Swedish for one 
of Lubeck, to which Gustavus would not consent. (The 
Lubeck mark is H§rf., so that they would have made a good 
bargain; 77,290 Lubeck marks make about £4,720. T.) 

6 Nine guilders were equal to about eight rix-dollars 
(200,000 guilders would thus be nearly £15,000). 

7 Loquutus sum majestati suae de gravamine ecclesiaruni, 
&c. ; respondit profusis lacrymis, quod nulli mortalium plus 
displicere possit eadem exactio quam sibi, et quod eam ne- 
cessitas et nulla voluntas majestati suae imperaret. Jo- 
hannes Magnus, letter to bishop Brask, August 1, 1523; 
Scan. Mem. xvii. 157. The archbishop no doubt set down 
the king's tears to the account of his own eloquence, for to 
bishop Brask Gustavus holds on the same subject language 
which is not at all that of lamentation : "This does every 
honest man's conscience tell him, that in a time of public 
strait, when such burdens are imposed on the kingdom, all 
must help to bear them ; both churches, convents, monks, 
and preachers, specially when nothing else will suffice." 
Scan. Mem. xiv. 50. 

s See Stiernman, Resolutions of Diets and Meetings, v. i. 
under all the above named years. 

9 The klipping of Gustavus had passed for eighteen so- 
called pennings, equal to three skillings five rundstycks 
(about IJd); its real value was nine rundstycks (-^rf.). The 
churches had been obliged to surrender their money for 

' Circular of the king to the country and the towns, April 
20, 1526, that "ships of Holland had arrived at Stockholm 
with salt, cloth, wine, and other wares ; wherefore the people 
should be of good heart, seeing that the dear time would 
gradually cease." Registry of the Archives. 


Anabaptist riots in 


New bishops. 
Their intrigues 


very fortunate. In Roslagen, as well as every 
where in the islets, numbers of men and cattle 
perished with hunger. The king indeed caused 
sevei'al thousand lasts of grain to be imported from 
Livonia, and sold it in the hundreds and parishes at 
a mark to the tun 2, with careful precautions that 
the price should not be raised to the poor ; but the 
people were so badly disposed and unthankful, that 
they gave no thanks to the king for this, but called 
him the hunger and the bark-king." 

The priests represented the dearth as a punish- 
ment from Heaven on account of their heretical 
sovereign ; and Gustavus had to curb both their 
disaffection, and the exaggerations of the preachers 
of the new doctrines. In Stockholm, where the 
German burghers took an eager part in the fluctu- 
ating opinions of that time, the king, on his return 
fi'om the conference of Malmoe ui the autumn of 
1524, found the whole town thrown into commotion 
by two anabaptists who had recently arrived ; Knip- 
perdolling, afterwards one of the leaders of the 
sanguinary fanatics of Munster, where his boues 
are still kept in an iron cage in the church-tower, 
and Melchior Rink. These men had found fol- 
lowers, and possessing themselves of the church of 
St. John, they preached on the book of Revelation, 
stormed the churches and monasteries, and threw 
theu* broken images and ornaments upon the streets 
and market-places. Even Olave Peterson was put 
to silence by this ; the king rebuked him sharply 
for his negligence, and banished the authors of the 
disturbances from the country. But these scenes 
gave general scandal, which was increased by the 
behaviour of many of the new preachers ; whence 
the king, who was now riding his Ericsgait, re- 
proachfully upbraided them, " as acting with great 
indiscretion, not having the right understanding or 
way to lead the people to the knowledge of God's 
word," and " as leadmg many of them an evil and 
vicious hfe." He sought to appease the people by 
every method, assuring them, that he by no means 
intended the introduction of a new faith ^, but only 
the correction of abuses. 

More than one of the Union kings had lost his 
throne for less. It was not without wonder that 
the Swedes of this day learned, that in Gustavus 

2 After 1527 the coinage was so depreciated, that three 
marks answered to one silver rix-doUar (thus making the 
mark a trifle more than GJrf). Hallenberg 1. c. 112. (The 
tun contains 4J Winchester bushels 1 about 20 tuns go to a 

3 Asanexampleof the light in which Gustavus represented 
the matter to the people, his letter to the Helsingers in 1526 
may be quoted. " Certain monks and priests," he writes, 
" have broii<jht us into scandal ; chiefly for that we blame their 
irregularities." Among these the king reckons, that if a man 
owes them anything, they refuse him the sacrament, instead 
of pursuing their demand by law ; that if a poor man on a 
holiday kills a bird, or draws himself a plate offish from the 
stream, he is forthwith obliged to pay a line to the bishop 
and the provost for sabbath-breaking ; that the laymen have 
not the same rights against the priests as these have against 
the former; that the bishops took the inheritance of priests 
dying intestate, passing over their heirs ; that the clergy have 
fraudulently possessed tliemselves of much of the crown pro- 
perty, and embezzle the king's proportion of judicial fines. 
" When they perceive that we look to the interest of the 
crown, which is incumbent on us by reason of our kingly 
office, they straightway declare that we wish to bring in a 
new faith, and Luther's doctrine ; whereas the matter is no 
otherwise than as ye have now heard, that we will not per- 

Vasa, Sweden had found, not merely a liberator, 
but a master, for men htid been long accustomed to 
revolutions. " The humours of the common people 
are wont with us lightly to change *," wrote the 
wary bishop Brask in confidence, to a colleague at 
the elective diet of Strengness in 1523, from which, 
to the dissatisfaction of both the king and the 
council, he absented himself, sending his chancellor 
in his place, with an exhortation to give good heed 
to what he set his seal. Gustavus was soon to ex- 
perience the truth of the prediction ; and the first 
revolt against him was an attempt again to upraise 
the house of Sture, wliich was highly honom-ed and 
beloved throughout the whole kingdom. 

Proof of these intrigues Gustavus obtained ere 
three months had passed over since his election, 
and two of his new bishops stood at their head. It 
was doubtless a fortunate circumstance for his im- 
pending blow to the hierarchy, that at the com- 
mencement of his reign all the bishoprics, with the 
exception of two, were vacant ^. But he deceived 
himself if he counted on the devotion of the new 
men with whom, through his own influence, the 
sees were filled. They all, sooner or later, became 
his enemies. Peter Jacobson, commonly called 
Sunnanvteder ^, who had been chancellor to the 
admiiiisti'ator Steno Sture the younger, was chosen 
bishop of Westeras. The election had proceeded 
" upon deliberation by the Dalesmen''," as he him- 
self mentions ; and in the first year of his episco- 
pate, he vv'as detected in seditious practices among 
them, as Gustavus proved by his own letters, 
which were produced before the chapter of Wes- 
teras. He was deprived of his office, and the same 
punishment overtook the newly elected archbishop, 
master Canute, provost of the chapter, who ap- 
peared as his defender. They fled to Dalecarlia 
and stirred up the Dalesmen, who wrote to Gus- 
tavus ; " that they could by uo means suffer that 
he should impose more taxes in money on churches, 
convents, priests, monks, the men of the trading 
towns, or the commonalty of Sweden ;" they re- 
nounced fealty and obedience to him, if he would 
not lower prices in the kingdom, expel foreigners 
from the council ^, and clear himself from the 
charges of having thrown Christina Gyllenstierna 

mit them to give loose to their avarice contrary to law." 
Registry of the Archives 

•* Sententia vulgi nostri facile solet variari. Ha;c fiducia- 
liter vobis scribimus. Letter of Brask to the bishop elect of 
Skara. Scan. Mem. xvii 131. It was not till later in the 
year that Brask renounced all communion with the fugitive 
archbishop Gustavus Trolle, to whom he had recommended 
himself before the latter's departure : rebus regni tunc in eo 
statu existeiitibus, ut diflficillimura videretur regem Chris- 
tianum dejici posse. Brask to Gustave TroUe, October 18, 
1523, 1. c. 171. 

^ Upsala, Strengness, Westeras, Skara, Abo. Of the old 
prelates there remained bishop Ingemar of Wexio, compliant 
and enfeebled by age, and Brask of Linkoping, the only one 
who was eflScit-nt. 

^ Lit. Southwind. 

7 Maluro Vallensium consilio. Letter to bishop Brask, 
Scan. Mem. xvii. 123. This was according to the privileges 
then claimed by the Dalesmen, of which more hereafter. 

8 " Ma.'lers, trolls (goblins), and devils, who lay their heads 
together to prey upon the common people." Letter and Re- 
monstrance of the Dalesmen, Registry of the Archives, 1524. 
By the two first words they mean Bernard of Melen, and 
Gustave Trolle, on whose alliance with the king untrue ru- 
mours were spread abroad. 


Plots for the house 
of Sture. 


Punishment of the- 


into prison, and made away with or banished her 
son Nicholas Sture'. 

This liappened at the very time when Gustavus 
had procured the release of Sture's widow from a 
Danish prison. Cliristina Gyllenstieriia met at 
Calmar her eldest son Nicholas Sture', who was 
now in his twelfth year, and had lately returned 
from Dantzic, whither he had been sent in 1520, 
to escape the persecutions of Christian. Bernard 
of Melen sought by detaining young Sture hi his 
charge, to give a colour to his own defection, and 
left a servant of the house of Sture' in command of 
the castle of Calmar '. Rumours were soon si)read 
both in and out of Sweden, that Severin Norby 
was aiming at the hand of Christina Gyllenstierna, 
and through her, at the government of Sweden *. 
Gustavus publicly alludes to this report as the 
loose talk of the common people, which was cir- 
culated by mischievous intriguers 2. He secretly 
suspected Christina Gyllenstierna of participating 
in this design ^. She herself denied that Norby, 
although she had given him hopes, ever received 
her plighted troth *, and allowed the king to choose 
for her another husband. Gustavus received the 
young Nicholas Sture into his court, and sent him 
in the spring to his mother, but he died in the 
summer of the same year at Upsala ^. The king 
was dissatisfied with the conduct of this youth. A 
report was spread by traitorously inclined persons, 
that he had fled to save his life, and we shall soon 
see a false Sture appearmg under his name in 

Irreconcilable interests had combmed in these 
plots, which had the double object of elevating to 
power the liouse of Stur^, and of restoring king 
Christian. That the latter entered into Norby's 
intentions, we learn from a written promise of the 
fugitive prince, by which ho engaged " that if lord 
Severin should marry the lady Christina, and there- 
by come into the government of Sweden, he should 
hold the kingdom absolutely as the king's lieu- 
tenant for a yearly tribute "." Christian moreover 
issued a public letter, purporting that he had 

9 Bishop Brask writes to Thure Jenson, that Bernard of 
Melen had named Henry the Jute, who had been in the ser- 
vice of Christina Gyllenstierna, to be captain of the castle, 
and that the latter had with him Nicholas Sture, which caused 
much blame to be cast upon the lady Christina. Scan. Mem. 
xiv. 63, Gi. 

■ A letter from Mecklenburg in the Archives of Christian 
II. (without name of writer or date) mentions that Severin 
Norby will w-ed Steno Sture's widow, and receive with her 
the whole kingdom of Sweden. 

2 Letter to the nobility and commonalty of Smaland, 25th 
March, 1525. Scan. Mem. xiv. 44. 

3 Gustavus writes to bishop Brask, that Severin Norby had 
sent messages to Lady Christina, proposing marriage, by 
which she and her children might arrive at the government, 
" into which indiscretion she had allowed herself to be mis- 
led ;" 1. c. 32 ; and to Magnus Brynteson (Liliehok), com- 
mander at Elfsborg, on February 15, 1525, that mischievous 
intrigues had been set on foot, especially by the lady Chris- 
tina and her party, for the discovery of which the king begs 
him to employ his spies, both within and without the king- 
dom. Registry of the Archives. 

■> In a letter of December 29, 1526 (quoted by Hvitfeld in 
his History of Frederic I.), she begs that influence may be 
used to induce Norby to desist from such discourse. She had 
indeed written to him that she would prefer him to every 
other suitor, if she should ever contract another marriage, 
and had presented him with a ring, but had never given him 

transferred his power to Norby until he should 
himself return to his dominions'. Norby, who 
still remained in Gottland, made a descent there- 
from upon Scania in the spring of 1525, where 
both the country and towns, excepting Malmce, 
again did homage to Christian. At the same time 
the factious bishops attempted to induce the Dales- 
men to march against Gustavus s. Letters forged 
ui their name, with false accounts of insurrectionary 
movements, and exhortations to a general rising, 
were circulated throughout the kingdom about 
Easter. Not finding, however, the support on 
which they liad counted, the prelates fled from 
Dalecarlia into Norway, whence upon the demand 
of Gustavus they were sent back under a promise 
of safe-conduct on his side 9 : yet with the con- 
dition that " they should abide the sentence of 
their legitimate judges, and sufffer and make atone- 
ment as the award should direct." Olave, arch- 
bishop of Drontheim, seeing himself obliged to 
deliver up the fugitives, declared in his letter to 
the king that" their legitimate judges" were " the 
prelates of the Church, seeing that the accused 
were men of the priestly order i." But this was 
far from being the opinion of Gustavus. He caused 
them both to be tried by the council as traitors, 
without regard to the protest of the bishops who 
were present, and of the chapter of Upsala, and 
inflicted the pmiishment to which they were con- 
demned, in spite of every intercession*. Pre- 
viously to their execution, they were subjected to 
contumelies which cannot be vindicated, although 
the object doubtless was to show how little eccle- 
siastical dignity would protect the guilty. Clad in 
tattered vestments, and sitting backwards on 
starveling jades, the off'enders were led into Stock- 
holm, the one with a crown of straw, the other 
with an episcopal mitre of birch-rind on his 
head. Mountebanks in antick dresses encom- 
passed them, who bawled, " Here comes the new 
king, lord Peter Sunnanv£eder." In this fashion 
they made the circuit of the town, and were forced 
at last to drink fellowship with the hangman ^. 

her promise. At Christmastide, 1526, the king betrothed 
her to John Thureson (Roos), son of the high steward Thure 

5 " We send to you, according to your request, your son 
Nils, well perceiving that he can have little fruit of instruc- 
tion or good manners with us, where he gives small heed to 
his service, and shows no will or liking to be at hand where 
we are, but rather shuns us and holds himself apart where 
it is possible for him, though this be very displeasing to us, 
and we have chastised him for it with words and meet cor- 
rection. Seemeth to us therefore advisable that jou should 
send him for some time to another place, where he may more 
invprove himself, not spending his time unprofitably." Letter 
from the king to Lady Christina by Nils Stenson. Grips 
holm, April 1, 1527. Reg. of the Archives. 

6 Articles for Severin Norby by Roloff Matson, March 20, 
1525, in the Archives of Christian II. 

7 The letter, which was intercepted, may be read in Hvit- 
feld's History of Frederic I. 

8 Confession of Peter Grym. Troil, Memoirs, ii. 282. 

9 See the letter of safe-conduct in Tegel. 

1 Letter of the archbishop to the king, dated Nidaros, 
July 5, 1526. Registry of the Archives. 

■■* " Theretohis grace made answer, that such matters could 
not be so easily passed over." Minute-book of the town of 
Stockholm. Troil, Memoirs, ii. 269. 

3 This took place in the autumn of 1 520, when the sentence 
had been passed on Master Canute, but not on Peter Sun- 



Gustavus and bishop 


Assumes supremacy in 
the cliurcli. 


Meii now began to be aware with whom they had 
to do ; but they scarcely yet comprehended the full 
measure of that intrepidity which in Gustavus was 
usually evolved stroke by stroke, as the resistance 
oftered and the circumstances of the case demanded, 
from a beginning that was apparently tranquil and 
even compliant. For such al way was his commence- 
ment, unless urgent necessity prescribed a differ- 
ent line, and he ever went greater lengths than 
even his opponents expected. Signs like these an- 
nounce to us the soul which teems with a future 
yet unrevealed. Those who wish to study his 
character in this phase from its earliest disclosure, 
may be referred to the correspondence with bishop 
Brask, as one of the main sources for the history of 
the first year of his reign. This prelate was beyond 
comparison the most influential, as well as the most 
sagacious and best informed man of his day in Swe- 
den * ; in his way the upright friend of his country, 
for whose economic prosperity he formed projects 
which Gustavus himself, and subsequently others 
of Sweden's distinguished men, again revived ^ ; a 
friend too of Swedish liberty, as he himself under- 
stood it, and as he explains it in letters to his friend 
Thure' Jenson, " that the freedom of the realm 
depended on the church and the baronage " ;" for 
which reason he opposed, and afterwards censured, 
the government of the Sturfe '. He treated the 
young king from the beginning with a kind of 
fatherly superiority, styling him administrator and 
" dear Gustavus," and accepting in return the title 
of " gracious lord." Shortly after the royal elec- 
tion, he obtained a confirmation of all the privileges 
of his bishopric and church *. But he was soon 
destined himself to feel the force of the king's say- 
ing to the last catholic archbishop, Joannes Mag- 
nus, — " Thy grace and our grace have not room 
beneath one roof '." With the aggressions of Gus- 
tavus on the clergy began the prelate's opposition ; 
and with every impediment thrown in his way, the 
king went one step farther, as if he were bent on 
reducing his most powerful adversary to extremi- 
ties, so that the latter at length determined, after 

jianvaader; they were sentenced to be beheaded and broken 
on the wheel, and were accordingly executed in February, 
1527, the former in Stockholm, the latter in Upsala. 

* Doctor Peter Bennetson, who travelled abroad in 1529, 
received a commission from Brask to send into the country 
glaziers and paper-makers, "to get knowledge of water- 
hammers both for copper and iron," and also " to learn to work 
in a laboratory," as the bishop meant to establish one. He 
was likewise charged to buy for the latter not only breviaries 
and mass-books, but also the latest juridical writings and 
works of the Italian poets, seeing that " there were always 
on sale in the city of Rome many Italian treatises in rhyme, 
as for instance ' Inamoramentum Karoli Magni, Inamora- 
mentum Renoldi vel Orlandi,' &c." Scan. Mem. xiii. 114. 

' Brask, in a letter to Thure Jenson of the year 1526 (com- 
pare Linkiiping's Biblioth. Handl. i. 191), was the first to 
propose that connection of the Baltic with the North Sea, 
which has been effected jn our own days by the Giita canal. 

' Scan. Mem. xiii. 120. 

7 He imputed to Steno Sture the elder the disturbances 
which had vexed the kingdom for so many years (id. xiv. 47), 
and had claims against Steno the younger, which were first 
adjusted by an agreement with his widow. 

8 Confirmatio d. Gostavi regis electi privilegiorura domini 
Lincopensis et ecclesise ibidem d. 18 Oct. 1523. 1. c. xvii. 170. 

9 So Gustavus is said to have answered when the arch- 
bishop thus pledged him at a banquet in Upsala, " Our grace 
drinks to your grace." (Rhyzelius, Bishop's Chronicle.) The 
weak Joannes Magnus had come as papal legate to Sweden, 

the example of Joannes Magnus, to quit the king- 
dom. But he was first to see the hierarchy of 
Sweden completely overthrown. Presages of its 
downfall were already fast accumulating. 

Olave Peterson, although a priest, entered into 
wedlock at Stockholm in 1525. " He will defend 
this by God's law," writes the king to bishop Brask. 
Accordingly, he vindicated his conduct in a pub- 
lished tract 1 ; nor did his example want imitators 
in the order to which he belonged. In the capital 
the Latin mass was abolished by a resolution of the 
magistrates. At the fair of St. Eric's day, 1526, 
Gustavus himself, sitting on hoi'seback on one of 
the barrows of Upsala, discoursed to the people 
who stood round, on the uselessness of the Latin 
service and the monastic life 2. Then repairing to 
the chapter, he demanded of them, " by what right 
the church held temporal power, and whether any 
ground for its privileges was to be found in Holy 
Scripture ;" — the New Testament, translated by 
Laurence Anderson, having been printed this year 
at the king's instance. On the other hand, he con- 
firmed the privileges of knighthood and nobility at 
a baronial diet held in Vadstena. He now sought 
to acquire .an ally against the church, and showed 
the nobility what they might gain by the reduction 
of the conventual estates, prefeiTing himself, be- 
fore the council, a claim to the monastery of Grips- 
holm, as heir of its founder, Steno Sture the elder. 
His allegation was, that the consent which his father 
gave to its foundation had been extorted. Shortly 
afterwards, grounding himself on the voluntary 
cession of the monks, he sequestrated the convent 
without waiting for the declaration of the council. 
An explanatory letter was issued to all the pro- 
vinces, intended, in his own words, to obviate evil 
reports, for which end the transaction is I'epre- 
sented almost as an instance of the royal gene- 
rosity^. At the same time he wrote to bishop 
Brask *, who had undertaken to make an inventory 
of the appurtenances of Nydala Abbey, " that he, 
the king, would himself take order regarding the 

and as such was reverently received by the king ; but he was 
induced, by views upon the archiepiscopal chair, to treat the 
new doctrines with great mildness. Incited by Brask, he 
attempted afterwards to show his power, but with such in- 
discretion that he was deprived, and obliged to quit Sweden 
in the autumn of 1526, under the semblance of a legation to 
Poland. The same year Brask also seems to have resolved 
upon flight ; for he twice requested, though vainly, the king's 
consent to his visitation of Gottland, a pretext on which he 
actually left the kingdom in the following year. 

' Een liten undervisning om echtenskapet, &'c. A short 
treatise of marriage, in whom it is commendable or not. 
Stockholm, 1528. 

2 The peasants called that they would keep their monks, 
and not allow them to be driven out, but would themselves 
feed and fodder them. Tegel. 

3 In the letter of the monks on this afljiiir, circulated at 
the same time with that of the king, they say that they had 
solicited the consent of his grace to their repairing every man 
to his own friends, which he had been graciously pleased to 
permit, and had distributed to them in addition clothes and 
money to a great sum, for which he had taken into his own 
hands, by way of indemnification, all the estates of the mo- 
nastery. In this way the king obtained even those to which 
he could not lay any hereditary claim. These are doubtless 
what the king means by the "estates which had fallen in 
along with the others, and are not our own," in a letter lo the 
council, to whom he refers this matter. Register in the Ar 
chives for 1526. 

■> August 29, 1526. 


Tlie false Sture. 
His impostures. 


Rebellion in the 


monasterie.s," which was indeed performed in such 
a fasliion that one after the other was brought under 
his own management. The secular fiefs of the 
bishops were confiscated ', and the fines at law due 
to tliem were collected by the king's bailiffs, all 
complaints on this head being set at nought. No 
further regard was paid to the spiritual juris- 
diction ; on the contrary, the king adjudicated even 
in ecclesiastical causes, gave to monks and nuns 
who wished to quit their convents letters of pro- 
tection ^, and declared excommunications invalid '. 
He appointed and deposed priests by his own 
authority, and assumed the episcopal right of 
taking the effects of those who died intestate, doing 
this even in some cases where the parties had left 
a will *, and sharing their revenues with them at 
his good pleasure. 

The king was encompassed by revolt when he 
embarked in these proceedings. In the autumn of 
1525, after their defection with the prelates above- 
named, the Dalesmen had concluded an agreement 
with Gustavus at the provincial diet of Tuna, which 
he attended in person ; but this was of no long 
duration. In the very next year they refused to 
pay the taxes imposed for the discharge of the pub- 
lic debt, as being unauthorized by law ^ ; and all 
Norrland adopted a similar determination. At the 
commencement of 1527, consequently six months 
before the death of the youth Nicholas Sture, an 
impostor, bearing his name, appeared in the more 
remote parishes of Daleearlia. This person fled, 
he pretended, before the fiice of a heretical and 
godless king, who would not suffer the rightful heir 
of the realm to remain at the court, drawing a 
sword against his bosom wherever they might 
meet, and continually thirsting for his blood. The 
false Sture was a peasant lad from the pai-ish of 
Biorksta in Westmanland, the illegitimate son of a 
cotter woman, considerably older than the object 
of liis personation, yet of delicate and fair aspect, 

5 Bishop Brask lost the hundreds of GiiUberg, Boberg, and 
Aska. See his correspondence, which also contains the 
proofs of the following statements. 

6 Letter of protection for a monk of the Franciscan monas- 
tery at Arboga,"' who wishes for reasonable cause to quit his 
convent and order." December 27, 1526. Register in the 

^ Thus the king rescinded Brask's interdict against the 
marriage of Olave Tyste, a noble of East-Gothland, which 
the parents attempted to hinder by placing the bride, against 
her will, in the convent of Vadstena. 

8 The priest in the parish of Munktorp, in the diocese of 
Westeras, had died. The king orders Benuet the Westgoth, 
his bailiff in Westeras, to see that the successor to the bene- 
fice, Master Lars, sends him the silver tankards of tlie de- 
ceased, and keeps his horse for the king's use ; also that the 
king should get his share of the rest of the silver ; yet the 
successor might retain some of it, " that he might not be 
quite foredone." Reg. in the Archives, 1525. At Abo, 
Master Jacob, the provost of the chapter, died, and be- 
queathed by will a large sum of money. The king exhorts 
the chapter, Aug. 23, 1526, " every man carefully to consider 
whether that money could not have been better applied than 
Master Jacob had applied it ?" whence he enjoins them to 
modify the disposition of it so, that when the heirs and the 
poor had obtained their share, the rest might be employed 
for the payment of the public debt. They are reprimanded 
for having chosen a successor without inquiring the king's 
pleasure; yet their nominee may retain his place, if he will 
pay 200 marks yearly into the royal chancery. The king had 
previously caused a catalogue to be made out of the benefices 
in the gift of the crown in Finland. By a letter of Feb. 1, 

crafty, smooth-tongued, (he spoke with such elo- 
quence as to draw tears from the Dalecarlians,) and 
not without experience of the world, having served 
in noble households. He had been practised in his 
part by Peter Grym, who had formerly filled a 
place in the household of Steno Sture' the younger, 
and was latterly the chief confederate of Peter 
Suunanvseder. This pretender found many ad- 
herents in the upper Dales, where the Sturd name 
was highly honoured, and obtained the support of 
the archbishop of Drontheim. He married a Nor- 
wegian damsel of condition, surrounded himself with 
a body-guard and a court, (his chancellor was a 
runaway monk,) coined money, and was called the 
Dale-younker, or Dale-king. 

At this time, when one or more provinces rose in 
revolt against the legal authorities, such affairs 
did not cause great exasperation on either side. It 
was by no means unusual to declare a willmgness to 
open a negociation for the adjustment of conditions 
of obedience, and Gustavus was always ready to con- 
sent to such a proposal. There was no rebellion 
with which he did not negociate, and none which 
he did not punish. The discussions with the Dales- 
men, (whose demands he heard with patience, as 
for example, their request that he would not suffer 
embroidered clothes to be worn at his court, and 
that all those who ate flesh on Friday should be 
burned alive,) were protracted throughout a whole 
year, partly on account of the tribute, payment of 
which every man refused >, and partly on account 
of the false Sture, who found support in the upper 
parishes, where Gustavus himself had first com- 
menced his career, but not in the mining districts, 
or the southern portion of the province. Mean- 
while the king convoked for the 16th of June, in 
Westeras, that diet whose results were to be so 

As early as the commencement of 1527, Gustavus 

1526, they were all taxed at 300, 200, or 150 marks yearly, if 
the incumbent preserved his dues. Reg. in the Arch. 1526. 

9 The king himself appears to have had some doubt on 
this head, as he writes to the bailiffs who were to collect the 
tax, " Ye have no need to wonder that we give you this com- 
mand, seeing that the council have so ordained it." In the 
same letter, however, he enjoins the bailiffs to use all their dili- 
gence and pains that the common people may be induced to 
consent. It is generally difficult to distinguish between the 
exhortations and orders of Gustavus, for he usually begins 
with the one and ends with the other. In the spring of 

1527, the king complains in a letter to the bishop of Skara, 
of the notion spread by certain worthless persons, that "we 
were minded to appropriate the said tax to our personal use," 
while he found himself between so many fires, first with the 
Lubeckers, if their demands were not satisfied, then with 
the Danes and Norwegians, if they had not their own will 
with Viken tBohuslan) ; lastly, " with our own people, who 
bring us into evil repute by reason of this very tax, clamour- 
ing that they are burdened with one impost after another, 
especially the Dalesmen and Helsingers, who have yet paid 
not a penny, but hatch one treasonable design after another, 
and harbour among them in the upper country a notorious 
rogue and thief" (the false Sture). 

' In the letter of March 2, 1527, to the commonalty of the 
Dales, the king vainly represents that it was absurd for 
those who dwelt in Tuna and other places, where there was 
good commodity of life by fields and meadows, to expect to 
excuse themselves on the plea of inability, like those who 
dwelt in Upper Daleearlia; "but they are not such a set as 
they call themselves," he writes to the council of state ; " it 
is not our mind that they should extort from us better con- 
ditions than others of the realm." Reg. in the Archives, 1527. 
I 2 


Diet of Westeras 


Spcecli of tlie high 


intimated, that with the assistance of the council 
and the wisest men of the reahn, he would make 
inquiry into the dissensions which had arisen in 
religion. Since his accession, general or baronial 
diets ^ had been held yearly, often twice a-year, the 
position of the king requiring it, although the fre- 
quency of these meetings was a subject of com- 
plaint. They appear to have been attended for the 
most part only by the neighboui-ing inhabitants 
and the councillors resident in the province in 
which they convened ; sometimes too their acts 
were drawn up only by the king and councillors. 
In Westeras the numbers of the assemblage were 
for that day considerable. There were present 
four bishops^, four prebendaries, fifteen lords of 
the council, one hundred and twenty-nine nobles, 
thirty-two burgesses*, fourteen miners, with one 
hundred and five peasants from all quarters of 
the kingdom, excepting Dalecarlia *, from which 
no members were sent, and Fuiland, whence 
none appear to have been summoned, although 
the statute of the diet was afterwards promul- 
gated there, as well as in the remainder of the 
kingdom. Warning had been given to the nobles 
that they should attend well equipped ; the king 
reckoned upon their support in the decisive step 
which he meditated against the authority of the 
clergy. At the banquet with which he welcomed 
all the estates, it was noticed that the bisliops 
who formerly on all public occasions were entitled, 
in right of their office, to the highest place, even 
above the administrators, if there were no king, 
should now be seated below the councillors. On the 
day following, the prelates met in the church of 
St. Egidius with closed doors, and subscribed, 
mainly at the instigation of bishop Brask, an anti- 
cipatory protest against all aggressions on the rights 
of the church. They concealed this instrument under 
the floor of the church, where it was found fifteen 
years afterwards. 

The deliberations of the estates were held in the 
hall of the Dominican monastery at Westeras, and 
were opened with an exposition of the state of the 
realm, which was read by the chancellor Lawrence 
Anderson. He reminded them of all that the 
king had done for the country, and under what 
cii'cumstances he had taken on himself the burden 
of the government ; he might have found good 
reason to excuse himself, in the fear that such a 
game might be played with him, as beforetime 
with many others *, from the unsteady humours 
which possessed the nation against authority and 
government ; he was young, and had given consent 
to that which afterwards he had often rued. It 

2 Riksdag. Herredag. 

3 Namely Brask of Linkcpping, Magnus Haraldson of 
Skara, Magnus Sommar of Strengness, and Peter Magnuson 
of Westeras, the latter being the only one besides Brask who 
had received his consecration, Tyhich was performed at Rome 
by the king's special request, after Peter Sunnanvaeder had 
been deposed. This Peter Magnuson afterwards consecrated 
the bishops appointed by the king. Of the four prebendaries, 
two were from Upsala, of whicTi the archiepiscopal chair was 
vacant, and two from Vexio, the bishop of which was pre- 
vented by age from attending. 

■• Besides the representatives of Stockholm, who, singularly 
enough, are not named in the catalogue in Sliernman, although 
they were present, and had great influence with the diet. 

^ So the king himself complains (letter to the common 
people of the Dales, February 14, 1528, Reg. of the Arch.l. 
Deputies were present, however, from the district of the 

was not possible for him to rule a people who, 
whensoever the king wished to abrogate aught 
that was faulty in the state, straightway took to 
their pole-axes, and called the ill-disposed to revolt 
by " the looped and charred staff of summons ' ;" 
and most of all up in Dalecarlia, where they 
boasted that they had raised his grace to the 
throne, although the Dalesmen, after the victory 
at Westeras, which indeed vvas the beginning of 
the liberation, but far from its close, had mostly 
gone home. Now they pretended that all had been 
wrought by their hands ; they would set in or out 
of the government of the kingdom whom they 
listed, and bawled for more freedom than other 
good men of the realm, just as if these were to be 
looked upon, in respect of themselves, as but slaves 
and bondsmen *. The German envoys were now 
present, and demanded payment of their debts ; 
the Dalecarlians might come and see whether they 
would hold an insurrection for good payment. All 
was laid to the king's charge, both the dearth 
which he had sought to mitigate to the best of his 
ability, and the assessment of churches and mo- 
nasteries which was to be excused by the necessity 
of the case ; although it was otherwise reasonable 
in itself, that the superfluity which the commoners 
had accumulated should also be used for their re- 
quirements, and for the lightening of theii- burdens, 
when need was. Lastly, it was imputed to the king 
that he v^'as introducing a new faith into the land, 
because he, and many with him, had now learned 
to consider how they were cozened and oppressed 
in money matters by the churchmen, who were 
under the shield of the Pope in Rome. The rulers 
of this land had been long enough exposed to the 
danger of provoking the Romish confederacy, and 
had been obliged to endure the insolence of the 
bishops who revolted and levied war before their eyes, 
according as the archbishop Gustavus Trolls had 
declared to the lord Steno Sture, that he had re- 
ceived from his pope a sharp sword to bear upright 
before him, and that he would use other weapons 
than a wax-candle mthe conflict. The same admi- 
nistrator, lord Steno Stur^, had not been able to 
maintain more than 500 soldiers from the revenues 
of the kingdom, because the crown and the baron- 
age had scarcely the third part of that which was 
possessed by priests and monks, convents and 
churches. The king acknowledged that he had 
pennitted God's word and gospel to be preached. 
But he had caused these preachers to be summoned 
to defend their doctrine, and some of them were 
now present and ready to do so. This however, 

Kopparberg, and negociators were afterwards sent by the 

* " That the like Shrove-tide mumming might be tried 
with him as with many others." Tegel, whom along with 
the Chronicles we have followed for this exposition. In the 
king's " Propositions," Stiernman, Resolutions i. 57, it is 
stated that he had offered so early as 1521, in tlie congress in 
Vadstena, from which his regency is usually dated, to lay 
down the chieftaincy (hbfwidsmansdbmet), which is merely 
another word for the former ; whence we see that he con- 
sidered himself as Administrator by the choice of the people 
in Upper Sweden, before he was confirmed in the office by 
the nobility at Vadstena. 

7 " As has lately happened in West-Gothland," the king 
adds. The epithets applied to the statf of summons have 
been explained in Chapter VII. 

8 " Esthers and thralls," it is said ; therefore the name of 
this people is used as synonymous with bondmen. 


Disputes between the 
king and nobles. 


His demands 


the prelates of the Church heeded not, but wished 
to preserve their old usages, be they right or un- 
right. There were some who slandered him pub- 
licly and shamelessly, pretending that he would 
suffer no priests to remain in the country ; but he 
was minded to die like a Christian man, and knew 
that teachers were indispensable. He would sup- 
port them in all matters if they discharged their 
duties satisfactorily, but he requested the ad- 
vice of the estates regarding those who did not use 
the faculties of their office for the behoof of the 
commonalty. He himself was ready to abdicate 
his dignity in exchange for a fief and to give 
them thanks for the honours they had conferred on 
him, but if any government were to exist, means 
must be found for its sustentation, and now more 
than formerly, if Sweden were to have a king. 
That method of carrying on war which was now 
used in other countries, made greater charges 
necessai'y ; the fortresses and castles of the king- 
dom were dilapidated and in part destroyed ; the 
income of the crown was endangered, whilst every 
one wished to be king over his own labourei's ; 
and yet the baronage had become weaker, so that 
it was unable to fulfil its obligations for the defence 
of the realm. The customs had sunk to nothing ; 
the mines of silver and copper had fallen to decay ; 
the trade did not support the towns, and for the 
little which yet remained, the country and the 
towns were quarrelling ; the yearly outlay of the 
crown now amounted to two and a half times more 
than the receipts ^. For such a strait help was re- 
quired, whosoever might bear rule in the land. 

When this statement had been read, the king 
requested an answer from the barons and the 
bishops. Thure Jenson, the oldest member of the 
council, who had been raised by the king in the 
preceding year to be high steward, called upon 
bishop Brask to speak. The prelate declared that 
he knew indeed well m what fealty he was bound 
to his king ; yet that he and his whole class were 
also obliged to render obedience to the Pope in 
spiritual things, and could not without his sanction 
consent either to any alteration of doctrine, or to a 
diminution of the rights and property of the 
Church. Had worthless priests and monks sought 
gain by encouraging superstitious usages, which the 
heads of the Church themselves disapproved, such 
practices might be abrogated and punished. 

The king inquired of the council and the nobility, 
whether they deemed this a fair answer ; Thurd 
Jensou declared that he knew of none better. 
" Then have we no will," exclaimed Gustavus, 
" longer to be your king. From you we had ex- 
pected another answer, but now we cannot wonder 
that the common people should give us all manner 
of disobedience and misliking, when they have such 
ringleaders. Get they not rain, the fault is ours ; 
if sunshine fail them, 'tis the same cry ; if bad 
years, hunger, and pest come, so must we bear 
the blame. All of ye will be our masters ; monks, 
and priests, and creatures of the Pope, ye set over 
our heads, and for all our toils for your welfare, we 
have no other reward to expect, than that ye would 
gladly see the axe at our neck, yet none of you 
but grasp its handle. Such guerdon we can as well 
want as any of you. Who would be your king on 

9 In the Recess of Westeras, in Stjernman, the king 
states the certain receipts of the crown at 21,000 marks 

such terms ? Not the worst fiend in hell, much 
less a man. Therefore look to it, that ye release 
me fairly from the government, and restore me 
that which I have disbursed from my own stock for 
the general weal ; then will I depart, and never see 
again my ungrateful father-land." The king at tliese 
words burst into tears and hastily quitted the hall. 

In the confusion which now ensued no one 
ventured to speak, much less to tender advice. 
Thure Jenson alone was bent on showing his 
courage, and prepared for his departure with beat 
of drum, aftirming that no man within this year 
should turn him into a heathen, Lutheran, or heretic. 
But when on the following day the same indecisi(jn 
prevailed among the barons, expressions of im- 
patience began to be heard from a number of the 
common people. If the matter were rightly con- 
sidered, they said, king Gustavus had reason on 
his side ; the good lords might now make an end of 
the business, else would the peasants take counsel 
for themselves. The tradei's from the towns were 
of the same opinion ; the burgesses of Stockholm 
cried that they would at least keep the capital open 
to the king ; and Magnus Sommar, the bishop elect 
of Strengness, at length declared, that the servants 
of the Church wished not to be screened at the 
peril of ruin to the whole kingdom. Many thanked 
him for this speech, and besought the clergy that 
the contested points of doctrine might be handled 
before the estates, in order that laymen also 
might gain some insight into them. Olave Peter- 
son and doctor Peter Galle thereupon disputed 
throughout a whole day, the latter answering at 
first only in Latin, till the people with threats com- 
pelled him to make use of his mother-tongue. On 
the third day even Thure' Jenson and his party 
were obliged to yield, since the peasants and 
burghers tumultuously called, that they would go 
to king Gustavus, and with his help visit and 
destroy them all if they would not give way. A 
deputation was despatched to the khig, who mean- 
while was taking his pleasure in the castle with 
his captains of war. The chancellor and Olave 
Peterson laid before him the supplication of the 
estates, that he would quietly continue in the go- 
vernment, and they would pay him willing obedi- 
ence ; yet Gustavus gave them a severe answer, 
denying their request. Three times was the same 
petition cari-ied up by new commissioners, in the 
last instance falling on their knees with tears, 
before he allowed himself to relent. When he 
again, upon the fourth day, appeared among the 
estates, " there wanted little," say the chronicles, 
" for the common people to have kissed his feet ; 
although a great part of those who were there 
congregated soon forgot this transaction, and were 
afterwards no better than before." 

All his demands were conceded. The king's 
propositions (as the phrase now is, but then called 
" framsattningar," while Swedish words were still 
used for Swedish affaii's) were answered by each 
class for itself, by the nobility, the traders, the 
miners, and the peasants, although their delibera- 
tions appear to have been held in company. The 
statute which was the result of these, known under 
the title of the Recess of Westeras, and dated on 
Midsummer's day 1527, was issued in the name of 

(£800) at the most, while the outlay amounted to more than 

60,000 marks (£2000) yearly. 


Legislation of the 


Bisho|is' castles 


tlie council of state, whose seals wei'e appended to 
it, with those of the nobility and of certain burghers 
and miners appointed on the part of the common- 
alty. The bishops, who from this time were no 
longer summoned to the council, briefly declared, 
in a special instrument, " that they were content, 
how rich or poor soever his grace would have 
them to be." The act of the council on the Recess 
of Westeras contains, 1. A mutual engagement to 
withstand all attempts at revolt and to punish 
them, as also to defend the present government 
against all enemies, foreign and domestic ; 2. A 
grant of power to the king, to take into his own 
hands the castles and strongholds of the bishops, 
and to fix their revenues ' as well as those of the 
prebends and canonries, to levy fines hitherto pay- 
able to the bishops, and to regulate the monasteries, 
" in which there had for a long time been woeful 
misgovernmcnt ;'' 3. Authority for the nobles to 
resume that part of their hereditary property which 
had been conveyed to churches and convents since 
the Inquisition (rafst) of Charles Canuteson in 
1454, if the heir-at-law could substantiate his 
birthright thereto, at the Ting, by the oaths of 
twelve men 2 ; 4. Liberty for the preachers to 
proclaim the pure word of God, " but not" the 
barons add, " uncertain miracles, human inven- 
tions and fables, as hath been much used hereto- 
fore." Respecting the new faith, on the other 
hand, the burghers and miners declare that " in- 
quiry might be made, but that the matter passed 
their understanding ;" as do the peasants, since 
" it was hard to judge more deeply than under- 
standing permitted." The answer of the latter 
betrays the affection they still, for the most part, 
bore to the clergy, with the exception of tlie men- 
dicant friars or sack-monks, of whose conduct they 
complain. Of the bishops' castles they say that 
the king may take them in keeping, until the king- 
dom shall be more firmly settled ; for the article 
respecting the revenues of the Church, they believe 
they are unable to answer it, but commit this matter 
to the king and his council. In that supplement 
to the statute, which is entitled the Ordinance of 
Westeras, it is enacted, that a register of all the 
rents of the bishops, cathedrals, and canons, 
should be drawn up, and the king might direct 
what proportion of these should be reserved to the 
former owners, and how much paid over to him for 
the requirements of the crown ; that ecclesiastical 
offices, not merely the higher, but the inferior, 
should for the future be filled up only with the 
king's consent, so that the bishops might supply 
the vacant parishes with preachers, but subject to 

' Or " with how many men they should ride," since the 
revenues of a baron were at that time reckoned hy the num- 
ber of his armed followers. The archbishop Joannes Magnus, 
in the year of his deposition, rode his visitation into Norr- 
land with a train of 300 men, and was attended by the sons 
of the most distinguished nobles. 

2 This related to land exempt from taxes (fralsejord) ; 
taxable ground (skattejord), which had been transferred to 
the Church, was to be restored, " however long it might have 
been alienated." 

3 The king did not demand the castle of Griinsb from the 
bishop of Westeras, because he had already, in 1.^21, taken it 
from bishop Otto, who favoured the Danes, without subse- 
quently restoring it to his successor Peder Sunnanvasder, 
which was one of the motives to his defection. The king 
acknowledges — as he writes in 1525 to the provost of the 

reviewal by the king, who might remove those 
whom he found to be unfit ; that in secular matters 
priests should be amenable to the civil jurisdiction, 
and on their decease no part of their effects should 
devolve to the bishops ; finally, that from that day 
the gospels should be read in all schools, " as be- 
seems those which are truly Christian." 

When these arrangements had been concerted, 
the king turned towards the prelates, and demanded 
from the bishop of Strengness, the castle of Tyn- 
nelso, which the latter declared himself ready to 
surrender. A similar answer was returned by the 
bishop of Skara in reference to that of Lecko^, 
but when the king came to bishop Brask and re- 
quested his castle of Munkeboda, silence and sighs 
were the only reply. Thur^ Jenson begged for 
his old friend, that the castle might be at least 
spared to him during his life time, but the king 
answered shortly, " No !" Eight lords of the coun- 
cil were obliged on the spot to become sureties 
for the bishop's obedience. Forty men of his body- 
guard were taken from him to be entered among 
the royal forces, and they formed a portion of the 
troops who were forthvifith dispatched to take pos- 
session of the fortress with its artillery and appur- 
tenances. At the same time, the king sent various 
men of note as commissioners to the principal 
churches and monasteries throughout Sweden, to 
take into their keeping all documents concerning the 
estates and revenues of these foundations, and a de- 
claratory letter of the council on theRecess and Or- 
dinance of Westeras was issued to all the provinces. 
Bishop Brask succeeded by a seeming submission 
in freeing himself from the securities he had been 
obliged to find ; shortly afterwards, pretending a 
visitation to Gottland, he quitted the kingdom for 
ever and joined the archbishop, who was likewise 
a fugitive in Dantzic. 

GusTAVUs now proceeded to celebrate his coro- 
nation in the beginning of 1528, and chastised the 
revolt of the Dalesmen, the negociation with whom 
had been carried on during the diet of Westeras, 
by agents recipi'ocally appointed ; but the pre- 
tended Sture', though his party had greatly de- 
creased since Christina Gyllenstierna herself had 
declared him to be an impostor, continued to find 
protection and assistance in Norway, where he had 
sought* refuge, and more covertlj', in Dalecarlia. 
The Dalesmen, who from the indulgence with 
which they had so long been treated, expected not 
only impunity, but exemption from the impost of 
which they had refused payment, were now sum- 
moned to meet the king at the assize (landsting) of 

chapter of Upsala, that he had taken the estate of Griinso 
from the bishop of Westeras at the time when the latter was 
his enemy, seeing that it had belonged to the crown, and 
that the see of Westeras had so long possessed it, that any 
sums laid out upon it must have been more than replaced. 
Reg. of the Archives. The bishop's castle of Kusto, not far 
from Abo, was pulled down in 1528 by the royal order. 

'> He went from thence to Germany, but was arrested at 
the instance of Gustavus, and brought to trial at Rostock, 
where he was condemned to death, it is said, not for his re- 
bellion, but for a robbery which he had committed before his 
appearance as king in Dalecarlia. There exists a letter from 
one Canute Nilson, secretary to king Christian, dated 
Schwerin, November 20, 1528, acquainting the fugitive king 
with his fate. In this he is styled son of lord Steno, and it 
is stated that when apprehended he was on his way to the 

''''■^ Mo„asteiTersup"p"rtssed. GUSTAVUS VASA. 


Decrees of tlie synod 
of Orebro. 


Tuna. On their arrival, they found him at the 
head of 14,000 men, by whom, on the field of con- 
ference, they were surrounded. A letter, in terms 
of menace, from the deputies of all the realm below 
the Dale country was read, in which they were de- 
nounced as recreants from the league which united 
them with the other provinces. The instigators of 
the revolt were delivered up, sentenced to death, 
and executed on the spot. The rest received grace; 
and there were many who had expected pardon, 
even for those who were really guilty, since the 
royal safe-conduct, under which all had come, ex- 
cepted no one. From the Dales the king proceeded 
to Helsingland and Gestricland, whei-e obedience 
was restored by the like method, but without 

Of the popular temper at this time the chronicles 
give the following description : — " The king might 
labour as much as he would that they might bear 
goodwill to him and his laboui's, yet it was of no 
avail. The reason was, that he liad so few upright 
servants, with understanding and will to order his 
affairs for the best, nor could he obtain such before 
the popish creed was mostly rooted out. Never 
would the Dalesmen have been so lightly brought 
to revolt, nor the West-Gothlanders and Smaland- 
ers beside, if they had not cherished a perverse 
opinion of the king, that he wished to suppress the 
Christian faith. With such charges did the old 
folk, and especially old priests, fill the ears of the 
common people, so that did the king show himself 
mild or harsh, it was taken alike ill. If he dis- 
coursed pleasantly, they cried that he wished to 
tickle them with the hare's foot ; if he spoke 
sharply, they then said, that for all their taxes and 
burdeus they had nought else to expect from him 
but reproaches and bad words, and that he would 
undo them and the whole kingdom. With the pro- 
vinces which remained quiet it was mostly feigning, 
for they did it out of fear, because they heard how 
with strong hand he had compelled the Dalesmen 
and Norrlanders to obedience." 

For the effects of the diet of Westeras to ripen 
to maturity in Sweden, seventy yeai's were re- 
quired ; it cannot therefore surprise us, that at 
first the opinions expressed upon its enactments 
should have been bitter, and often mutually conflict- 
ing, or that they should have given rise to great dis- 
orders. The convents, stripped of their revenues, 
which had been granted in fief to the barons, who 
were obliged in return to the maintenance of 
soldiers for the service of the crown, were deserted. 
When the Dominicans of Stockholm complained 
that they had not wherewithal to live, the answer 
was, that they might provide themselves elsewhere, 
"since men were wont from hunger to deliver up 
castles and towns, much more convents *." Of 
their ejected inmates, the aged filled the land with 
their tales of wrong ; the young for the most part 
married, monks often becoming the husbands of 
nuns, which, according to the feelings of that day, 
awakened no less scandal than when the virgins of 
the cloister were seen degraded to the condition of 
public courtezans. There wei'e many who took 
occasion from the statutes of Westeras to withhold 
from the priests every source of income, so that in 
1528 the king was forced to remind men, by an or- 

5 Minute-book of the toiim of Stockholm ; Troil, Hand- 
lingar, ii. 283. 

dinance, that the tithes and legal dues of the clergy 
must continue to be paid conformably to the various 
local usages. For this caution in changing the old ob- 
servances of the church he reaped scant gratitude. 
By the decree of the Synod of Orebro in 1523, most 
of them were retained, but with an injunction that 
theii- true sense should be made clear to the people, 
whence Olave Peterson, in his Swedish Manual, 
published at this time, says that he has " allowed 
most of the ceremonies to stand which had been 
theretofore used, and were not contrary to God's 
word." For this compliance the more vehement of 
the Germans m Stockholm assailed him with in- 
sults, as if he had fallen away from the gospel, 
"wherefore they were reprovingly admonished that 
they should raise no uproar in the town, and were 
informed, that the people of this land must be 
softly dealt with ^." Letters from the king to his 
officei's exist, in which he reprimands them for 
their unseasonable zeal in pressing the Swedish 
mass on the people, " though httle improvement 
could follow till the generality were better in- 
structed '." With this view, it was further or- 
dained by tlie synod of Orebro, that a lection of 
Holy Scripture should be held daily in the cathe- 
drals, and that learned men should be appointed 
ministers in the towns, who could give instruction 
to their more simple brethren in the country. 
Persons capable of acting as teachers, however, 
were too often not to be found. The seminaries of 
Upsala and Stockholm, the former under the super- 
intendence of Lawrence Peterson, the latter under 
that of his brother, had hitherto been the only 
schools in which these could be obtained. Gustavus 
liimself took good note of the talents of the preachers 
who, according to the decree of Orebro, were sent 
to all the cathedrals. These were not every where 
well received ; of two who were sent to Skara, one 
was driven from the pulpit, the other stoned out of 
the school, when he was about to prelect on the 
gospel of St. Matthew. Soon afterwards tidings 
an-ived that the flames of revolt had broken out in 
West-Gothland and Smaland. 

The high steward, Thure' Jenson (Roos), whom 
Tegel calls the real root of this rebellion, was the 
most powerful of those provincial magnates who 
had been left from the times of the Union, and 
resembled them in this, that he possessed property 
in all the three kingdoms, a case not unusual in 
this age, and which was provided for by a special 
article in the Recess of Malmoe in 1624. He was 
the oldest member of the council, and justiciary of 
West-Gothland, an office which his grandfather had 
previously filled. So extensive was liis influence 
over the nobles of the province, that they at- 
tempted afterwards to excuse their own disloyalty 
by alleging the weight of his name ; he used to 
style himself also "the head of all the West- 
Goths *." The king, whose lieutenant in this divi- 
sion of the realm he was, had laboured to gain 
him by the bestowal of large fiefs ; for which the 
steward, according to the custom of bygone times, 
performed but small service to the crown, as the 
king's letters show. His being x'eminded of his 
obligations in this respect was considered as a 
proof, that even the new advantages which were 

" Id. p. 291. 

^ Id. iii. 171. 

8 In his speech to the Westgothlanders, in Tegel. 


Revolt of the West- 


Meetinjj on Larfs 


promisod to the nobles at the expense of the 
Church were not so secui'e as had been hoped. 
The ancient league between the hierarchy and the 
baronage was not yet dissolved. At the diet of 
1527, Thure Jenson had been the most zealous 
defender of the bishops ; after his return home, 
he omitted to promulgate in his province the 
Recess and Ordinance of Westeras ; and a judg- 
ment passed against him by the council in a ques- 
tion of inheritance between himself and the king ", 
at length brought forth an ebullition of his long- 
cherished hostility. He conspired against Gus- 
tavus with Magnus, bishop of Skara, and the 
principal barons of West-Gothland, and began to 
agitate the common people in the spring of 1529. 
Two years before the Smalanders had already re- 
fused to pay the tax imposed for the cancelling of 
the public debt, and shot arrows at lord Thure 
Trolle in the forest, when he came on the side 
of the king to open a negociation on this subject. 
They now put to death the king's bailiff, who had 
received a grant of Nydala abbey, with several of 
his servants, and took captive a sister of Gustavus, 
the widow of Joachim Brahe who had married the 
count of Hoya. From Jenkoeping they issued letters 
to both the Gothlands, calling upon the inhabitants, 
with invectives, the bitterness of which beti-ayed a 
clerical pen, " to chastise the cruel king and his 
Lutheran faction." Thure Jenson, with his ad- 
herents, wrote to the Dalesmen in the same sense ; 
his son Joran, provost of the chapter of Upsala, 
repaired himself to Norrland, to raise the Helsin- 
gers again in rebellion, and a thousand men who 
had drawn together in West-Gothland, under the 
command of one Master Nils of Hvalstad, a priest, 
guarded the road leading from that district to the 
upper country. 

Of all the insurrectionary movements in the time 
of king Gustavus, the revolt of the West-Goths 
was the only one which was called into activity at 
the instigation, not only of the clergy but the 
nobility. Yet the lords songht to push forward the 
peasants ; a proof sufficient that the barons were 
no longer so powerful as they had been. The 
energies of democracy were never more vigorous 
in Sweden, than after the massaci'e of Stockholm 
had broken the strength of the magnates, and the 
diet of Westeras that of the bishops. Gustavus 
stood amidst a turbulent stream of popular force 
which had burst its bounds. This had first raised 
him to a throne, which during twenty years it 
struggled to overturn. His accustomed mode of 
action, to follow the torrent when it was about to 
overpower him, until he shovild gain firm footing, 
was dictated to him by necessity, and it must be 
acknowledged that he well knew how to guide him- 
self among the dangers of his position. 

" Might good words help, we have spent largely 
enough," he writes to the count of Hoya. "Treason is 
so mighty and so widely spread that we wist not whom 
we may believe ; come therefore to us with the 
greatest power of horse and foot that ye can bring 
up. In our town of Stockholm, as also in the free 
barons and knights of Upland, who have swora 
homage to us anew, we can place assured trust. 
The commons of East-Gothland, the Dales, and 
Upland, have promised us to remain quiet. Our 

9 His wife was Anna Vasa, and was half-sister to the 
father of Gustavus. 

messengers to 
back '." The 

the seditious are not yet come 
insurgent Smalanders, doubtless 
to their own amazement, received from the king 
the following letter : " We have heard that ye 
took our sister into your ward, upon the false 
rumour that Upland had risen against us and that 
Stockholm was besieged, wherefore we give you 
gracious thanks, but pray you to send her to us ; 
further, we have heard that our bailiff Godfrey 
Sare has been slain in your country, for what 
cause we know not ; peradventure he has offended 
in somewhat and overstepped our command, 
which might well have been changed without this 
mishap. We wish but the best to all of ye, and 
thereupon will stake our neck." Letters of the 
king and his council were despatched to all the 
provinces, to the effect that he would gladly mend 
whatever might be wrong in his government ; 
touching religion and the Church, nothing had been 
determined without the assent of the council and 
the estates, nor should be hereafter. The Sma- 
landers were besides wheedled with a pledge, that 
two convents 2 should be preserved ; the clergy 
he engaged to exempt from entertaining the royal 
troops, if they would give their aid in appeasing 
the commons ; to the Dalesmen he promised the 
remission of the tax they had so keenly contested, 
and to the miners an acquittance from some of the 
demands of the crown. The abundance of the 
sovereign's good words seemed not to suffice ; he 
begged that others too would employ the like. It 
was usual at this time when one province was in 
revolt, to invoke the mediation of the rest, in re- 
ference to the ancient league by which they had 
been united. Thus the town of Stockholm now 
wrote to the Dalesmen, praying them to refrain 
from taking part in this insurrection. The Dales- 
men and the miners on the other hand, although 
two years afterwards they were themselves ready 
for a new rising, addressed on this occasion a 
special letter of admonition to the factious 
West-Goths and Smalanders ; but the East-Goths 
in particular, the neighbours of the latter, were 
employed as mediators. Delegates from Upland and 
East-Gothland, with the royal envoys, hastened to 
West-Gothland and Smaland, bearing an offer of 
full pardon for the men of these territories, if they 
returned to their obedience. 

The result was, that when Thure Jenson con- 
voked a meeting of the West-Goths on Larfs 
Heath, April 17, 1529, and harangued them from a 
great stone, on the expediency of electing another 
king, Magnus, bishop of Skara, also assuring them 
that the Pope would absolve them from their oaths, 
the yeomen made answer, that " a change of lords 
seldom made matters better, therefore it seemed to 
them most advisable to hold fast to the fealty 
which they had sworn to king Gustavus." There- 
upon both the West-Gothlanders, and the Sma- 
landers, who had informed the royal commissioners 
that they would be guided by the decision of their 
brethren, laid down their arms. In the ^^Tit of 
accommodation pledges are given to them, that 
what had happened, should be as a matter dead 
and forgotten ; and that no heresy should be intro- 
duced into the kingdom ; yet, the king adds, " the 
Recess of Westeras shall be observed in every 

' April 29, 1529. Reg. of the Archives. 
2 In Calniar and Kronobiick. 




Plot of the West- 
Gothic barons. 


Debt of Lubeck. 
Bell sedition. 


point." In this settlement the mediators are 
placed on a parallel with the authorities, for it is 
stated that " the good men of Upland and East- 
Gothland likewise, who have interceded for the 
disturbers, shall have power to mulct of goods and 
life every man who after this day by word or deed 
shall stir up any disorders against the king." So 
this sedition was quelled. Jorau Thure'son, the 
dean, who had attempted to raise the Helsingers, was 
at last seized by them and delivered to the king, 
who was satisfied with dismissing him from his 
office *. His father, the old high steward, with 
bishop Magnus, fled across the border to Denmark. 
Seven barons, who all style themselves councillors 
of state in West-Gothland *, had plotted with the 
rebel leaders at Larfs Heath, before the resolution 
of the yeomanry was known, to change the govern- 
ment of Sweden, and had renounced fealty and 
obedience to king Gustavus. Their letter was not 
sent, and assurances were afterwards given them 
by the priest, master Nils of Hwalstad, fliat all the 
documents by which their participation in the re- 
volt might be proved should be committed to the 
flames. Deeming that the king did not know, or 
would not see their guilt, (they had even during 
the troubles received letters from him graciously 
expressed,) the three chief of them, — Magnus 
Brynteson (Liliehok), a youth of amiable cha- 
racter, whom the conspirators, it was said, had 
fixed upon to be king, Nils Olson (Winge), and 
Thure Ericson (Bielke) — ventured to lay tlie whole 
blame of this transaction on Thure Jenson and the 
bishop, and to offer themselves to the judgment of 
the council and the estates at the diet, now con- 
voked in Strengness. Here Gustavus vindicated 
himself at length from the accusations brought 
against him, and caused a defence of the Recess of 
Westeras, composed by Lawrence Peterson, to be 
made public. On the triaP it was declared, that 
the arraigned lords had forfeited all claim to be 
included in the warrant of peace granted by the 
king, or to obtain a pardon; the rather, that 
although thrice called upon by him to acknowledge 
their guilt and sue for grace, they had refused 
to comply. They were therefore, in accordance 
with the tenor of their own letters, now produced 
against them, condenmed to death ; and the sen- 
tence was executed on the two first-named. The 
pardon of the third was granted to the supplica- 
tions of his motlier, but he was obliged to pay a 
fine of 2000 guilders (£158), and the rest of those 
who had borne a leading part in the revolt saw 
themselves under the necessity of piu'chasing the 

3 His brothers John and Lars, both councillors of state, 
had remained true to the king. 

■• These were Nils Olson, Thure Ericson, Magnus Bryn- 
teson, Axel Posse, Thord Bonde, Nils Clauson, and Matts 
Kafle. See the letter of the councillors of state in West- 
Gothland to the Smalanders, April 17, 1529. Reg. of the 
Archives. The two last were not councillors. It is hence 
clear that Matts Katie, whom Celsius and others represent 
as active against the insurgents, was one of the conspirators. 

5 The king himself appeared against these barons (as for- 
merly against Master Canute and Peder Sunnanvseder) in the 
character of prosecutor, and in the proceedings of this diet 
generally he stood in the relation of a party. Hence Tegel 
says, " King Gustavus rendered himself to trial before the 
lords of the council and the nobles, the burgesses of the 
trading towns, the miners and the yeomanry, who were 
assembled in Strengness, for all matters, articles, and points 
which had been dishonestly invented and charged upon his 

king's good will afterwards with money and costly 

The debt to Lubeck was still unpaid. From an 
account adjusted in 1529 by the king's brother-in- 
law, the count of Hoya, with the authorities of the 
town, it is plain tliat the capital had not been 
diminished® since the year 1523, notwithstanding 
the tax levied for its discharge, and this circum- 
stance was one cause of the general discontent 
which prevailed. An agreement had now indeed 
been concluded, by which the privileges granted in 
1523 were to be confined to Lubeck, the town con- 
senting that the debt should be paid by instal- 
ments within four yeai's; but even this engagement 
rendered necessary the employment of extraor- 
dinary means. Imitating an example which had 
already been set in Denmark', a baronial diet held 
at Upsala in the early part of the year 1530 re- 
solved, that from all the town churches of the king- 
dom one bell .should be taken towards the cancelling 
of this debt. The municipalities acceded to this 
measure, and in the following year the same requi- 
sition was extended to the rural churches, the bells 
being redeemable with money, at the option of the 
parishes. Agents specially commissioned by the 
council settled the conditions of ari'angemcnt with 
the commonalty of the various districts; engaging 
on the king's side, that what was thus collected 
should be applied only to the object specified, and 
that the expenditure of -the sum should be accounted 
for by persons thereto appointed. The tithes for the 
year were besides exacted, with all of the money 
and plate still remaining in the church-coff"ers 
that could be spared. In this way the debt of 
Lubeck was entirely paid off" ; but its discharge cost 
the king a new insurrection. The Dalecarlians once 
more rose, took back their bells, which they had al- 
ready delivered up, and despatched letters through- 
out the kingdom, in which they invoked the remem- 
brance of the ancient confederation, requesting that 
twelve men of condition from every hundred might 
assemble in a general diet at Arboga on St. Eric's 
day (the ]8th of May), 1531, in order to deliberate 
and come to a decision upon certain affairs of the 
common.s, which concerned the interests of all men, 
more especially respecting the dissensions in the 
Christian church. The peasants in Gestricland, in 
a part of Westmanland and in Nerike, likewise re- 
sumed possession of their bells. At a meeting held 
by the barrows of old Upsala, the king with diffi- 
culty appeased the discontent of the Uplanders ; 
subsequently he employed their chiefs, with the 

royal majesty, as also for the answers which his majesty had 
given thereon. Upon which the estates of the realm, after 
due examination, declared that the king's majesty, with his 
well-grounded answers, had cleared himself beyond cavil of 
all the matters of the imputations." As the Recess of Wes- 
teras had been the occasion of the revolt, this was now also 
expressly confirmed. 

6 Compare Tegel, i. 220. The king was dissatisfied with 
the count's reckoning, and maintained that he was entitled 
to various deductions from the sum. 

1 A letter of Canute Nilson, secretary to Christian II., 
dated Schwerin, November 28, 1528, informs his master 
that a burdensome tax had been imposed in Denmark and 
Holstein : " they have taken the bells from the churches and 
carried them to the castle ; where there are three they take 
two, where there are two, one." The firm of Fiigger, it is 
said, bought them. It is added that " the barons were stiffly 
insisting on taking back their estates from the churches and 
convents." Archives of Christian II. 


Movements of 


Lands in Norway. 
Attempt on Sweden. 


magistrates of Stockholm, in a negociation with the 
insurgents of Dalecarlia. At their head, in tlie 
present attempt, appeared men who had heretofore 
been the most faithful adliei'ents of the king. The 
peasants of the Dales, said these, would not again 
allow themselves to be pinned in a ring, as once 
upon Tuna Heath ; to come across the Dal-elf at 
Brunback without the Dalesmen's leave was what 
no king or lord of the land had ever dared ; even 
Gustavus should not come into their country with- 
out safe-conduct, or with a greater following than 
they themselves should appoint ; nor would they 
suffer any other officers to live among them other 
than such as they had themselves consented to 
receive, and as had been born among them *. All 
this they alleged to be the old custom of their 
country, and they now kept armed guard upon the 
borders. When the king came to hear this, he 
said, it was now the time of the Dalesmen, but that 
his own time was coming, and to the astonishment 
of all, he nominated one of the principal insurgent 
leaders to be governor of the Dales. 

This caution was rendered necessary by the 
perils which threatened from another quarter. 
Christian II., though dethroned, was ever busied 
with plans for recovering the kingdoms of which 
he had been master, and he had more than once 
collected troops for this purpose, whom yet he 
never succeeded in keeping together. An army of 
26,000 men, which he led against Holstein in 
1523, with his brother-in-law the elector of Bran- 
denburg, disbanded for want of pay, and the king 
was forced to hide from his own soldiers. In the 
year 1526, Gustavus was informed by a letter of 
the Danish council, that Christian was again in 
march towards Holstein with 10,000 men ". This 
armament was to operate in conjunction with the 
partisans of Severin Norby, whose designs upon 
Sweden have been already mentioned ', but the 
army, upon the report of Norby's flight, dispersed. 
Meanwhile the dwelling of Christian in the Nether- 
lands, where he lived under the protection of the 
emperor, was a point of re-union for all the 
Swedish malcontents and exiles. Here resided 
the foi'nier archbishop Gustavus TroUe, who had 
carried off with him the old records of the king- 
dom ^ ; here wei'e gathered Thure Jenson, bishop 
Magnus of Skara, and Jon Ericson, dean of Upsala, 
who held communication with bishop John Brask, 
now likewise a refugee. In the year 1530, they 

8 In tlie Registry of the Archives for 1526 exists a letter of 
the king, written during the rebellion in the Dale-land in- 
stigated by Peder Sunnanvaeder, to the miners of the Kop- 
parberg, on the nomination of a newbailitf; " which yet," he 
says, "we cannot do without the consent and presence of 
you all, nor will, against your privileges." The Register 
notes, however, that this letter was never sent forth. 

9 Letter from Tyge Krabbe and Claas Bille, councillors of 
Denmark, to king Gustavus, October 1, 1526; "that king 
Christian was in motion with 3000 horse and 7000 pikemen, 
but when they learned that Severin Norby had miscarried, 
their courage failed them." Reg. of the Archives. 

■ His last attempt,in 1526, to make war on Gustavus with 
the assistance of Denmark, which was refused, is mentioned 
by Tegel, i. 124. He fled to Russia, and was kept prisoner 
there till 1529, when he entered into the service of the em- 
peror Charles V. ; next year he was killed at the siege of Flo- 
rence. He was by birth a Norwegian. 

2 In a letter from Antwerp, March 12, 1530, Gustavus 
Trolle tells king Christian that it is not advisable to keep the 
register of the kingdom of Sweden any longer in the Bur- 

bound themselves by a special covenant ^ to re- 
place Christian " by the arms of their adherents" 
on the throne, and invoked the aid of the emperor, 
" to free Sweden, for the boot of Christendom, 
from a tyrant who cared neither for God nor men, 
for word, honour, nor repute *." The return of 
Charles V. to the Netherlands at this time in- 
spired Christian with new hope ; in Denmark and 
Sweden it awakened new terrors. By lavish 
promises and prospects of booty, a band of military 
adventurers was collected round him, which soon 
formed an army of 12,000 men, whose first exploits 
consisted in plundering the country. The emperor, 
who was otherwise little satisfied with his brother- 
in-law, at length paid over to him the arrears of 
the dowry of his deceased sister, and the Hollanders 
furnished ships and artillery, solely in order to be 
rid of their troublesome guests. From Norway, 
whither Gustavus Trolle had previously repaired, 
money and plate gleaned from the churches were 
sent. By' the end of October 1531, Christian put 
to sea with a fleet of twenty-five vessels, and 
though these were dispersed by a storm in which 
several were lost, he was himself fortunate enough 
to effect a landing in Norway at Opslo^. The 
Norsemen, who had long been disaffected to Danish 
rule, perceived in Christian the instilment by 
which they might regain independence. Although 
he had embraced the principles of the reformers 
(in whose communion his consort had died, as the 
king himself wrote to Luther), he now appeared as 
the defender of the Catholic faith in the north. 
Olave, archbishop of Drontheim, and all the 
bishops of Norway with the exception of Bergen, 
the clergy, the nobility, and the greater part of the 
people declared for his cause. On the 30th of 
November, 1531, the council of Norway renounced 
fealty and obedience to king Frederic, exhorting 
the Danes to make common cause with them, and 
Christian was agam acknowledged as king of Nor- 
way. At the same time the banished Swedish 
lords who were among his train, endeavoured 
actively to promote his interest in Sweden. They 
wrote to the insurgent Dalecarlians, as also to 
West-Gothland and other provinces, that king 
Christian had changed to a pattern of pure justice 
and meekness, and that he had come to restore the 
Christian faith. But in Sweden, the conquest of 
which Thurd Jenson had deluded the king into 
thinking an easy matter '', these intrigues produced 

gundian dominions, because the Burgundians were not to 
be depended upon, but he would deposit it for the king's use 
elsewhere, and acquaint him with the place. Archives of 
Christian II. Where it was preserved is now unknown. 

3 Dated at Antwerp, September 27, 1530, and drawn up in 
the name of all the above-named lords, but not subscribed 
by Brask, who was still in Prussia. Compliance with the 
spirit of the times induced the insertion in this bond of an 
article providing that estates of which the crown had been 
wrongfully deprived, might be again resumed by the sove- 

"• So Gustavus is styled in the draught of a memorial to 
the emperor, conceived with implacable bitterness. Among 
other statements, it is there asserted that in Sweden the 
nuns had become public courtezans, and that the king pro- 
ceeded to such lengths in his plunder of the churches, that 
he caused the church -yards to be dug up in order to boil 
saltpetre from the bones of the dead. 

5 Now Christiania. T. 

6 "Baron Thure Jenson often asserted that he would with 


His surrender and 


The king's conference 
witli the Dalesmen. 



no effect. And when Christian himself, in an in- 
cursion into Bohusland, met with an obstinate re- 
sistance from the inhabitants, the prompter of 
these deceitful hopes, to which the invader had 
yielded credence, was obliged to expiate his misre- 
presentation with his life. The headless body of 
Thure' Jonson was found one morning upon the 
road in Kougelf. 

The connnon danger accelerated the adjustment 
of particular differences between Sweden and Den- 
mark. Bohusland, of which Gustavus had kept 
possession for ten years, was again given up to 
king Frederic in May 1532, and the settlement of 
the claims which both parties preferred to Gott- 
land was postponed. The two kings formed a 
league for mutual defence, and a Swedish force 
entered U])per Norway. The fate of Christian was 
soon decided. His ships w-ere burned by the 
united squadrons of Denmark and Lubeck. On 
one side was a hostile fleet, on the other the castle 
of Aggerhus, which was still in the hands of the 
Danes ; his troops mutinied from hunger and 
want ; and in pursuance of a convention he sur- 
rendered to the commander of the Danish squadron, 
bishop Canute Gyllenstiern, stipulating for a safe 
conduct to Denmark, in order that he might nego- 
ciate in person with his uncle, king Frederic, to 
whom he was coming, as he phrased it, like the 
prodigal son ; if no amicable compromise of their 
disputes could be effected, he was to be free to quit 
the kingdom. The bishop however was declared 
to have exceeded his powers ; in his own excuse he 
suggested that the conditions, although promised, 
need not be fulfilled. So bitter was the hatred of 
the grandees against Christian, that king Frederic 
was obliged to give a written assurance to the no- 
bility of Denmark and Holstein ', that he should be 
kept in perpetual imprisonment, the document 
being committed to the custody of eight barons, 
four Danes and foiu* Holsteiners ^. The unfortunate 
prince was incarcerated in the eastern tower of 
the castle of Sonderburgh, in a vaulted chamber, 
of which all the apertures were walled up, one 
little window excepted, through which his food was 
introduced. In this abode of horror, where a 
Norwegian dwarf was his only companion, king 
Christian lived seventeen years, the first twelve 
without any alleviation of his misery. It was 
decreed that a war undertaken in his name, should 
once more bring Denmark to the brink of ruin, and 
expose Sweden to dangers of the most formidable 
kind. His imprisonment lasted in all seven and 
twenty years, and was only terminated by death. 
After the year 1544, its rigours, at the intercession 
of the emperor, were mitigated, and the renounce- 
ment of all his pretensions at length, in 1549, 
brought about the removal of the captive to the 
castle of Kallundborg, where he received a princely 
maintenance, with permission now and then to 
divert himself with the pleasures of the chase. 
But calamity had broken his strength of mind, and 
those attacks of despondency, from which he had 
formerly suffered in his most prosperous days, 
being now deepened by his immoderate use of the 
wines of Italy, in his last years not unfrequently 

two or three thousand men conquer all Sweden ; such support 
did he expect to obtain." Hvitfeld. 

' Hvitfeld says to Gustavus and the Swedish nohility also, 
but Gustavus himself complains that in the disposal of Chris- 
tian he had not been consulted. Tegel i. 313. 

assumed the character of insanity^. His son John, 
who was educated at the imperial court, died at 
Ratisbon, upon the same day which consigned his 
father to a dungeon. Of his daughters, Dorothea 
was married to the elector Palatine, Frederic II.; 
Christina first to Francis Sforza, afterwards to the 
Duke of Lorraine. These princesses and their 
children continued to put forward claims, which 
more than once disturbed the peace of the north. 

Such being the event of Christian's invasion, 
Gustavus obtained time again to turn his thoughts 
to the Dalecarlians, in whose territory all was for 
the present tranquil. The Dalesmen, weary of 
moving about in arms among their forests, hal 
made an offer to the king at the end of the year 
1531 to redeem their bells with a sum of 2000 marks, 
and were the more gladdened by his promise of par- 
don 1, that they regarded it as a silent confirmation 
of their privileges. They celebrated with feasts, 
say the chronicles, the old liberty of the Dales. 
But the king on the other hand had determined 
for ever to extinguish their claims to peculiar pri- 
vileges above the other inhabitants of the kingdom; 
and he was besides moved anew to indignation 
wlien the miners set at nought his summons to 
defend the kingdom against the attack of Christian, 
and held communications with his runaway sub- 
jects^. These mutinous excesses were ascribed 
more especially to " Magnus Nilson with his fac- 
tion," who, the real instigator of the bell-sedition, 
was at that time the richest miner in the Koppar- 
berg, and of whom it is popularly said, that he shod 
liis horses with silver. In the commencement of 
the year 1533 Gustavus cited his own retainer-s, 
with those of the nobility, to meet at Westeras. 
No man knew against whom this armament was 
really directed, although rumour spoke of new com- 
plots by the factionaries of king Christian. To his 
captains the king's injunctions were — '' Whereso- 
ever ye see me advance, thither haste ye speedily 
after." The expedition took its way to the Dale 
country, whose inhabitants had lately sent repre- 
sentatives to Westeras. These the king detained, 
and in their stead despatched proclamations to the 
Dalecarlians, purporting that " he well knew that 
little of what had happened could be imputed to 
the common people ; he came only to hold an in- 
quisition upon the guilty, whom it was meet they 
should east out from among them." He invited 
them all to come to a conference at the Kopparberg. 
The king arrived as soon as the letters, and the 
commonalty assembled, some with goodwill, others 
by constraint. Troops, as on the previous occasion, 
encompassed the assembly ; first several lords of 
the council spoke to the people, afterwards the 
king himself. He questioned the Dalesmen; whe- 
ther they remembered their promise made six 
years before, when he had pardoned the revolt 
then commenced ? Whether they supposed they 
might play this game with him every year with 
impunity ? This bout should be the last. He 
woidd suffer no province in his dominion to be 
hostile ; for the future theirs should be either 
obedient, or so desolated that neither hound nor 

8 Holberg, Dannemarks Riges Historic, 2, 2C6. 

9 Id. 2, 378. 

1 Reply to the letter of the Dale-folk, November 7, 1531. 
Reg. of the Archives. 

2 This is Slated in the sentence of the delinquents, Tegel, 
1, 322. 


Designs of 


Rupture witli that 


cock should be heard hi it. He asked them where 
they would have that border which their king must 
not dare to overstep ? Whether it became them 
as subjects thus to master their magistrates ? What 
was the true reason why the Sture's, although the 
rulers of the land, had never ventured to cross the 
stream at Bruuback without the leave of the 
miners ? To such insolence he at least would not 
submit. After this fashion the king spoke to them 
long and sharply, and diu-ing the time the whole 
of the commonalty were upon their knees. He 
called upon them to deliver up the instigators of 
the last sedition, which was forthwith performed. 
Five of them were tried and executed upon the 
spot ; the rest were carried prisoners to Stock- 
holm, where in the following year three of them, 
pursuant to the judgment of the council and the 
town- magistrates, were put to death, and among 
them Anders Person of Rankhytta, in whose barn 
Gustavus had once threshed. The forfeited pro- 
perty of the offenders was restoi'ed to their wives 
and children*. Thus ended the third and last 
rising of the Dalecarlians against king Gustavus. 

At this time Lubeck was calling up its last 
energies for the maintenance of its commercial 
power ; for its citizens, who " wished to hold in 
their sole grasp the keys of the Baltic, looking only 
to their own advantage*," had long seen with re- 
luctance the Hollanders dividing with themselves the 
trade of the North. They had contributed to the 
overthrow of Christian II., because he had favom-ed 
these rivals, but they had not reaped the fruits ex- 
pected from his fall ^, and they ended by wishing to 
raise him from his prison to the throne. Gustavus 
had already in 1526 formed a commercial treaty 
with the regent Margaret of the Netherlands, and 
although Christian had received support from that 
quarter in his last enterprise, the misunderstandings 
thereby created were eventually adjusted. Lubeck 
on the other hand demanded that Sweden and Den- 
mark should declare war on the Hollanders, and in 
the mean time postponed the assertion of its own 
quarrel with them in order to kindle a new one in 
the North. Marcus Meyer and Gorgen Wollen- 
wever, two bold demagogues, were the men who, 
having ejected the old council of Lubeck and 
usurped the government in the name of the 
])opulace, ruined the power of their native city by 
the attempt again to make and unmake kings. By 
the death of Frederic of Denmark on the 3d April, 
1533, and the disputes which afterwards arose 
respecting the succession, their plans were ad- 
vanced. To excite new troubles in Sweden they 
employed the name of young Suanto Sturd, a son 
of the last administrator, who had fallen into their 
hands. The generous j'outh refused to be the tool 
of their designs, for which they found a more will- 

3 So Tegel and the chronicles ; but this must be under- 
stood only of a portion of the property. By a royal letter of 
investiture ot the 10th November, 1534, Stephen Henricson, 
burgomaster of Upsala, received half of the property of 
Anders Person. Reg. of the Archives. 

4 Act of the diet of Stockholm in 1526. 

5 The treaty formed with Denmark at Copenhagen in 
15.32, excluding the Hollanders from the Baltic, was not ra- 
tified, the emperor and stadholder of the Netherlands having 
declared that Christian's invasion had been undertaken 
against their wishes. 

6 Instructions for RolutfMatson, March 20, 1535. Archives 
of Christian II. 

ing instrument in the count John of Hoya, whom 
Christian reckoned one of the persons " introduced 
into the government by the towns ^." Gustavus, 
as has been mentioned, had united him in mar- 
riage with his sister, placed him in his council, and 
bestowed upon him a considerable territory in Fin- 
land. Estrangement seems to have first arisen be- 
tween the count and his sovei'eign from the compu- 
tation of the Swedish debt made by the former at 
Lubeck in 1529, fixing the amount at 10,000 marks 
higher than Gustavus would acknowledge '. The 
debt was afterwards discharged within the period 
agreed upon, but the Lubeckers maintained that 
from 8,000 to 10,000 marks of the same were still 
wanting, while Gustavus asserted that the Lubecine 
commissioners had omitted just so much from their 
accounts, and applied the money to their own use *. 
The consequence was that the Lubeckers seized a 
ship behinging to the king, whereupon he laid an em- 
bargo on all Lubecine vessels in Swedish harbours, 
the bitter hatred of the townsmen to him taking 
vent in speeches, writings, overt acts of hostility, 
and at last also in clandestine designs against his 
life. The count of Hoya fled with his wife and 
children from Sweden, and was received at Lubeck 
with public testimonies of rejoicing. Associating 
himself to the other Swedish exiles, he took part 
with Gustavus Trolle and Bernard of Melen in the 
war which nowbi'oke out. In the year 1534 began 
the count's feud, so called because the possessors of 
power in Lubeck placed count Christopher of Olden- 
burg at the head of their attack upon Denmark. 
This was the last blow struck for Christian II., 
whose cause Lubeck pretended to lead ; it was the 
last contest between tlie Reformation and Catho- 
licism in Denmark ; it was likewise one of the 
burgesses and peasants against the nobles, waged 
with furious exasperation, and at first with success, 
since Malmce, Copenhagen, the Danish islands, 
Scania, Halland, and Blekinge in a short time ac- 
knowledged the captive Christian as king. As soon 
as all prospect of his liberation disappeared, Lubeck 
supported duke Albert of Mecklenburg in his pre- 
tensions to the Danish crown ^, and held out to his 
nephew Philip hopes of obtaining that of Sweden. 
At the same time count Christopher of Oldenburg 
urged forward his own schemes, and Christian's 
son-in-law the palsgrave Frederic, afterwards 
elector, sought to enforce his rights from Germany 
by the emperor's aid, obtaining adherents even in 
the northern part of Norway '. 

The imminence of mutual danger occasioned a 
closer alliance between Sweden and Denmark, 
which, sanctioned by the Danish council in 1534, 
received additional strength when Frederic's eldest 
son Christian III. a year and a half afterwards 
mounted the throne ^. The Lubeckers were driven 
out of Scania, Halland, and Blekinge, by the forces 

7 See the reasons in Tegel, 1. 221. 

** See the different letters of Gustavus respecting the debt 
to the council of state, the count of Hoya, the magistrates of 
Stockholm and Lubeck, the latter of September 14, 1533. 
Reg. of the Archives. 

3 He was married to the daughter of Christian's sister. 

' To punish their attachment to Cluistian and his family, 
a resolution was passed after the end of the war by a baronial 
diet in Copenhagen, "that Norway should for the future 
have no separate council, but should be governed as a pro- 
vince of Denmark." 

2 He visited Gustavus at Stockholm in 1535. 




Measures of Church 


of Gustavus ; their fleet was defeated by tlie com- 
bined Swedish and Danish squadrons. In Den- 
mark too their good fortune came to an end with 
the overtlirow in Funcn (in which Gustavus Trolls 
was moi'tally wounded), though Copenhagen was 
devoted to their interest, and the defence of the 
town was protracted throughout a whole year. 
Towards the end of the siege the distress was so 
extreme tliat people died of hunger in the streets, 
and children were observed sucking blood from 
the breasts of their expiririg mothers*. Lubeck 
saw itself reduced in 1536 to conclude a peace with 
Denmark, which brought the war with Sweden 
also to an end. But the dissatisfaction of Gustavus 
that Denmark should have concluded a separate 
peace, and under conditions by which he deemed 
his intei-ests to be prejudiced in several points, 
the difficulties which arose concerning the payment 
of the loan wherewith he had assisted Christian 
III., and various other disputes, had afterwards 
well-nigh led to a rupture with Denmark. At 
length a good understanding was restored, and an 
alliance between the two kingdoms for twenty 
years contracted, at a personal interview of the 
sovereigns in Bromsebro. The Hanse Towns on 
the other hand, after this unsuccessful attempt to 
restore their ancient influence in the north, never 
recovered their former privileges. In Lubeck, 
the party which had instigated the war "was over- 
turned. Among their plans was included a con- 
spiracy against Gustavus ; the king was to be as- 
sassinated, and Stockholm delivered to the Lu- 
beckers. The plot was detected, and its authors, 
who were for the most part German burgesses, 
sutt'ered (in 153G) the penalty of their crime. Four 
years afterwards, Olave Peterson and Lawrence 
Anderson were accused of not having revealed this 
treason, which had come to their knowledge through 
the confessional. They were brought to trial and 
condemned to death ; Lawrence Peterson, who 
had been appointed in 1531 the first Lutheran 
archbisliop, being obliged himself to sit in judg- 
ment on his brother*. The king granted them 
their lives, yet not without imposing a heavy fine, 
and also consented that Peterson should again re- 
sume his ministry in Stockholm. Both had filled 
the office of High Chancellor, and they were the 
last Swedish ecclesiastics who held this dignity. 

Meanwhile the work of the Reformation was 
advancing in the noi-thern kingdoms. Gustavus is 
said to have counselled Christian III. to break the 
power of the bishops in Denmark. The temporal 
lords of the council combined with the sovereign 
to deprive the bishops of all power, whether eccle- 

3 When the famishing inhabitants demanded tlie surrender 
of the place, the town magistrates answered, that " they had 
not yet, as in the siege of Jerusalem, devoured their own 
children." Hvitfeldt. 

*• Messenius, Scondia v. 71, 85. The royal anger had also 
been awakened by various expressions employed by Peterson 
in his Chronicle of Sweden. In the Registry of the Archives 
for 1536 are two letters by tlie king upon this conspiracy, 
dated the 15th and 26th of May (the first addressed to the 
common people at the fair in Upsala on St. Eric's dayl, in 
which ic is stated that the master of the mint, Anders 
Hanson, with certain Germans and a number of Swedish 
burghers, had bound themselves to take off the king, either 
"by placing gunpowder under his chair in church, or by 
other traitorous devices ;" and further, that the conspirators 
purposed to seize the castle of Stockholm, to expel all the 

siastical or civil, in the government of the kingdom. 
The Danish prelates were all arrested upon the 
same day of the year 1536, and a reduction of the 
Church property was undertaken. Gustavus also 
was at this time displeased with his Protestant 
clergy. He reproaclied his new instructors, that 
by incautious alterations of the old usages of the 
Church they offended the simple, and displayed 
besides a very eager inclination to master his per- 
son and government. The vehement and free- 
spirited Olave Peterson first drew upon himself dis- 
favour on this account. " Hereby come scandal and 
sedition," wrote the king to his brother (April 24, 
1539), the first Lutheran archbishop, " that the peo- 
ple are not instructed before reformation ensues ; 
men should first learn, and then reform ; preachers 
shall ye be, but no lords ; believe not we shall let it 
come to tills, that the bishops should get back the 
sword." He seemed even disposed to abolish the 
episcopal office in Sweden, and to reconstitute the 
Swedish Church upon the Presbyterian model. 
George Norman, who had been recommended by 
Melancthon to the king's best confidence ', was 
appointed superintendent over the whole clerical 
order in his dominions ^. According to an instruc- 
tion ' issued in 1540, office-beai'ers, called con- 
servators and councillors of religion, supported by 
assistants who were styled elders, were to regulate 
the affairs of the Church in the provinces imder 
his revision, and to hold visitations. 

Although this arrangement appears never to have 
been generally carried into effect, it is certain that 
visitations of the sees were made accordingly, by 
which the king appropriated to himself the remnant 
of plate still left in the clmrchcs, furnishing to each 
in return a copy of the Bible, which was completely 
translated into Swedish in the year 1541, and that 
changes were made affecting the power as well as 
the titles of the bishops. From the year 1544, the 
king ceased to give the episcopal designation to any 
except the primate of Upsala ; the others were 
styled ordinaries, and the bishoprics were subdi- 
vided according to the royal pleasure among several 
of these overseers, " seeing that the bishops have 
heretofore had far too large dioceses and jurisdic- 
tions *." Towards the end of this prince's reign, the 
sees of Upsala and Linkoping wei-e thus parcelled 
out each into three portions, those of Westeras and 
Strengness into two ". In all the countries where 
the reformation was established, it is ob.servable 
that at first vacillation and uncertainty prevailed 
respecting the question of supreme authority in spi- 
ritual affairs. Gustavus scrupled not to arrogate 
this power to himself. 

magistrates and the whole body of nobles, " as some of the 
German tow ns, with Malmb and Copenhagen, were minded," 
and finally to bring the realm under the dominion of the 
Hanse Towns. 

5 A copy of Melancthon's letter to the king, dated Witten- 
berg, May 12, 1539, exists aiiong the Palmskiild Collections 
in the Library of Upsala. 

6 Warrant for master George Norman to have inspection 
over bishops and clergy, Upsala, December 8, 1539. MS. in 
the Palmskdld Collections. 

7 Instruction by which the conservator and councillor of 
religion in West-Gothland shall be guided. Nyliidose, April 
9, 1540. MS. ibid. 

8 Commission for those who are made Ordinaries. Wes- 
teras, June 19, 1557. MS. ibid. 

9 Spegel, Proofs to the Bishops' Chronicle, p. 114. 


Rebellion in 


Its dangerous 

[152'1— 1543. 

" Ye would wish to be far better scholars than | 
we, and many good men besides," he writes to the 
commonalty of Upland', "and hold much more 
fast by the traitorous abuses of the old bishops 
and papists, than by the word and gospel of 
the living God. Far be this thought from you ! 
Tend your households, fields and meadows, wives 
and children, kine and sheep ; but set to us no 
bound in government and religion. Since it be- 
hoveth us as a Christian monarch, for God's sake 
and for righteousness, conformably to all natural 
reason, to appoint ordinances and rules for you; so 
that if ye would not look to have wrath and chas- 
tisement from us, ye should be obedient to our 
royal commandment, as well in temporal matters 
as in religion." 

The king liad employed the nobles as auxiliaries 
against the hierarchy. He had confirmed their 
cliarter of privileges in the year 1526, and invited 
them by the Westeras Recess to participate in the 
reduction of ecclesiastical property. The alliance was 
soon found to be burdensome, and by a decree of 
1538 he forbade any one to lay hands on the posses- 
sions of the Church until the party had proved his 
right before the king himself. Meanwhile the per- 
mission, once given, had been used by the nobility in 
such a manner as to excite highly the discontent of 
the people. " Thou and thy like," wrote the royal 
censor to the councillor of state, George Gyllensti- 
erna ', " live as there were neither law nor rule in 
the land;" and to the baronage: " To strip churches, 
convents, and prebends of estates, manors, and 
chattels, thereto are all full willing and ready, and 
after such a fashion is every man a Christian aud 
evangelical." The insurrection which had broken 
out in Scania during the Lubecine war was directed 
particularly against the nobles. Soon the spirit of 
revolt spread to the adjacent Swedish provinces, 
and so early as 1537 troubles arose in Smaland, in 
which the peasants were heard to threaten, " thai 
they would slay their lords and root out the whole 
body ^." Rigorous measures stilled the tumult for 
the moment, but the disaffection continued, and in 
1542 rebellion was general in Smaland. Nils Dacke, 
a peasant who had been forced to flee into the 
woods for homicide, was the ringleader. His band 
at times numbered 10,000 men, and he defied with 
success the whole power of Gustavus, " because," 
so runs one complaint, " the peasants will not come 
forth into the open field after the fair custom of 
war, but when the household-men (the term at this 
time for the regular soldiery) set upon them, then 
do they like the wolf, and hug the forest with all 
haste again." The rising spread from parish to 
parish, or more correctly, from wood to wood, 
through West and East-Gothland, upwards as far 
as Sodermanland. First there come secretly emis- 
saries in the night time — it is stated in a relation to 
the king * — who press followers in the name of the 

1 Letter to the peasantry at the fair of Disting, 1540, in 
tlie Registry of the Archives. 

2 Dated at Gripsholm, March 5, 1538. 

3 Tegel 2, 92. 

•• In what manner the rabble of traitors made their pro- 
gress from Smaland. Registry of the Archives for 1543. 
' Herrehycklare, fawuers on lords ; lord-losels. T. 

common weal and the advancement of Christianity. 
Then if the priest of the parish be mamed, his 
house is straightway plundered ; the same is done 
to rich landowners and yeomen, who are called 
lick-lords ^. In this wise they make the greater 
number partakers of their knavery, and ever go 
forward, spying out all roads and paths, not seeking 
the clear fields, but holding by the forest. All that 
belongs to the gentry is forthwith ruined, none 
dares to ask after it, and all who are in livei-y are 
accounted for thralls to the great. They say, that 
they mean no ill to trafiickers, but only to lords' men 
and retainers, pretending that they wish again to 
build up Christianity, to abolish the Swedish mass, 
and brmg all things back to their old condition. 
The royal bailiffs were killed, the manor-houses 
plundered, and the crown was offered to Suanto 
Sture, who now, as in the former attempt of the 
same kind, remained true to his sovereign. In vain 
the king tendered the insurgents his pardon if they 
would return to obedience. From the complaints 
of grievances to which these transactions gave rise, 
it would seem that the king's bailiffs and the barons 
had perpetrated various outrages, which he sought 
to excuse on the plea that they had been committed 
without his knowledge. " Ye reave and rend from 
the needy wretches of peasants — he writes to his 
officers — all that they have, sometimes for a small 
matter, and then it ensues, they being completely 
impoverished, that no other resource is left them, 
but to run from house, home, wife and child, and 
betake themselves to the foi'est-thieves." There 
were moreover some of the king's own economical 
regulations which had pressed with peculiar severity 
upon the population of this region. Old priests 
fanned the flames of disturbance, lifted up their 
hands and anathematized the king in the churches. 
A truce was concluded with the royal approbation, 
but within a short time it was broken. Dacke 
ruled with absolute sway in Smaland and the isle of 
Oeland. The Swedish refugees, duke Albert of 
Mecklenburg, the palsgrave Frederic, who en- 
nobled the rebel leader, the emperor Charles V. 
himself, by his chancellor Granvella, entered into 
communication with the revolted peasants ". There 
were moments during these disorders in which 
Gustavus despaired of his own crown and of the 
public safety. At length, in the suiumer of 1543, 
they were suppressed. Abandoned by all, Dacke 
wandered a vagabond in the forests of Blekinge, 
and was finally, according to the most general 
account (for some make him to have escaped to 
Germany), overtaken by his pursuers in these wilds, 
and shot dead with an arrow '. Thus ended the 
fiercest insurrection which Gustavus had to brave. 
It was also the last. Upper Sweden remained faith- 
ful to him, and the Dalecarlians voluntarily marched 
to his aid. 

6 See the emperor's warrant (dated Barcelona, October 23, 
1542,) for Granvella to repair to Sweden, or to exchange 
written communications with the factious ; and his letter to 
the peasants of Smaland in Hvitfeldt under the year 1542. 

7 Messenius (Scondia v. !,'6) says, that the real Dacke 
escaped to Germany, again ventured to Sweden in king 
John's reign, and died of the plague at Stockholm in 1580. 








A. D. 1544—1560. 

So early as the year 1526, when the council solicited 
the king to choose a consort, provision was made 
that if God should grant him sons, one of them, and 
the eldest in preference, should be his successor, 
while lands and fiefs were to be settled on the 
others, as was beseeming for the children of a 
sovereign. Six years elapsed before he wedded the 
princess Catharine, daughter of Magnus, duke of 
Saxe-Lauenburg, and sister to the queen of Den- 
mark. Eric, born on the 13th of December, 1533, 
was his eldest son by this marriage, which was but 
of short duration, for two years afterwards the 
young Catharine suddenly died. This union was 
not of the most happj', yet the fault probably was 
not on the king's side only, since his second wed- 
lock, contracted in 1536, was rich in domestic joys 
and bliss, although his bride had been destined for 
another. She was Margaret Lejonhufvud, daugh- 
ter of Eric Abrahamson of Loholm, a council- 
lor of state, beheaded at the massacre of Stock- 
liolm, and had been previously betrothed to Suanto 
Sture, the same youth for whom the enemies of 
Gustavus had intended the throne, and who was 
now obliged to yield up to the royal love the object 
of his own affections *. Eric, and John (the king's 
first-born son by Margaret) were presented to the 
council, convened at Orebro, on the 4th of January, 
1540, along with several of the chief nobles and 
prelates. The king drew his sword, and the as- 
sembled peers, touching the blade, took an oath 
administered by him, and confirmed by the recep- 
tion of Ihe sacrament, in which they acknowledged 
his sons as the legitimate heirs of the kingdom. Four 
years afterwards, at the diet of Westeras, this act 
was further confirmed, and the succession to the 
throne settled according to priority of birth upon 
the male heirs of the sovereign, the estates recog- 
nizing and doing solemn homage to Eric as crown- 
prince. A violent thunder-storm during the cere- 
monial, and a brilliant rainbow which shone out at 
its close, were regarded as prognostics, with terror 
or hope, as men were differently inclined. In his 
speech to the estates at the sitting of the diet, the 
king once more expressed his attachment to the 
principles of the Reformation : to serve God rightly, 
to love him above all, and to believe in Jesus Christ 
as our only Saviour ; to hear and teach God's word 
with gladness ; to be obedient to magistrates ac- 
cording to his injunction ; to love one's neighbour 

^ Suanto Sture, at the queen's suggestion, was married In 
1533 to her sister Mary. (Lejonhufvud, lit. Lionhead.) 

9 Among the 143 persons of this order here enumerated 
and present, one clergyman, Herr Pafvel of Floda, in the 
diocese of Strengness, is named among the councillors of the 

as oneself ; and keep God's commandments. This 
was the true worship, these were the true good 
works, and for this we had God's bidding. But of 
consecrated tapers, palms, masses for the dead, 
adoration of saints, and the like, nothing was found 
in scripture, and God had forbidden such offices, 
like as he had instituted the holy sacrament as a 
pledge and sign of the forgiveness of our sins, not 
that we should set it m gold and silver and can-y it 
round the church-yards or other places. " Such we 
let you understand and know, he said, trusting in 
God that we herein do what is right. Therefore 
is it much to be wondered that ye will so stub- 
bornly cling to the bishops and the old usages 
of the church." 

The Act of Hereditary Settlement passed at 
Westeras, and dated the 13th of January, 1544, 
is drawn up in the name of all the estates by 
order of the nobles', who here style themselves 
" members and props of the crown of Sweden." At 
the diet of Strengness in 1547, the estates declared 
themselves likewise ready to acknowledge and 
maintain " the testamentary disposition which the 
king's majesty has made or may yet make for the 
princely heirs of his budy." The statute for this 
purpose was framed by the clergy ', although it is 
plain from various records, that the other orders 
also gave their assent to it. Now. for the first 
time after the beginning of the Reformation, we 
find this estate, — no longer represented by the 
bishops only, but also by pastors of churches both 
in towns and rural parishes, — again mentioned as 
present at the diet ; a proof that the greater 
number at least ^ were now Protestant. After the 
act of settlement had been passed, an order was 
made, " that the king's majesty might not daily be 
burdened and troubled with so many affairs," for 
the councillors of state to be in attendance upon 
him contuiually, two every month. 

A peace of ten years following the troubles above 
detailed, allows us time to contemplate Gustavus 
in his internal administration. The Liberation was 
his first work, the Reformation his most difficult, 
and the establishment of the throne by the heredi- 
tary settlement his last, of which the true scope 
was to set the crown upon all the rest by securing 
their permanency. But place them all together, 
and how much do they not overpass the limits of 
one man's life ! Once again after the days of this 

superintendent, or Inspector (Tillsynesman), as he is also 
termed, George Norman. 

1 See Stjernman, Resolutions, i. 200. 

2 The statute mentioned is drawn up hy the clergy of the 
dioceses of Upsala, Westeras, and Strengness. 


Effects of tlie Recess 
of VVesteras. 


Confiscation of Church 


monarch, the ancient days of the Union, altliough 
in another shape, were destined to return ; once 
again the papacy was to struggle here too, not 
without liope of success, for the recovery of its 
former influence, and tlie interval of another gene- 
ration did not suffice to etface from the memories 
of the nobles of Sweden what they deemed them- 
selves to have lost by the hereditary settlement. 
How little ground was thei-e to expect at that 
moment, that all the great fabric which his hand 
had raised could be consolidated during the space 
of a single reign, and the system in its operation 
acquire the certitude of law ! Well did the founder 
appreciate the chances of the future, and it was in 
the foreknowledge of the coming storm that, to 
fortify the power of his liouse against its rage, he 
laboured with iin impatience which was not always 
content to obey the behests of conscience iu the 
means employed. 

All was yet in the mould, nothing had reached 
its appointed goal, and least accurately defined were 
the new relations of the Church towards the state. 
Hence the Recess of Westeras, on which these 
were gi'ouuded, underwent in practice continual 
alterations. By its provisions, the revenues of 
bishopries, canonries, cathedrals, and convents, 
were so far committed to the king's discretion, 
that he was free, after reserving to the holders and 
masters such a proportion as was required for their 
due maintenance, to apply the residue for the be- 
hoof of the crown. Nevertheless, the confiscation 
of the estates appertaining to these foundations 
was not the immediate result. The king was con- 
tent with the payment of a fixed rent in money, 
adjusted by compact with the bishops, chapters, 
and monastic priors, whether clerical or laical. 
Gradually this arrangement was changed, and it 
comjiletely ceased after the hereditai'y settlement. 
The king sequestered the episcopal estates, and the 

3 Even for glebe-lands no exception was made, although 
there is proof that the king defended these from the en- 
croachments of others, forbidding the nobility, in 1544, to 
seize any estate or tenement belonging to a glebe without 
his consent. But there are in the Registers several instances 
of manses confiscated, which was generally effected by tlie 
junction of parishes. Thus the king writes in 1548 to Dane- 
mora, that the priest there may well serve two churches, be- 
cause the king wanted the manse, and if the peasants did 
not let his husbandmen sit " unshorn," he would take another 
way with them; likewise in 1552 to the minister and pa- 
rishioners of Hiikhufvud (Hawkhead) in Upland, that he 
needed the manse for his mining works, wherefore they 
must look after another manse at the other church in that 
parish. (Rejster in the Archives.) Some portion of the 
glebe-land, however, appears generally to have been reserved 
for the support of the pastor, and there were not yet any 
chapels of ease. The glebes in Norrland, " as much thereof 
as the minister can fairly keep," were already excepted from 
sequestration liy the Westeras Recess, although they had 
been formed here from fc-u-ground (skattejord), which in 
other cases, where it had come into the hands of the Church, 
was seized without exception. In places where the monas- 
teries had been dissolved, the king himself appointed spi- 
ritual instructors ; and so, according to the statement of 
Eric Benzelius, (Utkast till Svenska folkets Historia,) arose 
the term regale, benefice. So early as February, 152G, the 
king sent to the see of Abo a catalogue of several " benefices 
royal," as he called them, which were bound by old custom 
to pay a yearly rent, although the same had for long been 
omitted ; whence it appears as if such had existed from a very 
ancient period. Perhaps the king really refers, though his 
words are far too general, to the annats or first year's income 

incomes of the bishops were paid instead out of the 
two-thirds of the tithes, which by the Westeras 
Recess were vested m the crown. The like befell 
with the estates of the canons as well as with their 
dwelling-houses in the towns, which escheated to 
the crown as the incumbents of canonries died 
off" or were removed to benefices in the country. 
In the same manner the remaining conventual 
estates were appropriated, as the monastic life was 
by degrees dropped, so that at last only some few aged 
nuns were to be found in the convents of Vadstena, 
Skenninge, Nadendal, and Skog, who were sup- 
ported by the king. By diff'erent ordinances in 1545 
and the two following years, all other ecclesiastical 
estates, not comprehended under the denomina- 
tions already mentioned ^, were transferred to the 
state, the inferior clergy being indemnified out of 
the proceeds of the crown-tithes. The king found it 
necessary to vindicate from misrepresentation, in a 
public letter of July f), 1547, a step which exceeded the 
limits drawn m the Recess of Westeras. It follows 
from what we have stated that Gustavus made deep 
iiu'oads on the property of the Church, yet, even in 
respect to revenue, the Protestant establishment of 
Sweden had a better lot than many of her sisters 
in other lands. The first evangelical archbishop 
long maintained at his own cost fifty students in 
Upsala, and his contemporary bishop, Martin Sky tte 
of Abo, eight, at foreign seminaries of learning *. 
The inferior working clergy, who likewise received 
the third of the tithes anciently possessed by them, 
were always, although inimical to the king, the ob- 
jects of his care. A change of faith has seldom 
been introduced with such an utter absence of per- 
secution. The reign of Gustavus shows but too 
many political victims; not one shed his blood for 
religion. There are indeed instances of the depri- 
vation of clergymen *, but for the most part the king 
was satisfied with giving the old younger coadjutoi's, 

of vacant clerical benefices, which during Catholic ' times 
fell to the Romish see, and which the civil authorities had 
already begun to appropriate in some places ; Gustavus levied 
them in all cases throughout his reign ; and thence after- 
wards the year's grace (nadar) for the widows of the clergy 
arose. The number of these benefices royal was increased 
in various ways. The king reserved to himself the disposal 
of all prebends (the revenues were often conferred on lay- 
men), and commanded moreover, although by the ordinance 
of Westeras the bishops had to fill up the cures, that the 
announcement of vacancies in the larger benefices should be 
laid before himself. 

* Rhyzelius, Diskopskronika, p. 344. The fifty students 
whom Lawrence Peterson maintained were originally the like 
number of swash-bucklers, received by tlie king's order for 
the defence of the new archbishop against the still Romishly 
inclined canons of Upsala. Messenius, Scondia v. 55. 

5 See the king's letter of February 28, 1548, to his iirivy 
councillor Botved Larson, to look carefully to two priests 
whom he had caused to be brought to Stockholm, and who 
had engaged to him to adhere thenceforward to the true 
evangelical creed. One Ambiorn, a priest in Grebiiek in the 
diocese of Skara, received back his living after he had re- 
nounced Popery, and with it the king's letter of favour, of 
February 6, 155L'. Register in the Archives. Incapable 
preachers were also deprived at the several visitations which 
took place under Norman's superintendence. The clergy of 
West-Gothland were obliged, in 1510, to pay fines for their 
ignorance. Upon one of them being asked, " Quid est evan- 
(jeiium?" his answer was, "Est baplismus ;" and another de- 
clared that we had nothing to do with the Old Testament, 
because it had been lost in Noah's flood. Hallenberg, Value 
of Coins and Wares, 232. 


^'theti"r' GUSTAVUS VASA. 


Tenure in 


while we often see him arranginji; the conditions be- 
tween them, and anxiously providing for the appoint- 
ment of evangelical preachers to the vacant parishes. 
The extension which the Recess of Westeras 
received in its execution beyond its letter, (and 
how brief and irapei'fect is not the phraseology of 
the written documents of this age !) is hardly to be 
blamed, for the cause lay in the nature of the sub- 
ject-matter of the act. The participation to which 
the nobles had been admitted in the " pkmdering " 
(skofliug, an expression of this age for confiscation) 
of the church had furnished to their sovereign an 
urgent motive for saving what might yet be saved ''. 
As already remarked, the nobility obtained by the 
Recess a right to resume that part of their property 
which had been possessed by churches or convents 
since the inquisition of Charles Canuteson. There 
was, no doubt, a condition annexed, that no one 
should exercise his right till he had proved it be- 
fore the court by twelve witnesses, according to law. 
But he who reflects on the notions prevalent in re- 
lation to matters of law and right, when Sweden 
emerged from the chaos of the Union, and remem- 
bers that the judicial offices, of which the revenues 
were granted away similarly to other feudal tene- 
ments, were at the disposal of the nobles, — their 
duties being discharged, as the king himself la- 
ments, by persons " utterly unskilled in the written 
law of Sweden," — will be able to form an adequate 
conception of the weakness of that defence which 
was thus raised against the caprices of power. The 
king found reason in 1628 to take under his own 
especial cognizance the claims which had been 
made in several individual cases. Ten years after- 
wards this new condition was made universal in its 
application, and the irregular appropriations of in- 
dividuals "who wrested and rent from the churches 
aud convents to suit themselves," were revoked. 
Another infraction of the Recess of Westeras had 
become not less necessary. The limitation of the 
claims of the nobles to the interval which had 
elapsed since king Charles's reduction, as decreed 
by the statute, was soon fovind to be impossible in 
practice. The convents fell to decay, and who 
could distinguish what of their property had been 
acquired before or after 1454 ? Claims were ad- 
vanced to the whole mass, and all would have been 
plundered if the king had not interfered, to prefer, 
no doubt, claims of his own, but which were at the 
same time those of the community. Similar mo- 
tives produced that third extension of the Recess, 
after the hereditary settlement, to all estates and 
husbandmen generally remaining to the church' 
and clergy, indemnity being found in return from 
the part of the tithes which had been vested in the 

6 He complained, in 1 544, that his bailiff Nils Westgbte did 
not give in an account of the plunderings (skoflingar) which 
had occurred within his district. 

'' Compare the Inventory of the Estates of Bishops, Canons, 
Prebends, Churches, and Convents, with documents annexed, 
drawn up by order of Charles XI. in 1691, by Ornhielm. MS. 

8 Rescript of King Gustavus I. to Helsingland, Gestric- 
land, and Angermanland, April 20, 1542. This is not, how- 
ever, the first occasion on which he had embraced the maxim, 
as is plain from the circumstance, that in a charter of August 
12, 15,35, he grants permission, "out of special grace and 
favour," to the people in Vermeland, without hindrance to 
use, to settle, and to hold those commons which they 
anciently possessed, notoriously and of right. On the 17th 
Fehruary, 1548, the king again wrote to the Vermelanders 
in reference to the clearing of new settlements, that he 

crown. The hierarchy, a fallen power, could no 
longer protect itself, much less others. The clergy, 
as they themselves admitted, were no long<'r able 
to defend their property. In exchange, they at 
least gained an accession of security; and even the 
nobles had no just ground of complaint, since a 
considerable share of the appropriations thus made 
was distributed in new infeudations '. 

So great a power in the affairs of the church 
could not fail to exert an influence on the king's 
civil authority, and from the Recess of Westeras 
accordingly dates the establishment in Sweden of a 
new state-law, by which it was considerably aug- 
mented. Although the full powers which it claimed 
were not at this period admitted, still ineffaceable 
traces of its existence remained. All those rights 
of the crown to commonable woodlands, lakes, 
streams, fisheries, mines, which the spurious sta- 
tute of Helgeandsholm pretends to derive from so 
ancient an epoch as 1280, were now really asserted 
and obtained validity. The extent of commonage 
or common ground (allmanning) unoccupied by in- 
dividuals, in which the old laws comprehend not 
only forests, but mountains and waters, may be 
viewed as a fair measure of the developement of 
civil society. This notion of one common property 
varies widely in its compass, being expanded in 
proportion as the community itself increases from 
a village to a hundred, to a province, to a kingdom; 
not seldom the larger type absorbs the subordinate 
and limited, from which itself sprung, especially 
where the crown, as representative of the public, 
eventually lays claim to all commonable estate. 
During our middle age we observe tliese claims 
illustrating without entirely dissipating the con- 
fusion which involves the relations of this .species 
of jjroperty, more indefinite in an extensive and 
scantily settled region than in other countries. For 
in Sweden, where so many parishes are still pos- 
sessed of similar property, the title thus sought to 
be vindicated by the throne was never fully made 
good, though it was more than once asserted, and 
by the restorer of his country in the strongest 
terms. His words are, " all ti'acts of ground which 
lie unoccupied belong to God, the, king, and the 
crown of Sweden*." In the days of Gustavus, 
therefore, even commons of hundreds are styled 
"the king's," "the crown's^," and the old right 
of property in those lands which the people pos- 
sessed, obliterated by the new name, fell into 
oblivion, and was declared to be one of mere usu- 
fruct. The king extended this system still further. 
He declared all the herring-fisheries in the Baltic 
to be " the just property of the sovereign '," and 
established in Sweden the maxim that " the flood 

would gladly give leave for such to be formed, and that they 
might retain the portions of wild land which they had 
brought into cultivation, under tribute to the crown; on the 
other hand, the king could not permit the nobility to hold 
their clearings free from the payment of dues. On the 25th 
November, 1548, he orders that in West-Gothhnd "those 
enclosures of noble proprietors to which, peradveiiture, they 
possess little or no title," should be reclaimed for the crown. 
Friilsemen, or persons sitting tax-free, are forbidden (Feb 
ruary 9, 1549,) to make encroachments on the commons of 
the crown in Smaland. Register in the Archives. 

9 On the land-taxes of Sweden, up to and at the beginning 
of the seventeenth century. (Ora Svenska Jordens beskatt- 
ning, Sjc.) Academical Dissertation, by P, E, Bergfalk. 
Ups.nla, 1832, i. 25. 

1 Rescript of March 1, 1545. 



ExtL-nslon of the 
crown dues. 


The king's method of 


belongs to the crown," applying it not only to 
the salmon fisheries in the streams of Norrland 
and Vermeland, but also to water-mills which had 
been or might be constructed on them '^. Lastly, lie 
declares it to have been determined that all veins of 
ore in Sweden shall belong to the crov\ai '. And his 
appeals in this as in other questions to " the law of 
Sweden," and to "all charters of the kings, princes, 
and lords, his deceased predecessors," though not 
always well-founded, would be the more readily re- 
ceived, that men had had sufficient time during the 
Union to forget what really was or was not a right 
of the crown. 

These extended claims served indeed, on the one 
side, to make the resources for the support of the 
population more generally accessible, wherefore the 
king states it as a corollary from the rights of the 
crown in respect to mines, " that every man should 
have liberty to open mines m the domain of the 
crown, who would consent to discharge the crown 
dues therefrom, according to compact with the 
bailiff of the mines." On the other side, a discre- 
tionary power was confided to the king's liands, 
which might become dangerous for individual 
rights of property, especially as the logic of Gus- 
tavus was not liglitly deterred by fears of possi- 
bilities. His arguments against the exemption of 
the clergy from payments to the state are remark- 
able. " This can we with our poor understanding 
divine, although ye will not," — he writes in 1525 to 
bishop Brask, — " that land that is tax-free has first 
of all been made assessable and after become tax- 
free, not that the king should then have nought 
more to do with it, as ye write, but that service 
should therefore be done to the king. If the sove- 
reign shall have nothing to do with churches and 
convents, whei'e abidetli the service which should 
be performed for that land free of taxes which is 
now under churches and convents ? Therefore ye 
are not to write that the crown has laid out nothing 
there, and consequently ought not to raise any thing 
thence." We have hei'e only the first link of the 
chain of conclusions, which stretched much further. 
All waste land was now regarded as belonging aiid 
having ever belonged to the crown ; it was held to 
be unquestionable that, consequently, all socage- 
farms * had been founded upon the crown-lands ; 
and that the royal bounty by which the occupants 
received grants in perpetuity, was the only cause 
which had dissevered these from the proper domain 
of the crown ^. The number of estates originally 
comprised in this was small, but it was consider- 
ably'augmented in this reign, perhaps by prejudi- 
cations of the same kind. Gustavus strictly main- 
tained and acted upon this proposition. To the 

* To the councillor of the exchequer, Botved Larson, upon 
the fishery in Skelleftea, Pitea, and Tornea, February 16, 
1548. " We hear that in the upper country there are some 
good salmon fisheries, which belong to us." To the same, 
March 11," upon the streams of Vermeland, where there are 
opportunities for salmon fisheries and saw-mills, whence the 
crown may derive some advantage." Registry in the Ar- 

3 Prohibition to the miners of Nora Forest to enclose 
crown mines. Westeras, March 29, 1551. Register of the 

* This is the nearest expression I can find for skatte-hem- 
man, granges or farms of which the proprietor was bound to 
pay rent, or do service to the king, and which were thus 
held by a tenure similar to that of socage. T. 

sokemen of Upland he writes, " that they allow 
themselves to fancy, that when they have acquired 
such fee-farms by lawful inheritance, purchase, or 
otherwise, they may deal therewith as it pleases 
them. To that we answer, that so long as they 
maintain such granges with the requisite buildings 
in good condition, and perform other obligations, 
they may keep possession of the same ; but if they 
fail in that, then their tenements escheat to us and 
the crown of Sweden "." He refutes the same 
" perverse opinion" among the sokemen in Sma- 
land with the same logic, and when the inde- 
pendent peasants complained that the king's bailiffs 
held surveys of their buildings, he answered (Feb. 
6, 1650) ; "yet do we think that it well befits 
us, as the lord of this realm, to see that surveys 
are held upon the houses of the crown peasants, 
the nobles having like power in respect to the 
peasants of their manors," " It will be well they 
should be brought to account for waste," the king 
writes on anotlaer occasion ', " when they have al- 
lowed wood to grow up in the meadows, and 
neglected or badly manured the fields ; the interest 
of the crown will by no means suffer that we over- 
look this." And, what is most important, many 
peasants, upon such grounds, foi'feited their right 
of property to the king. 

Gustavus commonly showed that he entertained 
the most exalted notions of the powers of his regal 
office, and though he ascribed its origin to God and 
to the people, to judge from his favourite saying and 
his last words, yet the divine right appears to have 
had the preference in his inclinations at one period 
of his life. " In the name of the Holy Trinity," 
he said, when the council in the year 1540 swore 
obedience to him, upon his bare sword, as an heredi- 
tary sovereign, " and out of the Divine strength 
and power of Almighty God, which is bestowed 
upon us and all the royal and princely lords, heirs 
of our body, from genei-ation to generation, to rule 
and dispose over you and all our subjects upon 
earth, we hold this sword of righteousness over you 
to witness ; herewith swear*." Immediately there- 
after he styled himself king hereditary ", without 
waiting for the formal act of settlement subse- 
quently passed at Westeras. 

With this disposition the king did not feel it to 
be at all incompatible to declare upon any outbreak 
of popular discontent, that he was ready to change 
and to amend whatever might be faulty in his go- 
vernment ; they might well make their discontent 
known without feud or revolt ; they should com- 
plain to the king, if his officers transgressed in any 
thing ; he could not travel to every man in the 
kingdom and hear how it went with him. We have 

5 Bergfalk, ib. 33. 

6 To his bailiffs in Upland, dated Upsala, April 15, 1541. 
That the peasants themselves should let out their lands, and 
thereby draw "stiff corn-rents," so that the farms fell to 
ruin, was not to be permitted. On May 2G, 1553, the la- 
bourers of the peasants are forbidden to pay rent to any one 
but the king. 

7 To Mats Ingemarson, Gripsholm, June 29, 1547. To the 
crown peasants in Smaland who do not keep their farms in 
order, February 4, 1553. Registry In the Archives. 

8 See the oath in Tegel. 

9 " Your rightly reijniing hereditary king." Form of go- 
vernment in West-Gothland, April 9, 1540. Stjernman, 
Statutes, j. 163. To the common people at the fair of Dis- 
ting, February 3, 1541. Registry. 




Conrad of 


seen in the various insurrections, with what in- 
dependence the communities of the provinces which 
were for the time quiet acted as mediators and 
negotiators, invited to the office by their sovereign 
himself. He ordinarily acknowledged the political 
influence of the people by accounts and expositions, 
publicly rendered, of the transactions of his ad- 
ministration. Such statements were made not 
merely at the diets, but for the most part annually 
at the great fairs, especially in Sweden Proper. 
There the democracy was stronger, and the king 
either himself attended such popular assemblages, 
as those of Upsala, Strengness, and Westeras, to 
hold discourses to the commonalty, or excusing iiis 
own absence, he sent some of the council with his 
letters for the same purpose. These papers con- 
tain either relations of military occurrences (the 
bulletins of the time), and hostile assaults appre- 
hended, or of the course of negociations, or procla- 
mations in reference to revolts, or the new doctrine 
(which the king would never admit to be new), or 
the demands of the people to abide in all by that 
which they termed " old and of yore," or accounts 
of expenditure, or propositions respecting other 
administrative affairs, with not unfrequently good 
advice upon domestic economy, intelligence of the 
king's health, and other matters, all iu language, 
the characteristic stamp of which would alone 
have proved that it was dictated by himself, had 
we not his own testimony, that from want of in- 
telligent assistants he usually directed his own 
chancery in pei-son ^. His industry, like that of all 
men without exception whose activity has be- 
queathed any fruits, far exceeded the ordinary 
measure of exertion 2. He used to say to his 
sons : " Give due consideration to all things, ex- 
ecute them quickly and hold to them, deferring 
nothing till the morrow. A resolve not carried 
out at the right moment, I'esembles a cloud without 
rain in great drought." 

Yet it belongs to truth not to conceal that these 
dissimilar sides of his administration sometimes 
ran into the two opposite extremes of deraagoguism 
and despotism, which are besides related to each 
other as fraud and force. A policy may be termed 
demagogic which deludes the masses in order to 
manage them ; and history shows that in all cases 
in which these influence the government immedi- 
ately, not less than in despotisms, such a policy has 
prevailed. In Sweden, where democracy was so 
powerfid, it had been from of old in use. The 
Stur^s were no contemptible masters of the art ; 
and bishop Hemming Gadd might have given les- 
sons to students of its mysteries. This arose from 
their position as popular leaders, wielding a power 

' We find it sometimes observed in the registers, " Scripsit 
regia majestas ; dictavit regiamajestas ;" the latter probably 
was more frequently the case. The king was a stickler for 
purity of diction : " Besides, thou mayest tell thy clerk," he 
enjoins one of his bailiffs in 1529, " that he should keep to 
his mother tongue the Swedish, and not write us jeg for 

jag" (I)- 

2 " i have often spoken with the said king Gustavus, who 
was a prince very high and puissant, very active and ready, 
taking incredible pains and labour with his affairs. As for his 
wit and industry, his great and memorable enterprises, his 
prudence in conducting them, as well as the wise adminis- 
tration and preservation of the said kingdom for so long a 
time, and the happy success of his designs, do so commend 
him that he ought justly to have surmounte<l all envy." 

iu many respects indefinite and ambiguous, strug- 
gling against the Union without daring to break it. 
The path in which Gustavus moved was more open 
and lofty, but even he, especially in the earlier por- 
tion of his cai'eer, saw himself obliged to employ tlie 
same methods. No one can fail to observe that the 
promises he made in moments of peril were not al- 
ways to be relied upon when it had passed away. 
The Dalecarlians complained in their first insurrec- 
tion that truth was never to be found in him ; the 
Smalandei's during Dacke's raid did not confide in 
his offers of a-mnesty. And they were right, for his 
mandate to his commanders was to the effect that 
"they should deal artfully and tenderly with the 
rogues ; they were to undertake and engage to grant 
them every thing that was possible, even if tliey 
should not keep what they promised ^." 

Throughout some years a foreign influence is 
observable in the councils and measures of this 
king's government, proceeding chiefly from Conrad 
Peutinger, or, as he called himself, Pyhy. This 
man was a Netherlandish jurist, who coming to 
Sweden in 1538, won the royal confidence by his 
attainments as well as by craft and flattery, and 
was advanced to the dignity of high chancellor and 
privy councillor of government and war. His long 
title may serve as a specimen of the style which, 
introduced by him, was long established in the pub- 
lic affaix's of the kingdom, and which shows, above 
all, .in inexhaustible command of unswedish words 
respecting the " high and royal power, authority 
and perfection." He was one of the projectors 
who, when any thing new is passing, force them- 
selves upon rulers ; an adventurer, as Luther after- 
wards styled him in a letter to the king. It was he 
who framed the oath whereby the hereditary suc- 
cession was first guaranteed at Orebro in 1540*, 
for which the magnates could never forgive him ; 
he was likewise so odious to the people, who said 
that they had got with the Dutch chancellor a new 
king and lord in the land, that Gustavus himself 
was obliged to undertake his defence in a pubi'ic or- 
dinance. The so-called "form of government for 
West-Gothland*," of the above-named year, exem- 
plifies the constitution which the chancellor designed 
for the kingdom. A pi'ovincial board, composed of 
a lieutenant or under-chancellor (who was also 
called conservator in affairs of religion), four as- 
sistant-councillors or assessors, and a secretary, 
under the king and the supreme council of state, 
was to pi'eside over the government, the adminis- 
tration of justice, and also, with the concurrence of 
the royal chamber of accounts (kammarrad), over 
the management of the rents and estates of the 
crown, together with the police. This last word, 

Correspondence of Charles Dantzai, minister of France at 
the court of Denmark. Scand. Memoirs, ii. 25. 

3 Letter to the high marshal Lars Siggeson, baron John 
Thureson, with several councillors of state, and chief men 
assembled in East-Gothland. Stockholm, August 22, 1542. 
Registry in the Archives. 

* " In the time of king Gustavus, Conrad von Pyhy, a fo- 
reigner, was high chancellor, who, against the law and liberty 
of the kingdom, was set over all native Swedes ; he brought 
in new oaths and ceremonies, as was seen at Orebro, and 
took upon himself to make new laws and reform the pro- 
vincial governments. So, too, Norman, who wished tliat the 
nobility should hold their estates by feudal tenure, alter the 
German fashion." Eric Sparre, Postulata Nobiliuni, I.ISS. 

5 Stjernman, id. i. 137. 



End of his 



The king's 



like many of the rest, had been hitherto unknown 
to the counti'y, and appears to have awakened very 
great alarm, since among the accusations of the 
peasants, from whicli the king was obliged to defend 
his German chancellor, we find the complaint, that 
they had no longer liberty to bake and brew in 
peace ^. The police was to be managed by a "ritt- 
master" (who was likewise to be an assistant-coun- 
cillor), with " a moveable troop ;" they were to be 
distributed on the public high-roads, where " they 
were to question every one of his occupation and 
business, arrest suspected persons, and demand 
way-bills or passports from foreign or internal 
traders." Whether this constitution, with its police, 
was ever brought into practice may be doubted. 
Not long after it was framed, the last great rebel- 
lion broke out, produced among other causes by the 
levy of that aid which the king with his council of 
government was empowered liy its provisions to de- 
cree, and the new plan of taxation adopted in 1540'. 
Three years afterwards Conrad von Pyhy was over- 
thrown ; of whom the king declared " that he had 
meddled much to the loss rather than the behoof of 
ourselves and of this realm *." On his return from 
an embassy to France he was charged with bigamy 
and also with embezzling a large sum of money, 
was stripped of his offices, and ended his days in 
prison in the castle of Westeras. 

That Gustavus himself would have long consented 
to entrust his authority in the provinces to an ad- 
ministration so composed seems the less credible, 
as he loved in all such matters the shortest way, 
namely, that of personal interference. The imme- 
diate relation in which he stood to his bailiffs never 
left much power to the possessors of the great fiefs, 
who were likewise the king's lieutenants. Their 
power over his own peasants he expressly rcstrict- 

6 Letters of the king to tlie hundreds lying about Upsala, 

7 This undoubtedly is included among the " intolerable 
burdens and taxes" of which the people complained, accord- 
ing to the king's letter to the commons of Upland in 1540. 
The Smalanders, after the revolt, were exempted from this 
aid (again imposed at. the diet of Linkiiping in 1544) with 
the assent of the council and the nobility, but were obliged 
in return to give the king several thousand oxen as an 

« Letter of January 4, 1553, to Lars Siggeson Sparre. The 
king was equally dissatisfied with Pyhy's successor in the 
chancellorship, Christopher Anderson Rod, who wrote him- 
self Artium liberalium magister, as well as councillor of state. 
He escaped to Lubeck and died abroad. Gustavus did not 
again fill up this office. 

9 Letter from Upsala, April 14, 1541, that not they who 
possess fiefs, but the king's own bailiffs, should collect from 
his peasants the so-called yea.r]y foddering ; a contribution 
which arose in this way, that horses were distributed to the 
homesteads to be supplied with fodder. 

1 Manuscript relation of the church estates, already quoted, 
made by Ornhielm, by order of Charles XI. 

2 Letter of Charles IX., distributing the hereditary estates 
among his sons. Nykceping, March 31, 1610. Kegistry in 
the Archives. 

3 " Further his majesty caused various estates to be re- 
claimed for himself, yet with no other intention than that those 
concerned should receive full compensation in other estates, 
which nevertheless was long deferred, and during the life of 
his majesty never was brought to any performance ; besides, 
it happened that one and the other made over his pretended 
rights to different estates to his majesty, who thereupon 
took possession, although it was afterwards found that those 
v.ho made over the estates had no right to the same." After 

ed ^, and his private estates were now very nu- 
merous in all parts of the kingdom. Being related 
to the principal families of the country, he could 
personally profit by the authorization he had pro- 
cured for the nobility to resvime possession of family 
property that had been allocated to the church, of 
which indeed he had himself set the example. In 
conseqtience, many a nearer claim was obliged to 
yield to that of the king, and we find it even stated, 
" that his majesty often accounted himself related 
to one and the other, who could bj' no means be 
brought into his genealogical tabled" Hence the 
heritable estates of Gustavus, which comj)rised 
2500 manors in the hands of Charles IX.^, not in- 
cluding the share which John, duke of East-Goth- 
land, then possessed, were for fifty years after the 
death of their owner the subject of continual dis- 
putes and claims for restoration. They were not 
merely increased by the expedient mentioned ; the 
transactions of his reign supply abundant proofs 
that the king sometimes demanded estates and 
houses from the proprietors for a promise of com- 
pensation, which was not always fulfilled, sometimes 
received them as presents from persons who were 
not the proprietoi's ^, and sometimes appropriated 
them solely because they lay convenient for him *, 
to effect which violent measures against the refrac- 
tory were not always spared *. 

With all his kinsmen the king had controversies 
as to the inheritance of propei'ty. He regarded 
himself, moreover, as heir-general to all the plate 
and moveable goods of the churches, convents, 
and ecclesiastical foundations, not forgetting even 
copper kettles, and tin cups '', took the place of 
the bishops as co-heir to all clerical estates, and 
was not content with the smallest share '. When 

the king's death complaint of such practices was made at 
the diet of 1561. Ornhielm's Relation. 

•• To Nils Person, in relation to some lands with extensive 
oak woods, which belong to Dame Brita, relict of La