Ancient kings of Finland

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Even though the only information available on ancient kings of Finland comes from semi-mythical Norse sagas and passing, unspecific notes by foreign sources, prehistoric Finland probably had chieftains called "kings", as the loanword kuningas, "king", has existed in the same meaning in the Finnish language since early Germanic times, when it was borrowed.[1] Such kings were most probably not kings of Finland, but kings in Finland, as the area at that time was divided between several tribes and communications necessary for the upkeep of a common rule would have been hard to establish. Finland only at a much later time came to refer to more than Finland Proper.

A few sagas briefly mention some of the legendary kings that were said to have also ruled Finland (Fornjot, Snaer, Thorri).[2] Several unhistorical sagas talk about the kings of "Finns", as Örvar-Odds saga, the Wayland-Dietrich Saga, the Saga of Halfdan Eysteinsson, and Völundarkviða. However, the name Finn usually refers to Sami people in Norse sagas. Saxo Grammaticus once refers to the king of Finland in a very convoluted context. Some possible indirect references to the kings of Finns or Finland also exist in various sources as Völundarkviða, Widsith, Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum, and the Wayland-Dietrich saga.

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  1. ^ It remains very close to Proto-Germanic *kuningaz. Pekka Lehtimäki, "Ausflug in die finnisch-ugrischen Sprachen und deren Vergangenheit", Sprachen in Finnland Und Estland, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999, ISBN 9783447041539, pp. 23–30, p. 29 (German)
  2. ^ Frá Fornjóti ok hans ættmönnum: Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda