Aun

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For the village in Azerbaijan, see Avun. For the airport with IATA code "AUN", see Auburn Municipal Airport (California). For the Asian association "AUN", see ASEAN University Network. For the Japanese transliteration of the word "om", see A-un.
This article is about mythical Swedish king. For a definition of the word "aun", see the Wiktionary entry aun.
Old King Edwin as imagined by a 19th century artist.
East royal tumulus at Old Upsala, suggested grave of King Edwin the Old (photo: Jacob Truedson Demitz)

Ane, On, One, Auchun or Aun the Old (Audhun), English: Edwin, is the name of a mythical Swedish king of the House of Yngling, the ancestors of Norway's first king, Harald Fairhair. Edwin was the son of Jorund, and had ten sons, nine of which he was said to have sacrificed in order to prolong his own life.

Ruling from his seat in Uppsala, Aun was reputedly a wise king who made sacrifices to the gods. However, as he was not of a warlike disposition and preferred to live in peace. He was attacked and defeated by the Danish prince Halfdan. Aun fled to the Geats in Västergötland, where he stayed for 25 years until Halfdan died in his bed in Uppsala.

Upon Halfdan's death Aun returned to Uppsala. Aun was now 60 years old, and in an attempt to live longer he sacrificed his son to Odin, who had promised that this would mean he would live for another 60 years. After 25 years, Aun was attacked by Halfdan's cousin Ale the Strong. Aun lost several battles and had to flee a second time to Västergötland. Ale the Strong ruled in Uppsala for 25 years until he was killed by Starkad the old.

After Ale the Strong's death, Aun once again returned to Uppsala and once again sacrificed a son to Odin; this time Odin told the king that he would remain living as long as he sacrificed a son every ten years and that he had to name one of the Swedish provinces after the number of sons he sacrificed.

When Aun had sacrificed a son for the seventh time, he was so old that he could not walk but had to be carried on a chair. When he had sacrificed a son for the eighth time, he could no longer get out of his bed. When he had sacrificed his ninth son, he was so old that he had to feed, like a little child, by suckling on a horn.

After ten years he wanted to sacrifice his tenth and last son and name the province of Uppsala The Ten Lands. However, the Swedes refused to allow him to make this sacrifice and so he died. He was buried in a mound at Uppsala and succeeded by his last son Egil. From that day, dying in bed of old age was called Aun's sickness among the Scandinavians.

Knátti endr
at Upsölum
ána-sótt
Aun of standa,
ok þrálífr
þiggja skyldi
jóðs alað
öðru sinni.
Ok sveiðurs
at sér hverfði
mækis hlut
enn mjávara,
es okhreins
óttunga hrjóðr
lögðis odd
liggjandi drakk;
máttit hárr
hjarðar mæki
austrkonungr
upp of halda.[1][2]
In Upsal's town the cruel king
Slaughtered his sons at Odin's shrine --
Slaughtered his sons with cruel knife,
To get from Odin length of life.
He lived until he had to turn
His toothless mouth to the deer's horn;
And he who shed his children's blood
Sucked through the ox's horn his food.
At length fell Death has tracked him down,
Slowly, but sure, in Upsal's town.[3][4]

The Historia Norwegiæ presents a Latin summary of Ynglingatal, older than Snorri's quotation (continuing after Jorund):

Iste genuit Auchun, qui longo vetustatis senio IX annis ante obitum suum densæ usum alimoniæ postponens lac tantum de cornu ut infans suxisse fertur. Auchun vero genuit Eigil cognomento Vendilcraco [...][5]

He became the father of Aukun, who, in the feebleness of a protracted old age, during the nine years before his death is said to have abandoned the consumption of solid food and only sucked milk from a horn, like a babe-in-arms. Aukun's son was Egil Vendelkråke, [...][6]

The even earlier source Íslendingabók also cites the line of descent in Ynglingatal and it also gives Aun as the successor of Jörundr and the predecessor of Egil Vendelcrow: xv Jörundr. xvi Aun inn gamli. xvii Egill Vendilkráka.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ynglinga saga at Norrøne Tekster og Kvad
  2. ^ A second online presentation of Ynglingatal
  3. ^ Laing's translation at the Internet Sacred Text Archive
  4. ^ Laing's translation at Northvegr
  5. ^ Storm, Gustav (editor) (1880). Monumenta historica Norwegiæ: Latinske kildeskrifter til Norges historie i middelalderen, Monumenta Historica Norwegiae (Kristiania: Brøgger), p. 100.
  6. ^ Ekrem, Inger (editor), Lars Boje Mortensen (editor) and Peter Fisher (translator) (2003). Historia Norwegie. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 87-7289-813-5, p. 77.
  7. ^ Guðni Jónsson's edition of Íslendingabók

Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

Nerman, B. Det svenska rikets uppkomst. Stockholm, 1925.

Aun
Preceded by
Jorund
Mythological king of Sweden
First reign 
Succeeded by
Halfdan
Preceded by
Halfdan
Mythological king of Sweden
Second reign 
Succeeded by
Ale the Strong
Preceded by
Ale the Strong
Mythological king of Sweden
Third reign 
Succeeded by
Egil Ongenþeow