Björn at Haugi

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King Björn's barrow in Håga (the Old Norse word haugr meaning hill, knoll, or mound) near Uppsala. The Nordic Bronze Age barrow gave its name to the location Håga ("the barrow") and is probably the source of the cognomen of the king, at Haugi ("at the barrow"). As a result the mound was in the 17th-18th century erroneously named after the king.

Björn at Haugi ("Björn at the Barrow" from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound), Björn på Håga, Björn II or Bern was according to Hervarar saga a Swedish king and the son of Erik Björnsson, and Björn ruled together in diarchy with his brother Anund Uppsale:

This account dates king Björn to the first half of the 9th century, as his nephew Eric Anundsson was the contemporary of Harald Fairhair.[2] Landnámabók mentions a Swede named Þórðr knappr who was one of the first settlers in Iceland and whose father was called Björn at Haugi.[2][3] Moreover, Björn and his court skald Bragi the Old are mentioned also in Skáldatal, where a second court skald also is mentioned, Erpr lútandi.[4][5]

A confirmation on the historicity of king Björn at Haugi is found in Rimbert's (d. 888) Vita Ansgarii, where he talks of a king Björn (rex Bern) and says on Ansgar's voyage in 827: "Tandem ad portum regni ipsorum, qui Byrca dicitur, pervenerunt, ubi benigne a rege, qui Bern vocabatur, suscepti sunt".[2] This king Björn is generally considered to be the same as Björn at Haugi[2][6] and this as early as Langebek[2] who lived in the mid-18th century. Some scholars have called this Bern "king of Birca", but this has no foundation in Rimbert's writings, as Rimbert writes that Ansgar went ashore in Birca, which was in king Björn's kingdom.[5] During Ansgar's visits there was also a Swedish king Anund who had been exiled but returned with Danish help,[7][8] and this Anoundus is the same as Björn's brother Önund,[8] who is mentioned in Hervarar saga.[1]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks", Guðni Jónsson's and Bjarni Vilhjálmsson's edition at Norrøne Tekster og Kvad. English translation by N. Kershaw: "The Saga of Hervör and Heithrek" in Stories and Ballads of the Far Past, translated from the Norse (Icelandic and Faroese). Cambridge University Press, 1921.
  2. ^ a b c d e Jónsson, Finnur (1890). "Om skjaldepoesien og de ældste skjalde", in Kock, Axel (Ed.). Arkiv för nordisk filologi, sjätte bandet. Ny följd: andra bandet. C.W.K. Gleerups förlag, Lund. p. 144.
  3. ^ The relevant page of Landnámabók in the English translation at Northvegr.
  4. ^ Skáldatal.
  5. ^ a b Jónsson, Finnur (1890). "Om skjaldepoesien og de ældste skjalde", in Kock, Axel (Ed.). Arkiv för nordisk filologi, sjätte bandet. Ny följd: andra bandet. C.W.K. Gleerups förlag, Lund. p. 143.
  6. ^ The article Sweden in the Britannica of 1911.
  7. ^ The article Anund in Nordisk familjebok (1904).
  8. ^ a b Medieval Sourcebook: Rimbert: Life of Anskar, the Apostle of the North, 801-865, in translation by Charles. H. Robinson.
Björn at Haugi
Preceded by
Erik Refilsson
Semi-legendary king of Sweden
with Anund Uppsale
Succeeded by
Olof and/or
Erik Anundsson