Eysteinn

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Östens hög (Eysteinn tumulus) at Östanbro, in Västerås kommun

Eysteinn (Swedish: Östen; died ca 600) was the son of Eadgils and Yrsa of Saxony. He was the father of Ingvar. The Eysteinn tumulus (Östens hög) in Västerås near Östanbro has been linked to King Eysteinn by some popular historians. The term Hög is derived from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound or barrow.

Snorri Sturluson relates that Eysteinn ruled Sweden at the time when Hrólf Kraki died in Lejre. It was a troubled time when many sea kings ravaged the Swedish shores. One of those kings was named Sölve and he was from Jutland (but according to Historia Norwegiae he was Geatish, see below). At this time Sölve was pillaging in the Baltic Sea and so he arrived in Lofond (probably the island of Lovön or the Lagunda Hundred), where Eysteinn was at a feast. It was night-time and Sölve and his men surrounded the house and set it on fire burning everyone inside to death. Then Sölve arrived at Sigtuna (Old Sigtuna) and ordered the Swedes to accept him as king. The Swedes refused and gathered an army that fought against Sölve and his men, but they lost after eleven days. The Swedes had to accept him as king for a while until they rebelled and killed him.

Snorri then quotes a stanza from Þjóðólfr of Hvinir's Ynglingatal:

Veit ek Eysteins
enda fólginn
lokins lífs
á Lofundi;
ok sikling
með Svíum kváðu
Jótska menn
inni brenna.
Ok bitsótt
í brandnói
hlíðar þangs
á hilmi rann,
þá er timbrfastr
toptar nökkvi,
flotna fullr
um fylki brann.[1]
For a long time none could tell
How Eystein died – but now I know
That at Lofond the hero fell;
The branch of Odin was laid low,
Was burnt by Solve's Jutland men.
The raging tree-devourer fire
Rushed on the monarch in its ire;
First fell the castle timbers, then
The roof-beams – Eystein's funeral pyre.[2]

The Historia Norwegiæ presents a Latin summary of Ynglingatal, older than Snorri's quotation (continuing after Eadgils, called Adils or Athisl):

Hic [Adils vel Athisl] genuit Eustein, quem Gautones in domo quadam obtrusum cum suis vivum incenderunt. Hujus filius Ynguar [...].[1]

He [Adils] became sire to Øystein, whom the Götar thrust into a house and incinerated alive there with his men. His son Yngvar, [...][2]

Thorsteins saga Víkingssonar makes Eysteinn the father of Anund and grandfather of Ingjald and consequently skips Ingvar's generation. It adds a second son to Eysteinn named Olaf, who was the king of Fjordane in Norway.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Storm, Gustav (editor) (1880). Monumenta historica Norwegiæ: Latinske kildeskrifter til Norges historie i middelalderen, Monumenta Historica Norwegiae (Kristiania: Brøgger), p. 101.
  2. ^ Ekrem, Inger (editor), Lars Boje Mortensen (editor) and Peter Fisher (translator) (2003). Historia Norwegie. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 87-7289-813-5, p. 79.

Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

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

Eysteinn
Preceded by
Adils
Semi-legendary king of Sweden Succeeded by
Sölve