House of Munsö

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The House of Munsö[1] is one of the names of a protohistoric Swedish dynasty. Its early members of the 8th or 9th century are legendary or semi-legendary, while its later scions of the 10th to 11th centuries are historical.

It is also known as the House of Ivar Vidfamne, the House of Uppsala,[2] or simply the Old Dynasty. Munsö is the island where a barrow has been claimed to be the grave of Björn Ironside, a legendary founding member.[3]

The sagas, such as the Hervarar saga, contain extensive information on this dynasty for as many as 10 generations,[4] but although, some of the 9th-century kings are held to be historical,[3] modern Swedish historiography begins it with the late 10th-century king, Eric the Victorious.[2] The king Björn, who was the father of Eric the Victorious, according to the sagas, is not accepted as historical by critical historians,[5] unlike another 10th-century king named Emund Eriksson who appears in the work of Adam of Bremen.[6]

For easy reference on legendary, semi-legendary and historical members of the dynasty (including some generations before Björn Ironside), the following family tree is based on Hervarar saga,[4] and the uncertain identification of Styrbjörn the Strong and Tyra as the parents of Thorgils Sprakalägg.[7][8] The connection with the House of Estridsen which began with Sweyn II of Denmark is consequently uncertain (the Swedish kings are in bold):

            Sigurd Ring
                 |
           Ragnar Lodbrok
                 |
     ------------------------------------------------------
     |           |              |           |             |
  Ivar [9]  Björn Ironside [10] Sigurd [11]  Ubba     Halfdan/Hvitserk
                 |
        ------------------
        |                |
 Erik Björnsson        Refil
         |               |
         |           Erik Refilsson
         |               
       ----------------------
       |                   |
 Björn at Hauge      Anund Uppsale
                           |                     
                    Erik Anundsson
                           |
                   Björn (III) Eriksson                      Gorm "den Gamle (the Old)" King of Denmark
                           |                                                        |         
           --------------------------------                             Harold I "Bluetooth" of Denmark
           |                              |                                    |
   Eric the Victorious             Olof (II) Björnsson                  ---------------  
           |                              |                             |             |
   Olof Skötkonung                 Styrbjörn the Strong  (pretender)  Tyra            |        
           |                              |                             |             |
           -------------------------      -------------------------------             |
           |                       |                     |                            |
   Anund Jacob                Emund the Old       Thorgils Sprakalägg[12]         Sweyn Forkbeard
                                   |                     |                            |
                                   |                     |                            |
                      Anund Emundsson, heir              |                            |
                                                         |                            |
                                                     Ulf Jarl               Estrid Svendsdatter
                                                         |                            | 
                                                         ------------------------------
                                                                        |
                                                                 Sweyn Estridson
                                                                        |
                                                                   Danish kings

Full list of Swedish kings. The names in parentheses are kings who are not mentioned in Hervarar saga, but who are mentioned in other sources:

Aslaug, Ragnar's wife and the mother of his sons, was the daughter of Sigurd, whose ancestor Sigi was a descendant of Odin. Therefore, the entire house of Munso (and all their descendants) are descended from Odin.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ The article Regentlängd on the site of the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities.
  2. ^ a b Hadenius, Stig; Nilsson, Torbjörn; Åselius, Gunnar (1996) Sveriges historia: vad varje svensk bör veta. Bonnier Alba, Borås. ISBN 91-34-51857-6 p. 88
  3. ^ a b Lagerquist, Lars O. (1997). Sveriges Regenter, från forntid till nutid. Norstedts, Stockholm. ISBN 91-1-963882-5 p. 24
      Ynglingaätten var nu utdöd sedan kanske 100 år. Det är naturligtvis möjligt, att de kungar över svearna som är omnämnda under 800-talet och av vilka några verkligen är historiska, också var släkt med dessa forntida härskare. I varje fall återkommer flera namn från sagotiden. Den förste härskaren Björn järnsida behöver vi inte acceptera som historisk. Han skall ha varit den förste av den nya ätten. Han härjade i utlandet. En storhög på Munsö i Mälaren blev i början av 1700-talet attribuerad till honom, säkert vad vi brukar kalla för en de lärdas antikvariernas spekulation. Men högen hette faktiskt "Biörne-backen" och liknande...   Translation: The House of Yngling had been extinct for maybe 100 years. It is naturally possible that the kings of the Swedes who are mentioned during the 9th century and of whom some really are historical, also were related to these ancient rulers. In any case several names return from the legendary period. The first ruler Björn Ironside we need not accept as historical. He is supposed to have been the first of his dynasty. He pillaged abroad. A mound on Munsö in Lake Mälaren was attributed to him in the beginning of the 18th century, certainly speculation of learned antiquarians. But this mound was actually called "Biörne slope" and similar....
  4. ^ a b N. Kershaw's English translation of the Hervarar saga.
  5. ^ Lagerquist, Lars O. (1997). Sveriges Regenter, från forntid till nutid. Norstedts, Stockholm. ISBN 91-1-963882-5 p. 26
      Näste kung skall ha hetat Björn. Inte heller denne accepteras av stränga historiker. Enligt Hervararsaga regerade han i länge, i 50 år, påstår Snorre.   Translation: The next king is said to have been named Björn. Not even this king is accepted by critical historians. According to Hervarar saga he ruled for a long time, for 50 years, claims Snorri.
  6. ^ Lagerquist, Lars O. (1997). Sveriges Regenter, från forntid till nutid. Norstedts, Stockholm. ISBN 91-1-963882-5 p. 27
      Ytterligare en kung får anses historiskt belagd, Emund Eriksson, som skall ha varit son till nyss nämnde Erik och väl var uppkallad efter sin farbror Emund.   Translation: Another king should be considered historically attested, Emund Eriksson, who is supposed to have been the son of the aforementioned Erik and should have been named after his uncle Emund.
  7. ^ Mogens Bugge: Våre forfedre, nr. 505.
  8. ^ The article Ulf jarl in Nordisk familjebok (1920)
  9. ^ Possibly the founder of the Uí Ímair (House of Ivar) of the Kingdom of York and Kingdom of Dublin.
  10. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not mention Björn Ironside among Lodbrok's sons.
  11. ^ ancestor of the Danish kings
  12. ^ Thorgils' father is not directly named in sources and may not be correct in the diagram.

See also[edit]

House of Munsö
Preceded by
Possibly House of Ynglings/Scylfings (legendary)
Ruling House of the Kingdom of Sweden
c. 800 – 1060
Succeeded by
House of Stenkil