List of legendary kings of Sweden
The legendary kings of Sweden are the long line of Swedish kings who preceded Eric the Victorious, according to sources such as the Norse Sagas, Beowulf, Rimbert, Adam of Bremen and Saxo Grammaticus, but who are of disputed historicity because many of them appear in more or less unreliable sources. They are called sagokonungar or sagokungar in Swedish, meaning "Saga kings" according to the etymology given by SAOB.
In sources such as Heimskringla and Ynglinga saga there appear early Swedish kings who belong in the domain of mythology. From about the 6th century, these kings are gradually succeeded by semi-legendary kings with at least partial claim to historicity, who were all depicted as descendents of the House of Ynglings/Scylfings, either in direct royal line, or through the House of Ragnar Lodbrok and the house of Skjöldung (Scylding).
A historical basis of some of the mythological kings was one of the last of Thor Heyerdahl's archeo-anthropological theories, as in The Search for Odin. Such suggestions are generally considered speculative, not scientific, but while there is no historiographical tradition that would confirm the historicity of Swedish kings prior to the 6th century, it is safe to assume that the Suiones, as a tribe mentioned by Tacitus in the 1st century AD, did have kings (Common Germanic *kuningaz) during the prehistoric period.
House of Ynglings/Scylfings
The list is mainly based on the Ynglinga saga, in turn based on the Ynglingatal. In addition, Snorri uses a king Gylfe in his prologue to his Edda. The names of the kings Egil, Ottar and Ale also appear in Beowulf, which means that they are considered more likely to have existed, even if the accounts differ on several points. Since Hugleik appear in the stories surrounding these kings, they have been dated to have lived in the 5th and 6th century. After Ingjald, Snorre does not relate any further stories of Swedish kings, and follows the descendants of the house to Norway.
- Fjölnir (according to Grottisongr a contemporary of Caesar Augustus, viz. end of the 1st century BC)
- Dag the Wise/Dagr Spaka
- Erik and Alrik
- Yngvi and Alf
- Jorund and Erik
- Aun and Ale the Strong
- Egil (Ongentheow)
- Ottar (Ohthere)
- Ale (Onela)
- Adils (Eadgils)
House of Ivar Vidfamne
These are kings who succeeded the Yngling dynasty and who were part of the legends of Harald Hildetand and Ragnar Lodbrok. Björn Ironside is considered to be the founder of the next dynasty. According to the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, Sigurd Ring belonged to the Ynglings and he was the son of Ingjald. The sagas, on the other hand, give his father as Randver, variously the son of Ráðbarðr, King of Garðaríki, or of Valdar, Viceroy of Denmark, or of Hrœrekr Ringslinger, King of Denmark and Zealand.
- Ivar Vidfamne (c. 655 – c. 695)
- Harald Hildetand (c. 705 – 750)
- Sigurd Ring (c. 750 (sole ruler) – c. 770)
- Ragnar Lodbrok (c. 770 – c. 785)
- Östen Beli (late 8th century)
House of Munsö (8th to 10th centuries)
The sources for the period are conflicting, and the kings named in the only contemporary account, Rimberts Vita Anskarii, do not appear in any Scandinavian sources. Suggestions for explanations of the inconsistencies have been to stipulate a tradition of co-rulership where two brothers were elected kings at the same time. The sources only seem to mention the details when there was civil war (Björn at Hauge and Anund Uppsale) or problems of succession (Eric the Victorious, Olof (II) Björnsson and Styrbjörn Starke).
The line of Swedish kings is continued in List of Swedish monarchs.
Certain kings of Sweden appear in the Danish Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus. Of these, some (for example Athisl/Adils, Hunding/Fjölnir, Halfdan, Sigurd Ring, Ragnar Lodbrok and Erik and Alrik) are based on the same traditions as the West Norse Ynglingatal, Ynglinga saga and Historia Norwegiae. Moreover, the dynasties are the same, i.e. the descendants of the god Frey (i.e. the Ynglings) and intermediary Skjöldungs.
However, there are many differences. These differences are not only due to a considerable distance in time from the kings they describe and to the traditions being kept in different parts of Scandinavia. Whereas Ynglingatal glorifies the Norwegian kings by their Swedish origins, Saxo's Swedish kings are there to glorify the Danes by being dominated by them, the task of which might have needed some creativity from Saxo's side and/or Danish tradition. On the other hand, it did not need to move the Ynglings to Norway and so describes kings following Ingjald as kings of Sweden as Ynglings[clarification needed] as well.
This list is incomplete:
- Hunding (corresponding to Fjölnir in the Norse sagas).
- Erik and Alrik (corresponding to Erik and Alrek in the Norse sagas)
- Halfdan Eriksson
- Halfdan vs. Erik Frodisson (corresponding to Halfdan vs. Aun)
- Ungvin of Götaland at the death of Halfdan (apparently corresponding to Aun's return from Götaland to reclaim the Swedish throne at the death of Halfdan)
- Ragnvald (his position corresponds to Ongentheow/Egil)
- Hothbrodd (his position corresponds to Ohthere/Ottar Vendelkråka).
- Athisl (corresponding to Eadgils in Beowulf and to Adils in the Norse sagas)
- Hiartuar (who killed Hrólf Kraki, but only Saxo makes him a king of Sweden)
- Hother (Athisl's brother but not the same as Eanmund. Surprisingly, he is based on the Norse god Höder)
- Alver (Alf)
- Ingild (corresponds to both Ingjald and Yngvi)
- Sigurd Ring (the same as in the Norse sagas)
- Ragnar Lodbrok (the same as in the Norse sagas)
- Björn Ironside
- Erik Weatherhat (may be the same as Erik Anundsson)