Óspakr Ögmundsson

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Óspakr Ögmundsson
King of the Isles
Reign 1230
Died 1230
Burial Iona

Óspakr Ögmundsson (Uspak), sea-king of the Isles and military commander, is a character from the mediaeval Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar, a kings' saga composed in the last half of the 13th century. The saga relates that in about the year 1230, a Norwegian-Hebridean fleet sailed down through the Hebrides, where it attacked certain islands, Kintyre and Bute. He died of wounds/illness shortly after having to retreat from Bute.

King of the Isles[edit]

Because of Óláfr Guðrøðarson’s (Olaf the Black) inability to control the warring factions in the Hebrides, Hákon Hákonarson, King of Norway, promoted Óspakr, a descendant of Somairle (Somerled), as king in the Isles in 1230.[1] (Óspakr may have been a son of Dubgall mac Somairle and a foster son of "Ögmund".)[2] Hákon gave Óspakr command of a fleet of 80 ships to establish himself in all of the Scottish islands and appointed him "King of the Suðreyjar".[2]


As the fleet made its way southward through the Hebrides, several members fought a battle with Þórkell Þórmóðsson at Vestrajǫrðr, Skye, although it is not clear if Óspakr participated in this battle. The fleet then reunited at Islay, and was strengthened by Óspakr's brothers and their followers, and swelled in size to more than 80 ships. The fleet then sailed south and around the Mull of Kintyre to Bute, where the force invaded the island and took Rothesay Castle, however the force suffered heavy casualties.

Although the Norwegian-Hebridean force was successful in its attack, word of Alan of Galloway's approach with over 200 ships forced the invading fleet to retreat and the fleet then sailed to Kintyre. Óspakr fell ill and died shortly afterwards, possibly from wounds inflicted in Bute.[3] The Chronicle of Mann, however, specifically states that Óspakr was struck by a stone and killed, and later buried on Iona.[4]


Upon Óspakr's death in 1230, the island-kingdom was divided between Óláfr Guðrøðarson and Guðrøðr Rögnvaldsson, with Guðrøðr ruling the Hebridean portion and Óláfr ruling Mann. Guðrøðr was killed in 1231 on Lewis, and Óláfr ruled the whole Kingdom of Mann and the Isles peacefully, until his death in 1237.



  1. ^ Anderson 1922b: pp. 471–472.
  2. ^ a b Sellar (2000) pp 194, 202
  3. ^ Anderson 1922b: pp. 473–478.
  4. ^ Anderson 1922b: p. 472. See also: Munch; Goss 1874: pp. 92–95.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Óláfr Guðrøðarson
King of the Isles
Succeeded by
Guðrøðr Rögnvaldsson