Birger Brosa

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Birger Brosa's seal

Birger Brosa Old Norse: Birgir Brósa (died 9 January 1202) was jarl of Sweden from 1174 to 1202.[1]


He was a son of Bengt Snivil and a member of the powerful House of Bjälbo. In the medieval texts he is either called the jarl of the Swedes or the jarl of the Swedes and the Geats. Birger was appointed to the position of jarl during the reign of Knut Eriksson. He maintained the position during Knut's successor Sverker II until his death in 1202.[1]

Before 1170, Birger was married to Brigida Haraldsdotter, the daughter of Norwegian King Harald Gille. She had formerly been married to the Danish pretender Magnus Henriksson, who had briefly ruled in Uppsala 1160–1161.[2]

Birger appears to have maintained peace in Sweden during the civil wars that ravaged Denmark and Norway. Many of the pretenders in these kingdoms sought refuge with Birger. Among them were the Birkebeiner chieftains Eystein Meyla and Sverre Sigurdsson who were kinsmen of Brigida Haraldsdotter. Birger's son Philippus was in the service of King Sverre and died as his jarl in 1200. Birger owned estates in Östergötland, Närke, Värmland and Södermanland. He was a great donor to Riseberga Abbey in Närke, where his widow Brigida spent her last years after Birger's death. As soon as he was dead, a civil war broke out.[3]


Portrayal in popular culture[edit]

Birger Brosa was portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård in the Swedish 2007 film Arn – The Knight Templar and 2008 sequel Arn – The Kingdom at Road's End.


  1. ^ a b "Birger Brosa". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  2. ^ Brigida Haraldsdatter (Store norske leksikon)
  3. ^ Sverre Sigurdsson (Store norske leksikon)