Ozur Toti

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Ozur Toti was a 9th-century Norwegian hersir who lived in Halogaland. In the Heimskringla and Egil's Saga, he is identified as the father of Gunnhild Mother of Kings, the wife and queen of Erik Bloodaxe, though elsewhere she is identified as a daughter of Gorm the Old.[1]

Heimskringla and Egil's Saga both assert that Gunnhild was Ozur's daughter.[2] Accounts of her early life vary between sources. Egil's Saga relates that "Eirik fought a great battle on the Northern Dvina in Bjarmaland, and was victorious as the poems about him record. On the same expedition he obtained Gunnhild, the daughter of Ozur Toti, and brought her home with him."[3]

Egil's Saga names two sons of Ozur, Eyvind the Shabby and Alf Askman, and relates that they became hirdmen of Erik's.[4]


  1. ^ According to the 12th century Historia Norvegiae, Gunnhild was the daughter of Gorm the Old, king of Denmark, and Erik and Gunnhild met at a feast given by Gorm. Modern scholars have largely accepted this version as accurate. E.g., Bradbury 38; Orfield 129; Ashley 444; Alen 88; Driscoll 88, note 15. In their view, her marriage with Erik was a dynastic union between two houses, that of the Norwegian Ynglings and that of the early Danish monarchy (who may have claimed descent from Ragnar Lodbrok), in the process of unifying and consolidating their respective countries. Jones 94–95. The purported descent of Gorm from King Ragnar through his son Sigurd Snake-eye comes from, inter alia, Ragnarssona þáttr §§ 3-4; but many modern scholars regard the tales of Ragnar and his family as confused and unreliable. See, e.g., Jones 204-211; Forte 69. Gwyn Jones in particular supported the identification of Gunnhild as the daughter of Gorm, and regarded the stories of her origins in Halogaland and her tutelage by Finnish wizards as part of a general Icelandic hostility towards Gunnhild and Erik. Jones 121–22. Gwyn Jones regarded many of the traditions that grew up around Gunnhild in the Icelandic sources as fictional. Ibid. However, both Theodoricus monachus and the Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum report that when Gunnhild was at the court of Harald Bluetooth after Erik's death, the Danish king offered marriage to her; these accounts call into question the identification of Gunnhild as Harald's sister. Theodoricus ___; Driscoll ___.
  2. ^ E.g., "Harald Fairhair's Saga" § 34.
  3. ^ Egil's Saga § 37.
  4. ^ Egil's Saga. § 49 (Palsson 113).


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