Anund Jacob

Anund Jacob

Coin minted for King Anund Jacob
King of Sweden
Reign 1022–1050 AD
Predecessor Olof Skötkonung
Successor Emund the Old
Born c. 25 July 1008
Died 1050 (aged 4142)
Consort Gunnhildr Sveinsdóttir
Issue Gyda, Queen of Denmark
House House of Munsö
Father Olof Skötkonung
Mother Estrid of the Obotrites

Anund Jacob or James, Swedish: Anund Jakob was King of Sweden from 1022 until around 1050. He is believed to have been born on July 25, in either 1008 or 1010 as Jakob.[1] When the Swedish Thing was to elect him the co-ruler of Sweden, the people objected to his non-Scandinavian name. They then gave him the pronomen Anund. The line of kings appended to the Westrogothic law says that he was called Kolbränna ("Coal-burner") as he had the habit of burning down the houses of his opponents.

His political agenda included maintaining the balance of power in Scandinavia, which is why he supported the Norwegian kings Olaf II and Magnus I against Denmark's king Cnut the Great during the 1020s and 1030s. At the Battle of the Helgeå, Anund and Olaf were either victorious over[2] or defeated by Cnut.

When Magnus I became king of Norway and Denmark in 1042, Anund Jakob supported him until the death of Magnus in 1047. Anund Jakob's reign has traditionally been dated from 1022 to approximately 1050, but there is a great uncertainty over the year he died. He was probably alive 1049, and his brother and successor Emund is certain to have ruled Sweden in the summer of 1060.

Two skalds are known to have served Anund Jacob: Sighvatr Þórðarson and Óttarr svarti.

The Hervarar saga has very little to tell about Anund:

Önundr hét sonr Óláfs konungs sænska, er konungdóm tók eptir hann ok varð sóttdauðr. Á hans dögum fell Óláfr konungr inn helgi á Stiklastöðum. Eymundr hét annarr sonr Óláfs sænska, er konungdóm tók eptir bróður sinn.[3]

King Olaf the Swede had a son called Önund who succeeded him. He died in his bed. In his day fell King Olaf the Saint at Stiklestad. Olaf the Swede had another son called Eymund, who came to the throne after his brother.[4]

According to Gudmund Jöran Adlerbeth of the Swedish Academy, not long after 1024 the king (as Jakun), blind and dressed in a gold suit, led a Swedish expedition eastward to the other side of the Baltic Sea and provided military reinforcements to his brother-in-law Yaroslav I the Wise in a battle against Mstislav of Chernigov.[5]

Notes and references

  1. Snorri Sturluson, "Heimskringla" (Olav the Holy's saga, chapter 88 and 94)
  2. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
  3. Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, Guðni Jónsson's og Bjarni Vilhjálmsson's edition at «Norrøne Tekster og Kvad».
  4. The Saga of Hervör and Heithrek, in Stories and Ballads of the Far Past, translated from the Norse (Icelandic and Faroese), by N. Kershaw.Cambridge at the University Press, 1921.
  5. Uplysning uti konung Anund Jacobs Historia utur Ryska Handlingar in Kongl. Vitterhets Historie och Antiquitets Akademiens Handlingar, Stockholm 1802 p. 61
Anund Jakob
Born: July 25, 1008 Died: 1050
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Olof Skötkonung
King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Emund the Old
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