Swedish-Geatish wars

Swedish-Geatish wars

, are referred to as Swedish civil wars.

The first war in "Beowulf"

) had grown up and were eager to fight. [Lines 2473-2479]

The Geatish warriors Eofor and Wulf Wonreding fought together against the hoary king Ongenþeow [Lines 2965-2966.] . Wulf hit Ongenþeow's head with his sword so that the old king bled over his hair, but the king hit back and wounded Wulf [Lines 2966-2977.] . Then, Eofor retaliated by cutting through the Swedish king's shield and through his helmet [Lines 2977-2982] , giving Ongenþeow a death-blow [Lines 2485-2490, 2977-2982] . Eofor took the Swedish king's helmet, sword and breastplate and carried them to Hygelac [Lines 2987-2990] . When they came home, Eofor and Wulf were richly awarded [Lines 2992-2997] , and Eofor was given Hygelac's daughter [Lines 2998-2999] . Because of this battle, Hygelac is referred to as Ongenþeow's slayer. [Line 1969]

The second war in "Beowulf"

[Lines 2610-2617] and Heardred was killed as well [Line 2389] . Onela returned home and Beowulf became king of the Geats. [Lines 2388-2391]

Eadgils, however, survived and later, Beowulf helped him avenge Eanmund by slaying Onela, [Line 2392-2397] an event which also appears in Scandinavian sources, as the Battle on the Ice of Lake Vänern (although no Geatish involvement is remembered or mentioned).

The foreboding of a third war in "Beowulf"

As Wiglaf sat beside the dead king Beowulf, he spoke of a new war with the Swedes that would surely come:



"Sögubrot af nokkrum fornkonungum" says that after Ivar's death, the kingdom was split between Harald Wartooth and Sigurd Ring. Harald ruled Denmark and the East Geats, whereas Sigurd Ring ruled Sweden and the West Geats. These and many sources describe how these two kings met in the legendary and enormous Battle of the Brávellir (c. 750), where Sigurd Ring was victorious and became the king of both Swedes, Geats and Danes. From this battle and onwards, all of Geatland is described as part of the Swedish kingdom.

In the 12th century, Geatish tribal independence was but a memory as the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus noted in his "Gesta Danorum" (book 13) that the Geats had no say in the election of the king, only the Swedes. It says even more of their loss of independence that when the "Law of the West Geats" was put to paper, in the 13th century, the law stated that the election and the deposing of the king rested with the Swedes and not with the Geats. ["Sveær egho konong at taka ok sva vrækæ" ("it is the Swedes who have the right to elect king and to dethrone him").]

In 1442, the law of the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish king Christopher of Bavaria, declared that the merging of Geatland into the Swedish kingdom took place in a distant pagan time. ["Swerikis rike är af hedna värld samman kommit, af swea och gotha land" ("The kingdom of Sweden is from pagan times a union of Swedish and Geatish/Gothic lands") (Lundström, 1972:6).]



*Lundström, I. (1972). "Viking, viking. Forntidsdröm och verklighet". Statens historiska museum, Stockholm. p. 6.
*Nerman, B. (1925). "Det svenska rikets uppkomst". Stockholm.

External links

* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/9701 Old English edition] " edited by James Albert Harrison and Robert SharpTranslations of "Beowulf":
* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/981 Modern English translation] " by Francis Barton Gummere
* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16328 Modern English translation] " by John Lesslie Hall

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