Rögnvald Brusason

Rögnvald Brusason

Rognvald Brusason (died 1046), son of Brusi Sigurdsson, was Earl of Orkney jointly with Thorfinn Sigurdsson from about 1037 onwards. His life is recorded in the "Orkneyinga Saga".

Rognvald was taken by his father to Norway, to the court of Olaf Haraldsson, when Brusi and Thorfinn went there to have the inheritance of Einar Wry-mouth's third-share of the Earldom settled. Olaf kept Einar's share for himself, appointing Brusi to administer it, and kept Rognvald at his court. ["Orkneyinga Saga", cc. 17–19; "Saint Olaf's Saga", cc. 100–102.]

The Orkneyinga Saga says of Rognvald:

Rognvald was one of the handsomest of men, with a fine head of golden hair, smooth as silk. At an early age he grew to be tall and strong, earning a great reputation for his shrewdness and courtesy ... ["Orkneyinga Saga", c. 19; "Saint Olaf's Saga", c. 100.]

Rognvald was a supporter of Olaf Haraldsson, later Saint Olaf, sharing his exile in Kievan Rus, and helping his brother Harald Sigurdsson, better known as Harald Hardraade, escape after the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030. While Harald went on to Constantinople, Rognvald and other exiles remained in Rus, in the service of Yaroslav the Wise. Rognvald returned to Norway with Olaf's son Magnus the Good in 1035. ["Orkneyinga Saga", cc. 19 &21; "Saga of Harald Sigurtharson, c. 1.]

While Rognvald was abroad, his father had died and Thorfinn Sigurdsson was ruling all of the Earldom of Orkney. Rognvald asked King Magnus for his third part of the Earldom, and Magnus agreed, giving him three ships and granting him the stewardship of Magnus's own third share. When Rognvald arrived in Orkney, he sent to his uncle Thorfinn asking him for the two thirds of the Earldom which Magnus had given him. Thorfinn agreed to give Rognvald his father's third, and the third which Magnus claimed into the bargain, although he claimed not to recognise Magnus's claim and presented this as a gift in return for Rognvald's assistance. and Rognvald worked closely together for eight years, fighting against enemies in the Hebrides and raiding Scotland and England. ["Orkneyinga Saga", cc. 21–22; Crawford, pp. 77–78.]

However, the Earls eventually fell out. The proximate cause of their quarrel, according to the saga, was the arrival of Kalf Arnesson, the uncle of Thorfinn's wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir.

Kalf had a large following which placed a heavy burden on the Earl's finances. Plenty of people told him that he shouldn't let Rognvald have two-thirds of the islands, considering his heavy outlay. ["Orkneyinga Saga", c. 25.]

Rognvald and Kalf Arnesson were not friends. The "Orkneyinga Saga" reports that Rognvald, a staunch supporter of Saint Olaf, came close to attacking Kalf in Rus, who alone among the Arnessons had betrayed Olaf, when he came to pledge his support to Magnus. ["Orkneyinga Saga", c. 21; Crawford, pp. 77–78.] For that reason, if for no other, Rognvald refused to hand over the third which Thorfinn asked for. From then onwards, relations deteriorated. Rognvald was defeated in a sea-battle and sought refuge in Norway with Magnus while Thorfinn took control of the earldom. ["Orkneyinga Saga", cc. 25–27.]

With a single ship, and a crew of picked men, Rognvald returned to Orkney hoping that surprise would enable him to retake the earldom. He succeeded, but not entirely as Thorfinn was able to flee to Caithness. However, soon afterwards, Rognvald was surprised in his turn, but was killed by Thorkell the Fosterer while escaping, given away by the barking of his lap dog. ["Orkneyinga Saga", cc. 27–29.]

Rognvald was buried on Papa Westray. The "Orkneyinga Saga" offers this assessment of Rognvald:

Everyone agrees that of all the Earls of Orkney he was the most popular and gifted, and his death was mourned by many. ["Orkneyinga Saga", c. 29.]

Twelfth-century Earl Kali Kolsson was given the name Rognvald "because Kali's mother claimed that Rognvald Brusason had been the most able of all the Earls of Orkney, and people saw this as a sign of good luck. ["Orkneyinga Saga", c. 61.] "



* Anderson, Alan Orr, "Early Sources of Scottish History A.D 500–1286", volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8
* Anon., "Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney", tr. Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards. Penguin, London, 1978. ISBN 0-14-044383-5
* Crawford, Barbara, "Scandinavian Scotland." Leicester University Press, Leicester, 1987. ISBN 0-7185-1282-0
* Sturluson, Snorri, "Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway", tr. Lee M. Hollander. Reprinted University of Texas Press, Austin, 1992. ISBN 0-292-73061-6

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rognvald Brusason — Rognvald II Brusason (né en 1011 tué en décembre 1046) co Jarl des Orcades de 1037 à 1046. Sommaire 1 Origine 2 Jeunesse 3 Les Jarls Rognvald et Thorfinn …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rognvald Kali Kolsson — Rognvald ou Ragnvald Kali Kolsson (vers 1100 mort le 20 août 1158) fut un comte des Orcades en 1137 et un saint catholique. Sommaire 1 Origine 2 Règne 3 Postérité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rognvald — Ragnvald or Rognvald is an Old Norse language name, in Old English Rægnald and in Middle Irish Ragnall. It may refer to:* Ragnvald the Mountain High, legendary king of Vestfold. * Rognvald Eysteinsson, Jarl of Møre (fl. late 9th century). *… …   Wikipedia

  • Thorfinn Sigurdsson — (1009? ndash; c1064?), called Thorfinn the Mighty [cite book | last = Magnusson | first = Magnus| title =Scotland:The Story of a Nation| publisher = Harper Collins | date =2000 | page =733 | isbn =135798642 ] , was Earl of Orkney. One of four… …   Wikipedia

  • Kalv Arnesson — (m. 1051) fue un caudillo vikingo de Noruega en el siglo XI, líder bóndi de la facción de los granjeros libres de Stiklestad y ferviente defensor del sistema político de la época, luchando por conservar los pequeños reinos autónomos y el Thing,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Thorfinn Sigurdsson — Thorfinn II Sigurdsson Rike (1009 mort vers 1065), dit Thorfinn le puissant[1], fut un comte des Orcades de 1015 à 1065. Sommaire 1 Origine 2 Jeunesse …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Earl of Orkney — See also: Earldom of Orkney The Earl of Orkney was originally a Norse jarl ruling Orkney, Shetland and parts of Caithness and Sutherland. The Earls were periodically subject to the kings of Norway for the Northern Isles, and later also to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Papa Stronsay — Vorlage:Infobox Insel/Wartung/Höhe fehlt Papa Stronsay Luftaufnahme von Papa Stronsay Gewässer Nordsee …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Papa Stronsay — Infobox Scottish island latitude=59.15 longitude= 2.58 GridReference=HY666293 celtic name= norse name= Papey Minni/Papey In Litla meaning of name=Island of the papar near Stronsay area=74 ha area rank= 167 highest elevation= 13 m Population=10… …   Wikipedia

  • Brusi Sigurdsson — (né vers 980 mort après 1030), fut un Jarl d un tier des Orcades de 1014 à 1030. Sommaire 1 Origine 2 Règne 3 Postérité 4 …   Wikipédia en Français