Ulf Fase


Ulf Fase

Ulf Fase (died 1247) was the jarl of Sweden c 1221-47. His nickname "Fase" (sometimes written "Fasi") has not been convincingly explained but may indict "The Dreadful". Ulf belonged to the House of Bjelbo.

After jarl Charles the Deaf had been killed during a Swedish attack against Estonians in 1220, Ulf as his closest relative was soon selected as the new jarl. An ephemeral jarl may have served briefly before Ulf's appointment. Before the death of king John I of Sweden in 1222, Ulf certainly held the office. He is presumed to have been a son of the late jarl Charles.

In 1222, the rival dynasty's young heir, Eric XI of Sweden, ascended the throne at the age of 6. His minority meant that jarl Ulf gained more importance along with Knut the Tall. However, the nominal regent was Bengt Birgersson, Ulf's cousin.

In 1229, Canute usurped the throne and exiled the young Eric. However, Ulf continued to hold the position of jarl. Upon Canute's death in 1234, king Eric, now 18, was restored to the throne. His supporters did not appreciate Ulf's "treachery" in accepting an usurper over Eric five years earlier. Ulf however was too powerful to be deposed from his office.

There are clear records to show that Ulf Fase had the right to mint money, an otherwise exclusively royal prerogative. Several pieces of such coins, bearing his signs, are preserved.

In 1247, there was an attempted coup against king Eric. The rebels were crushed at the Battle of Sparrsätra. Sources do not reveal whether Ulf was already dead at that time, or if alive, what was his role in the revolt. It has been speculated that he participated in the revolt and was therefore executed. Nevertheless, several rebel leaders were beheaded in 1247-48, including Canute's son Holmger Knutsson. After Ulf's death, the office of jarl was held by his relative Birger Magnusson, better known as Birger jarl.

Ulf Fase left one well-attested son, Karl Ulfsson, also known as "junker Karl". Young Karl had bad relations with Birger jarl. Karl went later to voluntary exile by joining Teutonic Knights in Livonia. Karl was killed in 1260 at a battle near Riga in Courland, unmarried.


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