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Sigurd Magnusson: Wikis


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Sigurd Magnusson was a Norwegian pretender and rival king during the Civil War era, against king Sverre Sigurdsson. He lived approximately from 1180 to 1194. Sigurd was a son of late king Magnus V of Norway the Erlingson. The young Sigurd was proclaimed king in 1193 at Haugating near Tønsberg. A year later he was killed in the naval battle of Florvåg, by Askøy near Bergen.

After the 1188 defeat of the Kuvlungs in Bergen, some minor uprisings had followed, but these never rose above banditry and were suppressed on a local scale. Only in 1193 came the next threat to king Sverre's rule, by the so-called Øyskjeggs – the Isle Beards. The nominal king for this group was Sigurd, a child claimed to be the bastard son of Magnus Erlingsson. The real leader was Hallkjell Jonsson who was Magnus’ brother-in-law. Conspiring with Earl of Orkney, Harald Maddadsson, Hallkjell gathered most of his men on Orkney and Shetland, hence the name of the group. After establishing themselves in Viken, the Øyskjeggs sailed on to Bergen. Although they occupied the city itself and the surrounding regions, a force of Birkebeins held on in Sverresborg. In the spring of 1194, Sverre sailed south to confront the Øyskjeggs. The two fleets met on 3 April in the Battle of Florvåg. Here the battle experience of the Birkebeiner veterans proved to be decisive. Hallkjell fell with most of his men.

King Sverre Sigurdsson and his Birkebeiners were against Sigurd Magnusson and his islanders. Who had besieged Bergen ( Bjørgvin) but had not succeeded in taking the castle Sverresborg. King Sverre came to Gravdal with a vast fleet, which rowed over to Florvågøya. On the morning of Palm Sunday, 3 April 1194 the battle took place.

King Sverre won, but around 2,500 soldiers were killed in the bloody battle.

Sigurd Magnusson's corpse was shown in Bergen, in order to demonstrate Sverre's power and also to prevent impostors try to claim being the young prince. It was then buried in Mariakyrkjegarden (the churchyard of the church of Mary in Bergen).

The civil wars period of Norwegian history lasted from 1130 to 1217. During this period there were several interlocked conflicts of varying scale and intensity. The background for these conflicts was the unclear Norwegian succession laws, social conditions and the struggle between Church and King. There were then two main parties, firstly known by varying names or no names at all, but finally condensed into parties of Bagler and Birkebeiner. The rallying point regularly was a royal son, who was set up as the head figure of the party in question, to oppose the rule of the king from the contesting party.

Preceded by
Jon Kuvlung
Viken-party pretender to the Norwegian throne Succeeded by
Inge Magnusson (Bagler party)


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