Catalogi regum Sueciae

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by Stephan Borgehammar

Early historical writing in the Nordic countries was often in the form of lists of events or persons; the former we call annals and the latter catalogues (or series) of kings, bishops and lawmen. The purpose of such documents is primarily to establish chronology, not to serve literary ends. In other words they make for dull reading. But their close relationship to chronicles and similar more developed forms of historical writing warrants their treatment on this Website.

The oldest preserved Nordic catalogue of kings is the Catalogus regum Danie (>Catalogi regum Danorum) written in the 1120s. The earliest similar document in Sweden is a hundred years younger and is more of a chronicle than a catalogue: the vernacular account of the Christian kings of Sweden found in the older version of the Law of Västergötland, Stockholm, Royal Library, B 59, fols. 49r-50r (ed. COLLIN & SCHLYTER 1827, facsimile ed. WESSÉN 1950; the chronicle was compiled in the late 1220s and supplemented in the 1240s according to SCHÜCK 1914, 10 – cf. BECKMAN 1912-1916, 140; the manuscript dates from ca. 1325; source criticism in SCHMID 1931, 54-67).

The six medieval Latin catalogues from Sweden represent a tradition that is somewhat different from the early vernacular one and in certain respects historically more accurate. Oldest of these is a catalogue from after 1250 which seems to have originated in Uppsala and which gives little more than the ordinal number and name of each king. The preserved copy, in Uppsala University Library, C 70 (late thirteenth century?), fol. 2r, is thought to have been penned in a Dominican convent in the east of Sweden (BOLIN 1931). The last king in this catalogue is Valdemar (Birgersson), for whom the coronation day is also given. Three other Latin catalogues are closely related to this one:

(1) Uppsala University Library, C 15 (end of the fourteenth century), fol. 324r. The second half of a catalogue of bishops of Linköping and kings of Sweden (for the bishops, see Chronica episcoporum Sueciae). Same content as C 70 but even more brief; the entries after Valdemar are secondary additions.

(2) Uppsala University Library, C 92 (ca. 1305-1314), fol. 4r. The original hand, which also wrote the Annales 1160-1320 (>Annales Suecici), worked in Uppsala. This catalogue has the same source as C 70 but continues to Magnus Birgersson and has extended entries on him and his predecessor Valdemar. Three genealogical notes, unique in the Latin tradition, seem to be taken from Langfedgatal (BOLIN 1931, 327-33). A later hand has added entries for the kings Birger Magnusson to Karl Knutsson (d. 1470).

(3) Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek, A 182 (“Codex Laurentii Odonis,” written by Lars Ödesson, canon in Linköping and Växjö and later dean of Linköping, shortly after 1389). Also dependent on the source of C 70, but via an intermediary. Has brief entries up to and including Birger Magnusson, then, supplied by a later hand (the subsequent owner of the manuscript, canon Johannes Tordonis?), chronicle-type entries on Magnus, Albrecht, Margareta and Erik of Pomerania (SCHMID 1931, 170-74).

The above-mentioned four catalogues are edited in parallel columns in BOLIN 1931, 162-64; in a fifth column BOLIN adds an Old Swedish catalogue taken from Stockholm, Royal Library, B 17 (fifteenth century, first half according to KLEMMING 1868–1881, second half according to BOLIN 1931), fols. 31v-32v. This vernacular catalogue is closely related to Dresden, A 182.

In MS B 17 we not only find an Old Swedish catalogue but also a Latin one, on fol. 31r–32v. But it is rather different from the aforementioned ones, being written in continuous prose, and is perhaps best described as a rudimentary chronicle. It begins with an account of the pagan kings of Sweden which starts with Inge and is carried through to Olof Skötkonung. Then follows an account of Sweden’s Christian kings which ends with Magnus Eriksson’s purchase of Scania in 1333. The first half is taken from the >Historia Norvegiae and the second, too, seems primarily to use Norwegian/Icelandic sources, with perhaps a few morsels from Saxo. The text is often called “the series of kings until 1333”.

The sixth and final Latin catalogue equally deserves to be called a rudimentary chronicle. It is found in a book from Uppsala Cathedral, the so-called Registrum Upsaliense, now in Stockholm, National Archives, A 8 (olim Royal Library, A 17), fol. 27v-28r, and is written by the hand that first drafted the Registrum in 1344. It is an abbreviated translation of the vernacular chronicle in the older Law of Västergötland with additional material from annals and from “the series of kings until 1333”. At the end of the fourteenth century an account of Sweden’s pagan kings, very similar to the first half of “the series of kings until 1333,” was added on fol. 163r. On the latter list, see MUNCH 1850, SCHÜCK 1910, SCHÜCK 1914, and BOLIN 1931.

Synopsis of texts and editions

(1) Uppsala University Library, C 70, fol. 2r

Titles

Catalogus regum Svethiae (BENZELIUS 1709), Catalogus Regum Sveciae ab Olavo Skötkonung ad Valdemarum (SRS).

Incipit

Isti sunt reges Swecie cristiani. Primus Olauus skathkununch cognomine …

Explicit

Vicesimus Waldemarus coronatus V idus febr. anno domini m°cc°l°.

Editions

  • BENZELIUS 1709, 17-18 (cf. Prol., p. III–V); SRS I:1 (1818), 16-17; • BOLIN 1931, 162-66.

(2) Uppsala University Library, C 15, fol. 324r

Titles

Catalogus regum Svethiae alius (BENZELIUS 1709); Catalogus Regum Sveciae ab Olavo Skötkonung ad Christophorum Bavarum (SRS); Catalogus episcoporum Lincopensium et regum Sueciae (MHUU).

Incipit

Reges Suecie christiani. Primus Olaws skutkonungger …

Explicit

Ericus dux pombrensis 28. Cristofforus comes palatinus renj [i.e. Rheni] et dux bauarie nepos predicti Erici regis.

Editions

BENZELIUS 1709, 18-19 (cf. Prol., p. III–V); SRS I:1 (1818), 20-21; • BOLIN 1931, 162-66.

(3) Uppsala University Library, C 92, fol. 4r

Titles

Series Regum quorundam in Svecia Christianorum (CELSIUS 1705); Catalogus Regum Sveciae ab Olavo Skötkonung ad Carolum Canuti (SRS); Nomina regum Sueciae (MHUU).

Incipit

Reges Regni Sweorum christiani. Hii fuerant reges sweuorum christiani. Primus rex christianus fuit olauus skøtkunuger baptisatus a sancto sigfrido …

Explicit

xxviijus karolus knwtzson swecus.

Editions

CELSIUS 1705, 11-13 (cf. Breves Notae, p. 14); SRS I:1, 21-22; • BOLIN 1931, 162-66.

(4) Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek, MS A 182, p. 48.

Titles

Ex Catal. Regum Sveciae in antiquo Mss. Laurentii Odonis Bibl. Ups. (SRD); Catalogus Regum Sveciae ab Olavo Skötkonung ad Ericum Pomeranum (SRS).

Incipit

Antiquorum virorum et veridicorum regni suecie narrat[relig]io de regibus christianis regni suecie. Primus rex christianus olauus nomine a sancto sigfrido baptizatus …

Explicit

Et induxit regem ericum et regnauit in suecia, dacia et noruegia per multos annos et propterea quod noluit corripere tyrannos aliquos expulsus est a regno.

Editions

SRD 4 (1776), 620 (partim); SRS I:1 (1818), 19-20; • BOLIN 1931, 162-166.

(5) Stockholm, Royal Library, B 17, fol. 31r-32v

Titles

Catalogus Regum Sveciae a primordiis regni ad Magnum Erici an. 1333 (SRS); Catalogus Regum Sueciae ad Annum Christi 1333 (KLEMMING 1868-1881); “the series of kings until 1333” [“kungalängden intill 1333”] (BOLIN).

Incipit

[R]ex itaque ingo quem primam swecie Monerchiam rexisse plurimi astruunt, genuit neork …

Explicit

Post hos autem Magnus erici ducis filius in regem swecie et noruegie est electus sortitus eciam est empcionis forma totam skaniam Anno domini M° CCC° xxx° iij°.

Editions

SRS I:1 (1818), 2-5; • KLEMMING 1868-1881, 270-74.

(6) Stockholm, National Archives, A 8, fol. 27v-28r

Title

Catalogus Regum Sveciae Paganorum pariter et Christianorum ab Ingone ad Ericum Pomeranum (SRS, which combines this list of Christian kings with a list of pagan kings from the same manuscript – cf. below).

Incipit

Hii reges christiani et hoc ordine rexerant in swecia quo ponuntur. Olauus fuit primus rex swecie christiane fidei imitator …

Explicit

Anno domini M° ccc° xcvi° electus est illustris princeps ericus filius ducis pomeranie in regem suecie dacie et norwegie. nam quo ad matrem originem duxit a regibus omnium trium regnorum.

Editions

BENZELIUS 1709, 69-71 (cf. Prol., p. XVII–XVIII); SRD 4 (1776), 619 (partim); SRS I:1 (1818), 15-16; COLLIN & SCHLYTER 1827, 298-304; • KLEMMING 1868-1881, 267-70.

(7) Stockholm, National Archives, A 8, fol. 163r

Title

Catalogus Regum Sveciae Paganorum pariter et Christianorum ab Ingone ad Ericum Pomeranum (SRS, which combines this list of pagan kings with a list of Christian kings from the same manuscript – cf. above).

Incipit

Hii fuerunt reges pagani in swecia. Rex inge quem primum swecie monarchiam rexisse plurimi astruunt genuit neroch …

Explicit

Post quem filius eius ericus aarsæle, et inuenitur quod ille fuit primus christianus cuius filius erat olauir skotkonung.

Editions

BENZELIUS 1709, 68-69 (cf. Prol., p. XVII–XVIII); SRD 4 (1776), 619 (partim); SRS I:1 (1818), 14-15; • KLEMMING 1868-1881, 265-67.

Addenda

Mention should also be made of two genealogies which trace the ancestry of Birger (II) Jarl. Though not catalogues of kings in the strict sense, they are perhaps of greater interest to the historian. The first of these short lists traces the line of the so-called Folkungar from Folke Filbyter via Birger Jarl to king Magnus Eriksson; the second traces the Sverker family from a certain Katillus to the nobleman Knut Jonsson via Ingrid “Lupae” or “Ylffua”, mother of Birger Jarl. Since the first list calls Magnus Eriksson king of Scania and the second list mentions Knut Jonsson, who died in 1347, they would both appear to be composed around 1340.

The two lists were copied by Rasmus Ludvigsson from notes gathered by Olavus Petri. A modified version of both derives via Bureus from a lost manuscript written in 1489 by Johannes Petri, a Franciscan of Stockholm, who in turn says he used extracts from old books in the Cistercian monastery of Varnhem.

Editions

  • BUREUS 1886, 230 [Johannes Petri’s modified version]; • AHNLUND 1945, 340-41 [both versions, in parallel columns].

Note, finally, the Annales 1040–1448 or Chronologia regum Sueciae, ed. PAULSSON 1974, 354 (>Annales Suecici). Bibliography

  • AHNLUND, N. 1945: “Vreta klosters äldsta donatorer,” HistTS 65, 301-51 (esp. Exkurs, 338).
  • BECKMAN, N. 1914: “Sveriges äldsta kristna konungalängd,” Personhistorisk tidskrift 16, Stockholm, 1–11.
  • BECKMAN, N. 1912-6: “Studier till Västgötalagarnas historia,” Arkiv för nordisk filologi 28, 54-8 and 140-67 (esp. 140-48) and 32, 49-1 (esp. 69 f.), und.
  • BECKMAN, N. 1943: “Cod. Holm. B 59,” Arkiv för nordisk filologi 57, Lund, 68-77.
  • • BOLIN, S. 1931: Om nordens äldsta historieforskning. Studier över dess metodik och källvärde (Lunds Universitets Årsskrift, n.s. , section 1, vol. 27, no. 3), Lund.
  • BOLIN, S. 1964: “Kungalängder,” in KLNM 9, cols. 509-10.
  • BUREUS, J. 1886: Sumlen, ed. G.E. Klemming in Nyare bidrag till kännedom om de svenska landsmålen, Suppl. [“Bihang”] I:2. Stockholm & Uppsala. [Note: this periodical was later renamed Svenska landsmål with a new numbering of the Supplements.]
  • COLLIN & SCHLYTER 1827: Codex iuris Vestrogotici, cum notis criticis, variis lectionibus, glossariis locupletissimis ac indicibus nominum propriorum. Westgöta-Lagen, utgifven af H.S. Collin och C.J. Schlyter (Corpus iuris Sueo-Gotorum antiqui. Samling af Sweriges Gamla Lagar I), Stockholm [facsimile entitled Westgöta-Lagen with an addendum by O. von Friesen, “Our Oldest Manuscript in Old Swedish,” ed. G. Holm, Lund 1976].
  • KLEMMING, G.E. 1868-1881: Småstycken på forn svenska, vol. 1 [“första serien”] (Skrifter utgifna af Svenska Fornskrift-Sällskapet), Stockholm.
  • LINDQUIST, I. 1941: Västgötalagens litterära bilagor. Medeltida svensk småberättelsekonst på poesi och prosa, Lund.
  • MUNCH, P.A. 1850: “Om Kilderne til Sveriges Historie i den förchristelige Tid,” Annaler for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie, Copenhagen, 291-358 [repr. in *MUNCH 1874: Samlede Afhandlinger, vol. 2, Christiania, 476-528].
  • NERMAN, B. 1914: Svärges älsta konungalängder som källa för svensk historia, Uppsala [considers the Latin catalogues on p. 25 only].
  • PAULSSON, G. (ed.) 1974: Annales Suecici medii aevi. Svensk medeltidsannalistik kommenterad och utgiven (Bibliotheca historica Lundensis 32), Lund.
  • SCHMID, T. 1931: Den helige Sigfrid, Lund.
  • SCHÜCK, H. 1910: Sveriges förkristna konungalängd, in Uppsala Universitets Årsskrift (37 pp.).
  • SCHÜCK, H. 1914: Den äldsta kristna konungalängden i Sverige, in Uppsala Universitets Årsskrift (41 pp.).
  • WESSÉN, E. 1950: Lex Vestro-gothica vetustior (äldre Västgötalagen) e codice B 59 Bibl. Reg. Holm., Suecice et Britannice praefatus (CCS 12), Copenhagen.