Sweden: Notes: 1364-2016


The ordinals attached to the names of the rulers were first officially used in Sweden by Erik XIV (reign, 1560-1569) and by Carl IX (reign, 1604-1611). The actual ordinals were chosen according to legendary histories that had long-standing currency, including Historia de omnibus Gothorum Sueonumque regibus and Historia metropolitanæ ecclesiæ Upsaliensis written by Johannes Magnus, who constructed a mythical line of Swedish kings descending in a direct line from the Biblical Magog. Historians then retrojected the ordinals for kings named Erik and Carl. To reflect the artificial nature of these retrojections, the retrojected ordinals are shown in this record in quotes.


The orthography of Swedish, and especially proper nouns, continues in a state of fluidity, as may be observed by the alternative spellings av and af, both current. As regards names of rulers, the affected names are Gustaf/Gustav and Karl/Carl. Histories and dictionary entries regarding these names show: Gustav is ordinarily found for the royal names of Gustav I, Gustav II, Gustav III, Gustav IV Adolf, and Gustav V; Gustav V is accompanied, e.g. in Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, with the baptismal names Oscar Gustaf Adolf. Gustaf is officially used for Gustaf VI Adolf and Carl XVI Gustaf. To complicate matters, coins, after they emerge from Latinity, show Gustaf. Karl is ordinarily found in history sources all the way to Carl XIII and even Carl XIV; but now Carl (as in Carl XVI Gustaf) is in official use.

Form of Royal Style

There are "long" and "short" forms for the Royal Style. The latter consists of the core Swedish royal style (Sverige, Götes och Vendes) plus, if appropriate, a reference to a polity (Norge, Danmark, etc.) of which the monarch is actually the ruler. The "long style" includes the usual number of actual (but not separately governed) dependencies and the trail of foreign (mostly German) localities. For instance, the "long style" for the kings of Holstein-Gottorpska ätten (House of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp) between 26 Mar/6 Apr 1751 and 4 Nov 1814 was

Med Guds Nåde, Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung, Arving till Norge, Hertig till Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn och Ditmarsen, Greve till Oldenburg och Delmenhorst, etc. etc. (By the Grace of God, King of Sweden, the Goths, and the Wends, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, and Dithmarschen, Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, etc., etc.)

and its "short" equivalent in official use was

Med Guds Nåde, Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung (By the Grace of God, King of Sweden, the Goths, and the Wends)

Beginning and end of reign in pre-hereditary times (before 1544)

Before Sweden became a hereditary monarchy under Vasaätten (House of Vasa), the beginning of a monarch's reign was normally linked to three key events: election, homage, and coronation, if the package was complete. As proved from various sources, the precise initiation of the reign was the homage known as "tro och lydnad" ("troth and obedience"), often referred to as "recognition" ("hyllad", meaning "recognized"). This date is used in the record, when available. It should be remarked that the Vasa rulers from Gustaf I (reign, 1523-1560) to Kristina (reign, 1632-1654) were styled "utvald" ("elect") between accession and coronation. As for the end of the reign for the said period, it could consist of death, abdication, and formal withdrawal of homage. The most delicate of these in terms of determining the precise date is "withdrawal of homage"; a good example is the "letter of dismissal" which (in the Danish-language text cited) the "svenske stormænd" (Swedish magnates) delivered to King Hans Kristiansson on 9 Aug 1501.

Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 04:16:37