Sweyn (Forkbeard)


b. c. 960
d. 3 Feb 1014, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire

Title: Rex (King) (see note on royal styles)
Term: autumn/winter 1013 - 3 Feb 1014
  autumn/winter 1013, acknowledged king; not consecrated
  3 Feb 1014, died
Names/titles: Also called: Sweyn (Swein) Haroldson; baptismal name: Otto; byname: Forkbeard; name and byname in other languages: Svend I Haraldsón "Tveskaeg" (Danish); Sveinn Haraldsson "Tiguskaegg" (Old Norse); Svein Haraldsson "Tjugeskjegg" (Norwegian); Rex Danorum (King of the Danes) [from 986/987]

Sweyn was the son of King Harold Gormson Bluetooth of Denmark and Aesa, according to the Jomsvikinga Saga, though more probably his mother was Queen Gunild. He overthrew his father and took the throne of king of the Danes (c. 987). In 994 Sweyn conducted a large fleet of warships to England, but failed to capture London. In his absence, Denmark was temporarily occupied by the Swedish king, Erik Segersäll, on whose death (c. 994) Sweyn regained his throne. Following a massacre of Danes in England in 1002, Sweyn conducted a further series of raids and forced King Æthelred Unræd to flee the country in the second half of 1013. He was acknowledged as 'full king' throughout the country, but died suddenly on 3 Feb 1014. Biography sources: [1][2][3]

[1] Handbook of British Chronology (1986)
[2] "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,"ed. and trans. by G.N. Garmonsway (Everyman Press, London, 1953, reissued 1972, 1994).
[3] "The Blackwell Encyclopædia of Anglo-Saxon England", ed. by Michael Lapidge (Oxford, Blackwell, 1999).
  Image: Danish coin of King Sweyn (obverse legend: +Z·VEN REX AD DENER).
Last updated on: 14 Mar 2010 03:56:16