Battle of Nesjar (Slaget ved Nesjar) was a sea battle off the coast of Norway in 1016. It was a primary event in the reign of King Olav Haraldsson (later Saint Olav). Icelandic skald and court poet Sigvatr Þórðarson composed the poem Nesjavísur in memory of the battle.[1][2][3][4] A monument known as the Nesjar Monument was erected on the 1000th anniversary of the battle, located in Helgeroa village in Larvik , Vestfold County, where the battle is believed to have occurred.[5][6]

Battle of Nesjar

Map of Frierfjord including Langesundfjorden
DateMarch 25, 1016

Victory for Olav Haraldsson

Norwegian forces loyal to Olav Haraldsson Norwegian forces loyal to Sveinn Hákonarson
Commanders and leaders
Olav Haraldsson Sveinn Hákonarson
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

Historic record edit

Tradition places the location of the battle in west end of Oslofjord, possibly near 58°59′30″N 9°49′38″E / 58.9916°N 9.8272°E / 58.9916; 9.8272.[7] The exact location is unknown, but it is somewhere in today's Langesundfjorden inlet in Frierfjord near Brunlanes, Larvik in Vestfold. The fighting parties were the throne claimant Olav Haraldsson on one side and an alliance backing the Swedish vassal Sveinn Hákonarson on the other.[8]

After the defeat of Olav Tryggvason at the Battle of Svolder, Norway had been divided into a Swedish part governed by Sveinn Hákonarson and a Danish part run by Eiríkr Hákonarson. However, after Eiríkr joined his brother-in-law Canute the Great in his campaign to conquer England, Danish rule folded, and power was assumed by Olav Haraldsson, a throne claimant from the Harald Fairhair family line.[9]

Sveinn, who was based in Trøndelag, learned that Olav was rallying support in Eastern Norway. He set sail along the coast of Norway. Along the way he joined forces with those of several allies among Norway's farmer-chieftains. The most prominent of these was Erling Skjalgsson.[10]

Olav Haraldsson, on the other hand, had finished raising his forces, and had begun his trip northwards to confront Sveinn. The fleets clashed off the coast on Palm Sunday 25 March 1016 . Few accounts of the battle survive; however, it is generally regarded as a fierce battle with heavy casualties. None of the major players were killed, as would be usual in this age of chieftains leading the line. However, Sveinn Hákonarson was chased off, thus relinquishing his grip on power. Sveinn retreated to Sweden, but he died of illness before he could muster a force to retake Norway.[11]

The road now seemed open for King Olav to establish a unified rule of Norway. However, along the way he was later forced to ally with Erling Skjalgsson, an alliance which was always uneasy. It also ended violently when Erling Skjalgsson was killed in connection with the Battle of Boknafjorden in Rogaland during 1028. His followers got revenge two years later, when King Olav himself was killed in the Battle of Stiklestad.[12]

References edit

  1. ^ Claus Krag. "Olav 2 Haraldsson Den Hellige, Konge". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  2. ^ "Slaget ved Nesjar". Brunlanes Historielag. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  3. ^ "995 år siden slaget ved Nesjar". Ostlands Posten. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  4. ^ Russell Poole (ed.). "Nesjavísur: Sigvatr Þórðarson:". Skaldic Project Academic Body. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  5. ^ Bertelsen, Hans Kristian (1998). Bli kjent med Vestfold / Become acquainted with Vestfold. Stavanger Offset AS. Page 55. ISBN 9788290636017.
  6. ^ The Nesjar Monument
  7. ^ "Visit Brunlanes - Slaget om Nesjar". Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  8. ^ Claus Krag. "Svein Håkonsson- Ladejarl, Riksstyrer". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  9. ^ Claus Krag. "Eirik Håkonsson, jarl". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  10. ^ Per G. Norseng. "Erling Skjalgsson". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  11. ^ "Erling Skjalgsson og sagnet Gravhaugen". Fylkeskommunen. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  12. ^ "A Little About Erling Skjalgsson's Place In Norwegian History". Retrieved October 31, 2015.

Other sources edit

  • Krag, Claus Vikingtid og riksamling 800-1130 (Aschehougs Norgeshistorie. 1995) ISBN 9788203220302 Norwegian
  • Hellberg, Staffan Slaget vid Nesjar och Sven jarl Håkonsson (Scripta Islandica, Uppsala 1972) Swedish

Further reading edit

  • Ferguson, Robert The Vikings: a History (Penguin Group. 2009) ISBN 978-0143118015
  • Jones, Gwyn A History of the Vikings (Oxford University Press; 2nd ed. 2001) ISBN 978-0192801340
  • Roesdah,Else The Vikings (Penguin Books; rev. ed. 1999) ISBN 978-0140252828
  • Sturlason, Snorre (edited with notes by Erling Monsen) Heimskringla or the Lives of the Norse Kings (Kessinger Publishing. 2004) ISBN 0-7661-8693-8
  • Winroth, Anders The Age of the Vikings (Princeton University Press; 1st ed. 2014) ISBN 978-0691149851

External links edit