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Isländska skalder
 


Örjan Martinsson

Historia Norwegies skildring av Ynglingaätten

Ynglingaätten är den legendariska kungaätt som sägs ha regerat Sverige under förhistorisk tid. Enligt den norsk-isländska historieskrivningen härstammade det norska kungahuset från denna ätt genom att skåningen Ivar Vidfamne i mitten av 600-talet fördrev dem från Svitjod till Värmland varifrån de senare gjorde sig till kungar över norska småriken. Den danske historieskrivaren Saxo Grammaticus skrev dock att vikingatidens svenska kungar också tillhörde Ynglingaätten medan Snorre Sturlasson påstod att: "Efter Ingjald illråde förlorade Ynglingaätten uppsalaväldet om man räknar på fadersidan". Om båda källorna har rätt ska alltså svenska kungar ha fortsatt att kalla sig för medlemmar av Ynglingaätten medan det var de norska kungarna som tillhörde den "riktiga" Ynglingaätten. Moderna historiker är emellertid skeptiska till de norska kungarnas koppling till Ynglingaätten och pekar på att de norska ynglingakungarna har namn som börjar med konsonanter medan de svenska ynglingakungarnas namn börjar med vokaler, vilket talar emot påståendet att det skulle vara frågan om samma ätt.

Hur som helst kan vi bara konstatera att vår kunskap om Ynglingaättens historia kommer nästan uteslutande från norsk-isländska källor. Den viktigaste är Snorre Storlassons Ynglingasaga som återfinns i Heimskringla. En kortare version av historien återfinns i det latinska verket Historia Norwegie som skrevs av en norsk munk omkring 1170. Källorna skiljer sig åt i flera detaljer, till exempel är det Egil och inte Ottar som har tillnamnet Vendelkråka i Historia Norwegie och samma källa hävdar att Olof Trätälja regerade länge och fredligt samt dog i Svitjod. Enligt Snorre ska han däremot ha regerat i Värmland (som inte räknades till Svitjod) och blivit offrad av vidskepliga svear efter en serie dåliga skördar. Att Snorre skrev sitt verk 60 år senare än Historia Norwegie har ingen betydelse eftersom båda källorna berättar om händelser som ägde rum för 500 år sedan och de har troligen använt sig av samma källor. Vi vet med säkerhet att Snorre har använt sig av dikten Ynglingatal från omkring 900 eftersom den är citerad i hans Ynglingasaga. Sannolikt har både Snorre och Historia Norwegie använt sig av Are Frodes nu förlorade stora Isländingabok från ca 1120 som innehöll genealogier över de skandinaviska kungahusen. En kortare variant av Isländingaboken som har bevarats innehåller en genealogisk lista över Ynglingaätten i vilken det är Egil som har tillnamnet Vendelkråka. I det fallet kan det därför tyckas som om Historia Norwegie har rätt. Men vi kan inte utesluta att det var Are Frode som förväxlade kungarna och att Snorre Sturlasson kände till den muntliga traditionen om Ynglingaätten och återgav denna korrekt. För trots allt berättar dikten Ynglingatal att det var Ottar och inte Egil som dog i Vendel och gravhögen som finns där bär också Ottars namn. Vem som ligger närmast sanningen är som synes mycket svårt att bedöma och därför har jag som en jämförelse till Snorres Ynglingasaga även tagit med Peter Fishers engelska översättning av de aktuella kapitlen från Historia Norwegie. På så sätt kan läsaren själv ta ställning till denna problematik.

IX On the lineage of the kings.

The ancient family of Norwegian kings traced its beginnings from Sweden, from which Trøndelag, the chief law province of Norway, was also settled. King Yngve, who according to a great many was the first ruler of the Swedish realm, became the father of Njord, whose son was Frøy. For centuries on end all their descendants worshipped these last two as gods. Frøy engendered Fjolne, who was drowned in a tun of mead. His son, Sveigde, is supposed to have pursued a dwarf into a stone and never to have returned, but this is plainly to be taken as a fairy-tale. He sired Vanlande, who died in his sleep, suffocated by a goblin, one of the demonic species known in Norwegian as 'mare'. He was the father of Visbur, whose sons burnt him alive with all his hirdsmen, so that they might attain their inheritance more swiftly. His son Domalde was hanged by the Swedes as a sacrificial offering to Ceres to ensure the fruitfulness of the crops. Domalde begot Domar, who died in Sweden. Likewise Dyggve, his son, reached the limit of his life in that same region. His son Dag succeeded to his throne; he was killed by the Danes in a royal battle at a ford named Skjotansvad, while he was trying to avenge the violence done to a sparrow. This man engendered Alrek, who was beaten to death with a bridle by his brother, Eirik. Alrek was father to Agne, whose wife dispatched him with her own hands by hanging him on a tree with a golden chain near a place called Agnafit. His son, Ingjald, was murdered in Sweden by his own brother because he had brought discredit on the latter's wife, whose name was Bera (Ursa in Latin). After him his son Jorund ruled, who ended his days unhappily once he had fought a war against the Danes, who hanged him at Oddesund, on an arm of the sea in Denmark which the natives call Limfjorden.

He became the father of Aukun, who, in the feebleness of a protracted old age, during the nine years before his death is said to have abandoned the consumption of solid food and only sucked milk from a horn, like a babe-in-arms. Aukun's son was Egil Vendelkrake, whose own bondman, Tunne, drove him from his kingdom; and though a mere servant he joined in eight civil combats with his master and won supremacy in all of them, but in a ninth he was finally defeated and killed. Shortly afterwards however the monarch was gored and slaughtered by a ferocious bull.

The successor to the throne was his son Ottar, who was assassinated in Vendel, a law province of Denmark, by his namesake, a Danish jarl, and this man's brother, Fasta. His son Adils gave up the ghost after falling from his horse before the temple of Diana, while he was performing the sacrifices made to idols. He became sire to Øystein, whom the Götar thrust into a house and incinerated alive there with his men. His son Yngvar, nicknamed the Hoary, was killed by the inhabitants while campaigning on an island in the Baltic called Ösel. Yngvar bred Braut-Ånund, whose brother, Sigurd, laid him low in Himinheid, a place-name which means 'field of heaven'. After him his son Ingjald ascended the throne. Being abnormally terrified of King Ivar Vidfadme, at that time an object of dread to many, he shut himself up in a dining-hall with his whole retinue and burnt all its inmates to death. His son, Olav, known as Tretelgje, accomplished a long and peaceful reign, and died in Sweden, replete in years.

X Olav sired Halvdan Hvitbein, whom the Norwegians in the mountains appointed as their king as he was returning from Sweden. Here in the county of Toten he gave up the ghost at an advanced age. While his son, Øystein, nicknamed Fart, was making a voyage between two islands with several ships sailing close to each other, he was knocked from the poop by the yardarm of another vessel, sank below the waves and vanished. Succession to the crown fell to his son, Halvdan Gold-Lavisher and Food-Niggard, since, whereas he bestowed gold on his retainers, he weakened them with hunger at the same time. He became father of Gudrød the Hunter King, who was betrayed by his own wife, for she bribed one of the squires to pierce the king's side with a spear. His son, Halvdan the Black acquired the realm after his parent, once again in the mountain region. While he was pursuing a journey by night across a frozen lake called Rand, returning from a feast with a large company of sleighs and horsemen, he unsuspectingly encountered a fissure where the shepherds used to water their flocks, and perished there beneath the ice.
 

Historia Norwegie. Translated by Peter Fisher. 2003. Museum Tusculanum Press. University of Copenhagen.