Olav Kyrre 1067-1093


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Olav Kyrre Olav Kyrre was son of Harald Hardråde (the Ruthless). He was a member of the force that accompanied Harald Hardråde to England, but he was not present at the battle at Stamford Bridge. On his return to Norway the following year, he was appointed king along with his brother Magnus. Magnus died shortly after, in 1069, and Olav was sole king. 

Olavís reign was a peaceful period for the kingdom. He made peace with the Danish king, Svend Estridssøn and with William the Conqueror of England, and managed to avoid conflict with other nations and rulers. Since his reign was so peaceful, little is written about him in the Norse sagas. This does not mean that nothing of importance took place during this period. On the contrary, under his rule there was a significant strengthening of the powers of the king, the state and the legal system. An indication of this is the doubling in size of the kingís personal troops and the introduction of new, continental customs for them. Relations with the pope in Rome were significantly improved, leading to the founding of permanent bishoprics in several places in Norway. 

Olav, who was considered the founder of Bergen, also institutionalised the guilds. Snorre relates that Olav liked to take part in guilds in Trondheim, seeming to enjoy these gatherings, sometimes becoming lively and talkative although normally a man of few words. 

Literacy was formerly restricted to the clergy, and Olav was the first Norwegian king who learned to read. An English monk reported that Olav would often help the priest during the mass. Olavís only son, Magnus Berrføtt (Bareleg), took over as king when his father died. 

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Mint sites: 
Nidarnes, unidentified