The story of our family...for my sons

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Polish Princess

Sigrid the Haughty, also known as Sigrid Storråda, was a Nordic queen of contested historicity. She is generally held to be apocryphal in modern scholarship, see e.g. Birgitta Fritz.

She has been variously identified as Świętosława, Saum-Aesa, Gunnhilda, daughter of Mieszko I, sister to Bolesław I Chrobry, King of Poland.

She is a character who appears in many sagas and historical chronicles. It is unclear if she was a real person or a compound person (with several real women's lives and deeds attributed to one compound person). But there is no reliable evidence as to her existence as she is described in the Norse sagas, which were composed generations after the events they describe.

It is possible that some accounts confuse one Sigríð, second wife to King of Denmark, Sweyn Forkbeard, and the daughter of Toste, with Saum-Aesa (Świętosława) of Poland, his first wife; another Norse source gives her the name Gunhilda, but this was a Norse name (not a Polish name) and was thus given to her by a later author.

The character of Sigríð is claimed to have first married Eiríkr the Victorious (King Eiríkr VI Sigrsæll) of Sweden, and to have had one son by this marriage: King Óláf II Eiríksson of Sweden, also called Olof Skotkonung. After that, the character is supposed to have married Sweyn Forkbeard in 994 under her Scandinavian name, Sigrid Storråda, and the marriage bore five daughters, half-sisters of Danish princes Harald and Canute the Great.

One daughter, Astrid Margaritte was the second wife of Richard II of Normandy (married 1017) after his first wife Judith (mother of three daughters & three sons, one of whom was Robert I, father of King William I, the Conqueror). Astrid later married Ulf Jarl, son of Thorgils Spragalaeg (the last king of Danish Scania (Ohlmarks), died at Svold 1005), great-grandson of Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark. They had two sons: Bjorn and Sweyn II of Denmark.

The most commonly-held understanding is that Harald and Canute brought back Świętosława from Poland after their stepmother Sigrid left upon the death of their father.

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