Last updated
'Świętosława' of Poland
Queen consort of Sweden
Queen consort of Denmark
Spouse Eric the Victorious
Sweyn Forkbeard
Issue Olof Skötkonung
Canute the Great
Harald II of Denmark
House Piast
Father Mieszko I of Poland

'Świętosława' is the name tentatively assigned to a Polish princess, the daughter of Mieszko I of Poland and sister of Boleslaw I of Poland. According to German chroniclers, this princess, whose name is not given, was married to first to Eric the Victorious of Sweden and then Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark, giving the former a son Olof and the latter sons Harald and Canute. The name retrospectively given her, Świętosława, derives from that of a likely daughter, under the assumption that this girl may have borne the same name as her mother.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Mieszko I of Poland Duke of Poland

Mieszko I was the ruler of Poland from about 960 until his death. A member of the Piast dynasty, he was a son of Siemomysł, and a grandson of Lestek. He was the father of Bolesław I the Brave and of Gunhild of Wenden. Most sources make Mieszko I the father of Sigrid the Haughty, a Nordic queen, though one source identifies her father as Skoglar Toste, and the grandfather of Canute the Great, and the great-grandfather of Gunhilda of Denmark, Canute the Great's daughter and wife of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor.

Eric the Victorious Swedish king

Eric the Victorious was a Swedish monarch as of around 970. Since he is the first Swedish king in a consecutive regnal succession, who is attested in sources independent of each other, Sweden's list of rulers usually begins with him. His son Olof Skötkonung, however, is considered the first ruler documented to definitely have been accepted both by the original Swedes around Lake Mälaren and by the Geats around Lake Vättern, which peoples were fundamental in forming the nation of Sweden.


The Icelandic sagas give her role as successive queen of these two monarchs to Sigrid the Haughty, daughter of Skagul Toste. This account is considered less reliable than the contemporary chroniclers by a number of scholars, according to Birgitta Fritz in Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, [1] and the historical authenticity of Sigrid is viewed skeptically. Snorre Sturlasson also mentions a Slavic princess he calls Gunhild of Wenden, daughter of king Burislav of the Wends, the ancient Slavs inhabiting the northern regions of modern Poland, and it has been suggested that Gunhild may be a somewhat confused account of the sister of the Polish king Boleslaw I, described by the chroniclers. Polish genealogist Rafał T. Prinke sees the German chroniclers as having combined the roles of two distinct wives of Sweyn Forkbeard, with the Polish princess actually being Gunhild, mother of Canute, Harold and a daughter Świętosława, while he sees Sigrid the Haughty as an authentic subsequent wife of Sweyn as widow of Eric the Victorious, being mother of Eric's son Olaf and of Sweyn's daughter Estrid. He further suggests that though Świętosława was not the name of Sweyn's Polish wife, the name had a history in the family, that perhaps it was the name of the otherwise unknown wife of Miesko's father, Siemomysł. [2]

Sigrid the Haughty Viking Queen

Sigrid the Haughty, also known as Sigríð Storråda, is a queen appearing in Norse sagas as wife, first of Eric the Victorious of Sweden, then Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark. Sigrid appears in many sagas composed generations after the events they describe, but there is no reliable evidence as to her existence as they describe her. The figure of Sigrid appears mainly in late Icelandic sagas, while more contemporary sources such as Thietmar of Merseburg and Adam of Bremen instead claim that Sweyn was married to a Polish princess, identified as Świętosława. Snorri Sturluson gives conflicting information and in one place says that Sweyn was married to Sigrid and in another that he was married to a Gunhild of Wenden.

Skagul Toste Chieftain from the Swedish province of West Götaland

Skoglar Toste or Skoglar Tosti was a 10th century chieftain from the Swedish province of West Götaland. His name was reportedly due to his experience in battle.

Birgitta Fritz was a longtime associate professor (docent) of history at the Stockholm University. In 1972, she completed her Ph.D. thesis Hus, land och län. Förvaltningen i Sverige 1250-1434, which became one of the most important works concerning Swedish history.

Contemporary sources

There is scant material in medieval chronicles to provide details regarding the marriages of Sweyn of Denmark and Eric of Sweden:

Thietmar of Merseburg German bishop and historian

Thietmar, Prince-Bishop of Merseburg from 1009 until his death, was an important chronicler recording the reigns of German kings and Holy Roman Emperors of the Ottonian (Saxon) dynasty. Two of Thietmar's great-grandfathers, both referred to Liuthar, were the Saxon nobles Lothar II, Count of Stade, and Lothar I, Count of Walbeck. They were both killed fighting the Slavs at the Battle of Lenzen.

Cnut the Great 10th and 11th-century King of Denmark, Norway, and England

Cnut the Great, also known as Canute, whose father was Sweyn Forkbeard, was King of Denmark, England and Norway; together often referred to as the North Sea Empire. Yet after the deaths of his heirs within a decade of his own, and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, this legacy was lost. He is popularly invoked in the context of the legend of King Canute and the tide, which usually misrepresents him as a deluded monarch believing he has supernatural powers, contrary to the original legend which portrays a wise king who rebuked his courtiers for their fawning behaviour.

Harald II of Denmark King of Denmark

Harald II of Denmark was King of Denmark from 1014 until his death in 1018. He was the youngest son of Sweyn Forkbeard and Gunhild of Wenden, and was regent while his father was fighting Ethelred the Unready in England. He inherited the Danish throne in 1014, and held it while his brother, the later king Cnut the Great conquered England. After his death in 1018, he was succeeded by Cnut the Great. Little detail is known about Harald II.


Andrzej Feliks Grabski was a Polish historian and medievalist.

Related Research Articles

Doubravka of Bohemia was a Bohemian princess of the Přemyslid dynasty and by marriage Duchess of the Polans.

Sweyn Forkbeard 11th-century King of Denmark, England, and Norway

Sweyn Forkbeard was king of Denmark from 986 to 1014. He was the father of King Harald II of Denmark, King Cnut the Great and Queen Estrid Svendsdatter.

The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. The first documented Polish monarch was Prince Mieszko I. The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir III the Great.

Olof Skötkonung King of Sweden

Olof Skötkonung was King of Sweden, son of Eric the Victorious and, according to Icelandic sources, Sigrid the Haughty. He succeeded his father in c. 995. He stands at the threshold of recorded history, since he is the first Swedish ruler about whom there is substantial knowledge. He is regarded as the first king known to have ruled both the Swedes and the Geats.

Richeza of Poland, a member of the House of Piast, was queen of Sweden and princess of Minsk through her three marriages.

Sweyn II of Denmark 11th-century Danish king

Sweyn II Estridsson was King of Denmark from 1047 until his death in 1076. He was the son of Ulf Thorgilsson and Estrid Svendsdatter, and the grandson of King Sweyn I Forkbeard through his mother's line. He was married three times, and fathered 20 children or more out of wedlock, including the five future kings Harald III Hen, Canute IV the Saint, Oluf I Hunger, Eric I Evergood, and Niels.

Sigurd Snake-in-the-eye was a Viking warrior in the middle of the 9th Century. According to The Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok he is one of the sons of the legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrok.

Bezprym 11th century Duke of Poland

Bezprym was a Duke of Poland from 1031–1032.

Druzhina human settlement in Buguruslansky District, Orenburg Oblast, Russia

Druzhina, drużyna, or družyna in the medieval history of Poland and Kievan Rus' was a retinue in service of a chieftain, also called knyaz. The name is derived from the Slavic word drug (друг) with the meaning of "companion, friend". The English equivalent is retinue.

Gunhilda of Wenden was a semi-legendary Polish or other Slavic princess and Danish Viking age queen consort, the supposed spouse of 10th-century King Sweyn I of Denmark (986–1014).

Estrid Svendsdatter of Denmark, was a Danish princess and titular Queen, a Russian princess and, possibly, Duchess of Normandy by marriage. She was the daughter of Sweyn Forkbeard and perhaps Gunhild of Wenden and sister of Cnut the Great. By Ulf Jarl, she was the mother of the later King Sweyn II Estridson and Beorn Estrithson. The dynasty that ruled Denmark in 1047–1412 was named after her. She was known in Denmark as Dronning Estrid, despite the fact that she was not married to a King and not a queen regnant.

Gyda Anundsdotter of Sweden, also known as Guda and Gunhild, was a medieval and Viking age Swedish princess and Danish queen consort, spouse of King Sweyn II of Denmark.

Tyra of Denmark Danish princess and a Norwegian Viking age Queen consort

Tyra of Denmark was a 10th-century Danish princess. She was the spouse of both King Olav I of Norway and of Styrbjörn Starke, crown prince of Sweden.

Maria Dobroniega of Kiev Polish queen

Maria Dobroniega of Kiev, was a Kievian Rus princess of the Rurikid dynasty and by marriage Duchess of Poland.

Bolesław the Forgotten or the Cruel was a semi-legendary Duke of Poland of the Piast dynasty from 1034 until his death in 1038 or 1039. He was allegedly the first-born son of Mieszko II Lambert.

House of Knýtlinga ruling royal house in Middle Age Scandinavia and England

The Danish House of Knýtlinga was a ruling royal house in Middle Age Scandinavia and England. Its most famous king was Cnut the Great, who gave his name to this dynasty. Other notable members were Cnut's father Sweyn Forkbeard, grandfather Harald Bluetooth, and sons Harthacnut, Harold Harefoot, and Svein Knutsson. It has also been called the House of Canute, the House of Denmark, the House of Gorm, or the Jelling dynasty.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Birgitta Fritz (2004), "Sigrid Storråda", Svenskt biografiskt lexikon , 32
  2. Rafał T. Prinke, "Identity of Mieszko I's Daughter and Her Scandinavian Relationships"(Roczniki Historyczne LXX (2004),[summary in German], Poznań – Warszawa 2004, ISBN   83-7063-429-X, pp. 81–110)