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Thorbjorn Thorsteinsson (Old Norse: Þórbjörn klerkr Þórsteinnson), also known as Thorbjorn the Clerk, was a pirate from the Orkney Islands who was executed in 1158.
Old Norse was a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements from about the 9th to the 13th century.
Thorbjorn was married to the sister of Sweyn Asleifsson, but they first quarrelled after Sweyn attacked Thorbjorn's cousin, Olvir Rosta, and grandmother, Frakkok, and burned her to death inside her house. Earl Rognvald Kali Kolsson forced a reconciliation, and the two went plundering together in the Hebrides, but fell out again over the distribution of the loot. Thorbjorn had his marriage annulled and entered Rognvald's service.
Sweyn Asleifsson or Sveinn Ásleifarson was a twelfth-century Viking who appears in the Orkneyinga Saga.
Olvir Rosta, also known as Aulver Rosta, is a character within the mediaeval Orkneyinga saga, who is purported to have lived during the early 12th century. His Old Norse byname, rósta, means "brawl", "riot". His name, and byname, appear variously in English secondary sources.
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic, and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic, Norse, and English-speaking peoples. This diversity is reflected in the names given to the islands, which are derived from the languages that have been spoken there in historic and perhaps prehistoric times.
Later, serving Harald Maddadsson, Thorbjorn found himself again thrown into Sweyn's company.
Harald Maddadsson was Earl of Orkney and Mormaer of Caithness from 1139 until 1206. He was the son of Matad, Mormaer of Atholl, and Margaret, daughter of Earl Haakon Paulsson of Orkney. Of mixed Norse and Gaelic blood, and a descendant of Scots kings, he was a significant figure in northern Scotland, and played a prominent part in Scottish politics of the twelfth century. The Orkneyinga Saga names him one of the three most powerful Earls of Orkney along with Sigurd Eysteinsson and Thorfinn Sigurdsson.
In 1158, Thorbjorn was outlawed by Rognvald for murdering one of his retainers. He placed his faith in his friendship with Harald, but the two Earls had recently become allies, and Thorbjorn was in a very dangerous position. He attempted to resolve it by ambushing and assassinating Ranald; but Harald had him put to death.
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.
Harald Sigurdsson, given the epithet Hardrada in the sagas, was King of Norway from 1046 to 1066. In addition, he unsuccessfully claimed the Danish throne until 1064 and the English throne in 1066. Before becoming king, Harald had spent around fifteen years in exile as a mercenary and military commander in Kievan Rus' and of the Varangian Guard in the Byzantine Empire.
Magnus Olafsson, better known as Magnus the Good, was the King of Norway from 1035 and King of Denmark from 1042, ruling over both countries until his death in 1047.
The Orkneyinga saga is a historical narrative of the history of the Orkney and Shetland islands and their relationship with other local polities, particularly Norway and Scotland. The saga has "no parallel in the social and literary record of Scotland" and is "the only medieval chronicle to have Orkney as the central place of action". The main focus of the work is the line of jarls who ruled the Earldom of Orkney, which constituted the Norðreyjar or Northern Isles of both Orkney and Shetland and there are frequent references to both archipelagoes throughout.
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.
Rognvald Eysteinsson was the founding Jarl of Møre in Norway, and a close relative and ally of Harald Fairhair, the earliest known King of Norway. In the Norse language he is known as Rognvaldr Eysteinsson and in modern Norwegian as Ragnvald Mørejarl. He is sometimes referred to with bynames that may be translated into modern English as "Rognvald the Wise" or "Rognvald the Powerful".
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.
Einarr Rognvaldarson often referred to by his byname Torf-Einarr, was one of the Norse Earls of Orkney. The son of the Norse jarl, Rognvald Eysteinsson and a concubine, his rise to power is related in sagas which apparently draw on verses of Einarr's own composition for inspiration. After battling for control of the Northern Isles of Scotland and a struggle with Norwegian royalty, Einarr founded a dynasty which retained control of the islands for centuries after his death.
Thorfinn Sigurdsson, also known as Thorfinn the Mighty, was an 11th-century Earl of Orkney. He was the youngest of five sons of Earl Sigurd Hlodvirsson and the only one resulting from Sigurd's marriage to a daughter of Malcolm II of Scotland. He ruled alone as earl for about a third of the time that he held the title and jointly with one or more of his brothers or with his nephew Rögnvald Brusason for the remainder. Thorfinn married Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, daughter of Finn Arnesson, Jarl of Halland.
Rognvald Kale Kolsson was an Earl of Orkney and a Norwegian saint.
Finn Árnasson was a Norwegian nobleman and advisor to both King Olaf Haraldsson and King Harald III of Norway and later served King Sweyn II of Denmark. He was the feudal lord (lendmann) of Austrått.
Sigurd Eysteinsson or Sigurd the Mighty was the second Earl of Orkney – a title bequeathed to Sigurd by his brother Rognvald Eysteinsson. A son of Eystein Glumra, Sigurd was a leader in the Viking conquest of what is now northern Scotland.
Rognvald Brusason , son of Brusi Sigurdsson, was Earl of Orkney jointly with Thorfinn Sigurdsson from about 1037 onwards. His life is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga.
Paul Haakonsson was joint Earl of Orkney from 1122 until 1137.
Erlend Haraldsson was joint Earl of Orkney from 1151–1154. The son of Earl Harald Haakonsson, he ruled with Harald Maddadsson and Rögnvald Kali Kolsson.
Orcadians are the people who live in or come from the Orkney islands of Scotland. Historically, they are descended from the Picts, Norse and Scots.
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.
Helga Moddansdóttir was the mistress of Haakon Paulsson who was Earl of Orkney from 1105–1123.
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