Magnus I of Norway

Magnus offers his axe to Åsmund Grankjellsson
Magnus offers his axe to Åsmund Grankjellsson

Magnus I (1024October 25, 1047) was a King of Norway (1035 - 1047) and king of Denmark (1042 - 1047). He was the son of Saint Olaf, and was known as the Good or the Noble.

In the period from 1028 to 1035, he was forced to leave Norway, but after the death of Knut the Great, he was called back by Norwegian noblemen, who were tired of being under Danish rule. After the death of Harthacanute, he was also made king of Denmark, despite the rival claims of Svend Estridsen, who was the son of Estrid, sister of Knut. There was great turmoil south of the Danish border, and in 1043 Magnus won an important victory at Lyrskov Hede. This is said to be the victory that earned him his surname.

His rival, Svend Estridsen, did not give up, however, and there were numerous conflicts between them. A settlement was agreed to, making Svend Earl of Denmark. Magnus also had trouble in Norway, where his uncle, Harald Hardråde, tried to seize power. In 1046, Magnus was forced to share power with Harald. In 1047, Svend Estridsen was driven out of Denmark with the assistance of Swedish king Anund Jacob. Svend could not muster enough support, and was forced to flee to Scania. Magnus died in 1047 after a fall from his horse. On his deathbed, he is said to have proclaimed Svend as his heir in Denmark, and Harald his heir in Norway. His body was brought to Norway, and he was buried in the cathedral in Trondheim, where his father was also buried. With his death, the direct line of St.Olav ceased to reign - it returned to the throne only in 1280, when Eric II of Norway who through his mother descended from Magnus' legitimate sister, succeeded as king.

Magnus' own daughter married a Norwegian nobleman. Their one descendant was married to Earl of Orkney. Through that descent, Magnus' descendant James I of England became king of Scotland, and his descendant Christian VII of Denmark was the first king of Norway to have Magnus' blood again.

Preceded by:
Canute the Great
King of Norway
Succeeded by:
Harald Hardråde
Preceded by:
Canute III
King of Denmark
Succeeded by:
Sweyn II


  • Translated from the article in the Danish Wikipedia

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