If Hollywood were to make a film on Sweden in the 1200s, the main character would be Birger Jarl. We saw him introduced to the story last time, but now we look at his life in detail, in the first of three episodes looking at his achievements and the impact he had on his country. In this first episode we cover his early life, entrance into politics and everything he does up until he declares his son Valdemar the King of Sweden in 1250. Strap in!
We pick up where we left off in Episode 34, with the death of King Johan. Previously exiled Erik returns to Sweden from his mother's family in Denmark to take the throne as a young man. A regency council is appointed, before drama ensues amongst its members. Later in the episode, we witness the emergence of one of Sweden's most famous and important figures, as Sweden's first great statesman enters the scene...
Surprise! It's not time for a regular episode this week, but instead we're bringing you an extra special episode. Back in April we had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Intelligent Speech Conference 2021. This is the recording of said talk, plus a brand new intro and outro that we've recorded specially.
In our talk we look at how and why Sweden, unlike all of its neighbours, escaped invasion during the Second World War. We discover how one natural resource can make all the difference, and how the decisions of a few politicians on one fateful weekend echoed throughout history. Last but not least, we have a quick look at how Sweden was affected by the war, even though it wasn't invaded. Beware of accidental bombings!
After a brief discussion of windmills in England, we pick up where we left off last time and continue our discussion of the legal system in the High Middle Ages in Sweden. Today we take a closer look at the practical aspects of legal practice, such as how courts worked and what punishments there were as society gradually moves away from Viking justice. We'll also meet Sweden's very first written down legal text, and its great list of Kings. Finally, someone will be stealing watermelons, even though they don't exist in Sweden yet. But Chris likes the idea....
Welcome to the office of Law and Order: Medieval Sweden Unit! In the first of this two-part mini series on crime, laws and justice in Sweden during the 12th and 13th centuries, we're looking into some overarching changes to legal practices. In Part One, we examine what and who influenced these changes, such as the church and more contact with northern Europe. There will be blood feuds and the church dictating who can have sex!
We kick off this episode with Sverker II, who returns from exile and becomes King of Sweden as the Jarl, Birger Brosa of the Bjälbo family, is busy pulling the strings behind the scenes. However, a few years later, after Birger Brosa finally leaves the scene, Sverker II quickly moves against the established system and the jenga tower of Swedish political power promptly comes toppling down. Who will try to pick up all the pieces and will the tower be put back together again?
Remember to check out our social media for some family trees, which should hopefully help clear up some of the complicated family connections!
Finally, after 32 episodes and thousands of years of Swedish history, we can welcome you to the nation's capital Stockholm! It hasn't been around until now, but from the late 1100s onwards, it will explode onto the scene, with German merchants, forts and a royal presence. And, as a bonus, the Swedish phrase of the week also has a Stockholm theme!
P.S. Have a closer look at this week's episode picture. Notice something different? This week it's not Chris who has drawn the picture, like he usually does, but rather Åsa, who tried her hand as the artist.
King Sverker is dead. He will be followed by decades of fighting over the throne between his own Sverker dynasty and the rival Erik dynasty. In this episode, we cover the first four decades of this drama, which includes a King being proclaimed a Saint, more royal intermingling and the rise of a powerful, non-royal family of Jarls.
Seeing as the crazy marriages and family relations from last time just keep getting more and more complicated, we have uploaded a couple of helpful family tree images to our social media pages! Check them out if you need a refresher on who is related to who....
Today we are dedicating an entire episode to the tumultuous times of King Sverker! No shortage of drama here, as we see another extended Danish civil war, introduce the Novgorod Republic (who are worthy of their own podcast series!) and discuss an evil crime committed by Sverker's horrendous son...
We also meet the only English Pope, continue the story of Queen Rikissa, and try to figure out more complicated marriage alliances. All this before the story ends in a bloody, unexpected way!
Plus, a massive thank you to our listener Barbora for the amazing picture she sent us - we are using it as this week's episode picture as we love it so much!
In another episode full of regal drama, sometimes playing out more like a South American telenovela than Swedish history, we finish the story of the Stenkil dynasty, beginning with the brothers Filip and Inge the Younger. We also meet Ingegerd, in whom so many great historical narratives converge. Religious matters continue to keep the Swedes on their toes, as the Crusades turn local! We end up with a three-way fight for the Swedish throne as the Stenkil dynasty comes to an end, just before a potential hostage situation confuses things.