September 5, 2021
April 2021 saw the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Whilst widely known around the world as a disastrous industrial accident, Sweden's involvement in the aftermath is usually overlooked. In this new special episode, we will explore how the world outside the USSR found out about the disaster, with help from a Swedish power plant worker's shoes!
As it is a special episode, we have a special creator of the episode picture; Åsa!
August 22, 2021
In our third and final episode about Birger Jarl, the mighty Jarl continues to rule as the puppet master of his son, King Valdemar. He appoints his other sons dukes and even uses the title himself occasionally. He has a second marriage and with that creates an unholy alliance that annoys the Danes. Plus, Sweden fights some more in the east, along with other developments. But even a mighty man like Birger Jarl will eventually lay down for his final rest, and once he's done that, we look back at his life and rule and ask ourselves if he was Birger Jarl, or was he in fact more like Birger King?
Stay tuned at the end of the episode to hear more about our new website: www.aflatpackhistoryofsweden.com
August 8, 2021
It is time to continue our discussion about the life and deeds of Birger Jarl. This time we look specifically at what happens in the 1250s, a busy decade for our rising leader. He is occupied by marrying off his kids to form political alliances, quashing domestic rebellions, and buttering up visiting German traders. We also see what happened in a war that never was!
Finally we skip forward to the 20th century to examine a rather rash decision by Stockholm City Council...
July 25, 2021
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!
July 11, 2021
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...
July 4, 2021
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!
June 26, 2021
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....
June 13, 2021
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!
May 30, 2021
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!
May 16, 2021
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.