Heimskringla

The Chronicle of The Kings of Norway

by Snorri Sturlson | c.1179-1241 | 320,198 words

The "Heimskringla" of Snorri Sturlason is a collection of sagas concerning the various rulers of Norway, from about A.D. 850 to the year A.D. 1177....

Part 20 - Battle At Ogvaldsnes

But just as the king had embarked with a great force of troops, the news was brought him from the south of the country, that King Eirik's sons had come from Denmark to Viken and had driven King Trygve Olafson from his ships at Sotanes, and then had plundered far and wide around in Viken, and that many had submitted to them.

Now when King Hakon heard this news, he thought that help was needed; and he sent word to Earl Sigurd, and to the other chiefs from whom he could expect help, to hasten to his assistance. Sigurd the earl came accordingly with a great body of men, among whom were all the Throndhjem people who had set upon him the hardest to offer sacrifice; and all made their peace with the king, by the earl's persuasion.

Now King Hakon sailed south along the coast; and when he came south as far as Stad, he heard that Eirik's sons were come to North Agder.

Then they advanced against each other, and met at Kormt. Both parties left their ships there, and gave battle at Ogvaldsnes. Both parties had a great force, and it was a great battle. King Hakon went forward bravely, and King Guthorm Eirikson met him with his troop, and they exchanged blows with each other.

Guthorm fell, and his standard was cut down. Many people fell around him. The army of Eirik's sons then took flight to their ships and rowed away with the loss of many a man.

So says Guthorm Sindre: —

"The king's voice waked the silent host
Who slept beside the wild sea-coast,
And bade the song of spear and sword
Over the battle plain be heard.
Where heroes' shields the loudest rang,
Where loudest was the sword-blade's clang,
By the sea-shore at Kormt Sound,
Hakon felled Guthorm to the ground."

Now King Hakon returned to his ships, and pursued Gunhild's sons. And both parties sailed all they could sail, until they came to East Adger, from whence Eirik's sons set out to sea, and southwards for Jutland (A.D. 950).

Guthorm Sindre speaks of it in his song: —

"And Guthorm's brothers too, who know
So skilfully to bend the bow,
The conquering hand must also feel
Of Hakon, god of the bright steel, —
The sun-god, whose bright rays, that dart
Flame-like, are swords that pierce the heart.
Well I remember how the King
Hakon, the battle's life and spring,
O'er the wide ocean cleared away
Eirik's brave sons. They durst not stay,
But round their ships' sides hung their shields
And fled across the blue sea-fields."

King Hakon returned then northwards to Norway, but Eirik's sons remained a long time in Denmark.