Copyrigth @ 2003 Wilmer Thomas

A commented summary of
Adam of Bremen

[Rev 0.3], 2003-09-19, Written by Wilmer Thomas (work still in progress).


This article provides a commented summary of Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis. It can be read as is, although it is intended for internal references from complementing articles in this serie of articles on Ancient Nordic Sources.

The numbering used in this article is done according to [Ref. 11], which presents a slightly different numbering compared to [Ref. 57].

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A commented summary of Adam of Bremen

Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum
Surveying the work of Adam
A commented summary of Adams Gesta
About the author and Hamburg-Bremen
The preserved transcriptions of Adams work
The sources used by Adam
List of bishops and contemporary kings / emperors
Archbishops and kings in the 8th - 11th centuries
Discussion on archbishops and kings
Book I
Summary of book I
Discussion on Book I
Book II
Summary of book II
Discussion on Book II
Book III
Summary of book III
Discussion on Book III
Book IV
Summary of book IV
Discussion on Book IV
Article references
Litterature and background articles
Background articles
External links
Article revision history

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Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum

Surveying the work of Adam

A commented summary of Adams Gesta

The work of Adam of Bremen, populary referred to as the Gesta, consists of four books, and it is a documentation of the work done by, and the time they worked in, for the (arch)bishops of Hamburg-Bremen, from 780 AD until the archbishop Adalbert, dead 1073, under whom Adam was serving. More specifically, Hamburg-Bremen was an ordinary bishop seat serving under Köln, representing the lands of Northalbings, but as such also held arch bishop claims for the Nordic terrritories (see Hamburg-Bremen claims as archbishop seat, on page 143).

Besides the preserved hand written copies of the work (which, to some extent, differs to its content), the text is complemented with scholies; additions that serves the purpose of explaining something unclear or adding missed information. Some of these are assumed to have been entered by Adam himself, some by later transcribers. See discussion below, The preserved transcriptions of Adams work, on page 144

Litterature references used for this article are [Ref. 11], which contains a Swedish translation with commentary articles, and [Ref. 12] which contains a Danish translation of Gesta... Book IV, Description of the Nordic islands. In [Ref. 57], the latin version is provided online. An important view on how to interpret the work of Adam was presented by Henrik Janson in his dissertation, [Ref. 32].

This summary mainly focuses on a collection of interesting statements in regards to the history and geography of ancient Scandinavia. When appropriately needed, comments are added as a discussion basis on the topics found interesting for other articles that references the work of Adam.

About the author and Hamburg-Bremen

Adam of Bremen

Adamus Bremensis, Adam of Bremen, was a clerk that came to the archbishop Adalbert in Hamburg-Bremen around 1066/67.

Adam was called magister scholarum, which however does not necessarily imply that he came to Bremen to work as a teacher1. Rather, his main task was probably to write, in fact, the history of the archbishopric Hamburg-Bremen, describing its hard and continuous work over the centuries to spread Christianity according to the catholic church to the north and east of the German empire.

Any more specifics about him is not known; he is assumed to have come from Bamberg or some other place in southern Germany (Oberdeutchland), and most likely he lived for some years after the completion of his work in the midst 1070s.

Hamburg-Bremen claims as archbishop seat

Henrik Janson discussed the conflict between the pope and the emperor of Germany, and thus Hamburg-Bremen, in his dissertation, [Ref. 32]. This is referenced online in [Ref. 59],where Janson elaborates on the conflict of arch bishop claims for Hamburg-Bremen and explains the actual cirumstances for referring to Hamburg-Bremen as the arch bishop seat of Nordic territories2 that follows the days of Ansgar and his mission in ancient Sweden.

The bishop seat of Bremen served under the archbishop of Köln but had missionary privilegies in the Northern territories, based upon the popes admission in 832 AD. Ansgar was the bishop of Hamburg, but when the town was ruined in 845 AD he was given the bishop seat of Bremen instead, and from this day they are linked together under the epithet Hamburg-Bremen.

In fact, according to Janson the pope does not acknowledge their claims as archbishop seat until much later, towards the end of Ansgars life in the late 800s. Furthermore, in this legal acknowledgement, as a contrary to the preliminar acknowledgement for Hamburg-Bremen in the same year, 864 AD, it was a personal designation for Ansgar to serve as archbishop for the Northalbings, the people east of river Elbe, but only as legate for the pope in the lands of Sueones and Danes. Janson in his dissertation [Ref. 32] and the online article in [Ref. 59] holds that it was the nephew of archbishop Ebo of Reims, Gautbert, who held the archbishop privilegies of Sueones and Danes, besides Ansgars right for the Northalbings.

However, over the centuries Hamburg-Bremen held thier claims according to the first, preliminary agreement with Rome in 864, which as shown by Janson was changed in the final acknowledgement. Hence, whenever Adam refers to the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen following Ansgar, it serves the underlying purpose of strenghtening the political foundations of the bishop seat Hamburg-Bremen.

The preserved transcriptions of Adams work

In [Ref. 11], Tore Nyberg gives a thorough description of the written transcipts that are available today3. These can be divided into three groups, A, B and C. The A-sources ... Wiener-transcripts, B-sources Denmark ..., C-sources Germany. The A-sources are considered to be most coherent with the original handwritings of Adam.

Another important feature of the transcripts are the so called Scholies, that can be considered as adjustments and complementary notes added after the first completion of the work. These additions may reveal the circumstances for individual sources used, or into further detail explain some features layed out in the text. An example of the latter is Sc. 138 and Sc. 139, complementing chapter B.IV-26, on page 1664 in book IV , in which Adam tells of the heathen temple of Ubsola, and its surroundings.

Besides the thoroughly numbered Scholies, a few additions are made that in some cases clearly are entered by later transcribers. These are just defined as additions and accompanies the work in the same manner as the Scolies - but they are unnumbered. One such example of an addition (probably by Adam) is discussed in Terra feminarum[Note 49], describing an alternative interpretation of the land of females, terra feminarium, from the one given in chapter B.IV-19 that rather relates the used classical sources.

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The sources used by Adam

Which sources has Adam used?

It seems clear that Adam have used both written sources, and personal accounts from people with good or less good knowledge of Nordic whereabouts and conditions5. Adam gives a fair account of his sources, both written and oral. However, when his references are not amongst the most common, he seldome tells their origin. This is specifically true for his oral sources, for which Allan A. Lund in [Ref. 12] suggests that Adam has not considered them "worthy of mentioning"6.

Amongst written sources, he have had access to a lot of classical writers such as Tacitus7, Vergilius etc. , whom he - or subsequent transcribers - often gives account for in the numerous Scholies that accompany the main text as sidehand notations in the margin. Another set of important written sources are early medieval sources, amongst which Rimberts Vita Ansgari ([Ref. 68]) holds a prominent place, as mentioned above. He also have had access to different history works. For example, the work of Gregory of Tours ([Ref. 95]) relating the Frankish history and also Einhard (who rather wrote the history of Charles the Great; [Ref. 100]), is frequently referenced as sources for Adams description of the people and the territories of the north - especially in the first books.

The most important oral informant is Sven Estridsson, king of the Danes, whom Adam visits. From Estridsson, no doubt, Adam receives both tales, mythology and history from Sueonia and Dania8. He also references his own archbishop Adalbert by name, but for instance he does not reveal the alleged christian sources for the accounts of the heathen customs in the sueonic kingdom seat Ubsola. Probably he have have had the oppurtunity to meet some missionaries of his own time that have travelled to ancient Sweden, the land of the Sueones9, e.g. the bishops of Scania (Skåne) - out of which Egino in Dalby by Adam is told to have destroyed a heathen cult place and a statue of Frey, in the province of Västergötland (B.IV-30, on page 168).

Can Adam be trusted?

This abscence of distinct source references, then, is perfect ground for rendering a great deal of suspicion regarding the validity of those accounts - they may well be apprehended as imaginary fiction, added by Adam to achive the underlying goal of defending the postion of Hamburg-Bremen as archbishopric for the Nordic territories10.

Therefore, anyone wishing to draw conclusions of the text of Adam regarding ancient Scandinavia and Sweden in particular, must bear this in mind and strive to distinguish his account of classical writers or contemporary oral sources from his own conclusions, driven by the ambition to serve the underlying political purposes.

In the opinion of this author, however, in most cases his references of geographical distances and locations could well be deemed trustworthy; it would seem that he more or less directly gives the account of his sources - however, it also seem clear that he makes interpretations when several sources have somewhat contradicting accounts, and makes a synthesis that seem to be, either, most accurat or most suitable for his underlying purpose.

One such circumstance is discussed by Tore Nyberg in [Ref. 11], related to Adams account of the distance in time for travelling through the land of the Sueones11.

As an example of Adams relation to his classical sources may be mentioned his account for the mysterious creatures dwelling in the far northeast in B.IV-19, of amazons (see discussion in Terra feminarum[Note 49]), who get pregnant from drinking water and gives birth to boys with dog heads12.

List of bishops and contemporary kings / emperors

The chronology of the work begins in the 780s, when Charles the great rules the Frankish empire. Throughout the work, some deductions can be made not only for the main topic, archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, but also for the kings and emperors of the West and East Frankish (German) empires, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Svenberg in [Ref. 11] provides a folded table of not only archbishops but also bishops of Denmark, Norway an Sweden, along with genealogy lists of kings and emperors, which is summarized in Table 24 on page 146. Some comments on this list are provided below, see Discussion on archbishops and kings, on page 149.

Archbishops and kings in the 8th - 11th centuries

This table summarily lists the (arch)bishops of Hamburg-Bremen and the kings ruling nearby kingdoms at each separate time [Note 33].
Tabell 24:  List of archbishops in Hamburg-Bremen
Germania (East-Francia) and Francia.
788 - 789
Willehad, Bremen1
Charles I
(768 - 814)
( 810)
7892 - 838
Willerich, Bremen
Ludvig I
(814 - 840)
Harald Klak
8323 - 845
Ansgar, Hamburg
838 - 845
Leuderich, Bremen
Charles II4;
Ludvig II5
Horich the Elder
845 - 865
Ansgar, Bremen6
Horich the Younger
865 - 888
Sigfrid & Halvdan in Francia;
Ludvig III7;
Karl III8
888 - 909
909 - 915
Ludvig the child11;
915 - 936
Henrik I13
Hardeknut Wurm14 (Gorm [Note 32])
937 - 988
Otto I15
Harald Blåtand16
Ring, sons Erik and Emund
Håkon the good
988 - 1013
Libentius I
Otto II,
Otto III17
Sven Tveskägg18
Erik Emundsson;
Erik Segersäll;
Olof Skötkonung19
Olav Tryggvasson (~995 - 1000)
1013 - 1029
Henrik II (1002 - 1024)
Knut the great20
Anund Jakob21
Olav Haraldsson22
1029 - 1032
Libentius II
Konrad II of Frankland
1032 - 1035
1035 - 1043
Henrik III (1039 - 1056)
Sven 1030 - 1036
1043 - 1072
Henrik IV (1056 - 1106)
Magnus the good24
Magnus the good24
1072 - 1101
Sven Estridsson25
Emund Slemme26
Harald Hårdråde27
1Willehad was the first bishop of Bremen. He preached for 35 years among the Frisians and the Sachsons, as he followed the martyr Winfred Bonifatius in 755 AD. At this time, Pippin the younger was ruling since 14 years (B.I-11, 12).
2Possibly there was no bishop until 800 - 805 AD when Willerich (Willerad) took over (B.I-14).
3Ansgar was the first archbishop of Hamburg, when it was separated from Köln in 832, confirmed by the pope in 834.
4Charles II (840 - 877), called `the Bold', rules West-Francia (B.I-22).
5Ludvig II (843 - 876) rules East-Francia (Germania) including Hamburg and Bremen (B.I-22).
6Ansgar gets the bishop seat of Bremen after Leuderich sometimes between 848 and 849, since Hamburg was destroyed (BI.-24). See [Ref. 11], note 62. In 858, Bremen and Hamburg is joint and Ansgars holds it seven more years and dies in 865, in total 34 (16 in Hamburg, 18 in Bremen (B.I-27,34).
7Ludvig III was the name of both West-Frankish (879-882) and East-Frankish (876-882) kingdoms, whom died in wars against the heathens from north.
8Karl III (the fat) was German king 876 - 881, emperor from 881 - 888 when he died (B.I-39).
9In the time of Adalgar and his successor Hoger, Köln tried to take control over Hamburg-Bremen and it is said to have been so, although formally still an archbishopric (B.I-48).
10Arnulf was German emperor 887/888 - 899 (B.I-40).
11King Ludvig the child was only six when he became emperor after Arnulf, and died 911 (B.I-51, note125 [Ref. 11]).
12Konrad was a Frankish duke, grandson of Arnulf, and died 918 after being chosen as German king (B.I-52, note 129 [Ref. 11]).
13Henrik I was duke of Sachsen, inherited the throne and became the German king after Konrad from 919, died 936.
14In [Ref. 11], note 145, Hardeknut Worm is said to equal the father of Harald Bluetoothh, Gorm the old or Gorm the English. According to Adams account, he should have died around 935. Opposing comment in [Note 32].
15Otto the great, emperor of German empire 936 - 973.
16Harald Blåtand /bluetooth) ruled from 935 - 980 (possibly 986).
17Otto II ruled 973 - 983, Otto III between 983 - 1002.
18Sven Tveskägg, Harald Gormssons son, ruled 986 - 1014.
19Erik Segersäll is supposed to have ruled from around 970 - 995. Olof Skötkonung from abround 995 - 1020.
20Knut the great ruled Denmark between 1018 - 1035.
21Anund Jakob, first son of Olof, ruled from around 1020 - 1050.
22Olav the holy united Norway and ruled 1015 - 1028/1030.
23Hardeknut ruled Denmark from 1035 - 1042.
24Norwegian Magnus the good ruled Denmark between 1042 - 1047, but Norway from 1036 - 1047.
25Sven Estridsson, Adams chief informer on the Northern countries, ruled Denmark from 1047 - 1076.
26Emund Slemme, or Emund the old, the one having bishop Osmund with him, ruled from around 1050 - 1060. He was followed by Stenkil (~1060 - 1066), Erik and Erik (battling each other, 1066/1067), Hallsten (1067 - ~1070), Anund (probably son of Emund Slemme, elected but later rejected as king), Håkon the red (~1070 - 1079).
27Harald Hårdråde ruled Norway from 1047 - 1066 when he died in England, followed by Magnus (1066 - 1069) and Olav Kyrre (1069 - 1093).

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Discussion on archbishops and kings

Note 32 Danish kings by the name Gorm around 900 A.D.
Other sources contradicts the genealogy of Danish kings by Adam - Gorm the old, or Hardeknud Worm as one king is called by Adam13, is supposed to have ruled from 940 - 958/959 when he died - not in 935 as accounted by Adam.

Most likely these names of Danish kings refer to different kings; the remains of a (once) golden clothed king, Gorm the old, found in the 1100 stone church in Jelling was probably moved from the older wooden church which burnt down, and the original burial is likely to have been in the northern mound of Jelling. A dendrochronological study of beams from the north mound tomb shows that they were cut in 958/59, corresponding to the date of Gorm's death14. The man found in the stone church tomb, said to be Gorm, was 40-50 years old, 172 cm tall.

For reference, see also Saxo, the 9th and 10th books15. A possible alignment for the listing by Adam is the East Anglia descendents king Gorm (the English), whom according to Adam in B.I-59 consequently rejects Christ in the form of Hamburg-Bremen - which can be explained as a king that prefers the English Christian church16.

It also fits the chronology better if the Harald of B.I-59 is the son of Saxo's Gorm the Englishman, to be followed by Gorm the Old - father of Harald Bluetooth.

Also see [Note 40].

Note 33 Adams list of emperors, kings and (arch)bishops.

The list given in Table 24 on page 146 is compiled by the translators Svenberg, [Ref. 11]. It reflects Adams view, and not nescessarily the view held today. Comments on the list are made separately for each instance of interest.

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Book I

Summary of book I

The first book spans from ~780 - 936 AD, when archbishop Unni dies. It comprise archbishop Ansgars first and second journey to the Sueones about 829 - 845 AD, as well as arch bishop Unnis journey to Birka about 70 years later.

Furthermore, the first geographical references made by Adam concerning the land of Sueones and Birka is given in this book.

Tabell 25:  Book 1 summary
B.I-1 -
Sachsens historia, som återges från Einhard1.
Sachsen utgör en triangel, ett hörn söderut fram till Rhen vid Thüringen, nästa vid landskapet Hadelns kust och österut längsmed Elbe till bifloden Saale (vid Magdeburg). På Elbes högra sida bor i söder Sorberna, i norr Nordalbingerna.Ursprungligen bodde sveberna vid Elbe, grannar med driader, barder, sigambrer, hunner, vandaler, sarmater, longobarder, heruler, daker, markomanner, goter, nordmän och slaver. Sachsarna hade först sina boplatser vid Rhen och kallades Angler.
Sachsen was the land south of Jutland, east of Frisia, west of the Slavic land, and north of Franconia.
Enligt Gregoruis av Tours2 och Orosius3 flyttade sachsarna från Britannien och kom till kusten vid Hadeln när Theoderik var frankernas konung.Denne krigade mot Hirminfrid, Thüringen, och Sachsarna blev hans bundsförvanter och som belöning fick de en del av Thüringen som land.
B.I-5 -
I söder vid floden Unstrut bodde resterna av Thüringarna, i norr nordmännen, i öster Obotriderna, i väster Friserna. De värnade sitt förnäma ursprung och delade folket i fyra klasser, adelsmän, fria män, frigivna och slavar.
Einhard1 skriver: De dyrkade främst Mercurius, offrade människor på bestämda dagar. Lundar och skogsdungar var heliga, liksom källor. De tillbad en ovanligt stor trädstam som de rest i höjden under bar himmel, kallad Irminsul (universalis columna, alltets pelare.
Mercurius was probably Wodan (Odin).
Compare Irminsul
B.I-8 -
Karl den Store förde krig mot Sachsarna i 30 år vilket ledde till deras kristnande, i hans 37:e regeringsår (B.I-14).
När Karl den Store hade besegrat Sachsarna och slaverna grundade han ett biskopssäte i Hamburg för att bli moderkyrka för både Daner och slaver.
Han började krig runt 808-810 mot Danernas kung Gottfrid, som tidigare gjort Friserna, Nordalbinger, Obodriter och andra slaviska folk skattskyldiga under sig. Gottfrid dog 810 och hans son Hemming slöt fred. År 814 dog Karl, Ludvig efterträdde.
Hemming dog, det blev strid mellan Sigfrid och Anulo, Gottfrids brorsöner. Båda kungarna och 11000 män dog men Anulos anhängare vann och insatte Reginfrid och Harald på tronen. Harald fördrev Reginfrid som blev sjörövare. Harald ingick fördrag med kejsar Ludvig.Gottfrids söner tog tronen från Harald, som sökte hjälp och kristnades hos kejsaren i Mainz.
Nu reste Ansgar med danskarna till Danariket, stannade i två år. Sedan seglade Ansgar till sveonerna och fick kung Björns4 tillåtelse att förkunna Guds ord i Birka under ett år. Fogden där hette Hergeir.
Harald Klak
The Sueones had sent for missionaries from Ludvig! Must have been about 820 AD, and the king could be Björn Järnsida[Note 34].
När Ansgar återvänder från sveonerna låter kejsare Ludvig inrätta ett ärkebiskopssäte i Hamburg, med Ansgar som dess förste ärkebiskop.
Gautbert (Simon), brorson till Ebo av Reims, vigdes till biskop och skickades till sveonernas land.
Perhaps around 840 AD
Nordmännen härjar Frisland och gör dem skattskyldiga, bränner ner Hamburg. Gautbert fördrivs från sveonerna, Anund förföljer kristna när han förlorar tronen. Hergeir i Birka stod emot.
Anoundus in [Ref. 68], Ch. 29.
Anund Jacob, Erik Björnssons son4?
King Ludvig dies, and when all is settled the Frankish empire is divided in three; the oldest, Lothar, got Rome and Italy, Charles the Bold got Gallia and Ludvig II got Rhen and Germania.
Bishop Leuderich sends the hermit Herigar to the land of the Sueones. Leuderich dies in 8455 and is later replaced in Bremen by Ansgar, since his church in Hamburg was destroyed.
Ansgar converts the Danish king Horich after receiving (or accepting) the bishop seat of Bremen 848/8496. He is allowed to build a church in Slesvig7, and converts a large number of "pagans".
On Horich, see [Note 35]
For interpretation of pagans, see [Note 36].
Ansgar träffar Olof i Birka som håller allmänt ting, får bygga en kyrka och de som vill får mottaga dopet. Prästen Erimbert stannar i Birka.
Is this Olof, son of Erik Segersäll4? Or a local king in Birka? The latter most likely!
Biskopsdömena Hamburg och Bremen slås ihop år 858, Ansgar utses till ställföreträdare för påven hos alla sveonernas, danernas och slavernas folk.
Horich d.y. styr Danerna och de tidigare åren har nordmännen under hövdingen Guttorm härjat längs Seine och fått land av Karl den skallige (Normandiet). De härjade även Frisland och kämpade mot danerna under Horich, Guttorms farbror. Den ende som överlevde var en pojke, Horich d.y., som vid trontillträdet stängde kyrkor och fördrev kristna.
Likely to be Erik the Child of Saxo [Note 37]
Vita Ansgarii claims that the jarl Hovi in Hedeby encouraged the presecution of Chsristian churches.
Ansgar omvänder Horich d.y. (mellan 858 - 865)
B.I-30 - B.I-33
About Ansgars deeds in Hamburg-Bremen and its neighboring land.
The death of Ansgar, in 865. Rimbert successor.
B.I-35 - B.I-36
About Rimberts deeds, archbishop for 23 years.
Rimbert endures missionary travels to the pagans.
From the Frankish history8 Adam declares that Sigfrid and his brother Halvdan ruled Denmark.
Vikingar härjar i Gallien under hövdingar som Horich, Ordwig, Gottfrid, Rudolf och Ingvar Ragnarsson (Lodbroks son).
Sometimes 865 - 888 - but Ingvar should be about the same time as Björn Järnsida!
Kejsar Ludvig II (den fromme) dog 840 och vikingarna härjar som värst över Europa.
Ludvig III av Öst-frankiska riket dog i krig mot hedningarna, liksom Ludvig III av Väst-Frankiska riket.
Ludvigs son Karl III (den tjocke)8 ersattes av sin brorson Arnulf.
B.I-41 - B.I-46
Deeds of Rimbert, who dies in 888, buried 11 June. Followed by Adalgar, who served 20 years.
Both are seated in Hamburg.
Arnulf besegrar nordmännen grundligt; härjningarna upphör för de blir nästan utplånade; Adam kallar deras kungar Gottfrid och Sigfrid. Skolie 8
Uncertain who Gottfrid/Sigfrid that Adam refers to were.[Note 38]
Sc. 8
The kings Gottfrid and Sigfrid dies in the wars with Arnulf.
När nordmännen besegrats härskade (enligt Estridsson) Helge bland Danerna (i Hedeby), följt av Olof från sveonernas land som erövrade Danariket. Olofs söner var Gnupa och Gurd.
What if this is Olof Björnsson, Styrbjörn Starkes father? But with Gnupa/Gurd
In 895, Adalgar looses the apostolic privilegies for Bremen to the archibishop of Köln.
Pope Sergius renewed the privilegies for Bremen that predescessor pope Formosus revoked. Adalgar is old, assisted by Hoger, and gets support by bishops in Germany; Adam notes that no bishops were assigned for the pagans in the north but concludes that they would not have accepted any priests whilst they were raiding Europe.
Sigtrygg tar över efter Olofs söner men störtas av Hardeknut, Svens son, från nordmännens land9.
"Hardegon, filius Suein, veniens a Nortmannia"10
Adam is not sure, however, if these men has ruled parts of the land simultaneously, or all in turn.
Unni follows Reginward, who served less than a year after Hoger (discussed in B.I-53), and Unni holds the achbishop seat for 18 years. The clerks of Bremen elected Leidrad, but king Konrad offered the privilegies to Unni, Leidrads companion, and the pope Johannes X gives Unni his pallium. Unni was known as a friend of princes:
"Principibus notus Unni, fuit, ordine nonus"11
Hardeknut Wurm och slaver/ungrare härjar i Sachsen, Lothringen och Frankrike. Wurm bekämpar de kristna och fördrev präster, kallas `en gruvlig orm' av Adam. "Hardecnuth Wrm, regnavit, crudelissimus, inquam, vermis..." 12
Probably Gorm Englishman, or even his father!
Compare [Note 32]
Kung Henrik besegrar slaverna och de lovar att bli kristna.
Henrik angriper Danerna och skrämmer kung Worm/Vurm till fred. Gränsen dras vid Slesvig/Hedeby.
Is really Hardecnudh Wrm the same as Worm? [Note 39]
Unni does not succeed in converting "the cruel Vurm", but convinced his son Harald13 that Christianity ought to be allowed in Denmark. With the support of Harald, Unni visits all Danish islands in his mission.
Harald, son of Vurm, discussed in [Note 40].
Unni reser till Birka - 70 år efter Ansgar; ~935.
"Birka är götarnas stad och belägen mitt i sveonernas land, inte långt från det tempel som heter Uppsala och som sveonerna räknar som allra mest ansett när det gäller gudarnas dyrkan. Här bildar en vik av det hav som kallas det baltiska eller barbariska en hamn, som vetter mot norr och som är välkommen för de vilda folk som bor spridda runt detta hav..."
"De har blockerat havsviken på en sträcka av över hundra stadier genom osynliga stenmassor och gjort infarten riskfylld lika mycket för sina egna män som för rövarna. Emedan denna ankarplats är den säkraste i sveonernas kustområden, brukar alla skepp, tillhöriga daner och nordmän såväl som sember och andra Östersjöstammar, samlas där regelmässigt i och för olika affärer."
The town belongs to the Gauts, and should have a harbor in a bay to the north which at least should be 16 km across[Note 41].
Sveonerna styrdes, enligt Sven Estridsson, av Ring och hans söner Erik och Emund. Före Ring har Anund, Björn och Olof styrt (nämnda i Vita Ansgari14, [Ref. 68]). Unni omvänder många sveoner och götar som "återfallit i hedendom", efter Ansgars tidigare mission.
När han bestämt sig för att åka hem insjuknar han och dör i Birka. Han begravs där - hans huvud förs tillbaka till Bremen. I Skytien, enligt Adams källa, år 936.
Praisement of Unni.
1Einhard, tecknare av levnadsbeskrivning för Karl den Store.
2Gregorius av Tours, Historia Francorum, II:19.
3Orosius, Historia adversus paganos VII, 32.
4Harald Hildetands sonson Björn Järnsida, son of Ragnar Lodbrok, might have lived around mid c800.
5See [Ref. 11], note 60.
6See [Ref. 11], note 62. In B.I-24, Ansgar is said to have resisted the appointment as bishop of Bremen for a long time.
7Described in Life of Anskar [Ref. 68], chapter XXIV. Most likely around 854 AD.
8According to [Ref. 11], note 88, Adam uses the unpreserved Gesta Francorum in Annales Fuldenses from 873.
9In [Ref. 11], note132, Hardeknut is assumed to be from Normandie. Nyberg in [Ref. 11], p.309, 11-1 Stad, Skrift och stift, points out that Adam uses Nortmanni to describe all people of Scandinavian herescent, both from Normandie and Scicily besides the Scandinavian countries.
10Quote from [Ref. 57], Liber I, Capitulum 47 - equalling [Ref. 11] B.I-52.
11Quote from [Ref. 57], Liber I, Capitulum 56 - equalling [Ref. 11] B.I-54.
12Quote from [Ref. 57], Liber I, Capitulum 57 - equalling [Ref. 11] B.I-55. In [Ref. 11], note140, german Wurm is connected to latin vermis. The king is assumed to be Gorm the old, see opposing comment at [Note 32].
13In [Ref. 11], note 145, this Harald is assumed to equal Harald Gormsson Bluetooth. See opposing comment at [Note 40] - Unni cannot have converted Harald Bluetooth.
14According to [Ref. 11], (B.I-61 note 148), in Vita Ansgari 9, 16, 26-28 but also Sven Estridsson

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Discussion on Book I

Note 34 Suenoic kings according to the Hervara-saga
Hervara saga tells this:
"Harald Hildetands son Björn Järnsida, son of Ragnar Lodbrok, had two sons, Erik and Refil (the latter was a sea-king). When Erik Björnsson died, Erik Refilsson ruled (son of Refil). Erik Björnsson in turn had two sons, Anund from Uppsala and king Björn av Högen (the mound). Anunds son was Erik who ruled at the same time as Harald Hårfagre. He had a son, Björn Eriksson, who ruled long in Uppsala. The sons of this Björn was Erik Segersäll and Olof, the latter was father of Styrbjörn starke. Finally, Erik Segersäll was the father of Olof Skötkonung."17

It is disputable if the names of this genealogy apply for Adams accounts of Sueonic kings. It may well be, however, that the king Björn named as a Sueonic king in the days of Ansgar is a local leader rather than the ruler of all Sueonic - or, rather, ancient Swedish - territories18).

Note 35 Danish kings named Horich compared to Erik of Saxo
From Vita Ansgarii, the story is told of the first Horic, king of Jutland, who
"was killed in war in a disturbance caused by pirates whilst his relatives were attempting to invade his kingdom. Together with him all the chief men of that land, who had formerly been acquaintances and friends of the bishop, perished by the sword."19

Consequently, when Saxo declares that Erik and his brother Harald attacked the kingdom of Erik the Child (see B.I-28 and [Note 37]) who was assisted by Eriks nephew Guttorm, either Adam or Saxo sees the opposer as an intruder; in Adams case, Horich of Jutland is in favour of Hamburg-Bremen and is thus likely to be seen as the better man20. Earlier, Saxo states that Erik the Childs father Sivard was elected king in both Skåne and Själland21.

In both sources, the result of the fights is that Horich the young, a.k.a. Erik the Child, later becomes king over, at least, parts of Denmark.

Note 36 Interpretation of heathen and pagan people

From online version [Ref. 57], Liber I Capitulum 27 (matches B.I-25 in [Ref. 11]) we have "Infinita gentilium credidit multitudo".

In accordance with Janson, [Ref. 32], the interpretation of `gentiles' should be differentiated from `pagani', whereas `gentiles' should be understood as Christians that not yet received the baptism, but `pagani' as Christians that have fallen out of the `right' Christian faith. Neither terms should be understood as heathens, in the mening of worshippers of Asa faith.

In this referenced sections, a likely interpretation is that the Danes are either heresy Christians, or influenced by the English church - the latter probably most likely given the links to the East Anglia kingdom in England, ruled by the Danes.

Note 37 Horich the younger and Erik the child

Saxo in the 9th book22, Erik the Child, describes a Danish king the matches the Horich of Adam. Erik is the son of Sivard, sonson of Ragnar Lodbrok and he survives the struggle for the throne of Denmark between other heirs of Ragnar Lodbrok (the brothers Erik and Harald) and follows in the footstep of Ragnar in his persecution on Christianity. At a later stage, Ansgar makes Erik realize his delusion and regret his deeds, and converts him to Christianity.

From Vita Ansgarii, the continuing story of the first Horic (see [Note 35]) is followed by the declaration of his successor, the young Horic:

"When at length the younger Horic had been established in the kingdom, some of those who were then his chief men and had not been so well known to the bishop, tried to persuade him that the church that had been built amongst them should be destroyed, and that the Christian religion should be abolished."23

This, then, can only lead to the conclusion that Adams Horic the Younger equals Erik the Child, living towards the end of Ansgars life - between 958 and 965.

Note 38 Origin of Sigfrid and Gottfrid
One Sigfrid with companion king Gottfrid is mentioned.

Another possibility is from the settlement of Sueonic kings that are known in Hedeby. Possibly these were descenderas of the Sueonic kings that was not rulers there (e.g. brother of the kings first son).

Note 39 Wurm compared to Saxos Gorm the English and Gorm the old

Henrik of Sachsen rules as king between 919 - 936. Hence, the time span allows for an alternative interpretation of Danish kings; Hardeknut Wurm (lat. Hardecnudh Wrm) is not the same as the later Wurm (lat. Worm).

This can be compared with Saxo (see [Note 32], footnote 15), who lists Erik the Child as father of Knud, father of Frode who is the father of Gorm the Englishman (in turn, father of one Harald - which cannot be Harald Bluetooth). Saxo states that Frode recieves the baptism in England, and that his son Gorm is born there. Hence, in accordance with [Note 36], the resistance of (lat.) Worm (Vurm by Svenberg in [Ref. 11]) towards Hamburg-Bremen most likely relates to their different Christian faith.

Note 40 Harald not Harald Bluetooth

The chronology of Danish kings in the early 10th century does not allow for the Harald mentioned in B.I-59 as contemporary with Unni to be Harald Bluetooth. Compare [Note 32] on the life of Gorm the Old.

It also contradicts the story of B.II-3, in which Otto I (the great) defeats Harald Blåtand and forces him to convert (to the catholic Christianity in the shape of Hamburg-Bremen, mark). Since Unni dies "in Schytia" - which is interpreted as the land of the Sueones, or possible the eastern Baltic Sea territories - in 936, the baptism of a Danish king named Harald here must refer to someone else than Harald Bluetooth (also see [Note 42]).

Note 41 Discussing Götar and Sueonic territorium
This is a central part of the localization of Ansgars Birka. It seems that Adams sources very accurately describes the features of the harbor town Birka, but it is unclear whether these sources are dated to the 11th century, or if they relate statements of older, unspecified litterary sources.24

The logical interpretation is that this is an oral description given to Adam, in which case it can be argued that these directions may be valued with great significance for considering references to Birkas localization. Since Sven Estridsson is referenced in B.I-61, it is a credible guess that he is the source of the geographical references too, since none such statements are made in Vita Ansgarii25.

"Birca est oppidum Gothorum, in medio Suevoniae positum , non longe ab eo templo, quod celeberrimum Sueones habent in cultu deorum, Ubsola dicto..."26

Based on the assumption of Gothroum being a part of Sueonia, this reference of Birka says that it lies in a certain part of Sueonic territorium - Götaland.

If we assume that Gothorum should be interpreted as `the Göta people', Birka would be a town founded and ruled by the people from Götaland, indicating a localization otherwise than in the main Göta territorium - e.g. in another Sueonic tribal territorium27.

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Book II

Summary of book II

The second book begins with archbishop Adaldag, 937 - 988, and streches into the 11th century with Alebrand, 1035 - 1043, who was the predescessor of Adam own bishop, Adalbert.

Tabell 26:  Book 2 summary
Adaldag was bishop in 53 years.
Adaladag managed to free Bremen from "supression by "authorities and judgement".
He became a member of Otto I council1.
King Otto defeats Harald Blåtand of the Danes at Slesvig. When Harald submitted to Otto he was baptised and promised to make Denmark Christian, for which effort he (Harald) would be acknowleged as ruler of the Danish empire. Haralds wife is Gunhild, his son is baptised Sven-Otto.
"At this time" Jylland was parted into three bishop seats2, serving under Hamburg-Bremen.
Also, Adam claims that pope Agapitus gave "the church of Hamburg all those privilegies that Adaldags predecessors have had for the archbishopric of Bremen, and with this the right to designate bishops for Denmark and Sweden".
The time of the battle is unclear3. See [Note 42].
The reference to bishop seats of Jylland was decided in 9482.
Regarding confirmation by the pope, see [Note 43].
King Otto conquers the slaivc territories and forces them to convert to Christianity, and henceforth they were happy to pay the conqueror taxes.
The first churches are built there.
Could this tax be `Peterspenning'?
Adaldag is supported by king Otto and the pope to withhold the privilegies of Bremen, although Ottos brother archbishop Bruno in Köln was hoping for his brothers support in detronising Bremen.
B.II-8 - B.II-9
When king Otto goes to Rome to "free the apostolic throne", one Herman is set to be deputy of Sachsen.
About Hermans family and fortunes.
B.II-10 - B.II-12
King Otto (and Adaldag) replaces pope Johannes Octavianus by Leo. He is crowned to emperor in the 28th year of his reign.
Johannes crowns Otto, is replaced by the Romans with benedikt, who is removed and held in captivity by Otto until his death4.
B.II-15 - B.II-16
Otto founds Magdeburg to be archbishopric of the slavic territories.
Five episcopates up to the river Peene; Merseburg, Zeitz, Meissen, Brandenburg, Havelberg. The sixth, Oldenburg, is under Hamburg.
Adam accounts for the people of Hamburg episcopate beyond Elbe. To the west this part of the episcopate is limited by the Britannic ocean, to the south by Elbe, to the east by Peene and to the north by river Ejder, separating the Danes from the Saxons. The Saxons comprise ditmarsker by the sea, the Holsteins near the forests, and third the stormarer.
1According to [Ref. 11], note 154.
2A royal letter defining the bishop seats is dated 947, according to [Ref. 11], note 160.
3It is stated by Svenberg in note 159 that the battle did not take place around 950 - which would be at the time of bishop seat definitions; it is said that whereas Sven Haraldsson Tveskägg possibly was baptised in 965, the battle might even have been after the death of Otto the great, in 974. Also see [Note 42].
4See [Ref. 11], notes 169 - 174.

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Discussion on Book II

Note 42
In accordance with [Note 32], Gorm the Old died in 958/95928.

A possible dating then, based on the alleged baptism of Haralds son Sven Tveskägg in 965 but even more so on the remains of Jellinge (in which the big rune stone probably was erected in 965), we are given a probable date for the battles between Otto I and Harald Bluetooth to be in 965 (or 964). This also corresponds to the fact that the remains of Gorm seem to be moved from the mound and buried a second time in the now (catholic) Christian kings new church.

Note 43

At this confiramtion of privilegies, some sceptic remarks may be raised.

Janson in the online article [Ref. 59] prolongs the discussion from his dissertation, [Ref. 32], and finds that the privilegies as the popes prelat with the right to mission in Denmark and Sweden was given as a personal right for Ansgar, but that no such rights were formally given to the church and bishops of Hamburg-Bremen. And, most important, Hamburg-Bremen was never officiallly acclaimed as archbishopric of the Northern people. The did, however, in every effort try to make pretence it was so.


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Book III

Summary of book III

Tabell 27:  Book 3 summary

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Discussion on Book III


(Return to content list.)

Book IV

Summary of book IV

The fourth book contains a description of "the isles in the northern ocean". Some interpretations of this book suggests that it is in fact an earlier work written by Adam, later adopted and integrated with the first three books into a complete work, the Gesta. Tore Nyberg arguments in [Ref. 11] that the in some handwritings of the work added verses to the beginning of the separate books29 and the naming of this fourth book itself, "Descriptio insularum aquilonis", should indicate that it in fact was (by the intended audience) a previously known work, which now was incorporated to the Gesta.30

Allan A. Lund in [Ref. 12] points out the dependancy of the classical sources for Adam in the fourth book, and even claims that - some historical facts and Adams Christian viewpoint aside - the fourth book "just as well might have been written 1000 years earlier!"31

In some handwritings, a bridging part of seven chapters are entered, prepending the fourth book and serving as an introduction to the fourth book. In [Ref. 11] these are included as special chapters of the fourth book, numbered A - G, whereas e.g. the latin online publication of the work in [Ref. 57] includes these chapters as the prepending seven chapters of book three. Also, Lund in [Ref. 12] holds these introductory chapters outside his Danish translation of the fourth book.

There is, clearly according to Nyberg, a difference in the attitude towards the archbishop Adalbert in this introductory section, compared to the closing chapters of the third book, in which the horrific ending of Adalberts life is referred.

Tabell 28:  Book 4 summary
B.IV-A -
Om Adalberts strävanden att tillsätta biskopar i Norden, initiativ till den första synoden i Danernas rike som dock fördröjdes etc.
I ett brev från Adalbert till Wilhelm i Roskilde uttrycks förtret över att biskop Adalvard vigts för Sigtuna men tagit biskopsstolen i Skara istället.
Adalbert invigde nio biskopar för Danmark inkl. Egino för Skåne (Dalby). Adalvard d.ä. och Acilin, Adalvard d.y., Tadiko, Simeon och munken Johannes för Sverige.
Distinguish between Adalvard the older, and the younger.
Danernas land består av öar, skiljt från Tyskland av floden Ejder vid skogen Isarnho (från Slien till Lübeck och floden Trave). Fem1-sju dagsresor från Slesvig till Ålborg, tre till Fyn. Jylland ett ofruktsamt land utan mycken uppodling eller bebyggelse. Århus lämplig start för seglats till Fyn, Själland, Skåne och Norge.
Cmp. Isenstein of other legends!
Perhaps Århus is the start reference of some later geographical references?
Fyn med det stora samhället Odense. Riktning från Jylland till Fyn - rakt norrut(!) När man passerar över Fyn mot Själland far man österut.
North, probably from Slesvig/Hedeby
Själland är mycket stor, två dagsresor lång nästan lika bred. Danernas kungasäte Roskilde2. Överfart till endera Fyn/Skåne tar ett dygn(!), Ön är öde i norr. Vätter i öst mot Skåne med samhället Lund.
Från Själland till Skåne många sjöförbindelser, kortast till Helsingborg. Skolie 111. Skåne en halvö "omgivet av hav på alla håll med undantag av en sammanhängande landarm i öster, som utgör gräns mellan sveonernas land och Danmark. Där finns djupa skogar och svårtillgängliga berg" att passera på vägen från Skåne till Götaland.
This fits the description of Blekinge!
From Lund, it is more north than east [Note 44] - but this statement does not specify east-north.3
Sk. 111
Från Skåne4 (Scandia, Gangavia el. Scandinavia hos romerska historieskrivare) började langobarderna eller goterna sina vandringar. Ledande samhälle Lund, grundat av Knut.
Lund is called `metropolis civitas'; the capital or bishop town of Skåne.
Kung Sven tilldelade stiftet Lund till biskop Henrik som söp ihjäl sig och kvävdes i sina egna spyor. Egino fick stiftet i Dalby.
Egino vann många folkstammar för Kristus "som ännu var hängivna åt avgudadyrkan, framför allt det vilda folkslag som kallas blekingar samt de som bor på ön Holm5 (Hulmo), grannarna till götarna." Eginos predikan rör dem till tårar och biskopen ber dem använda de erbjudna skatterna till att bygga nya kyrkor och friköpa fångar.
Henrik was anglo-saxon bishop, in competition with the catholic Hamburg-Bremen.
If the habitants of `Holm' neighbours götarna, then Öland fits the description perfectly! [Note 45]
Egino besöker även Skara, tröstar de troende och predikar för de icke-troende. "Där högg han också den vittberömda statyn av Frej i stycken."
För detta hyllades Egino av Sven och övertog Lunds stift efter Henriks död. Han tog säte i Lund och insatte ett brödraskap av präster i Dalby6.
Skolie 114
Sk. 114
Lund, Skånes ledande samhälle, ligger lika långt från havet som från Dalby.
Från Einhards Frankerhistoria Vita Karoli beskriver Adam östersjön; som en havsbukt från västerhavet mot öster. Kallas det baltiska eftersom det "sträcker sig som ett bälte ett långt stycke genom de skytiska8 länderna ända till de grekisk-katolska länderna".
Einhard died 840 AD.
This should resemble eastern Germany, Poland and the Baltics.
Harald Hårdråde och en Danajarl Gamle Wolf ska ha sökt utforska Baltiska havets längd men misslyckats och jagats hem av stormar och pirater.
Danerna har försäkrat Adam "att några med förlig vind på en månad nått fram till Novgorod i Ryssland. Vad angår bredden anmärker Einhard att den ingenstans överskrider hundra romerska mil". Från Kattegatt drar det enligt Einhard ihop sig vid götarnas land mittemot vilket wilzerna bor, längre bort allt vidare åt bägge sidor.
Wolf is unknown
One month sailing from where - Roskilde?
The `Wilz' might be `liutz'9 located west of river Oder inside Rügen. If
"Daner och sveoner och övriga folk bortom Danmark kallas av frankernas historieskrivare nordmän". Hyperboréer av romerska författare10.
I Baltiska Havets mynning "möter vi först nordmännen, därefter skjuter det danska landskapet Skåne fram, och öster därom bebor götarna ett vidsträckt område upp till Birka. Därefter kommer sveonerna, som härskar över stora landområden ända fram till Kvinnolandet."
I [Ref. 12] används däremot översättningen "møder man først Nordmænderne, dernæst rager det danske landskab Skåne frem, og ovenover det bebor Göterne et vidstrakt område helt frem til Birka. Dernæst følger Sveerne, som regerer over vældige landområder helt op til Kvindernes land."
The Götar live above the border of Skåne all the way to Birka, and thereafter the Sueones rules large areas all the way to terrarum feminarum. [Note 46]
If anything, Sueones seem to equal the rulers - by tribal herescent being Götar.
Description of the islands of the Danes.
"Den åttonde [ön], som ligger nära Skåne och Götaland, heter Holm11 (Holmus), en mycket känd dansk hamn och en säker ankarplats för de skepp som brukar fara till de vilda folkslagen och till de grekisk-katolska områdena."
Holm is declared to be a secure danish port. See [Note 47] for differentiating translations of the Latin text.
Estland ska ligga nära Kvinnolandet, Kurland inte långt från sveonernas Birka12.
About `terrarum feminarum' and Estland/Kurland reference to Birka.[Note 48]
Description of the slavic territories.
Description of the land of the females (terrarum feminarum) and other strange creatures. In these areas Adam also tells of the alans that call themselves wizzer, huser being pale, green and longlived, and antropofager that eat human meat.
Note the alans, amongst whom a certain group calls themselves Asas! [Note 50]
Adam framhåller att endast Einhard beskrivit det Baltiska havet och dess folk, men menar att det förmodligen är samma område som romarna kallat de skytiska eller maeotiska träsken13, geternas öken14 eller den skytiska kusten - tätt befolkad av en mängd barbarfolk.
Ärkebiskopen bestämmer Birka till huvudort för det baltiska havens folk Skolie 126; "i centrum av sveonernas land, mitt emot det slaviska samhället Jumne, coh har lika långt till alla kuster vid detta hav."
Skolie 127
See [Note 50] for a discussion; Adam probably get a mix up with he Black Sea here.
Again, Birka is said to be in the midst of Sueonic territories - but also right opposite Jumne
Sk. 126
Adam states that it takes a five day sail to reach Birka from Skåne, and yet another five days from here to Russia/Novgorod, when sailing from Skåne; "Man kan segla från danernas Skåne till Birka på fem dagar. På samma sätt tar det fem dagar att segla från Birka till Ryssland."
Five days from Skåne - possibly from Lund? Distance also given in IV-29.
Sk. 127
"Där ligger den helige Ansgars hamn och den helige ärkebiskop Unnis grav, en kär tillflyktsort, vill jag säga, för vårt stifts heliga bekännare."15
This place might be different than Adaldags Birka [Note 51].
Estridsson berättar att Nordlandet knappt kan genomfaras på en månad, medan sveonernas land svårligen later sig passeras på två månader. Han berättar att han gjort krigstjänst hos sveonske kung Jacob I tolv år. Båda länderna är omslutna av höga berg, Nordlandet omsluter sveonernas land. Solinus, Orosius och Lucanos refereras, och saga ha omnämnt bergen (de ripheiska) samt floden Elbe. Adam kopplar denna till Göta Elb16, som "rinner upp i de nämnda fjällen och flyter mitt igenom götarnas folkstammar ned till Oceanen." Skolie 131
Sveonerna är bättre än folken i Adams kultursfär på att inte fåfängt samla guld, silver, skinn etc. "Endast i fråga om samlag med kvinnor vet de inte av någon måtta."
"De omfattar den sanna trons förkunnare med djup kärlek, om dessa är kyska och kloka och lämpliga för sitt uppdrag. De vägrar inte ens biskoparna att deltaga i deras offetnliga folkförsamling, som hos dem kallas warph. Där lyssnar de ofta villigt till talet om Kristus och den kristna religionen. Och kanske skulle de lätt genom predikan kunna övertalas att omfatta vår tro, om det inte vore så, att onda lärare, som söker sitt eget och inte vad som hör Jesus Kristus till, förför dem som skulle kunna frälsas."
Sc. 131 differs from the main text regarding the tribes and lands
Compare 'frillor' from the sagas with Adam account of several wifes!
'Evil teachers' might well resemble priests of the greek-ortodox church!
Sc. 131
Floden Göta Elb skiljer Götaland från nordmännen. Till sin storlek är den jämförbar med sachsarnas Elbe, varav dess namn är härlett.
"Sveonernas stammar är många, utmärkta i fråga om styrka och vapenföring, och dessutom framstående krigare både till häst och till sjöss. Därför ser det ut som om de genom sin kraft blir herrar över övriga nordiska folk. Kungar har de av gammal ätt, men deras makt beror av folkets vilja."
Adam relays Vita Ansgari and the thing that upholds law and order, even for the king.
"Av Suedia tribes bor de götar, som kallas de västliga, närmast oss. De finns också östliga götar. Västergötland gränsar till danernas provins Skåne. Därifrån skall man på sju dagar kunna nå götarnas stora samhälle Skara. Därpå sträcker sig Östergötland utmed det baltiska havet ända till Birka."
Adam prisar Adalvard den äldre, biskop för götarna.
From Skåne, probably Lund[Note 52], seven days to Skara!
All the way to Birka! [Note 53]
"Mellan Nordlandet och sveonernas land bor värmlänningar, finnvedingar och andra folk."
Norrut i gränslandet mellan sveoner och nordmän bor skridfinnarna, som sägs löpa fortare än vilda djur. Deras stora samhälle heter Hälsingland [...]"
"Förutom de nämnda finns det tallösa andra svenska stammar, om vilka vi vet att endast götarna, värmlänningarna och en del av skridfinnarna har blivit omvända till kristendomen."
"I väster omfattar [Sueonia or Suedia] götarna och samhället Skara, i norr värmlänningarna med skridfinnarna, som styrs från Hälsingland, i söder det förut omtalade baltiska havet i hela dess längd. Där ligger det stora samhället Sigtuna. I öster slutligen gränsar det till de ripheiska bergen, där det finns väldiga ödemarker och höga snömassor [...]"
Estridsson has told Adam about small småväxta people from the mountains that comes down once a year or every thrice year and förhärjar the land if they are not fought back. They are very strong and quick.
These tribes might be the scredefinnaes.
"Detta folk har ett berömt tempel som kallas Uppsala, beläget inte långt från samhället Sigtuna. Skolie 138 I detta tempel, som är helt och hållet prytt med guld, Skolie 139 dyrkar folket bilder av tre gudar. Den mäktigaste av dem, Tor, har sin tron mitt i salen. På var sin sida om honom sitter Oden och Frej."
Description of how the worshipping of the three gods Tor, Oden and Frej is conducted.
Compare references of Ubsola in Rimbert and Adam! Are these the same places[Note 55]?
Adams description of the heathen gods.
Sc. 138
"Nära detta tempel står ett mäktigt träd, som sträcker ut sina grenar vitt och brett och som alltid är grönt, både vinter och sommar. Ingen vet av vilken art det är. Där finns också en källa, vid vilken hedningarna brukar offra och i vilken man brukar kasta ned en levande människa. Om denna inte återfinns, går folkets önskan i uppfyllelse."17
Sc. 139
Adam describes the temple called Uppsala18.
"En guldkedja omger templet. Den hänger över husets tak och strålar mot de ankommande på långt håll, därför att själva tempelområdet, beläget på slät mark, har berg placerade omkring sig liksom en teater." 19
This temple is subject to debate as to whether it at all have existed[Note 57].
More about sacrifaces offersederna. Scholie 140
"Vart nionde år brukar man dessutom i Uppsala fira en gemensam fest med deltagande av folk från alla sveonernas landskap. [...] Offerriten tillgår på följande sätt: av varje levande varelse av manligt kön offras nio stycken, med vilkas blod man brukar blidka gudarna20. Kropparna hängs upp i en lund nära templet."
Each tree is sacred, and `one Christian believer' has told Adam that he has seen 72 bodies hanging from the trees. Scholie 141 adds that the feast is held at midwinter, and continues for nine days.
Adams account of a designated priest for each god complies with Snorris description of the customs brought in by Odin[Note 58]!
Sc. 140
"När nyligen sveonernas mycket gudfruktige kung Anund vägrade att fullgöra folkets offer till avgudarna, sägs han ha blivit fördriven ur sitt rike"
Anund might be Inge, the son of Stenkil.
A heathen priest verksam at Ubsola is told to have been blind, without being helped by the heathen gods. By turning to the Christian God, he got his eyesight back after a vision of the holy Mary.
Adam seems to relay the account of his archbishop, Adalbert regarding the episode.
Following the above epsiode, Adalbert vigde Adalvard the younger as bishop in the town Sigtuna, after a request from king Stenkil. "... Sigtuna, som ligger på en enda dagsresas avstånd från Uppsala. Man kommer dit på följande sätt: från danernas Skåne kan man segla på fem dagar till Sigtuna eller Birka21: ty de ligger nära varandra. Men om man reser landvägen från Skåne genom götarnas land och över Skara, Tälje22 och Birka, når man Sigtuna först efter en månads förlopp."
Adalvard the younger around 1060.
Adalvard is said to have come to Sigtuna and preached, and in a short while converted all citizens and nearby people to Christianity23. Scholie 142 He should have decided, with the aid of Egino in Dalby, to destroy "det bekanta hednatemplet som kallas Ubsola". King Stenkil advices against24, to prevent their immediate death and Stenkils avsättande, and furthermore that destruction of the temple would lead to relapse to heathen beliefs "såsom nyligen skedde i slavernas land".
Instead, the bishops travelled around in "götarnas samhälle" and destroyed a lot of of pagan idols.
Cmp B.IV-E[Note 62]!
Stenkil wants to protect Ubsola though he is Chistian, due to self-preservation.
Note Gothi communities; why not sueonic?
Sc. 142
Adam accounts for the piety of Nordic people, and a travel to the now ruined trade center Birka.
"Några av biskop Adalvards följeslagare har berättat för mig att när han första gången kom till Sigtuna, överlämnades vid avhållandet av en enda mässa sjuttio marker silvermynt till honom. Så fromma är nämligen alla folk i Norden. Han begagnade också tillfället att under resan göra ett besök i Birka, som nu är till den grad ödelagt, att man knappast kan se några spår av samhället. Därför kunde man inte heller återfinna den helige ärkebiskop Unnis grav."
Very strange account of piety amongst a supposedly heathen cult!
This travel to Birka is made via Skara.
A description of Norway, "the Northern land" - Nortmannia.
It is a barren land only suitable for cattle-farmers and stock-raising. Hence they foster soldiers that often raids around the world like pirates. They are closely bound to the Sueones, but often at war with the Danes.
Scholie 143 tells that the Normandie vikings in France came from `Nortmannia'.
The people of the northmost parts of `Nortmannia' are still not Christian; they are still powered through magic and are said to be able to see everything every human in the world are doing, and speaks a language that the nearliving people do not understand - Skridfinnarna, Scritefingi25.
The Scritefingi are the samic people of todays northern Scandinavia.
The biggest town of `Nortmanni' is Trondheim, which can be reached by boat from Dania, Ålborg or Vendel. Sailing one day (north) to Viken, civitatem Nortmannorum. from here, five days to the left along the coast of Norvegiae. Also possible to travel from Skåne by land, but this is longer and more dangerous.
The third bishop [in Norway] was Sigfrid, who preached for both Sueones and Nortmannos.
About the islands in the great Ocean; Orkneys.
The island Thule, is practically unknown, but lies farthest away of all islands in the ocean. Often referenced by classical writers. At midsummer there is no night, at midwinter there is no day-(light).
"Phyteas från Marseille skriver att [...] ön Thule, [som] ligger norrut på ett avstånd av sex dagars seglats från Britannien." Scholie 155.
"Detta Thule kallas nu Island, efter den is som binder Oceanen."
Adam praises the people for living a life without demanding anything beyond what nature provides. "Många fina drag finns i deras karaktär, framför allt deras männiksokärlek, som gör att de har allting gemensamt, vilket gäller både främlingar och infödda. Deras biskop är som en kung för dem. Hela folket rättar sig efter vad han befaller."
Martinus and Solinus, according to Scholie 153.
Six days to sail to Thule.
Adam claims that Thule is Iceland[Note 64].
Adam states that they rule together without a king; Sc.156 adds that there's no king, just the law.
Sc. 155
"Man berättar att de som seglar från Danernas udde Ålborg har trettio dagars färd fram till Island, men något mindre om de har medvind.
They got a bishop named Isleif, signed by the archbishop in Hamburg-Bremen26.
Experience, as a contrary to the classical writers, states thirty days to Island from Denmark.
Greenland lies five - seven days away from the coast of the `Nortmannia', but further away than Iceland. It lies opposite of the Swedish mountains, and they are recently Christianized.
A third island in the Northern ocean is Halogaland. Scholie 159 The sun is above the horizon for 14 days during summer, and not seen for 14 days in the winter. "Ty av jordens klotform följer med nödvändighet att solen, när den fjärmar sig, kvarlämnar natt."
Adam declares that Sven Estridsson confirms the wonders of the sun in the north to really exist.
As other great landmasses, some areas are said to be islands.
Clearly, Adam believes that the earth is not flat.
Sc. 159
Halogaland is a part of the Norwegian land, located near the `scredefinnaes' and inaccessible due to the mountains and the cold.
"Han talade också om ytterligare en ö, som hade upptäckts av många i denna ocean och som heter Vinland, därför att där växer vilda vinrankor, som skänker ett utmärkt vin. Att där även brödsäd finns i överflöd utan sådd, har jag inte erfarit genom falska rykten utan genom danernas pålitliga underrättelser. På andra sidan denna ö, sade knungen, finns inget beboeligt land i denna ocean, utan allt därbortom är fyllt av obefarbar is och täckt av omätligt mörker."
Sailing one day beyond Thule gets you to a hard frozen ocean, says Martianus, and Adam declares that Norwegian Harald has confirmed this. Addition
Estridssons give an, in the eyes of Adam, trustwhorthy account for Vinland, bu this sources does only know of the ocean north of Vinland.
Sometimes after 108427, one transcriber writes a confirmation of this given by a cartusian monk.
"...det är sant. Denna plats kallas på deras eget språk Ginungagap. Kungens kapten hette Olyden Helgesson och styrmannen Gunnar Raswen."
Adalbert have told Adam that Frisian nobles have sailed north to explore the ocean. Passing Orkney, Norway and Iceland they headed towards the north pole and ut their trust in God and Willehad. A current in the black darkness drew them by the tide so that only some of the ships were saved by rowing with the waves.
Sometimes around 1035 - 1043, Frisians try to explore the north.
They landed at an island, fortified by high cliffs. The people living there hid during the day in underground caverns, in front of which bowls and other uncountable objects of pure gold were lying.
"Sjöfolket tog då hand om så mycket av skatterna, som de orkade bära och skyndade glada tillbaka till fartygen. Då såg de plötsligt bakom sig mänskliga gestalter av märkvärdig storlek komma emot dem, sådana som våra landsmän kallar cykloper. Framför dem sprang hundar som var större än dessa djur vanligen är."
Following the currents, they end up in a rocky land where people live beneath the ground (or in mountain cities?).
The people and their dogs were greater than normal human beings, and they had enormous golden objects just lying around.[Note 65]
"Denna välsignelsebringande missionsuppgift bland hedningarna, som påbörjades av den helige Ansgar, har oupphörligen varit framgångsrik intill denna dag, vilket fram till den store Adalberts bortgång utgör en period av omkring tvåhundrafyrtio år."
Hamburg-Bremen has successfully missioned amongst the northern heathens for 240 years.
"Vi kan se hur danernas, nordmännens och sveonernas vilda folkslag, för att citera den helige Gregorius, inte kunde något annat än skära tänder på vilda folks vis, nu sedan länge hade lärt sig sjunga Helleluja till Guds ära.
Adams introduction to the work for Bishop Liemar, Adalberts successor.
"Ett ska du veta, du gode och vördade herde, att även om mina krafter tröt, så aär allt som jag skrivit i boken trovärdigt, ja det bygger på dem som kan bygga på självsyn."
He makes wishes for Liemars future accomplishments and states that he is glad not to have been chosen as the new bishop before him; "jag som vid valet av dig till evinnerlig lycka blev ratad".
Finally, the important task for the future is layed out:
"Nu stundar den tredje och tyngsta kampen: att bringa önskad försoning där tvedräkten råder. Om något annat ännu skulle störa den allmänna sämjan, give dig Gud sin nåd till att ständigt främja vår endräkt, så att Bremen och hamburg på nytt genom dig får sin frihet, de som än måste sörja sin länge förlorade heder under tyranners ok och hedningars hårda belägring."
It would seem that Adam hopes that the enmity between bishop Adalbert and the archbishop in Köln will be settled, and that the reputation of the bishop seat will be restored.
1In [Ref. 11] note 580, five days from Slesvig to Ålborg is considered as seatravelling along western side of Jylland.
2In [Ref. 11] note 596, it is concluded that Adam sees the North coast of Själland with the Roskilde fjord as the reference point, since this kingdom seat is probably were seafarers went.
3In [Ref. 11] note 600, it is argued that Adam misinterprets the direction from Skåne to Götaland so that `east' should be read `north'.
4In [Ref. 11] sk.111, the roman sources is identified as Paulus Diaconus; Historia Langobardum I-1. Also [Ref. 11] state that Adam might refer to the whole of modern Scandinavia and not just Skåne.
5In [Ref. 11] note 605, it is stated that no certain commitment can be made as to whether it was the `blekingar' that lived on Holm (Hulmo), but their conclusion is that different people are intended by Adam. One solution for `Holm' is here said to be the Danish island `Bornholm', another Öland. Mostly, [Ref. 11] consider Bornholm to equal Holm due to the resemblance in names. Also Lund in [Ref. 12] assumes Holm to be Bornholm.
6In [Ref. 11] sk. 114, Lund is noted to be mentioned by Adam as `civitas prima Sconiae', the foremost and leading town in Skåne.
7Chapters IV-10 - IV-20 is by Weibull in [Ref. 54] considered to be inserted into an original text, which is agreed upon by Nyberg in [Ref. 11].
8Nyberg discusses Adams usage of the tribal name Scythae/Scithae and concludes that the vast, undefined area that stretches from southern Russia, in Adams recapitulation also includes the northeastern european slavonic people, that later are associated with the greek-orthodox church. See [Ref. 11] p.310f and 326.
9See [Ref. 11] note 619.
10Adams source is Martianus Capella, De nuptiis Philologiae.
11In [Ref. 11] note 631, Holm is again assumed to equal Bornholm. Allan A. Lund however, in [Ref. 12] note 13 believes that Holm now should equal Gotland - but, for the occurence that Adam does not know of the existence of Gotland, perhaps again means Bornholm. Note that the name is spelled differently; the former `Hulmo', the latter `Holmus'.
12In [Ref. 11] it is argued that the closeness of Kurland to Birka should be viewed in its easy sailway compared to Estland, with pirates and large islands in the way.
13Referencing Martianus Capella, De nuptiis Philologiae VI, 663 ([Ref. 98]).
14Referencing Vergilius, Georgica, III 461 ff. ([Ref. 110])
15In [Ref. 11] note on Scholie.127, Svenberg comments that the expression of the Scholie indicates that several persons have visited Birka and found the remains of Ansgars mission. This, however, they find contradicting to e.g. Scholie 142, where Birka is found in ruins by Adaldags companion.
16Main text differs in that Gothelba runs through the land of Götar here, whilst it separates this land from the Northland in the scholie131.
17In [Ref. 11], note at scholie 138, Svenberg notes that this comply with the germanic Irminsul, and that the human offer was accepted by the gods if the body is not found.
18Adam names it Ubsola, and in [Ref. 11], note 681 the authors comment that Adam never states that Ubsola is a village or town. Instead he relates it to Birka (in book I-60) in respect to Ansgar, and Sigtuna
19In [Ref. 11], note at scholie 139, Svenberg finds the charachteristics of the scholie to be interpretario romana, as the author aligns the eyewitness reports with a classical amfi theater.
20In [Ref. 11], note 688 and the note of Scholie 141, it is reported that a similar custom of centrally held blot is described for the Danes at Leire, by Thietmar of Merseburg, Chronicon, I, 17. Also found in Saxo, [Ref. 26] and [Ref. 62].
21 In [Ref. 11], note 693, it is argued that the five day sail together with Scholie 126 (that is followed by another five day sail into Russia), must be taken as a ground for placing Sigtuna and Birka i höjd med Mälaren.
22In [Ref. 11], note 694, it is suggested that Tälje should be the same as todays town Södertälje.
23In [Ref. 11], note 699 it is commented that Stenkil fears from his position either as king or regering (in regno) if the missionaries were let into fäderneslandet (in patriam).
24In [Ref. 11], note 699 it is commented that Stenkil fears from his position either as king or regering (in regno) if the missionaries were let into fäderneslandet (in patriam).
25In [Ref. 11], note 709, it is deducted that Adam references the samic people.
26He is supposedly signed by Hamburg, and spent some time in Bremen. In [Ref. 11], note 726, three different dates are mentioned for this; 4th June 1055, 4th June 1066 or 26 May 1056. Isleif was sent from Iceland to Bremen but it is stated as unclear whether his time there was orior, after or both in respect to his consecration.
27In [Ref. 11], the note for the addition declares that the cartusian monk order was founded 1084 AD; hence it cannot have been added earlier.

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Discussion on Book IV

Note 44 Cardinal compass points
B.IV-7, on page 162: Tore Nyberg32 argues that the directions of Adam should be reinterpreted due to his alleged misunderstandings of his sources information on geographical directions, so as to make `east' mean `north'.

This makes sence in longitude comparisions, however Adams recollections are not nescessarily wrong in latitude comparison.

Note 45 Interpretations of Holm
B.IV-8, on page 162: When Adam mentions the island `Holm', it is commonly assumed to mean Bornholm due to name resemblances. However, if it is in fact Öland that equals Holm, the geographical references as well as the alleged fall-off from Ansgars and Unnis mission is logical.
Note 46 Direction to Birka from Göta territories
B.IV-14, on page 163: When localizing Birka and naming the name of the people, we must be careful when we examine how to interpret Adams latin text:
" supra eam tenso limite Gothi habitant usque ad Bircam. Postea longis terrarum spatiis regnant Sueones usque ad 33terram feminarum."

This section is of importance for two aspects: 1) Are Sueones a tribe or a collective reference of all tribes in ancient Sweden? 2) Which direction does Adam give for localization of Birka?

1) This must be considered in the light of B.IV-12, where the northern men are subdivided into Danes and Sueones. AND WHEN Götar ARE RULING SUEONIA- B.I-60/61. It seems plausible to assume that Adam views sueones as a collective description of the ancient Swedes, out of which the tribe Götar are (one of) the most importatn, and also the rulers.

2) Also, in [Ref. 11] the translation of `usque ad' is differed in the two sentences, so that the first - describing the distance from the land of the Götar is chosen as `up to' (which incidentially supports the theory that Ansgars Birka was located at Björkön, Mälaren) - where as the second uses the most common translation `all the way to'.

In [Ref. 12], the same translation is used for both entries; `all the way' - or rather, in the latter using `helt op' where as the former entry states `helt frem'.

Note 47 Interpretaions of Birka as a harbor
B.IV-16, on page 163: In this section a difference is noted in translations:

"octavam dicunt illam, quae Sconiae ac Gothiae proxima Holmus appellatur, celeberrimus Daniae portus et fida stacio navium"

[Ref. 11] states `a well-known danish harbor', whereas [Ref. 12] translates into `the most frequently visited Danish harbor'.

Note 48 Birka related to Baltic Sea coasts

B.IV-17, on page 163: The land of the women are discussed in [Note 49].

As for the distance from Kurland/Estland to Birka, Kurland certainly lies closer to Öland/Köpingsvik than Estland does. For Björkö/Mälaren this is not quite the case12.

Note 49 Terra feminarum
The land of the women, `terrarum feminarum', is sometimes depicted as a northern tribe of Sweden, or Finland - Kvänerna34. This Finnish tribe might also be mixed up with some legendary amazons, for which some suggestions based on local legends, have been made to make Ösel outside Estland the island of the women, where these would have lived most part of the year without any men, and then for one month during summertime accept their presence. REFERENCE???

Such an account is provided in an addition to the main text in B.IV-19, where Adam expresses his disbelief for the tales of females whom amongst others are supposed to give birth to boys with dog heads, whilst girls grow up to be beautiful women. In the addition, the amazons are supposed to have written a letter to Alexander the great explaining how they live, separated from their men unless if desired during a year when they live together to have children, and also that the females are warriors in their own good, raising the girls on the island and the boys with their fathers35.

Note 50 Tribes in the distant east
The other peoples mentioned here; alans, huser, antropofager, can be interpreted as seen by Adam to be located in Russia. Most interesting is the account of alans, since Adam in the next chapter B.IV-20 states the probability that the Baltic ocean is equal to the classical references of Schytian or maeotic swamps - based upon the fact that these were crowded with barbarian tribes, for instance the alans and antropofagers. Alans are the name given to the tribes around the Black Sea, amongst which the ones calling themselves Asar live near the Azov lake and the thereby located swamps. The importance of alans are discussed in the article Was Odin a genuine human being?.
Note 51 Different Birka referenced?
It seems that at least some of Adams sources have given accounts for the remains of Ansgar and that corresponding trading center called Birka. It would seem that Adaldagis companion (who, on the way to Sigtuna, takes off to visit Birka) is either visiting a different location named Birka, or finds the same place totally ruined - so as that no remains of Ansgar, tombs etc. can be found.
Note 52 Start point of travels from Scania
Since Lund is stated oppidum Sconiae and the major town in Scania, most travelling references might be assumed to be given from Lund.
Note 53 Going north or south to Birka?
When Adam references Birka, there is no statement that links the directions north/south. Thus, given the account of Adams geographical directions where east draws to the north, is is plausible that the directions are given towards Öland/Köpingsvik. More important is to discuss his nsources in this passage; if given from Adams days, Birka at Björkön is in ruins. Therefore one might suspect that the directions are given from an older source.
Note 54 Accomplishments of Adalvard
Adalvard the older is said to have won a lot of heathen people for Christian faith. He is said to having remained in Götaland until his death. Where in Götaland did he reside? Is it somewhere stated that it was in Skara? When did he reside?
Note 55 Estridsson references to Ubsola-kings
When Estridsson references the seat of Ubsola-kings, this is most likely placed in Sigtuna, Uppland. But the references linked to Ansgar has no relevance for comparison with Sigtuna, since this did not exist then.
Note 56 Heathen or heresy Christian cults?
Adam is the only known source that describes the worshipping ceremonies. Thus, it may be suspected that he gives a proper account of non-existing customs to serve his underlying purpose of promoting the mission of Hamburg-Bremen. Henrik Jansson has discussed this in his thesis, which he summarizes in [Ref. 59].
Note 57 The notion of ancient Scandinavian temples
The term temple, in heathen religion, is usually an outdoor location36. Thus, the heathen origin would imply outdoor ceremonies, probably located near some sort of lund and with a well nearby. The location given as a plain, with surrounding hills or mountains seem to accurately reflect an eye witness statement - and then, by Adam related to resemble the classical outdoor theater. However, it seem not to be explained as hills or mountains for the spectators - as would be the case for a theater.

Much debate have been held regarding the actual existence of a man-built temple19. To this author, the comprehension by Adam of a heathen temple would be likely to manifest itself as a building, whether his sources has actually related a building or not. For one thing, a house thus covered in gold is not even possible today - the amount of gold is likely to never haved existed, collected or diverse, in Sweden at any time through history.

Rather, the suggestion made by Fast in [Ref. 22] is more logical: the golden chain hanging over 'husets tak på latin' the roof could be a shimmering bergart following the edge of a mountian, where as the house itself is a description of the most genuin 'building' known to man - a mountain with steep sides hovering over the plain, seen from far away.

A suggestion for comparison is made in .

Note 58
See [Ref. 50], p. XX, in Ynglingasaga, Heimskringla, where the customs brought in by Odin is described.
Note 59
In [Ref. 11], Svenberg makes a comment in Sc.141, that the customs are bound to midwinter blot. Adams account is backed up by Thietmar of Merseburg20, but all the same questions may be raised as to whether these customs actually have taken place, and, if so, if they still were a custom in the 11th century.
Note 60
The Ubsola of Stenkil lies a days travel from Sigtuna. It is not a full days travel from Sigtuna to todays city Uppsala - more like half a day.???

The five day sail complies with earlier accounts for the distance by sea to Birka (scholie 126), but this is related to Jumne, and furthermore to Russia Fotnot8.

[It may be argued that these references does not describe the same trade center, since the former could be given from Rimberts account rather than contemporary oral sources.]

To reach Sigtuna in Mälaren from Skara, one possibility is to travel to the north of Vättern and down to Södertälje37. Another is to travel by land or sea from Skara, over Vättern and into the Baltic, up into Mälaren via Tälje. [However, since the alignment of Tälje and Södertälje is not a definite identification, a longer route up to Sigtuna might be considered, finding Tälje somewhere on the route to Birka, and later from Birka to Sigtuna.] It is not defined here by Adam that Birka lies within one days travel to Ubsola - just that it will take a month to get to Sigtuna when travelling via Birka. [Even so, with Tälje resembling Södertälje, the order of named places may be important - it may be the fact that Birka is reached before Tälje, or that Sigtuna is reached in a much longer travel if one is determined to visit Birka.]

Note 61
It is not clear who is referred to by the name Anund here38.
Note 62
Adam contradicts the account given in B.IV-E, in which Adalbert expresses his dismay over Adalvards placement in Skara instead of Sigtuna. Since Stenkil can be expected to reign from Sigtuna or its immediate neighbourhood, the outcome of Adalvards arrival in Sigtuna is in the opinion of this author likelier to be in accordance with the former account; the people of Suedia (where Stenkil rules) do not want him there. Therefore, he takes to Skara and accompanies Egino in his mission amongst Gothi people. The question then becomes why they are rejected in Sigtuna.
Note 63
Henrik Janson shows in his dissertation [Ref. 11] that there is a fierce conflict between the pope and Hamburg-Bremen, which might be the explanation for the rejection they meet when they reach the province of Uppland - the people are not heathen (which is supported by the Christian symbols on rune stones from this period) - but rather Christian with an opposing belief, that is, opposing Hamburg-Bremen.
Note 64
Adam deducts that classical references to Thule are to be equalled with Iceland. However, a lot of descriptions seem to map better with Greenland. Adam is aware of the existence of both Iceland and Greenland, and makes his own synthesis as to which island are to be equalled with Thule.
Note 65
A hypothesis regarding the discoveries ofthe Frisians could be that they end up somewhere in Central America. Unfortunatley Adam have no more specific references than Adalberts own admission.

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This commented summary of Adam of Bremens work, the Gesta, can be read as is, although it is intended for internal references from complementing articles.

Specific discussions on the remarks made in this article are intended for other, topic and hypothesis specialized articles of this serie of articles; Ancient Nordic sources - Geography and Logical Mathematics.

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Article references

Litterature and background articles

Background articles


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Article revision history
Table 29: Revision history Adam of Bremen
Change summary
First issue
Expanded background for archbishop claims of Hamburg-Bremen. Completion of Book IV references.
All additions in English, old references still in Swedish. Textual updates in summary and notes of Book I and Book IV. Completed list of archbishops and kings. Book II summary.

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Information owner: Wilmer Thomas
Last updated: 2003-09-19

1Tore Nyberg, Stad, skrift och stift. See [Ref. 11], p. 296.
2This is also discussed by Hallencreutz in [Ref. 11], Adam, Sverige och tronskiftet, p. 361f.
3Tore Nyberg, Stad, skrift och stift. See [Ref. 11] p. 302 ff.
4The numbering used in this article is done according to [Ref. 11], which presents a slightly different numbering compared to [Ref. 57].
5Thoroughly discussed by Hallencreutz , [Ref. 11] Adam, Sverige och trosskiftet, p. 355ff.
6See [Ref. 12], p. 7.
7Actually, Tacitus is never explicitly referenced, but his accounts bear so much resemblance to the vocabulary used by Adam, so as to make it likely that Adam in fact had access also to Tacitus.
8These two terms, Sueonia and Dania, are examples of Adams tendency to create entities of reference that are not generally known before. This is discussed by Nyberg, see [Ref. 11], Stad, skrift och stift, p. 312, deducting that Adam builds Sueonia and Dania from the people, Sueones and Danis.
9Often (uniquely) named Sueonia by Adam, see 8.
10For discussion of the topic of Adams underlying goal, see Where was the Birka of Ansgar located?, on page 63 in this article series.
11See [Ref. 11], TBD.
12All fair, Adam does hold a rather sceptic view of such accounts; "these things are not considered improbable by our kinsmen".
13Svenberg connects Gorm the Old with (lat.) Hardecnudh Wrm (B.I-55) and later (lat.) Worm (B.I-57), see [Ref. 11], note140.
14The online History of Jelling [Ref. 92], confirmed by Archaeology periodical [Ref. 90], states the probable death of Gorm to 958/959.
15Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum in [Ref. 26]; Gorm Englishman ([Ref. 26-1]) p.369, Harald ([Ref. 26-1]) p.370, and Gorm the old ([Ref. 26-2]) p.11.
16This interpretation of the rejection of the church of Hamburg-Bremen becomes evident in the light of Janson dissertation in [Ref. 32], where he finds the `paganis' of Sueonia to be, in fact, a Christian society opposing Hamburg-Bremen - and not, as might be the "simple" interpretation, because he/they were heathen.
17Quote translated from [Ref. 42], Hervarasagan, Kungliga ättartal, p. 84 ff.
18Björn is, in fact, said to be the Sueonic king in 829 AD. The question, then, is whether the trading center referred to as Birka is in fact rendered "capitol" status in the Sueonic territories at this time. The other question is where this trading center is located (which is discussed in [Ref. 3], Where was the Birka of Ansgar located?, in another article of this series of articles on ancient Nordic sources).
19Quote from Vita Ansgarii [Ref. 68], Chapter XXXI.
20In an earlier note, [Ref. 11] note 72, it is pointed out how Adam reflects the emperors or kings as good or bad based upon the attitude they hold against Hamburg-Bremen.
21See [Ref. 26], p.345, 9th book;Olaf, Heming og Sivard. Sivard is said to be daughterson of Norwegian king Gøtrik, an another daughterson, Ring, take the kingdom of Jylland.
22See [Ref. 26], (I) p. 365; Erik the Child.
23See [Ref. 68], Chapter XXXI.
24In [Ref. 11], note 99, a remark is made as to whether Adams account for Rimberts alleged travel to Birka (in B.I-60), not being confirmated by the earlier account (in B.I-40), might be a lapsus - and note 99 suggests the possibility og Rimbert accompanying Ansgar on his second trip to Birka. This suggestion is based on Rimberts detailed account for the Birka church, in [Ref. 68], Vita Ansgarii 19-20, 26-27 and 30.
25Nyberg in [Ref. 11], 11-1 Stad, skrift och stift, p. 322, holds the view that Adams informers have been easterly based Götar, claiming that Birka is (still) one of their towns (oppidum) or villages (civitas).
26Quote from [Ref. 57], Liber I, Capitulum 62 (matching B.I-60 in [Ref. 11]).
27A discussion on the possible interpretations of Sueones, and Sueonia, in respect to Götar and Götaland, is held in [Ref. 2], Sueones / Svìar - Ancient tribe or collective reference?.
28Gorm the Old is by Svenberg in [Ref. 11] assumed to equal Hardeknud Worm. This cannot be correct, see [Note 32].
29 The fourth book; "Si placet haec quarti maneant primordia libri" - Here, if one so wishes, the fourth book may begin.
30Nyberg, Tore; Stad, skrift och stift. See [Ref. 11], p. 301.
31Lund, Allan A.; Beskrivelse af øerne i Norden. See [Ref. 12], p. 21.
32Nyberg, Tore; Stad, skrift och stift. See [Ref. 11], p. 317.
33adusque == inpå, intill, tills
34Regarding the tribe of Kväner, see the online article from [Ref. 93].
35According to [Ref. 11], note on the addition, the alternative description from the amazons are taken from the Alexander-novel by Leo archipresbyter, III:25.
36See TBD.
37 In B-IV-E Adalbert complains that Adalvard the younger never stayed in Sigtuna but took the bishopery of Skara instead. By ref2, note 695 it is suggested that Adam here is over-enthusiastic in the account of Adalvards accomplishments in Sigtuna, which remarkably is said to lie in Suedia - not Sueonia.
38Compare [Ref. 11] Scholie 84, book III-53.