999 Years Since the Battle of Nesjar

Sword Viking Age

Olaf Haraldsson used the sword to gain control over Norway. (Illustrating Photo: Museum of Cultural History)

Today, exactly 999 years ago, was the Battle of Nesjar which is considered the first accurate dated event in Norwegian history. According to Snorri’s Kings Sagas, Olaf Haraldsson (Olaf the Holy) on Palm Sunday 25th of March 1016 AD did beat Earl Sweyn nearby Larvik in Eastern Norway.

“The earl maneuvered the fleet past Grenmar (Langesundsfjord) and docked at Nesjar”, Snorri writes.

The 21-year-old Olaf overcame a number of the most powerful Norwegian chieftains and took an important step in the long process towards the Christianization and unification of Norway.

Despite his young age, Olaf already had long experience as mercenary. As a teenager, he went to the Baltic, then to Denmark and later to England. Skaldic poetry suggests that in about 1014 he led a successful seaborne attack where London Bridge was pulled…

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