|King of Hordaland (with Eystein II and Sigurd II)|
|Reign||1139 - March 1161|
|Successor||Haakon IV Sigurdsson|
|Died|| March 1161 |
Inge, co-king with his two younger half-brothers Eystein II and Sigurd II, ruled Hordaland between 1139 and 1161. Their joint-rule was peaceful at first as their regents ensured the peace but as they gained their majorities they increasingly fell into dispute and actual war.
Inge was the eldest son of Harald Gille who had challenged Magnus IV for control of Hordaland during the 1130s. Harald had been assassinated soon after gaining his election as king at an impromptu thing in 1137 and Magnus IV had reaffirmed his own rule. However when Magnus died without male issue campaigning in Gothenland in 1139 the nobles pushed for Inge's rightful succession. Only 3 or 4 years old, and with legitimate birth not exactly an immediate right for succession, his half-brothers Eystein (supposedly the oldest of the three) and Sigurd would also be crowned at separate things. The three were not given separate territory, and instead ruled equally over the entire realm, which still included the Isles.
His actual claim to the Hordalandic throne was flimsy. Harald Gille claimed descent from Magnus III, but as Inge's grandfather was Inge I of Svealand (indeed he had been named after him) he certainly had royal blood which, even if the connection to Magnus III was not completely believable, was powerful enough for the Hordalandic nobles. Indeed it may have been a subtle callback to the short period when Svealand nominally owned Hordaland.
Peace held between the brothers as long as their guardians ruled in their places, the most famous of whom was Inge's mother, Ingrid. In the mid-1150s however the mood changed. At a meeting of the three kings in Bergen Eystein and Sigurd were accused of plotting against Inge. Sigurd was killed in the ensuing riot which gripped the city. Inge and Eystein appear to have reconciled but now there was obvious bad blood. The kings and their supporters would marshall their forces and in 1156 began a civil war for supremacy.
As the brothers tore into each other's armies with vicious enthusiasm the Isles essentially stopped paying fealty to Hordaland. The various earls, already relatively powerful in their own right began to regard themselves as kings with Man reverting back to its old dynasty. And the Earl of Orkney, Harald Maddadsson, was soon wading into the civil war with his own ships and men (though Eystein would eventually capture him and force a ransom out of Orkney).
The political dysfunction of Hordaland had other consequences too; when in 1158 a archbishop was given to western Scandinavia it did not go to either of the Hordalandic bishops, instead it went to Nidaros in Lade which had stayed firmly out of the civil war.
After the death of Eystein in 1157 at the Battle of Moster his supporters rallied around Sigurd's son Haakon IV and it would be him who would succeed Inge when he died in battle in 1161.