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Sigurd I of Hordaland (The Kalmar Union)

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Sigurd I
Magnussonnenes saga 4 - G Munthe.jpg
Sigurd the Crusader
King of Hordaland
Reign 1105 - 1130
Predecessor Magnus III/Eystein I
Successor Magnus IV
Spouse Malmfred of Kiev
Issue Kristin Sigurdsdatter

Magnus IV

Full name
Sigurd Magnusson
House Fairhair
Father Magnus III
Born 1090
Died 1130

Sigurd I, Sigurd the Crusader, Sigurðr Jórsalafari was co-king of Hordaland from 1105. Firstly ruling alongside his half-brothers with dominion over the Western Isles he would rule the combined territories solely after 1115. He is chiefly remembered for being one of the earliest crowned heads of state to participate in a crusade.

The son of Magnus III Barefoot he is known to have accompanied his father on his 1097 expedition to Orkney and the Manx Sea. As Magnus made advances through the Norse-Gael lands so Sigurd, despite his young age, was made Earl or Orkney and quite probably King of Man. It would appear as though Sigurd remained in his new realm when Magnus returned to Hordaland and was definitely in Orkney when Magnus returned in 1102.

It is unknown if Sigurd participated in the campaign in Ireland in 1103 however he had been briefly betrothed to Muirchertach Ua Briain's daughter Blathmin, at least until Muirchertach's attempted double-cross of Magnus. When Magnus died invading Svealand in 1105 Sigurd would be crowned alongside his brothers Eystein I and Olaf III as co-kings of Hordaland, however his dominion over the Isles was respected and he largely left Eystein, as the eldest, to govern mainland Hordaland without interfering.

Eystein had been called upon to take the cross by the papacy soon after becoming king but after a disagreement it would be Sigurd who took the cross. In 1107 he would lead some 5000 Norse from Hordaland and Viken to campaign and support the new Kingdom of Jerusalem or Jorsalaland. His outward journey travelled via Anglia, where Charles I housed them for the winter, Portugal where they battled Muslim forces and various Mediterranean islands, including visiting Roger II in Sicily. Finally arriving in Jerusalem in 1110 he and the army would be warmly welcomed by the king, Baldwin I, and Sigurd assisted in the recapture of Sidon from the Fatimids, receiving a piece of the true cross for his efforts. He may have been baptised in the Jordan too.

Following this success Sigurd and his men re-boarded their ships and set sail for Constantinople. Much of his army would remain here in the Varangrian Guard whilst Sigurd and his remaining men would take another three years to cross Europe overland, meeting Lothair III on the way.

Eventually retuning to Hordaland in 1113 he found a stable kingdom well-governed thanks to the thoughtful rule of Eystein. The brothers did not row as many might have expected and Sigurd's overlordship of the Isles was respected. When in 1115 Eystein died Sigurd was invited to take control of the entire realm.

Sigurd would involve himself in the disintegrating political scene in Gothenland, supposedly invading to 'crusade' against Småland which had abandoned Christianity but it is more likely he simply saw an opportunity to increase his power. This brought him into conflict with Inge II of Svealand, but neither king saw much success in stamping their authority on the kingdom.

Sigurd would marry Malmfred of Kiev, though apparently the marriage was unhappy. They would have only one legitimate child: Kristin Sigurdsdatter. He would have several illegitimate children, including Magnus IV who would succeed him in 1130.

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