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Encyclopedia > Folkung
Coat of arms of Folkung family

In modern Swedish, Folkung (from folk kung, "people's king") has two meanings, which appear to be opposites: Image File history File links Folkunga. ... Image File history File links Folkunga. ... A modern coat of arms is derived from the medi val practice of painting designs onto the shield and outer clothing of knights to enable them to be identified in battle, and later in tournaments. ...

  1. The medieval House of Bjelbo in Sweden, which produced several Swedish statesmen and kings.
  2. The political opponents (singular Folkunge, plural Folkungar) of the same House of Bjelbo. This "political party" fought for the ancient right of free men to elect the kings in Sweden.[1]

The terms are so confusing that the meanings can be explained only through insight into the medieval history of Sweden. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... House of Bjelbo, also known as House of Bjälbo (Bjälboätten in Swedish) or House of Folkung (Folkungaätten in Swedish), was an Ostrogothian Swedish family that provided for several medieval Swedish bishops, jarls and kings. ...

Until the 15th century, Folkunge was used only with the second meaning. However, many of these political opponents were also said to have been descendants of Jarl Folke the Fat (from the House of Bjelbo!), who lived before the family became royal. Hence, in the 15th century, the whole family, then already extinct, became known as the House of Folkung (Folkungaätten in Swedish). (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Folke was according to Gesta Danorum by the Danish 12th century Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus, the most powerful man in Sweden c. ...

Later research, though, showed that the political Folkungs were not just descendants of Jarl Folke—instead, they belonged to different Swedish noble families, united by the ambition to fight against a central ruler of Sweden. According to one theory, Folkungs wanted to keep the old "freedom" of the petty kingdoms, including the election of kings, and to retain local power in their own control.[1] Many Folkungs came from the ancient provinces of Svealand, opposing the ruling families of the time that were mostly Geatish. The first Folkung uprising in 1229 was successful, elevating Canute II on the throne. Later developments were less promising, and the centralized system eventually suppressed their resistance. Svealand Swedens historical four lands. ... Geats (Gautar Old Norse or Götar in Swedish) is the Old English spelling of the name of a Scandinavian people living in Götaland, land of the Geats, currently within the borders of modern Sweden. ... Canute II (in Sweden called Knut LÃ¥nge till Sko) was king of Sweden from 1229 to 1234. ...

There is still a lot of research to be done, and all the questions are not answered. For now, the term Folkung or Folkunge can be used of the House of Bjelbo and of their political enemies as well.

See also

Seal of Magnus I Magnus I of Sweden (1240 – 1290), often called Ladulås: Barnlock, was king of Sweden from 1275/1280 until his death in 1290. ... Unification The date of the unification of Sweden varies. ... // Main article: Prehistoric Sweden Sweden, as well as the adjacent country Norway, has a high concentration of petroglyphs (ristningar[1] or hällristningar[2] in Swedish) throughout the country, with the highest concentration in the province of Bohuslän. ...


  1. ^ a b Kari 2004, p. 117


  • Kari, Risto (2004), Suomalaisten keskiaika, WSOY, ISBN 951-0-28321-5



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