Godred II Olafsson - Exile in Norway

Exile in Norway

If the Chronicle of Mann is to be believed, on his defeat by Somerled, Godred fled to Norway to ask for assistance. However, contemporaneous sources show that Godred attempted to garner aid from the English and Scottish kings in 1158 and 1159 respectively before sailing to Norway. Godred appears to have been in Norway in about 1160, where he is recorded in connection with Inge Haraldsson, King of Norway, in late 1160 or early 1161. Inge may have formally recognised Godred as King of the Isles during a public ceremony in 1160, since four Icelandic chronicles record that he assumed the kingship in that year.

In the mid 12th century, Norway was in the midst of civil war. Harald Gille, King of Norway was murdered in 1136, leaving several sons by different mothers—Eysteinn, Sigurd, Magnus, and Inge. For a short time there was peace between the brother's factions, until Sigurd was slain by followers of Inge in 1155. Eysteinn was killed two years later, and his men then elected Hakon Sigurdsson (son of the slain Sigurd) as their leader. On 3–4 February 1161, Hakon attacked Inge near what is today the city of Oslo, at what was known as the Battle of Oslo. According to the medieval Heimskringla, Godred was present at the battle as a follower of Inge. The saga describes how Inge deployed his army of 4,000 men and waited for the approach of Hakon and his army. Godred's position is described as on one of Inge's wings, along with another man, John Sveinsson. According to the saga, when Hakon's forces drew close Godred and John signalled to Hakon and his followers in order to let them know their location. It then states that Godred fled the scene with 1,500 of his followers while John and his men, joined the ranks of Hakon. Inge's depleted line was thrown into disarray, and according to the saga, he was slain in the ensuing battle. Godred's participation at the battle may have been part of the fulfilment of his obligation to render military service as Inge's vassal. After Inge's death, his followers chose Magnus Erlingsson, young son of Erling Skakke, as their king. The next year Hakon was slain battling Erling. Godred is suspected to have been present at the coronation of Magnus, in 1163 or 1164.

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