Great Game XVI: Galloway-Ynglings

Looking back at this, I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time describing some fairly repetitive revolts and wars. It’s a peril, I suppose, of writing one installment every week. You tend to get focused on the tree of the day, without checking if, perhaps, you might be better off describing the forest. Still, an interesting tidbit this week in the Galloway-Ynglings; one of the more unrealistic features of CK is the way in which a Duke title can move around. In the real history, the feudal system was fairly badly defined at the level of counts and dukes; a Duke of X was rarely Count of Y, and his vassals tended to be Barons and knights. But in CK there are exactly three levels, and you can hold titles in all three. So the Duke of Skåne probably starts out as Count of Skåne as well, but it doesn’t take much luck for him to lose the Count title, move to some completely different province he inherited at some point, and suddenly the Duke of Skåne is a Spanish subject.



Kolbein of Kalmar hight a man, who held Trøndelag from Eirik Yngling. Now this Kolbein was a very proud and haughty man, and once when he was invited to a feast at Eirik Jarl’s court, he took offense because he was only given the second-best seat – the best going to Olaf Jämtlands-jarl, who also was at the feast. So when he came home, Kolbein raised the banner of rebellion, and said he would pay no more scot to the Ynglings. And in this all the bønder of Trøndelag supported him; and so when Eirik came to subdue his rebellious vassal, he found a large host awaiting him, and his army was badly beaten.

But when King Olaf received word of this, he said, “Shall we let this Kolbein, who is not even of our blood, do as he wishes in Norway? There are Ynglings enough without land; for this upstart of Kalmar even to rule Trøndelag is an affront to them; and now he does not even pay scot?” And he called up the men of Skåne and Viken, and marched upon Trøndelag and beat the bønder swiftly into submission. Then he put Svein, son of Eilif, son of Håkon, son of that Erlend who was King of Norway, to rule over that land; and because the jarls of Norrland had let a rebel beat their armies, he made Svein jarl of Västergotland so that he should not hold the land of the Norrland-jarls, but directly of the King. In this wise did King Olaf punish rebellion and incompetence both.


Now in the days of King Torgeir, Arnmod son of Eilif the king’s brother had become chief in Galloway, as has been told. When the Great Rising came, Arnmod had pledged his loyalty to Dunkeld King of Scots, for he did not wish to be tainted with the sin of Simon’s murder, and thought to remove the memory of the deed by serving another king.

In this, however, he was not succesful, and soon the Scot-King fell upon him in order to put a Scot on the throne of Galloway. Arnmod was forced to flee to his holdings in Öland; but soon after this, Philip of England sent a vast host north into Scotland and took its throne for himself. Therefore Dunkeld was unable to place his own man over the Galwegians, and Arnmod retained his title at least in name; for this reason, his line was henceforth known as the Galloway-Ynglings.

Now Arnmod’s sister Ragna had inherited Hainaut; and when she died without issue, Arnmod thought it best to move his court there, and to pledge his allegiance to the German Emperor; for he feared the might of King Gunnar, whose eyes had indeed sometimes fallen upon Öland. But soon Aubrey of Flanders quarreled with the Emperor, and struck against his vassals in the great war that has been told of. In this war the Galloway-Ynglings took the field against their kinsmen, and for this reason they are sometimes called the Traitor-Ynglings. But King Olaf frowned upon this use, and exiled from his court any who spoke thus; for he held that as the Galwegians were vassals of the German Emperor, it was their duty to fight in his wars; and in any case there were few Yngling lines who had not taken arms against their king in the Great Rising. Besides, King Gunnar had met the Hainaut host in battle and destroyed it, and soon after Arnmod was again forced to flee to Öland, and Aubrey of Flanders took his lands.

Here a Galloway…

There a Galloway…

Arnmod had three sons, and they were called Inge, Ottar, and Skule. When Arnmod died in sick-bed, Inge inherited his lands, and ruled peacefully for some years; but soon he, too, fell ill, and Öland fell to his son Kolbein. Now Kolbein was a strong and handsome man, light of hair and well muscled; his eyes were sharper than any man’s. In his time the Kaiser-geld, the scot to pay for the German Emperor’s wars, fell heavily upon the Dukes, and Kolbein felt this bitterly; for Öland is not a rich country. Therefore he became discontented with the rule of the von Thuringens, and he raised his standard against them when the word came for a war against Flanders.

Now the Germans had lost much land, and many men, in their wars against Flanders, Norway, and Bavaria; but still they were a mighty power upon the land. So when King Olaf sent emissaries to Kolbein, suggesting that he should come once more under Yngling protection, Kolbein consented, asking only that Olaf should not give the land of Galloway to any other, if it came under his power; and this Olaf gladly accepted. In this way the Galloway-Ynglings ended their wanderings away from Norway.

43. GERMAN WARS (1204-07)

Hermann von Thuringen hight a man; he was Emperor of Germany after the death of his father Johann. Hermann was a pious man, much given to burning heretics and deeding lands to the Church; but to his foes he was terrible, remembering slights even decades after they were given. In battle he was very forward, leading his men to the charge; and also he was somewhat prone to attacking kings even though they might have more men than he. Now it happened one year that Hermann fell upon Flanders with many men, and burned widely there; and Louis who was king of that land sent to King Olaf, asking him to remember the help Louis’s forefathers had given to Olaf. Therefore Olaf called out the hird and the leidang both, and marched south to the Elbe; there he laid siege to Plauen and forced the city to give him allegiance. But the King of France and the King of England both took advantage of Flanders’s troubles to fall upon him, and the Duchy of Normandie fell thereby under English dominion again; and Olaf could do nothing about this, for he was busy in the Elbe-land. And indeed there were some who said that he had little grief over the matter, for he had not been joyful when the Flanders kings forced the counts in Germany as far as the Weser to do them homage. But he forced Hermann to pay him a large tribute, and with this aid Louis had to be content.

Everywhere a Gal-Gal-Galloway! But of rather greater weight is the Polish acquisition of Russia. 😮 I am hoping for the Mongols to be really, horribly nasty. Let’s say, just strong enough to overrun Poland, just weak enough to be stopped on the Oder.



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