The Cult of St Erik in Medieval Sweden: Veneration of a Royal Saint, Twelfth-Sixteenth Centuries

The Cult of St Erik in Medieval Sweden: Veneration of a Royal Saint, Twelfth-Sixteenth Centuries

by Christian Oertel


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In this first comprehensive monograph on St Erik, the author follows the cult of the Swedish royal saint from its obscure beginnings in the twelfth century up to its climax in the time of the Kalmar Union (1397-1523). The focus of the book lies on the interaction of the cult with different groups within medieval Swedish society and these group's attempts to utilize the prestige of the saint to further their political aims. From the middle of the thirteenth century, the cult was particularly connected to the archbishopric of Uppsala and the royal dynasty of Bjalbo. During the fifteenth century the Swedish royal saint symbolized (together with St Olaf of Norway and St Knut of Denmark) the three kingdoms of the Kalmar Union. At the same time, his prestige was successfully employed in the propaganda of King Karl Knutsson (Bonde) and the three Sture-riksforestandare to legitimate their anti-Union politics. In order to gain a broader perspective, the author uses a wide variety of sources. These include a number of texts which contain information about the cult of the saint (legend, miracle collection, offices, sermons, chronicles, charters). In addition, different sorts of depictions showing St Erik on wall paintings, altarpieces, seals, and coins are used in order to give a comprehensive account of the multifaceted veneration of this saint.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9782503555072
Publisher: Brepols Publishers
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Series: Acta Scandinavica Series , #5
Edition description: Bilingual
Pages: 398
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Foreword xi

Abbreviations xiii

Chapter 1 Religion, Politics, and the Cult of Saints 1

Chapter 2 The Sources 15

Chapter 3 Royal Saints and the Shift of Faith 27

Chapter 4 The Early Cult (1160-c. 1250) 67

Chapter 5 The First Wave of Cult Intensification (c. 1250-1319) 97

Chapter 6 Times of Stagnation versus the Rule of Magnus Eriksson (1319-89) 147

Chapter 7 St Erik and the Kalmar Union (1389-1520) 177

Chapter 8 St Erik among the Canon of Saints 263

Conclusion 271

Zusammenfassung 277

Appendix 1 The Legend of St Erik 285

Appendix 2 The Miracles of St Erik and St Olaf 289

Appendix 3 Charters using St Erik's Feast Day for Dating 299

Appendix 4 Depictions of St Erik 317

Appendix 5 Pictures showing all Three Scandinavian Royal Saints 329

Appendix 6 Genealogical Tables 331

Bibliography 339

Index 381

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