Olaf II of Norway

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Olaf II Haraldsson (Old Norse: Óláfr Haraldsson) (995 – July 29, 1030) was king of Norway from 1015 to 1028, (known during his lifetime as (Óláfr Digre) and after his canonization as Saint Olaf or Olaus). In modern day Scandinavia he is known as Olav den Hellige (Olaf the Holy) or Heilag-Olav (Holy Olaf) in honor of his sainthood.[3]

Contents

Background

Olaf was born in Ringerike. His mother was Åsta Gudbrandsdatter, and his father was Harald Grenske, great-great-grandchild of Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway. Harald Grenske who died when Åsta Gudbrandsdatter was pregnant with Olaf. She later married Sigurd Syr, with whom she had other children including Harald Hardrada who would reign as a future king of Norway.

Olaf Haraldsson had the given the name Óláfr in Old Norse. (Etymology: Anu – "forefather", Leifr – "heir".) Olav is the modern equivalent in Norwegian, formerly often spelt Olaf. His name in Icelandic is Ólafur, in Faroese Ólavur, in Danish Oluf, in Swedish Olof. Olave was the traditional spelling in England, preserved in the name of medieval churches dedicated to him. Other names, such as Oláfr hinn helgi, Olavus rex, and Olaf are used interchangeably (see the Heimskringla of Snorri Sturluson). He is sometimes referred to as Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae, eternal King of Norway, a designation which goes back to the thirteenth century. The term Ola Nordmann as epithet of the archetypal Norwegian may originate in this tradition, as the name Olav for centuries was the most common male name in Norway.

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