Magnus III Olavsson

Magnus Olavsson (1073 - 1103)

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Magnus (Magnus III) "Berrføtt - Barelegs or Barefoot" Olavsson
Born in Folkinsberg, Eidsberg, Ostfold, Norwaymap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Trondheim, Sor-Trondelag, Norwaymap
Descendants descendants
Died in Ulster, Irelandmap
Profile last modified | Created 24 Feb 2016
This page has been accessed 1,610 times.

Categories: List of Norwegian Monarchs | Norwegian Nobility | Scandinavian Nobility (Viking Period).


King. Parents: King Olav Haraldsson Kyrre III (ca. 1050-1093) and Tora Arnesdatter[1]. Married to the Swedish princess Margrete Fredkolla (died ca. 1130). Cousin of King Hakon Magnusson Toresfostre (1069-1095); father of King Øystein I Magnusson (ca. 1088-1123), King Sigurd Magnusson I Jorsalfare (ca. 1089-1130), King Olav Magnusson (ca. 1100-1115), King Harald IV Gille (ca. 1102-1136) and Sigurd Slembe (died 1139). Magnus Olafsson (Old Norse: Magnús Óláfsson, Norwegian: Magnus Olavsson; 1073 – 24 August 1103), better known as Magnus Barefoot[2] [3] [4]. (Old Norse: Magnús berfœttr, Norwegian: Magnus Berrføtt), was King of Norway (as Magnus III) from 1093 until his death in 1103.

Magnus the Barefoot government lasted 10 years, among the few domestic developments known during his reign, Norway developed a more-centralised rule and moved closer to the European model of church organisation. Also, under his control the monarchy had gained great centralized power and rule. Meanwhile, Magnus was seen as the last of the Viking kings - in a certain sense of the past - like his grandfather Harald Hardrada, which he obviously had as a role model, and it is this side of his kingship sources tell most about. Into modern times, his legacy has remained more pronounced in Ireland and Scotland than in his native Norway. Popularly portrayed as a Viking warrior rather than a medieval monarch, Magnus was the last Norwegian king to fall in battle abroad, and he may in some respects be considered the final Viking king.

Magnus grew up among the hird (royal retinue) of his father in Nidaros (modern Trondheim), de facto capital of Norway at the time. His father's cousin, the chieftain Tore Ingeridsson, was foster-father to Magnus. In his youth, he was apparently more similar to his warlike grandfather, King Harald Hardrada, than to his father (who bore the byname Kyrre: "the Peaceful"). His reign was marked by aggressive military campaigns and conquest, particularly in the Norse-dominated parts of the British Isles, and he extended his rule to the Kingdom of the Isles and Dublin.

Magnus was succeeded as king by his three sons, Øystein, Sigurd and Olaf. They had different mothers, and not one of the mothers seem to have belonged to prominent families. Magnus was only 30 years old when he died, completely in accordance with what he used to say when his men blamed him he was audacious: To frægðar shall Konung hafa, one ekki to langlífis - "The king should have the glory and not to long life! "


Magnus married Margaret Fredkulla, daughter of Swedish king Inge Stenkilsson, as part of the peace agreement of 1101. Their marriage did not produce any children. His three sons (who succeeded him as king) were born to different women, and he had two known daughters by unidentified women:

1. Eystein: Born 1089 to a mother "of low birth".

2. Sigurd: Born 1090; his mother's name was Tora.

3. Olaf: Born c. 1099, his mother was Sigrid Saxesdatter from Vik in Strinda, Trøndelag.

4. Ragnhild: Married Harald Kesja, Danish pretender and son of Danish king Eric Evergood.

5. Tora: Married Icelandic chieftain Loftur Sæmundsson.

Years after Magnus' death, other men came forward claiming to be his sons; however, it is impossible to ascertain the veracity of these claims:

6. Harald Gille: Born 1103 in Ireland, his claim was recognised by Magnus' son Sigurd.

7. Sigurd Slembe: His mother was Tora Saxesdatter from Vik; his claim was not recognised (by Harald Gille).

8. Magnus Raude: Mentioned only in Fagrskinna.


  1. Magnus was born around the end of 1073 as the only son of King Olaf Kyrre. His mother's identity is uncertain; she is identified as Tora Arnesdatter (daughter of otherwise-unknown Arne Låge) in Morkinskinna and Fagrskinna, as Tora Joansdatter in Heimskringla, Hrokkinskinna and Hryggjarstykki and an unnamed daughter of "Ragnvald jarl" from Godøy, Sunnmøre in the genealogical text Af en gl. ætleg (commonly known as Sunnmørsættleggen). The historical consensus (including P. A. Munch and Claus Krag) has favoured Tora Arnesdatter, but the other claims have also gained support. Anders Stølen has argued that she was a daughter of Ragnvald jarl (who has been identified as Rognvald Brusason, Earl of Orkney by Ola Kvalsund), while historian Randi Helene Førsund has considered Tora Joansdatter more likely. [1]
  2. According to Snorri Sturluson, Magnus was considered handsome and gifted in learning; although he was shorter in stature than his grandfather Harald, he was reportedly known as "Magnus the Tall". Magnus' more-common byname, "Barefoot" or "Barelegs", was—according to Snorri—due to his adopting the Gaelic dress of the Irish and Scots: a short tunic, which left the lower legs bare.
  3. Another version (by Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus) maintains that he acquired the nickname because he was forced to flee from a Swedish attack in his bare feet
  4. a third explanation is that he rode barefoot (like the Irish). Due to Magnus' aggressive nature and his campaigns abroad, he also had the nickname styrjaldar-Magnús ("Warrior Magnus" or "Magnus the Strife-lover")

See also:

European Aristocracy
Magnus III Olavsson was a member of aristocracy in Europe.
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No known carriers of Magnus III's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 2
Magnus Olavsen Image 1
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Magnus Olafsson Image 1


Magnus III is 31 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 28 degrees from Burl Ives and 21 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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