m. ABT 985
Facts and Events
Eric the Victorious (Old Norse: Eiríkr inn sigrsæli, Modern Swedish: Erik Segersäll) (945? – c. 995) was the first Swedish king (970–995) about whom anything definite is known. Whether he actually qualifies as King of Sweden has been debated, as his son Olof Skötkonung was the first ruler documented to have been accepted both by the Svear around Lake Mälaren and by the Götar around Lake Vättern.
Sometimes Eric the Victorious is referred to as either King Eric V or VI, modern inventions based on counting backwards from Eric XIV (1560–68), who adopted his numeral according to a fictitious history of Sweden. Whether or not there were any Swedish monarchs named Eric before Eric the Victorious is disputed, with some historians claiming that there were several earlier Erics, and others questioning the reliability of the primary sources used and the existence of these earlier monarchs. The list of monarchs after him is also complicated (see Eric and Eric, as well as Erik Årsäll), which makes the assignment of any numeral problematic.
His original territory lay in Uppland and neighbouring provinces. He acquired the name "victorious" as a result of his defeating an invasion from the south in the Battle of Fýrisvellir close to Uppsala. Reports that Eric's brother Olof was the father of his opponent in that battle, Styrbjörn the Strong, belong to the realm of myth.
The extent of his kingdom is unknown. In addition to the Swedish heartland round lake Mälaren it may have extended down the Baltic Sea coast as far south as Blekinge. According to Adam of Bremen, he also briefly controlled Denmark after having defeated Sweyn Forkbeard.
According to the Flateyjarbok, his success was because he allied with the free farmers against the aristocratic jarl class, and it is obvious from archeological findings that the influence of the latter diminished during the last part of the tenth century. He was also, probably, the introducer of the famous medieval Scandinavian system of universal conscription known as the ledung in the provinces around Mälaren.