Haakon the Crazy

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Håkon the Crazy (Hákon galinn) was a Norwegian earl and Birkebeiner chieftain during the civil war era in Norway. He was born no later than the 1170s and died in 1214. His epithet "the Crazy" can also be translated as frenzied, furious or frantic and probably refers to ferociousness in battle.


Håkon was the son of Folkvid the Lawspeaker and king Sigurd Munn's bastard daughter Cecilia. Cecilia had been married off to Folkvid, the lawspeaker in Värmland in Sweden, by her father's enemies after he had been defeated and killed in 1155. In 1177, Sverre arrived in Norway and took over leadership of the birkebeiner rebel faction. Sverre claimed to be a son of king Sigurd Munn, and thus Cecilia's brother. Subsequently Cecilia left her husband and returned to Norway, probably taking young Håkon with her. After Sverre succeeded in winning the throne of Norway, Cecilia had her marriage to Folkvid annulled, claiming she had been forced to marry him against her will.


Håkon is first mentioned in 1193, as one of the prominent men among the birkebeiner fighting for King Sverre against the rising of the Isle Beards (Øyskjegger)]. The Øyskjegger had conspired with Harald Maddadsson, the Earl of Orkney, gathering most of their men on the Orkney and Shetland Islands, hence the name of the group. In the spring of 1194, King Sverre sailed south to confront the Øyskjegger. The two fleets met on 3 April in the Battle of Florvåg on Askøy, an island...
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