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Olaf II Sihtricsson


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Nicknamed ‘Cuaran’ (‘Slipper’), was cousin of Olaf Guthrithsson and succeeded him in 941 in Dublin and York, and was the son of Sihtric ‘Caech’, who had ruled in York until 927. However, he was not able long to retain the enormous gains made by Olaf Guthrithsson at the expense of Mercia. Edmund took the opportunity at once to reconquer the territories ceded in 940 with little, if any, resistance. In 943 Olaf came to terms with Edmund, converting to Christianity and acknowledging the loss of his lands south of the Humber. It may be that his surrender cost him the support of the Danes at York, where he was temporarily replaced by Ragnall II Guthrithsson. In 944 Edmund intruded into this civil war and, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, drove out both kings, resuming control of Northumbria. Ragnall seems to have been killed, but Olaf returned to Dublin. He regained power in Northumbria in 949 but ran into fresh competition from Erik Bloodaxe, and was again driven out in 952. The rest of his life was spent in Ireland as king of Dublin. In 980, after a sharp defeat, he retired to Iona, ending his days there in 981. The medieval poem Havelock the Dane is based loosely upon his adventures.

Subjects: British History.


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