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Sweden in the "Book of All Kingdoms"

Last modified: 2013-08-08 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: sweden | book of all kingdoms | suevia | svaieland | gotlandia | gotia | lions |
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Suevia/Svaeland

[Flag of Suevia]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 November 2007

The 15th flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms [e9s50] is attributed to "Suevia" (Svaeland).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 November 2007


Gotlandia

[Flag of Gotlandia]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 November 2007

The 16th flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms [e9s50] is attributed to "Gotlandia", horizontally stripped of purple and yellow (8 stripes).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 November 2007

According to a newly found description from the 14th Centruy, Gotland was a kingdom with a flag of purpure and yellow. http://www.helagotland.se/nyheter/artikel.aspx?articleid=8233158
Elias Granqvist
, 13 January 2013

This seems to be the flag of Gotland from the "Book of All Kingdoms":
Tomislav Todoroviæ, 14 January 2013

That's because it is the flag of Gotland from the Book of All Kingdoms. From [f0f12], as far as I can tell.
The article is "Sensationell flagga" (Sensational Flag) by Patrik Annerud, published 11 January 2013 at Helagotland.se:
Rolf K Nilsson, who collects flags, noticed that Google had digitised the English edition from 1912 [f0f12] of the Spanish edition from 1877 [f0f77] of a document by a Franciscan monk from the 14th century [f0fXX].
Translated to Swedish, he read:
"Jag reste till en ö de kallar Gotlandia i den tyska gulfen, här finns en stor stad de kallar Bisuy (Visby). Det skall finnas 90 pastorat och där bor många människor. Det finns en mindre ö som heter Oxilia (Ösel). Kungen av dessa öar har en flagg som är guld och lila".

Using the University of Toronto - Robarts Library scan, http://archive.org/details/no29works02hakluoft, done by The Internet Archive in 2007, I find the English text was:
"I left the city of Roderin and, going on board a ship, I passed to an island they call Gotlandia which is in the German Gulf, and on this island there is a great city called Bisuy in which there are ninety parishes, and the island is well peopled. There is a smaller island called Oxilia. The king of these islands has a flag of gold and purple bars. (See Plate IV, 15.)"
For the S codex ([f0fXXs], Spanish National Library) this is depicted as eight stripes, blue over yellow; for the N codex ([f0fXXn], British Royal Library) this is depicted as bendwise of 8 yellow and blue, with a narrow red border around its shield shape. I'd expect this scan by Google to show the same text, but it would be interesting to see whether the colours came out the same.

In [f0f12] "Bisuy" is identified as Wisby in footnote and index, and "Oxilia" as Oesel in the index only. Presumably one style indicates information from [f0f77], while the other indicates information added in [f0f12], but I don't know which is which.
Ösel/Oesel is an island nowadays in Estland, natively called "Saaremaa", which lies North-east of Gotland. North-west from Gotland, on the Swedish coast, there's an area called "Oxelösund", but I'm not sure there's an island "Oxelö" to go with that.
(Our description of [f0fXXn] has it that the N codex is in the British Royal Library, but [f0f12] has it that it's in the Spanisch National Library.)

[Flag of Gotia]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 January 2013

A cropped, low quality image to show the two versions of the Gotlandia flag, as pictured in [f0f12].
The red border the N codex places around all images, except were it would merge with the field, in which case there's a blue border.
Also, note that the book doesn't say that this is the flag of Gotland, or even that Gotland was a Kingdom in those days. All it says is that the king over the two islands had such a flag. Considering that Valdemar Attertag gave up Estonia before he took Gotland, it's not clear what King would have held both islands, though, unless Oesel was not considered part of Estland in those days to begin with.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 January 2013


Götia

[Flag of Gotia]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 November 2007

The 17th flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms [e9s50] is attributed to "Götia" The flag is identical to the flag attributed to Suevia.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 November 2007


The Hakluyth Society translation, says little about Götia, except that it seems to be the place of origin of the Vikings, but appears to be a reference to the area between Kalmar and Stockholm.
Phil Nelson, 10 November 2007


Since Svear and Götar had been united in the Swedish monarchy for centuries by 1350 it is not surprising the same flag would be shown for both.

For a map of Svear, Götar, and Gotland, see http://www.zum.de/whkmla/histatlas/scandinavia/sw12c.gif. Ned Smith, 10 November 2007

You can also see the FOTW clickable map of traditional Swedish provinces. Nowadays, Götaland is considered to consist of the provinces of Västergötland, Östergötland, Dalsland, Bohuslän, Småland, Halland, Öland, Gotland, Blekinge and Scania. Gotland is thus a part of Götaland. Elias Granqvist, 20 December 2010