erik mace

Funny Epithets 10: Eric II Emune (c. 1097-1137)

Danish king whose nickname means “memorable “and his life was indeed colourful. “Emune” was an illegitimate son of king Eric Evergood  who died while on pilgrimage in Holy land. Being a bastard Emune’s initial chances for throne were minuscule and he actually became a minor jarl in southern Denmark. In the early 1130s Eric began a rebellion against ruling king Niels of Denmark who also happened to be his his uncle. The rebellion was a bit of rollercoaster ride for Eric but in the end his army  won a decive battle at Fotevik.

As a king Eric tried  to be a strong and effective ruler. He for example proclaimed a crusade against people of Rügen and managed to defeat them in a swift campaign. The king also attacked Norway and during this military expedition he managed to burn down Oslo.

Eric’s harsh internal policies made him enemies though and in the end he was murdered by a nobleman called “Black Plough” (Sorte plov). Wikipedia has an interesting description of the murder:

“According to legend, Sorte Plov asked permission to approach the king, carrying a spear in his hand with a block of wood protecting the tip. Having deemed that King Eric wore no mail underneath his tunic, Sorte Plov kicked off the protection, and drove his spear right through the king. King Eric’s nephew Erik Håkonssøn stepped forward with sword in hand, but the nobleman told him to calm down, seeing as how he – Erik – was next in line for the throne, being the only adult male in the royal family: "Put away thine mace, young Erik. A juicy piece of meat hath fallen in thine bowl!” :-))

According to legend the kingslayer was not punished whereas the young Erik Håkonssøn actually became a new king. He too has an interesting nickname - Erik the Lamb :-).