Friday, 28 August 2015

Håtunaleken – The Full Host of King Birger Magnusson


As I now have finished my host for our club project Håtunaleken, about the feuding royal brothers in early 14th century Sweden, I decided to take some pictures of the assembled units. To me, it's always very satisfying seeing a finished project like this.

This is a full 24 points retinue for Lion Rampant consisting of:
Mounted Men-at-Arms (Drilled) 7 points
Foot Men-at-Arms 6 points
Foot Serjeants 4 points
Foot Yeomen (Mixed Weapons) 5 points
Bidowers 2 points

Leading from the front, swinging his big axe and accompanied
by his personal bodyguard, is the king himself.
In the background can be seen the fearsome knights,
ready to make short work of any rebellious brothers.

The miniatures are a mix of Black Tree Design, Curtey's and Gripping Beast. There are some headswaps hidden amongst the units, with new heads from Curtey's and West Wind.

I had my first game with the complete host this past Monday – and it was a complete and utter disaster! More about this humiliating defeat in Dalauppror's upcoming AAR I'm sure ...

And to finish it all off, here is the last part of the story of the Second Feud of Brothers. When we left the three royal brothers – Birger, Erik and Valdemar – Sweden had just fought a civil war with the king Birger on one side and the younger brothers duke Erik and duke Valdemar on the other. Since Birger and Erik through marriage, had the support of the Danish and the Norwegian kings respectively, neither side was strong enough and the fighting was inconclusive. Instead, on initiative of the two other kings, in 1310 a peace treaty was signed and Sweden was now definitely split between the brothers and in practice ruled as three independent kingdoms. However, as the "legitimate" king Birger had, in his own opinion at least, drawn the shortest straw, he naturally wanted to restore his power and unite the kingdom under himself once again.

Here are the king's trusted knektar (serjeants),
and in front of them some skirmishing peasants.

In December 1317, as a sign of reconciliation, king Birger invited the dukes Erik and Valdemar to Nyköpings hus (Nyköping Castle). When they arrived they were told only they could stay at the castle, since there wasn't enough room to house all their men. Instead, the men had to make camp in the city itself.

On the night between December 10th and 11th, the dukes were arrested by a company of crossbow men. According to the legends, the king himself was present at the arrests and is told to have said:

Minnes idher nakot aff Haatwna leek?
Fulgörla minnes han mik!
Thenne er ey bätre än hin!

(Do you remember the Håtuna Games?
All too well I remember them!
This one will not be any better!)

The dukes were then imprisoned in the dungeons, while in the morning all their men were also arrested. These particular events have became known as "Nyköpings gästbud" (Nyköping Banquet).

However, Birger had misjudged the political situation: rather than acknowledge him as king, the dukes' supporters rose up against Birger and Sweden was once again thrown into a civil war.

Finally the allmoge, peasants armed with a mix of spears,
polearms and crossbows. (Sorry about the blurry picture!)

When Nyköping castle was besieged in the summer of 1318, Birger and his queen were forced to flee to the island Gotland and then further on to Denmark. In the meantime, their son, Magnus, was left in charge of the defenders of the castle. However, they could not hold out against the attacking forces and Magnus was also forced to flee towards Gotland. During the flight he was captured and later executed in Stockholm in 1320. When the dukes' supporters broke into the castle they found both Erik and Valdemar dead in the dungeons. How they died remains unclear to this day – were they murdered or did they die of starvation?

Birger ended his days in exile in Denmark 1321, while duke Erik's only son Magnus Eriksson was chosen as king of Sweden in 1319 at the age of three. Prior to this, he had been declared king of Norway after his grandfather king Håkon Magnusson had died, and thus he was destined to become a very powerful man indeed. King Magnus was a very interesting person, for many reasons, but this is another story best left for another time!

Have a great weekend everyone and thank you very much for reading!

26 comments:

  1. Fabulous retinue, I just love your painting style! Great painting and posing like this is a peek into the past.

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    1. Thanks Monty! It's good seeing you again!

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  2. Love the 14th century...and your job on the colors is excellent Jonas, congrats!

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    1. Many thanks for your kind words Phil! I agree, there's something special about the 14th century ...

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  3. Lovely piece of history to accompany some wonderfully painted figures.

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    1. Thanks Steve, I'm glad you like the minis and the little history lesson. :)

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  4. Superbly painted and photographed retinue!

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    1. Thank you Dean, much appreciated!

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  5. Stunning indeed Jonas !

    AAR of you latest adventures will com soon...

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    1. Thanks Michael! Looking forward to the AAR – or maybe not ... ;)

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  6. Classic to lose the first time your newly painted miniatures are put on the table. :-)
    Great paint job both individually and for the host as a whole. All together they look spectacular.
    Great write up of an exciting piece of Swedish history aswell.
    /Mattias

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    1. And I forgot to add that the backdrop in the first picture looks great and works wonders with the colours of your table!

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    2. Thank you Mattias, much appreciated! Yeah, I suppose there is something to the old wargaming superstition about newly painted troops after all ... ;)

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  7. Great post and excellent job on the minis!

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  8. Very interesting read and wonderful looking troops Jonas!

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    1. Many thanks Rodger, nice that you appreciate some Swedish history as well! :)

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  9. Superb work! Don't worry about the in-game disasters, I have them all the time :-)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Dan, much appreciated! :)

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  10. Just brilliant! Fantastic colours!

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    1. Thank you very much indeed Gordon!

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  11. This is such a great collection and really great paint jobb. And allways nice with a history reminder.

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  12. Those look great! Really like your colour choice's. I really do need to build a retinue and this is giving me some inspiration!

    Christopher

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