Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Norwegian civil wars: 1174-1263 Part 2
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  (2,500 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  (2,500 words)  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Use their knowledge of high medieval Norway to construct scholarly arguments about the social and political developments after Sverrir’s death and during the reign of King Hakon Hakonarson.

2. Critically evaluate primary source material relating to the reign of King Hakon Hakonarson.

3. Illustrate their historical arguments regarding the causes and effects of the social and political developments of the later civil war period with primary source material.

4. Situate their historical arguments regarding the causes and effects of the social and political developments of the later civil war period within relevant historiographical debates.​

Brief description

Following the death of King Sverrir, Sverrir’s son, Hakon, was able to retain the throne for the Birkibeinar faction despite being challenged by the Baglar pretender, Ingi Magnusson. However, Hakon’s reign was cut short by his untimely death, allegedly at the hands of his stepmother, in 1204. The unexpected timing of Hakon’s demise resulted in another period of conflict between the Birkibeinar and Baglar over who would succeed as king. The Birkibeinar king Hakon Hakonarson was eventually able to restore some stability to the realm in 1240, but only after his own struggle against rivals for the crown. In part 2 of this module, students will compare the reigns of King Sverrir and King Hakon. What changed between these reigns? What are the key factors which led to these changes? This module will conclude by asking how and why King Hakon Hakonarson was able to bring an end to the cycle of internal conflict within Norway.


1. The struggles following Sverrir’s death
2. King Hakon Hakonarson and Skuli Baroarson
3. The depiction of Skuli and Hakon in Hakonar saga Hakonarsonar
4. The end of the Baglar faction
5. King Hakon Hakonarson and the Church
6. King Hakon Hakonarson and Iceland
7. Konungs Skuggsja (The king’s mirror)
8. European Cultural Connections
9. Law and the crown
10. Was King Hakon Hakonarson a more successful king than King Sverrir?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Seminars will include a range of activities aimed at developing students’ ability to express their ideas in a clear and well-structured manner.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be required to adapt their existing skills in analysing historical sources to a new topic. They will be encouraged to think flexibly about the historical debates in which they are engaging.
Information Technology Students’ ability to select appropriate online resources for academic study will be developed throughout this module and assessed through their essays.
Personal Development and Career planning A range of transferable skills will be developed throughout this module. Students’ ability to solve problems, analyse and evaluate evidence, and communicate effectively will be developed. Students will be asked to reflect upon their own arguments and reconsider them in light of other scholars’ ideas.
Problem solving Students will be encouraged to engage with and provide solutions to methodological problems.
Research skills Students will be asked to analyse the evidence of primary sources and use the information contained within these to evaluate the factors which have led to historical change.
Subject Specific Skills Students’ ability to use their knowledge of high medieval Norway to explain historical change will be developed as will their ability to interpret primary source material.
Team work Seminars will involve group work. This will not be assessed.


This module is at CQFW Level 6