eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
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Acta Historica Tallinnensia
ISSN 1736-7476 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-2925 (Print)
Impact Factor (2022): 0.3


This article discusses the use of the cult of the Holy King in the context of the Baltic Crusades at the end of the 12th century and in the early 13th century. The analysis is based on the account of the miracle of St Olaf performed in Estonia, the story of the King’s visit to the island of Gotland reflected by Gutasagan and the spatial relation of St Olaf’s churches to the landscape. It also discusses three Danish sources which have previously not received attention from historians dealing with the Baltic Crusades, but which actually can change our understanding of the history of the Baltic Sea region and the foundation of the town Reval as well. Particular focus will be placed on the commercial interest of the Danes in communication with the Rus’ and its reflections in the building of St Olaf’s churches.


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2. Riksarkivet. SDHK (Medeltidsbrev) No. 434. 26 july 1225.

3. Yrwing, H. De s.k. köpmannskyrkorna. – Fornvännen, 1980, 75.

4. Svahnström, G. Visby domkyrka. Kyrkobyggnaden. Sveriges kyrkor. Vol. 175. Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1978, 9; see also the critic of Hugo Yrwing: Yrwing, H. De s.k. köpmannskyrkorna, 49–53.

5. Svahnström, G. Visby domkyrka, 122, 134; Die Chronik Arnolds von Lübeck: Nach der Ausgabe der Monumenta Germaniae. Trans. J. C. M. Laurent. Besser, Berlin, 1853, ch. 12–13.

6. Kattinger, D. Die Gotländische Genossenschaft: Der frühhansisch-gotländische Handel in Nord- und Westeuropa. Böhlau, Köln, 1999, 96–97.

7. SDHK No. 434; Yrwing, H. Visby – Hansestad på Gotland. Gidlunds, Stockholm, 1986, 104.

8. Johansen, P. Die Kaufmannskirche. – In: Die Zeit der Stadtgründung im Ostseeraum. Ed. M. Stenberger. (Acta Visbyensia, I.) Gotlands Fornsal, Visby, 1965, 85–134.

9. See, for example Mänd, A. Saints’s Cults in Medieval Livonia. – In: The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. Ed. A. V. Murray. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, 2009, 205–209.

10. Mortensen, L. B. Writing and Speaking of St Olaf: National and Social Integration. – In: Saints and their Lives on the Periphery. Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000–1200). Ed. H. Antosson, I. H. Garipzanov. Brepols, Turnhout, 2010, 211; Jiroušková, L. Textual Evidence for the Transmission of the Passio Olavi Prior to 1200 and its Later Literary Transformations. – In: Saints and their Lives on the Periphery. Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000–1200). Ed. H. Antosson, I. H. Garipzanov. Brepols, Turnhout, 2010, 235–237.

11. Passio et Miracula Beati Olaui. Edited from a twelfth-century manuscript in the library of Corpus Christi college, Oxford. Ed. F. Metcalfe. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1881, 109–111.

12. Zilmer, K. ‘He drowned in Holmer’s sea – his cargo ship drifted to the sea-bottom, only three came out alive’: Records and Representations of Baltic Traffic in the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages in Early Nordic Sources. (Nordistica Tartuensia, 12.) Tartu University Press, 2005, 161–162.

13. Jackson, T. N. The Cult of St Olaf and Early Novgorod. – In: Saints and their Lives on the Periphery. Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000–1200). Ed. H. Antosson, I. H. Garipzanov. Brepols, Turnhout, 2010, 157–159.

14. Guta Saga. The History of the Gotlanders. Ed. C. Peel. Viking Society for Northern Research Text Series. Vol. XII. Univeristy College London, 1999, 9.

15. Hallencreuz, C. F. Der Heiligen König und die Christianisierung Gotlands. – In: St. Olav, seine Zeit und sein Kult. Ed. G. Svahnström. (Acta Visbyensia, VI.) Museum Gotlands Fornsal, Visby, 1981, 90–94.

16. The recent research see Stobaeus, P. Gotlands kristnande enligt Gutasagan. – Kyrka och tro på medeltidens Gotland. Till minne av Gunnar Svahnström (1915–2012). – Gotländskt Arkiv, 2013, 85, 25–26.

17. Carlsson, D., Björk, N., Hillberg, J. Rapport från den arkeologiska undersökningen på St Olofsholm 2013. – Arendus Rapport, 2014, 7; Carlsson, D., Björk, N., Hillberg, J. Hellvi, S:t Olofsholm. Arkeologisk undersökning. – Arendus Rapport, 2014, 39.

18. Carlsson, D., Björk, N., Hillberg, J. Hellvi, S:t Olofsholm, 77–78.

19. Several researchers have considered the possibility whether Christianity had partly reached the island from eastern way, but towards the end of the 12th century, when the wooden churches were replaced with the stone churches, the Catholic Church architecture was dominant (Lagerlöf, E. Gotland och Bysans. Byzantiskt inflytande på den gotländska kyrkokonsten under medeltiden. Ödins Förlag AB, Visby, 1999, 36; Ros, J. Sigtuna: staden, kyrkorna och den kyrkliga organisationen. Uppsala universitet, 2001, 171).

20. Vasilyeva, S. Bysantinska traditioner i Gotlands konst under 1100-talet. – Fornvännen, 2009, 104, 97–111.

21. Roslund, M. Gutar, främlingar och den förblindande vikingatiden – om staden Visbys tidigaste datering. – In: Från stad till land. En medeltids arkeologisk resa till ägnad Hans Andersson. Eds A. Andrén, L. Ersgård, J. Wienberg. Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 2001, 247.

22. Staecker, J. Bremen – Canterbury – Kiev – Konstantinopel? Auf Spurensuche nach Missionierenden und Missionierten in Altdänemark und Schweden. – In: Rom und Byzanz im Norden. Mission und Glaubenswechsel im Ostseeraum während des 8.–14. Jahrhunderts. Band 1. Ed. M. Müller-Wille. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, 1997, 74.

23. Lind, J. H. Darkness in the East? Scandinavian scholars on the question of Eastern influence in Scandinavia during the Viking Age and Early Middle Ages. – In: From Goths to Varangians. Communication and Cultural Exchange between the Baltic and the Black Sea. Eds L. Bjerg, J. H. Lind, S. M. Sindbæk. Aarhus University Press, 2013, 355–359.

24. Carlsson, D., Björk, N., Hillberg, J. Hellvi, S:t Olofsholm, 71–75.

25. Guta Saga. The History of the Gotlanders, liii.

26. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia. Trans. J. A. Brundage. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1961; repr. with a new introduction, notes and bibliography, Columbia University Press, New York, 2003.

27. Yrwing, H. Visby – Hansestad på Gotland, 308.

28. Strelow, H. N. Cronica Guthilandorum. Martzan, Kjøbinghaffn, 1633, 140.

29. Rafn, C. C. Kongesagaer. Oldnordiske Sagaer. Bind 11. Knytlinga Saga. København, 1829, 70.

30. Lagerlöf, E., Svahnström, G. Gotlandskyrkor. Rabén & Sjögren, Uddevalla, 1991, 75–77. Actually, the whole area of the current botanical garden where the trading enclave might have situated is not investigated, and the modest archaeological investigations from 1962 are not sufficient to argue that there has never been en earlier church on the site.

31. Strelow, H. N. Cronica Guthilandorum, 142.

32. See more about dynastic connections in Lind, J. De russiskeægteskaber. Dynasti- og alliancepolitik i 1130’ernes Danske borgerkrig. – Historisk Tidskrift, 1992, 92/2, 262–263.

33. Bysted, A. L. et al. Jerusalem in the North. Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100–1522. Brepols, Turnhout, 2012, 121–123.

34. Diplomatarium Danicum, Række 1, bind 3, No. 63; Bysted, A. L. et al. Jerusalem in the North, 122.

35. Selart, A. Livonia, Rus’ and the Baltic Crusades in the Thirteenth Century. East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 450–1450. Vol. 29. Brill, Leiden, 2015, 52.

36. Radiņš, A. Some notes on the Daugava Way. The end of 12th – beginning of 13th century. – In: Culture Clash or Compromise? The Europeanisation of the Baltic Sea Area 1100–1400 AD. Gotland Centre for Baltic Studies, Gotland University Collage, Visby, 1998, 188.

37. See more in Eile, G., Blomkvist, N. Första Novgorodkrönikan. Gotlands Museum, Fornsalensförlag, Visby, 2016, 65–66.

38. Markus, K. Die Christianisierung Livlands aus der Perspektive visueller Quellen. – Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung, 2015, 64, H. 4, 477–497; Radiņš, A. Some notes on the Daugava Way, 188; Radiņš, A. Daugmale, Jersika, Riga. The Development of Economic and Political Centres along the Lower Reaches of the Daugava. – In: Lübeck Style? Novgorod Style? Baltic Rim Central Places as Arenas for Cultural Encounters and Urbanisation 1100–1400 AD. Ed. M. Auns. Nordic, Riga, 2001, 89–94; Zemītis, G. 10th–12th Century Daugmale. The Earliest Urban Settlement along the Lower Daugava and Forerunner of Riga. – In: Cultural Interaction between East and West. Archaeology, Artefacts and Human Contacts in Northern Europe. Eds U. Fransson, M. Svedin, S. Bergerbrant, F. Androshchuk. Stockholm University, 2007, 279–284.

39. There are also some St Olaf’s chapels, which may have been founded by the Swedish settlers in the medieval or early modern times (Suur- ja Väike-Pakri, Nõva, Sastama, Ruhnu, Kärdla).

40. Alttoa, K., Kurisoo, M. Materialien zur Kirche in Sääre (Zerel) auf Saaremaa (Ösel). – Baltic Journal of Art History, 2012, 4, 171.

41. Johansen, P. Nordische Mission, Revals Gründung und die Schwedensiedlung in Estland. Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm, 1951, 300.

42. Alttoa, K., Kurisoo, M. Materialien zur Kirche in Sääre, 178–179.

43. Johann Christoph Brotze, Estonica. Eds A. Hein, I. Leimus, R. Pullat, A. Viires. Estopol, Tallinn, 2006, 526–527.

44. Johansen, P. Nordische Mission, 302; The baptismal font is from the Late-Middle ages (Tuulse, A. Mittelalterliche Taufsteine in Estland. (Apophoreta Tartuensia.) Eesti Teaduslik Selts Rootsis, Stockholm, 1949, 160; Kurisoo, M. Ristimise läte. Eesti kirikute sisustus, II. Muinsuskaitseamet, Tallinn, 2009, 73–74).

45. Mägi, M. Ösel and the Danish Kingdom: Revisiting Henry’s Chronicle and the Archaeological Evidence. – In: Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia. Ed. M. Tamm, L. Kaljundi, C. S. Jensen. Ashgate, Burlington, 2011, 317–322.

46. Boström, R. Böda och S:t Olof. Åkerbo härad, Öland 1:2. Sveriges kyrkor. Vol. 116. Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1968, 166–170.

47. Munthe, H. Om Gamlehamn på Fårö. – Gotländskt arkiv, 1942, 14, 1–11; Munthe, H. Om Gamlehamn på Fårö. Tillägg. – Gotländskt arkiv, 1943, 15, 67.

48. Russwurm, C. Eibofolke oder die Schwedenanden Küsten Ehstlands und auf Runö. Vol. 1. Kelchen, Reval, 1855, 38, 100.

49. Jakobsson, S. Osilia-Maritima 1227–1346. Studier kring tillkomsten av svenska bosättningar i Balticum, i synnerhet inom biskopsstiftet Ösel-Wiek. (Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Historica Upsaliensia, 112.) Uppsala, 1980.

50. Lindström, J. Biskopen och korståget 1206 – Om krig, kolonisation och Guds man i Norden. Norstedts, Stockholm, 2015.

51. Scriptores rerum Daniacarum medii aevi. Ed. J. Langebek. Tomus I. Godiche, Hafniae, 1772, 284.

52. About Ormsö’s hake and the attung of Öland see more in Blumfeldt, E. Estlandssvenskarnas historia. (En bok om Estlandssvenskar, I.) Kulturföreningen svenska odlingens vänner, Stockholm, 1961, 95–96; Tarvel, E. Adramaa. Eesti talurahva maakasutuse ja maksustuse alused 13.–19. sajandil. Eesti Raamat, Tallinn, 1972, 64.

53. Lindström, J. Biskopen och korståget 1206, 199–204, 212.

54. Ibid., 203.

55. Markus, K. Misjonär või mõisnik? Tsistertslaste roll 13. sajandi Eestis. – Acta Historica Tallinnensia, 2009, 14, 17.

56. Anglert, M. Landskap, bebyggelse och makt under yngre järnålder och medeltid. – In: Möre – historien om ett småland. Ed. G. Magnusson. Kalmar länsmuseum, Kalmar, 2001, 513; Boström, R. Is Resmo Church the earliest Stone Church in medieval Sweden? – In: Europeans or Not? Local Level Strategies on the Baltic Rim 1100–1400 AD. Eds N. Blomkvist, S.-O. Lindquist. Centre for Baltic Studies, Gotland University College, 1999, 79–90; Axelsson, R. Från Gråborg till Borgholm – danskt och svenskt på Öland 1150–1300. – In: Fragment ur arkiven. Festskrift till Jan Brunius. Eds M. Lennersand, Å. Karlsson, H. Klackenberg. (Skrifter utgivna av Riksarkivet, 37.) Riksarkivet, Stockholm, 2013, 319–335.

57. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, Ch. 10.13.

58. Danmarks middelalderlige annaler. Ed. E. Kroman. Selskabet for Udgivelse af Kilder til Dansk Historie, København, 1980, 61, 103, 110, 200, 259, 278.

59. Ibid., 103.

60. Bysted, A. L. et al. Jerusalem in the North, 196.

61. Huitfeldt, A. Danmarkis Rigis Krønicke. Moltkens, Kiøbenhaffn, 1652, 175.

62. Danmarks middelalderlige annaler, 200, 278. The Latin text of the chronicle of the Ryd Abbey has been preserved in the manuscript from about 1300.

63. Andreas et fratres colonias in Livoniam ducunt et Revaliam condunt (Scriptores rerum Dania­carum medii aevi, 284).

64. Lindström, J. Biskopen och korståget 1206, 385–386; Johansen, P. Siedlung und Agrarwesen der Esten im Mittelalter. Ein Beitrag zur estnischen Kulturgeschichte. Mattiesen, Dorpat, 1925, 98–99.

65. Johansen, P. Nordische Mission; Johansen, P., Mühlen, H. von zur. Deutsch und undeutsch im mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Reval. Böhlau, Wien, 1973.

66. Koski, M. Mis on Liivimaa erinevatel aegadel olnud? – In: Liivlased. Ajalugu, keel ja kultuur. Eds R. Blumberga, T. Mäkeläinen, K. Pajusalu. Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, Tallinn, 2011, 57–61.

67. Felicia Markus argues about the Swedish settlement on Nuckö, Marika Mägi advocates rather for the concept of colonialism within shared cultural milieu, which means that the inhabitants of the island of Nuckö could have been the locals with long-term contacts with the Swedes (Markus, F. Living on another shore: Early Scandinavian Settlement on the North-Western Estonian Coast. (Occasional Papers in Archaeology, 36.) Uppsala, 2004, 155–160; Mägi, M. Viikingiaegne Eesti. Argo, Tallinn, 2017, 134–137).

68. Liv-, Est- und Kurländisches Urkundenbuch nebst Regesten. Vol. 1/1. Ed. Fr. G. von Bunge. Kluge und Ströhm, Reval, 1853, No. 18, 84.

69. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, Ch. 10.13-11.1; Bysted, A. L. et al. Jerusalem in the North, 196–197.

70. Jets, I. Lahingumaod. Skandinaavia 9.–11. sajandi kunstistiilid Eesti arheoloogilistel leidudel. Doktoritöö. Tallinna Ülikool, Ajaloo Instituut, 2013; Mägi, M. Viikingiaegne Eesti, 133–145.

71. Leimus, I. Wann und woher ist der deutsche Kaufmann nach Livland gekommen: Eine numismatische Studie. – In: Delectat et docet: Festschrift zum 100 jährigen Bestehendes Vereins der Münzenfreunde in Hamburg. Ed. M. Mehl. Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, Hamburg, 2004, 318–324.

72. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, Ch. 10.13, 26.2-4.

73. See more in Mägi, M. Ösel and the Danish Kingdom, 317–341.

74. Raam, V. Vormsi Olevi kirik. – In: Eesti arhitektuur, 2. Ed. V. Raam. Valgus, Tallinn, 1996, 41–42.

75. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, Ch. 22.9-23.2; Bysted, A. L. et al. Jerusasalem in the North, 203–210.

76. Johansen, P. Die Kaufmanns kirche, 505–507; Johansen, P. Nordische mission, 135.

77. Kala, T. Ludeke Karwel, kogudusevaimulik. – In: Kümme keskaegset tallinlast. Eds T. Kala, J. Kreem, A. Mänd. Varrak, Tallinn, 2006, 155; Mänd, A. Saints’s Cults in Medieval Livonia, 206.

78. Liv-, Est- und Kurländisches Urkundenbuchnebst Regesten. Vol. 1/1, No. 404.

79. Zobel, R. Tallinn (Reval) keskajal. Linnaehitus 13.–14. sajandil. Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn, 2001, 19–31.

80. Tamm, J. Muinas-Tallinna loodusoludest ja maastikust kui eeldustest püsiasustuse tekkeks. – In: Kui vana on Tallinn? Ed. T. Kala. (Tallinna Linnaarhiivi Toimetised, 8.) Tallinn, 2004, 34–35; Mägi, M. Rafala. Ideedest ja Tallinna algusest. Argo, Tallinn, 2015, 42; Tamla, T. Lyndanise lahingust (1219) ja Tallinna varasest asustusest. – Vana Tallinn, 2016, 27 (31), 21.

81. Tamm, J. Muinas-Tallinna loodusoludest, 41; Mägi, M. Rafala. Ideedest ja Tallinna algusest, 112–113. A more critical approach in Lõugas, L., Kadakas, V., Kadakas, U. Fishery in pre­historic and medieval Tallinn, Estonia. – Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology, 2016, 21, 4, 364.

82. See more in Russow, E. Origines Revaliae: Die ersten hundert Jahre. – In: Lübecker Kolloquium zur Stadt archäologie im Hanseraum. Vol. 10. Eds M. Gläser, M. Schneider. Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck, 2016, 552–553.

83. Mäll, J. Arheoloogilise kultuurkihi spetsiifikast Tallinna vanalinna territooriumil. – In: Linnusest ja linnast. Uurimusi Vilma Trummali auks. Eds A. Haak, E. Russow, A. Tvauri. (Muinasaja teadus, 14.) Tartu Ülikool, Ajaloo Instituut, Tallinn, 2004, 257–259.

84. Mägi, M. Rafala. Ideedest ja Tallinna algusest, 113; Russow, E. Origines Revaliae, 546.

85. Mägi, M. Rafala. Ideedest ja Tallinna algusest, 90.

86. Johansen, P. Die Kaufmannskirche, 505–507; Johansen, P., Mühlen, H. von zur. Deutsch und undeutsch, 40–41.

87. Kui vana on Tallinn? Ed. T. Kala. (Tallinna Linnaarhiivi Toimetised, 8.) Tallinn, 2004, 109–110; Lumiste, M., Kangropool, R. Niguliste kirik. Kunst, Tallinn, 1990, 12.

88. Russow, E. Origines Revaliae, 553.

89. See more about saints’ cults in the Hanseatic cities in Mänd, A. Saints’s Cults in Medieval Livonia, 205–209.

90. Garipzanov, I. H. The cult of St Nicholas in the Early Christian North (c. 1000–1150). – Scandinavian Journal of History, 2010, 35, 3, 239–240.

91. Selart, A. Orthodox Churches in Medieval Livonia. – In: The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. Ed. A. V. Murray. Ashgate, Burlington, 2009, 281.

92. Ellmers, D. Der mittelalterliche Hafen von Lehe. (Jahrbuch der Männer vom Morgenstern, 62.) Ditzen, Bremerhaven, 1983, 49–52, 68–69.

93. The archaeological excavations were carried out by Villu Kadakas, but the results have not been published yet. See more in Naum, M. Multi-Ethnicity and Material Exchanges in Late Medieval Tallinn. – European Journal of Archaeology, 2014, 14/4, 666; Russow, E. Origines Revaliae, 553.

94. Danmarks Riges Breve 1:6. Ed. N. Skym-Nielsen. Reizel, Copenhagen, 1979, No. 199, § 16. Journal of Arcaeology terial Exchanges in Late Mediaval Tallinn. Europan shgate, Burlington, 2009, universitet, Uppsala

95. Mägi, M. Ösel and the Danish Kingdom; Markus, K. Die Christianisierung Livlands.

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