Olaf Guthfrithson


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Olaf Guthfrithson

Olaf Guthfrithson (ōˈläf) (gŭthˈfrĭthˌsən), d. 941, Norse king of Dublin (934–41). His father, Guthfrith, king of Dublin and of York, had been driven out of England by Athelstan in 927. Olaf led (937) his allies, Constantine of Scotland and Owen of Strathclyde, against Athelstan in the battle of Brunanburh and was severely defeated. He returned to Ireland, but after Athelstan's death he invaded (939) York. A treaty between Olaf and King Edmund, successor of Athelstan, gave Olaf control over Northumbria and part of Mercia. His successor, Olaf Sihtricson (sĭtˈrĭkˌsən), d. 981, often called Olaf Cuaran, was expelled from Northumbria by Edmund in 944. He returned to rule in Ireland, where he was in 980 defeated at the battle of Tara. He died a penitent at the monastery of Iona.
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Dolley describes him as 'wily and persistent', the survivor of the 'bloodbaths' of Brunanburh in 937 and Tara in 980.(14) Stenton, contrasting Olaf Sihtricson with his cousin, states, 'He was younger and milder than Olaf Guthfrithson and never equalled him as a viking leader.'(15) If Olaf Cuaran were handicapped, this may be a partial explanation for his moderation (and survival), as he would have been disadvantaged for direct combat.
It relates the victory of the Saxon king Athelstan over the allied Norse, Scots, and Strathclyde Briton invaders under the leadership of Olaf Guthfrithson, king of Dublin and claimant to the throne of York.