Battle of Fimreite

Battle of Fimreite
Part of the Civil war era in Norway
Date15 June 1184
LocationFimreite, Sogn
Result Decisive Birkebeiner victory
Throne usurped by Sverre
Kingdom of Norway Birkebeiner party
Commanders and leaders
Magnus Erlingsson   Sverre Sigurdsson
26 ships[1] 14 ships[1]
Casualties and losses
Heavy (2,000 claimed)[1] Low

The Battle of Fimreite (Norwegian: Slaget ved Fimreite) was a naval battle fought on 15 June 1184 between King Magnus Erlingsson and the Birkebeiner pretender Sverre Sigurdsson. Sverre eventually defeated and killed Magnus in the battle, and successfully usurped the Norwegian throne.

The battle

The forces of Sverre attacked the fleet of King Magnus. The battle took place off the coast near the hamlet of Fimreite in the long and narrow Sognefjord in today's Sogndal municipality, Sogn og Fjordane county. Magnus had several large ships, but none as huge as the Mariasuda, which Sverre had built. Because of its great size, the seaworthiness of the Mariasuda was rather poor and it would only be useful within the narrow fjords. The ships in the fleet of King Magnus were lashed together, creating the appearance of one big fleet.

While the Mariasuda held up half of the enemy fleet, the rest attacked the outlying enemy ships. Sverre Sigurdsson sent his ships into battle in squadrons, to charge and overwhelm on one ship at a time, forcing the Magnus' men to jump over to the next. As the battle proceeded, the remaining ships became extremely crammed, and then started to go down because of the weight. King Magnus V was reported to have gone down on one of the last of them.[1][2]

After Magnus' death, Sverre became the sole sovereign of Norway. However, the civil war era in Norway would not end with this victory. After the death of Magnus, Sigurd Magnusson, Inge Magnusson and Erling Steinvegg came forth all stating to be sons of Magnus and claiming the Norwegian throne.[3][4][5]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Helle, Knut. "Sverre Sigurdsson". Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  2. Helle, Knut. "Magnus 5 Erlingsson". Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  3. "Sverre Sigurdsson" (in Norwegian). Nordisk familjebok.
  4. Krag, Claus (2005). Sverre – Norges største middelalderkonge (in Norwegian). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co. ISBN 978-82-03-23201-5.
  5. Gjerset, Knut (1915). History of the Norwegian People. The MacMillan Company. ISBN 978-0-404-02818-3.

Coordinates: 61°09′20″N 6°58′50″E / 61.15556°N 6.98056°E / 61.15556; 6.98056

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