John, Prince of Sweden (12th century)

Swedish Royalty
House of Sverker
Sverker I
Prince John
Charles VII
Princess Ingegerd
Charles VII
Sverker II
Boleslaw, Kol
Sverker II
Princess Helena
John I
John I

John (modern Swedish: Johan Sverkersson den äldre; in Old Icelandic sources called Jón jarl Sørkvisson), who died between 1150 and 1153, was the eldest son of King Sverker I of Sweden of Sweden and his queen Ulvhild Håkansdotter.

He appears to have abducted and had sexual intercourse with two high-born Danish women. These incidents caused a war in which the Danish king Sweyn III of Denmark intervened in Småland in 1153–54. By this time John had already been beaten to death by angry farmers.

According to Saxo Grammaticus, who mentions him without a title, John had written a lampoon of Canute V of Denmark, who had been Sverker's son-in-law (married to his daughter Helena of Sweden).

We have no information about John's wife, but according to a medieval genealogy John must have been the father of the two subsequent contenders for the Swedish throne, Kol of Sweden and Boleslaw of Sweden, and another man named Ubbe.[1] This has been accepted by some historians, such as Adolf Schück,[2] and Lars O. Lagerqvist and Nils Åberg.[3]

John also seems to have had a son called Knut, born around 1152, who died young[4] and a daughter who in unnamed but may have been Cecilia Johansdotter of Sweden, consort to Canute I of Sweden. According to a seventeenth-century source, John might had had another son, called Alf, who died young and, like Burislev, was interred in Vreta Abbey.[5]

According to Snorri Sturluson's Skáldatal, John was one of the patrons of the Icelandic skald Halldórr skvaldri.[6]


  1. Hans Gillingstam, Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, s.v. Jon jarl,
  2. Adolf Schück, 'Från Viby till Bjälbo, studier i Sveriges historia under 1100-talets senare hälft', Fornvännen (1951), p. 199.
  3. Lars O. Lagerqvist and Nils Åberg, Litet lexikon över Sveriges regenter ISBN 91-87064-43-X pp. 13 and 51.
  4. Wilhelm Karl von Isenburg, Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten II (Marburg: 1965), table 77.
  5. Magnus Borænius, Klostret i Vreta i Östergötland (1724, repr. 2003), p. 31.
  6. Snorri Sturluson, Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei, ed. by Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols (Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum, 1848-87; rprt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966), III, 252, 254-5, 258, 260, 262-3, 267, 272, 276-7, 283; cf. III, 367-70, cited at
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