Ottar Vendekråke Egilsson King in Uppsala
- Born: Abt 545, Uppsala, Sweden
- Marriage: Unknown
- Died: Abt 605 about age 60
Another name for Ottar was Ohthere In Beowulf.
King Ottar Vendekråke is Eric & Evan Obrock's 45th great-grandfather.
His son, father and grandfather are mentioned in the poems of the Ynglingatal and Beowulf, and are written to be buried in the grave mounds of Old Uppsala, Sweden (3 miles north of the modern city of Uppsala).
King Ottar, while not written to be buried in the mounds of Old Uppsala, was a known historical figure.
OhÞere, Ohthere, Ohtere or Ottar Vendelkråka (Vendelcrow) (ca 515 - ca 530) was a king of the Swedish house of Scylfings. He was the son of OngenÞeow (Egils) and the brother of Onela. He was the father of Eadgils (Adils), and according to Beowulf he also had a son named Eanmund. OhÞere is mentioned in several independent sources, but there are however, two different versions of his death.
Beowulf: According to the oldest source, Beowulf, he was captured by the Geats together with his mother and his younger brother Onela. They were saved by his father OngenÞeow who killed the Geatish king HæÞcyn and besieged the Geats in a forest named Ravenswood. However, Geatish reinforcements arrived led by the Geatish prince Hygelac whose warrior Eofor slayed OngenÞeow.
Later OhÞere was murdered by his brother Onela. This version fits the Swedish tradition which claims that Ottar resided at the ancient royal estate in Vendel, in Uplandia, and that he was buried in Ottarshögen (OhÞere's mound). An archaeological excavation in 1917 supported the tradition dating the finds to the first half of the 6th century. It was a burial befitting a king.
Scandinavian sources: According to the latest source, Ynglinga saga, Ottar refused to pay tribute to Frodi. Then Frodi sent two men to collect the tribute, but Ottar answered that the Swedes had never paid tribute to the Danes and would not begin with him. Frodi then gathered a vast host and looted in Sweden, but the next summer he pillaged in the east. When Ottar learnt that Frodi was gone, he sailed to Denmark to plunder in return and went into the Limfjord where he pillaged in Vendsyssel. Frodi's jarls Vott and Faste attacked Ottar in the fjord. The battle was even and many men fell, but the Danes were reinforced by the people in the neighbourhood and so the Swedes lost (a version apparently borrowed from the death of Ottar's predecessor Jorund). The Danes put Ottar's dead corpse on a mound to be devoured by wild beasts, and made a wooden crow that they sent to Sweden with the message that the wooden crow was all that Ottar was worth. After this, Ottar was called Vendelcrow.
Ynglingatal only mentions that Ottar was killed by the Danish jarls Vott and Faste in a place named Vendel, whereas Historia Norwegiae only informs that Ottar was killed by the Danish brothers Ottar [sic.] and Faste in a Danish place called Vendel.
Comments: Swedish scholars doubt the Icelandic and Norwegian localisation of Ottar's death to Denmark. According to the classic Swedish encyclopedia Nordisk familjebok, vendelcrow was a name given to any resident of the parish and the ancient royal estate of Vendel until the present time. Consequently, Snorri Sturluson's version could be considered to be a later addition explaining a cognomen, the meaning of which he did not know.
Moreover, the Old Norse expression corresponding to putting someone on a mound has two meanings, one of which is putting him on top of the mound, while the other one is to bury someone in a mound. Consequently it is thought that the tradition of OhÞere's burial in Vendel was misinterpreted as his being put on top of a mound in the more well-known Vendsyssel.