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Gille dynasty

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Gille dynasty

Gille dynasty
Country Kingdom of Norway
Parent house House of Fairhair
Titles King of Norway
Founded 1130
Founder Harald Gille
Current head extinct, last monarch of this House was Inge II Baardson
Cadet branches none

Gille dynasty was a powerful royal "house" or "dynasty" which ruled the Kingdom of Norway. The rulers of this house claimed descendance from the House of Fairhair and its old rulers, a claim disputed by many modern scholars.

The line was founded, albeit unknowingly, by Harald Gille when he was made king of Norway. Harald IV arrived in Norway from his native Ireland and claimed to be the natural son of Magnus III from the Hardrada dynasty, sired during the latter's Irish expedition. His claim seems, from historical sources, to be based on tales told by his Irish mother and family circle during his youth. Thus, Harald IV started the 'Gille' or 'Gylle dynasty' (the "Irish branch"), a putative branch of the alleged ancient dynasty. His descendants would expand the influence, wealth and power of the dynasty after his death. It is very unlikely that the rulers ever referred to their dynasty as the "Gille dynasty", this is a term made up for the dynasty at the time by modern historians. The term "Gille" is probably from Gilla Críst, i.e. servant of Christ.

The royal house replaced the Hardrada dynasty in 1135, and was again replaced scion of Hardrada dynasty in 1162. The line was briefly restored under Inge II Baardson, a cognatic descendant of the dynasty, but was replaced again by the House of Sverre in 1217.

List of kings and rival kings

The rulers within the royal house or dynasty would often have a "rival king" to oppose the "legitimate" king's right to rule the realm and dominions (rival kings noted in bold). Here is a list of the rulers when the house held the power in Norway:

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