We called in at Gripsholm Slott on our way back from Värmland. They’ve re-erected this Viking-age runestone in the gardens there. The inscription reads (I’m told; my Old Norse is not quite up to it):
‘This stone was set up by Tola in memory of her son, Harald. He was Ingfar the Far-traveller’s brother. They fared like men, far after gold. And in the east gave the eagle food. They died southward, in Serkland.’
‘Serkland’ is apparently the land of the Saracens. ‘Giving the eagle food’ means to kill people. So much for Kajsa’s claim that the Swedish Vikings were just peaceful traders, unlike those pesky Danes.
In fact Swedish history is full of ‘imperialism’, if you look for it. After the Vikings there were settlements in North America and West Africa, a slave-colony in the Caribbean (Sweden abolished colonial slavery long after Britain), significant European conquests during the Stormaktstiden (have I spelled that right?), a Svenska Ostindiska Companiet, based in Göteborg, just like the English one; the acquisitions (somehow) of Finland and Norway, and then of course IKEA. Most of that, of course, was before the woke-ish Social Democrats got in.