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Olaf Sihtricsson

Olaf Sihtricsson (d. 981), king of Deira (941–3, 949–52), king of Dublin (945–81). Olaf's father was Sihtric, king of Deira, whose second wife was Athelstan's sister. On Sihtric's death in 927, his brother Guthfrith took the throne (Olaf being a child), but was at once dispossessed by Athelstan. Olaf Guthfrithsson regained it in 939 and on his death in 941 was succeeded by Olaf Sihtricsson, who had married a daughter of Constantine, king of the Scots. He could not hold the territories regained from Edmund, Athelstan's successor, and was driven out of his capital, York, in 943. He did, however, recover the throne of the Norse kingdom of Dublin in 945, may have briefly been restored in York in 949, and was again dispossessed by Erik Bloodaxe in 952. He managed to hold his kingdom of Dublin in the face of incessant warfare against the Irish, but at the end of his life suffered a severe defeat at Tara (980), abdicated, and spent his last months on Iona.

J. A. Cannon

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