Skip to main content


Sverre (svĕ´rə), d. 1202, king of Norway (1184–1202). He claimed to be the illegitimate son of King Sigurd; the question of his paternity is still disputed. He spent his childhood in the Faeroe Islands, was educated for the priesthood, and went to Norway in 1176. The Birkebeiner faction, which opposed Erling Skakke and his son, the puppet king Magnus, adopted the cause of Sverre. The party took (1177) Trondheim, and a bitter civil war began. Sverre secured control of Norway in 1178, but Magnus with foreign aid continued to attack Sverre until Magnus's death in battle (1184). Civil war continued. From 1196 to 1201 the Baglar, an aristocratic and clerical faction, fought vigorously against the Birkebeiners, but it was defeated. The victory of the faction of the common people led to the destruction of aristocratic power and increased royal control. Sverre quarreled with the archbishop of Trondheim, who refused to crown him and fled (1190) the country. As a result the king was excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. Sverre was succeeded by his son Haakon III.

See biography by G. M. Gathorne-Hardy (1956).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sverre." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 23 May. 2019 <>.

"Sverre." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (May 23, 2019).

"Sverre." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.