Karl XII

Diskussioner kring händelser under revolutionernas & imperialismens tid.
tosia_91
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Karl XII

Inlägg av tosia_91 » 02 okt 2012 17:52

Hello! Sorry that I don't write in Swedish, but I don't know this language. I speak a little in Norwegian, but I think it can't be halpful here. I'm not sure if it good place to write here, but I try. I'm from Poland and this year I will write essay for Bachelor defense about Karl XII. I don't have concrete theme, but when I talked with my professor, he said it will be great write about the myth of Karl XII. I know he (Karl XII) is in Sweden popular, if I can write that, and more people is interesting his person. I don't want that anyone gives me all essay. I just wanted to know if you can recommend something good article (in Swedish or English) or Swedish books about him or tell me something interesting facts of his life, if here are some fans of Karl XII ;)

Also I wanted ask about one thing with button. I found part of one book, when someone writes that Karl XII had strange wont. He took button one of his interlocutor and he turned as ling as he teared off it. And one day he took button one of corporal and button didn't want turned off and then Karl XII said that he had new coat and good tailor. Anyone heard about this story? :)

Ben
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Ben » 02 okt 2012 19:21

Well, I think Bengt Liljegren's biography has been translated into Polish as Karol XII. The best biography in English is Ragnhild Hatton's Charles XII of Sweden.

I don't think he is very popular in Sweden. He is often blamed for the loss of Sweden's status as a major European power and by many considered to have been something of a madman. Those who have worshiped him during the last hundred years have (generally speaking) belonged to the far right. But there was a time when he was a liberal "hero", for example during the 1860's when the statue in Kungsträdgården came about (largely because of a Polish initiative). Generally speaking the average Swede knows very little of Charles XII.

The story of the button is told by the clergyman Andreas Rhyzelius (1677-1761), who was very close to Charles XII towards the end of the King's life. Rhyzelius writes about this in his memoirs. Rhyzelius eventually became a bishop and had a very illustrious career during the so called "Era of Liberty", but he apparently greatly admired Charles XII. Rhyzelius considered the King's death to have been a tragedy for Sweden as he had many and broad interests and would have greatly improved Swedish society if he had been given a chance to rule in peace.

tosia_91
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av tosia_91 » 02 okt 2012 20:00

Thank you so much for help. I was sure he is popular in Sweden. My professor said that in Sweden more people is interested in person this king, but I don't know that he thought about historians or ordinary people.

Der Löwe
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Der Löwe » 02 okt 2012 20:23

I still think he and the time he lived in is popular, even thoug some rihgtvingers have claimed him as theirs and therfore made him not so politicly correct. But for intsense, weapons and militaria from the Karoliner time is more expensive than the periods before and after. Even regular antiques, not conected wiht the army is still more valued than ohter comparible eras. I think he is one of the most well known kings in Sweden even thoug much of the popular knowledge is not entirly correct. There has been a political dimension, as said before rihgtwingers have risen him to the sky and leftwingers have presented him as a powerhungry tyrant. As whit most historical figures and event in swedish history, swedes today generaly have their knowledge from newspapers and TV shows rahter then from in depht books on the subject.

Ben
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Ben » 02 okt 2012 20:34

Generally speaking Karl XII comes with a "political baggage" because of the fact that he was a hero of the conservatives and the far right from about 1900 onwards. There is because of this a tendency to believe that an interest in Karl XII means that you belong to those categories.

I am not sure of how much of the historiographical literature that has been translated into English. There a couple of very classical articles from the 1950's by K. G. Hildebrand about how various historians have interpreted Karl XII. Sverker Oredsson has more recently written articles of the same kind and some of his writings are at least translated into Russian. Michael Roberts may have done something similar in English. The German historian Findeisen has also written about Karl XII, but possibly mostly in German.

From a Polish standpoint the statue in Stockholm could be an interesting topic as it came about through agitation by a Polish agent, who wished to encourage Swedish support for Polish independence. Karl XII was then put forward by the liberals as a fighter against Russian tyranny and a friend of Poland since he supported Stanislaw against the foreigner Augustus, who was aided by Russia.

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Hexmaster
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Hexmaster » 03 okt 2012 10:03

Carolus is perhaps not well known by the general public -- hardly any historical people are -- but he's certainly known in the sense referred to, thought about etc. As for mythical or semi-mythical stuff, no Swedish king comes close.

Anecdotes abound: The king planting trees (there are possibly hundreds of "royal oaks" over the country), taking rests at certain places, riding up or down steep hills, saying cool things, generally being the Chuck Norris of 1700, target-shooting in his bedroom, heavy partying with his friends involving, among other things, a drunk bear falling through a window, him then taking a vow of abstinence to his mother (breaking it only twice), whether he was truly uninterested in women or not, the kalabalik of Bender, his impressive ride through Europe in hardly any time at all, and of course when he was killed and all that.

tosia_91
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av tosia_91 » 07 okt 2012 14:10

thanks, all this answers are really useful ;)

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a81
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av a81 » 07 okt 2012 18:50

I think Bengt Liljegren's biography gives a good overview of Charles XII. I don't agree with Ben's claim that "the average Swede knows very little of Charles XII". Charles XII is one of the most well-known characters in Swedish history and of course he is known by people in general in Sweden, but the depth of the knowledge varies greatly.
tosia_91 skrev:Hello! Sorry that I don't write in Swedish, but I don't know this language. I speak a little in Norwegian, but I think it can't be halpful here.
Swedish and Norwegian are very similar languages, so if you understand a little Norwegian you should at least to some exent understand Swedish. Swedes and Norwegians can easily speak to each other, but the written language (spelling) is quite different.

Ben
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Ben » 07 okt 2012 20:03

a81 skrev:I think Bengt Liljegren's biography gives a good overview of Charles XII. I don't agree with Ben's claim that "the average Swede knows very little of Charles XII". Charles XII is one of the most well-known characters in Swedish history and of course he is known by people in general in Sweden, but the depth of the knowledge varies greatly.
Well, there is a considerable difference between "knowing" and "having an opinion". It's fairly often stated that he started a lot of wars, when he in fact is quite unique in not having started a single one. He is not seldom described as having been mad and is unfavorably compared to Peter (the Great), who certainly was more successful as far as the war was concerned but hardly an "improvement" in other areas. So while a lot of Swedes certainly has an opinion of Charles XII, very few have bothered to study the period enough to actually "know".

Liljegren's biography is OK, but it's greatly inferior to Hatton's. Too much emphasis is put on more or less absurd stories, which at best are mere footnotes in his life and at worst complete fabrications by various diplomats. It''s very "old school", i.e. has the tendency to explain Charles actions as a result of him being "weird" and thinking only of glory. If sensible advisors suggested "A", Charles would immediately do "B" instead (one might think that the advisors would have discovered this quite rapidly and then always proposed the opposite to what they really wanted done).

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a81
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av a81 » 07 okt 2012 21:02

OK, then I think Ben and I agree more than I thought.

Another interesting aspect of Charles XII is that many (most?) Swedes have ancestors that took part in the Great Northern War, sometimes you can find stories of soldiers coming back to Sweden from Russia decades after being captured after the battle of Poltava in 1709.

Some examples from my family (not complete):

Uppland Regiment

Erik Mickelsson Karbom (1684-1743), soldier at Rasbo Company, Uppland Regiment, took part in the battle of Helsingborg 1710 and in Norway.
Erik Andersson Råberg (1694-1762), soldier at Bälinge Company, Uppland Regiment, took part in the Siege of Fredriksten in Norway 1718.
Johan Persson Säman (1682-1726), soldier at Uppland Regiment, took part in the Siege of Fredriksten in Norway 1718.
Mårten Jansson Skog (1687-1777), soldier at Oland Company, Uppland Regiment, took part in the Siege of Fredriksten in Norway 1718.

Some or all of the soldiers above (my ancestors) may have been digging trenches the same days as Charles XII was killed. I have read somewere that soldiers from Uppland Regiment were doing this that very day.

Småland Cavalry Regiment

Jon Stålhammar (1659-1708), lieutenant colonel at Småland Cavalry Regiment, famous for his many letters sent to his wife, died on November 3, 1708 while the army was moving south to Ukraine. (Must have been close to Chernobyl somewhere.) Se also: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_St%C3%A5lhammar.
Olof Edman (1691-), trumpeter and quartermaster at Jönköping Company, Småland Cavalry Regiment, wounded in his back at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, then prisoner in Russia until he returned to Sweden in 1713.

Jon Stålhammar's letters to his wife:

http://project2.sol.lu.se/fornsvenska/N ... ammar.html

(With limited knowledge in Swedish this could of corse be hard to read, especially since the spelling is somewhat different compared to modern Swedish.)

Ben
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Ben » 07 okt 2012 21:48

a81 skrev: Some or all of the soldiers above (my ancestors) may have been digging trenches the same days as Charles XII was killed. I have read somewere that soldiers from Uppland Regiment were doing this that very day.
I believe (generally speaking) that such work was always conducted by a force made up by small detachments from every unit present. If a scouting party or any other potentially dangerous mission had been entrusted to just one regiment a defeat could mean that this unit was eliminated as a fighting force for a long time and that one area of Sweden suddenly had to find several hundred new recruits. So I don't doubt that there were soldiers from the Uppland regiment present, but so was most likely also soldiers from all the other other infantry regiments.

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a81
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av a81 » 08 okt 2012 20:02

Ben skrev:
a81 skrev: Some or all of the soldiers above (my ancestors) may have been digging trenches the same days as Charles XII was killed. I have read somewere that soldiers from Uppland Regiment were doing this that very day.
I believe (generally speaking) that such work was always conducted by a force made up by small detachments from every unit present. If a scouting party or any other potentially dangerous mission had been entrusted to just one regiment a defeat could mean that this unit was eliminated as a fighting force for a long time and that one area of Sweden suddenly had to find several hundred new recruits. So I don't doubt that there were soldiers from the Uppland regiment present, but so was most likely also soldiers from all the other other infantry regiments.
I'll look into that, but I'm quite sure I've read that soldiers from the Uppland Regiment, perhaps more precisely Rasbo Company, were digging trenches at night when Charles XII was killed.

Ben
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av Ben » 09 okt 2012 16:04

a81 skrev: I'll look into that, but I'm quite sure I've read that soldiers from the Uppland Regiment, perhaps more precisely Rasbo Company, were digging trenches at night when Charles XII was killed.
Well, that's entirely possible. The point is that such dangerous duties were performed by small detachments from every available infantry regiment. These detachments were made up by a handful men from each available company. If you look at those regimental histories which go into detail about the siege I think you will find that they all claim that soldiers from their regiment was present. And they are all correct, because that was standard practice.

If you needed 400 soldiers for digging a trench you did not take 1/3 of a single regiment and let everybody else stay in camp. No, you sent for 40 men from each of the 10 available regiments and ordered each regiment to contribute a couple of officers and non-commissioned officers. The regimental commanders then did the same thing. They did not take 40 men from one company and let everybody else sleep. No, they asked each company commander for 5 soldiers. The company commanders acted in similar fashion. They did not take soldiers 1 to 5, but instead went according to an established system which meant for instance that soldiers 1, 41, 81, 101, 121 had to work one night and then soldiers 2, 42, 82, 102 and 122 the next night.

As a result of this everybody had to do some part of the difficult and dangerous work, but no single soldier, company or regiment could feel that they had been asked to do more than another.

tosia_91
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av tosia_91 » 24 jan 2013 18:38

Some of you wrote about people who took part in the Northern War. Here were also letters Jon Stalhammer. Do you think I could find more letters people who was in Northen War and they probably wrote something about Karl XII?

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a81
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Re: Karl XII

Inlägg av a81 » 24 jan 2013 23:39

I think there are quite a large number of letters preserved from the war, the literacy was widespread among the Swedish soldiers at this time (more or less 100 percent of the soldiers could read at this time and quite a large part of them could also write). Ability to read was enforced in Sweden by the church law from 1686 (for the whole population, not only the soldiers).