• Sweden edition
 
Swedish divers search mad king's warship
Photos: Composite photo from Ocean Discovery

Swedish divers search mad king's warship

Published: 07 Jul 2014 16:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jul 2014 16:16 GMT+02:00

Swedish diver and professor of maritime archaeology Johan Rönnby received a grant on Monday to investigate the wreckage of Sweden's largest warship, Mars the Magnificent - which has rested off the shores of Öland for nearly 500 years.

"King Erik the 14th, son of Gustav Vasa, built the ship when his father died as the new flagship of Sweden," Rönnby told The Local. "There had never been such a big ship built before. It was gigantic."

The massive warship was discovered by divers in 2011. The Mars went down during a fierce battle in 1564, during one of land-hungry King Erik XIV's many attempts to keep his acquisitions from the Danish-Lübeck armies.  

The first day of the battle went well, but on the second, the god-ship of war succumbed to the fruits of its own king's ambitions.
 
"Mars was surrounded by two Lübeck ships, and they latched on and sent two or three hundred soldiers on deck," Rönnby explained. "Everything was burning and everyone was killing each other. There are bones all over down there."
 
 
Out of about 700 Swedes on the Mars, only 100 survived the battle, Rönnby said - and those who did were taken captive. Only 30 ever returned home to Sweden. 
 
The king was not onboard the ship and escaped the battle. The grim, suspicious king continued to fight the war for seven years, during which he appeared to suffer "periods of pure insanity." He became infamous for murdering three members of the noble Sture family.
 
However, despite Erik's horrendous reputation, Rönny doubted if the king was really mad.
 
"It was the way princes behaved. Dangerous, kind, generous, cruel - they could be anything and everything just to gain power," Rönnby mused. "Erik the 14th was exactly that kind of person."
 
Mars, like her king, was dramatic to say the least. With 130 cannons and more than 600 men onboard, she was the "largest warship of its time", weighing 2,000 tonnes. That's 800 tonnes more than its gaudy descendent, the Vasa. 
 
The cold waters of the Baltic Sea have kept the Mars remarkably well preserved, and the team plans to study not just the ship but the undersea battlefield.

"In a way the ship is an alter ego for the king," Rönnby told The Local. "There are silver coins with his face on them, and his coat of arms is everywhere. You feel his presence on the field."

See video from the wreckage of Mars:

Rönnby's team has been granted support from the National Geographic Society to investigate and scan the entire ship over the summer, enabling them to create a virtual reconstruction using underwater photography and 3D technology. But a future replica is just one of many goals. Work has already begun, and will continue for years.

"We are working on many different things on this project," Rönnby said. "But thanks to the support from NGS we can expand and examine more of the total battlefield, and not just part of the ship. We're going to map the whole picture."

Researchers from Södertörn University, the Swedish National Defence College, Ocean Discovery, Västerviks Museum, and more will be participating in the exploration and research of the ship.

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Solveig Rundquist (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Railway fatalaties on the rise in Sweden

Railway fatalaties on the rise in Sweden

Even though Sweden's Traffic Agency has drastic plans to reduce the number of people killed by trains in Sweden, a new report shows that figures are on the rise. READ  

Woman finds Ikea bags stuffed with 80 skeletons

Woman finds Ikea bags stuffed with 80 skeletons

UPDATED: A woman in southern Sweden is furious after stumbling upon scores of skulls and human bones inside Ikea bags in a church. The man who dug up the bones, however, says it's not as bad as it looks. READ  

Swedish Wikipedia jumps to second biggest

Swedish Wikipedia jumps to second biggest

There are now more Swedish Wikipedia entries than any other language in the world, besides English. And there's one Swede who's largely responsible. READ  

Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police
The aftermath of the attack in Seved, Malmö on July 6th 2014. Drago Prvulovic / TT

Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police

Police in southern Sweden have concluded that a man who was beaten with an iron pipe for hanging an Israeli flag in his window was not a victim of a hate crime. READ  

AstraZeneca hikes earnings outlook

AstraZeneca hikes earnings outlook

After fighting off a fierce takeover bid from Pfizer, Swedish-British drugmaker AstraZeneca raised its 2014 earnings outlook and posted rising second quarter sales on Thursday. READ  

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Stockholm demonstration against Israel
National
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
National
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Society
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching
Gallery
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »

 

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Society
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

743
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se