A Seriously Cool Monument

Although, if I understand it correctly, it’s a monument to autocracy: “everyone stop fighting because if you keep it up you’ll die.” It’s not the best argument for peaceful resolution of political division but I guess it works.

I had never heard of this before, and I am bummed because I’d have gone out of my way to visit it last time I was in Norway, because: swords! [vn]

“Whoever can draw these swords from this mountain, shall be three-armed king of Scandinavia!”

Have any of you been to this monument? If you have pictures you wish me to post, feel free to email them to me (I have to upload pictures to FTB if you want to link them in comments)

If I recall correctly, Harald “christianized” Norway by saying, in effect, “Christians, right?”(waving a 30-foot sword) and everyone said, “we sure are, boss!” Harald knew how to get things done.

It’s one of the coolest monuments I’ve seen. Now, I call upon the Japanese to ante up with a gigantic Katana sticking into the ground, somewhere, like at the end of Seven Samurai only 30 feet high.



  1. says

    Atlas Obscura covered these a while back, and I was seriously impressed. Still am. I think that’s a grand monument.

  2. witm says

    The monument commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord and it was one of the the key battles in the unification of Norway. The Christian thing came much (about 100 years later). It’s actually the second monument to the battle, but the first is in another municipality, so I think Stavanger/Sandnes must have decided they wanted a cooler one during the oil boom of the 80s.

    As for visiting it, I drove past it more or less every day I took the bus to the gym in High School. It’s cool, but living nearby you get far too blase about cool stuff, so it’s good to see other people can appreciate it.

    As for Japan doing something similar — there is a different aesthetic to the monuments here.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    Apropos the power line, why are there six conductors. I can guess that the lower four are the hot L1, L2, L3 and the neutral (N), but what about the top two? Are they high-voltage DC conductors (+ and -)?

  4. cvoinescu says

    Ice Swimmer:

    No. That’s basically two separate power lines, with three line conductors each, roughly in a triangle shape, one on each side of the pylon. There’s a seventh, much thinner earth (and neutral) conductor at the very top of the pylons, and connected to them. HVAC lines are used in a delta configuration, so there’s no need for a substantial neutral conductor. This configuration is very common, to the point that they often install six-conductor pylons but with only three conductors installed (all on one side) until the second line is needed.

    Fun fact: because the capacitance of the conductors depends on their position on the pylons (distance to ground etc), and the difference can become significant over long distances, the phases are swapped round at regular intervals.

  5. says

    The power distribution system in parts of Northern Europe goes into a house as three-phase, and single-phase appliances are connected between two phases.

    This has the disadvantage of needing twice as many fuses, or double-sensing, double-switching MCBs.

  6. Owlmirror says

    Tangential to the topic of swords, I was doing a partial archive dive of Gunnerkrigg Court (recommended), and I thought you might like this bonus page — more for the juxtaposition with the blunt statements in the speech bubble than for the swords in and of themselves. I thought it reminiscent of that “weapons are unfortunate instruments” line.

  7. invivoMark says

    Anybody seen Trollhunter? The top two wires on the power lines make the electric fence to keep the Jotnar in their territory!

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