From the beginning of the article:
Sweden’s medievalists have very little in terms of secure knowledge about the biography of the King who, within decades after his violent death, was revered as a national saint. To this day, the artfully crafted reliquary with his bones is counted among the special treasures in the cathedral of Uppsala. And yet, almost all information rests on the ‘Legend of Saint Erik,’ which was probably chronicled for the first time around 1270, more than a hundred years after his death. An account replete with all the ingredients typical of saints’ vitae as they were compiled at that time for the benefit of pious worshipers, the legend invites skepticism if not regarding the person himself, then at least concerning the specifics of his life and death. Yet this is how he survives in the memory of the Swedish people: as a king who, during his brief reign, proved himself an exemplarily pious man, a ruler who engaged himself and his troops in the missionary activities of a crusade against the heathen Finns, and a monarch who attempted to institute justice for his people, more often than not against the will of his cruel and self-interested barons. His subjects loved him as much as his discontented and envious barons resented his infringement on their power and greed. He is said to have been murdered by troops led by the rivaling Danish prince Magnus Hendriksen on 18 May 1160, while attending the Ascension mass in Uppsala’s Trinity Church.
As another essay in this collection, Biörn Tjallén’s ‘Ericus Olai’s Chronica regni Gothorum: A Discourse on Dominance’, explores the relevant historical background in great detail, I begin directly with the role the legend attributes to the popular saint who is the protagonist of the opera I wish to discuss.