Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Jelling kirke, Gorms grav
Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thyra Haraldsdatter


This Thyra is a daughter of Harald Bluetooth, but who was her mother cannot be said for certain. Gyrid Olavsdatter is mentioned as her mother in several places, but since Thyra gets married to Gyrid's brother Styrbjørn Olavsson "The Strong", this would mean that she married her mother's brother - therefore it is unlikely that Gyrid is Thyra's mother. A close family relation like this was not allowed and the church would either prevent or dissolve it. Even a marriage between 1/32 cousins was not allowed in theory, although it might be difficult to avoid. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the kings fetched their brides abroad.

Thyra gets married to Styrbjørn the Strong, prince of Sweden and has a son Thorgils Styrbjørnsson with the byname Sprakaleg - he is interesting, also because he fathered Gyda or Gunhild? (Gyda of Wessex)  who was married to Jarl Godwin of Wessex and became the mother of Harald II Godwinsson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England before the Norman Conquest. Thorgils had also the son Ulv/Ulf Jarl, who was married to Estrid Svendsdatter.

Styrbjørn is killed in the battle of Fyrisvalla in 985 - and in ab. 997; Thyra is then married to Olav Tryggvasson, who was married twice before 1) to Geira, who died before 984 and 2) to Gyda, who was a sister of the king of Dublin, she died before 995. There is a gap between 985 and 997 where Thyra was said to be married to Boleslaw I of Poland, but this seems impossible. Boleslaw is in his fourth marrriage in 997, and there is not a shadow of a Danish wife named Thyra. Maybe there had been some agreement between Thyra's brother Sven Tveskæg and Boleslaw about a marriage to Thyra, which for some reason was not carried through. There was a large difference in age between Thyra and Boleslaw, and Boleslaw began his first marriage at the age of 18 in 984. Thyra is married to Styrbjørn in 984, she might be ab. 35 and has a son of 14-15 years of age.

But there was a connection to Denmark. Boleslaw's sister Swietoslawa was first married to Erik Sejersæl of Sweden. After his death in 985 she married Sven Tveskæg - and it is said that she was the mother of Knud den Store, who was born ab. 995. At that point her brother Boleslaw is 29 and Swietoslawa is 28 years. After Sven Tveskæg's death in 1014, Knud and Harald fetched their mother in Slavia, which might mean that she had gone home to her brother Boleslaw. The brothers buried their father's body - which had been brought to Denmark "by a certain English lady" - in the church he had let build in Roskilde. According to a note Boleslaw helped ab. 1015 Knud den Store (his nephew) with a detachment of Polish horsemen, when he went to England with his army to claim the throne.

Boleslaw's marriages: When Thyra's husband Styrbjørn dies in 985, Boleslaw is 19 years. He is ready for his second marriage; the first marriage was in 984 ,when he was 18, to a daughter of Rikdag, Margrave of Meissen. Her name was Hunilda or Oda, she bears a daughter in 985, but when her father dies in 985, there is no political reason for the marriage, and she is repudiated. Boleslaw gets married again in 985 to a Hungarian princess, who probably was named Judith; she was the daughter of a Grand Duke of Hungaria. She had a son Bezprym, but this marriage ended quickly too, this time caused by bad political relations between Poland and Hungaria, and she was repudiated.

Boleslaw was 21 years in 987, and Thyra is a widow since 985, she might be in her late thirties now, and it seems that Boleslaw has no intentions of marrying a Danish princess, for he gets married again in 987 (or 989) to Emnilda, a daughter of Dobromir, a Slavic prince of Lusatia. Boleslaw and Emnilda's marriage lasts until 1013 where she probably dies, but they had 5 children, one is Mieszko, the later Mieszko II. In 1018 Boleslaw married Oda, a daughter of Eckhardt I, Margrave of Meissen, and they have a daughter Mathilda. In 1025 he crowns himself king of Poland and dies the same year.

Thyra is married to Olav Tryggvasson ab. 997. He dies in the year 1000, some sources say that Thyra dies shortly after, others say that her year of death is unknown.

It is mentioned (Adam af Bremen) that Thyra fled from her heathen husband Burislav (Mieszko I) in 997. Mieszko died in 992, and he was not heathen, he was baptized in 966. She did not flee Boleslaw either, he was married to Emnilda at that time.

Mieszkos first wife Dobrawa died in 977, and he was married to Oda in 980. He was still together with Oda at the time of his death in 992.

Source: Danmarkshistorie bd. 3, Da Danmark blev Danmark, Peter Sawyer; Wikipedia: Mieszko I og Boleslaw I Chrobry , the House of Piast.

No comments: