Sunday, March 6, 2011
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Christoffer I, ab.1219-59, King, a son of king Valdemar Sejr
and Berengaria. In his youth (fx in 1245) C. is mentioned as
the lord of Lolland and Falster; he had during his brother Erik
Plovpenning's rule for a period joined hertug Abel against
the king, but a reconciliation was however made. After
Abel was killed 29 June 1252 C. was celebrated king and was
crowned on Christmas day the same year in Lund's cathedral,
although Abel's eldest son Valdemar -while his father lived -
had been acknowledged as heir to the throne. In this way
began a feud between the two lines of the royal family, which
continued through generations and still was nourished by all
the other feud-topics of that time. C. reconciled in 1254 with
Abel's family by endowing Valdemar with Schleswig, but when
the young hertug (duke) died 3 years later, C. took back the
vasalry and the feud started again. Another feud came to, a feud
with the church. The intelligent, power-craving and ruthless bishop
in Roskilde Jacob Erlandsen took over the archbishopric in 1254,
fully prepared to carry through the church's newly gained special
position opposite the secular power. When Danehof was held
in Nyborg in 1256, Jacob Erlandsen summoned a church meeting
in Vejle, where they agreed that if any bishop was harmed and
if the king supposedly was to blame, then the whole country should
be under interdict. C.now behaved violently towards the bishops;
and at the same time the poorest among the peasants started to
riot, a war broke out with Norway, and king Hakon Hakonsen
placed his fleet outside Copenhagen (1257); then C. decided to
reconcile with this enemy and even united with Hakon in a alliance.
C.'s violent behaviour towards the church reached its peak, when
he was furious with the archbishop, who denied to crown his son
Erik, and in February 1259 he let Jacob Erlandsen put into prison.
The interdict had now to be imposed on Denmark; some bishops
rebelled against the king and joined prince Jarimar of Rügen and
Erik (Abelsen), and a Wendic army came to Copenhagen. C.
took up the fight with great energy, but 29. May 1259 he suddenly
died in Ribe. There was a suspicion that he had been poisoned,
and abbot Arnfast of Ry was said to be the murderer, but there
are no proofs of this accusation. C. was buried in Ribe cathedral.
C.s short rule was a fatal and very unrest period, and the
king, who was an obstinate, but brave and active prince, held
on to the Crown's rights, and he was probably not able to fight
the big fight; some of his actions however indicate a diplomatic
cleverness and ability to give in in the last moment. C., who
was praised for his chastity, was in 1248 married to the stout
daughter of the Pommeranian hertug Sambor, Margrethe
Sambiria (with the byname Sprænghest ), she died in 1282.
They had the children Erik Glipping, (Klipping) Valdemar,
Niels and Mechtild, married to margraf Albert III of
Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Margrethe Sambiria, –1282, queen, was a daughter of the
East-Pommeranian prince Sambor, a brother of Svantopolk
the Great; her mother 's name was Mechtilde who came from
Mecklenburg. In 1248 was Margrethe married to Valdemar
Sejr's youngest son Christoffer, and in 1252 she was crowned
together with him. The marriage is mentioned as a very happy
one, and she and her husband had several children, among
these 3 sons, from whom only Erik Glipping became a grown
man. While Christoffer lived, M. is only mentioned on
rare occasions, but it is seen that she together with her father
tried to mediate between the king and archbishop Jacob
Erlandsen. After her husband's sudden death (29 May 1259)
she played a larger role, since she was a guardian and ruler for
her only nine year old son Erik. She lost every hope of resisting
Christoffer's enemies when the peasants from Zealand were
beaten by the Rügen-prince Jarimar at Næstved, and M. had
to buy the peace by several concessions ; the imprisoned
archbishop was given his freedom, Erik Abelsøn was endowed
with Sønderjylland. M. soon entered the politics of her late
husband; in spite of protests from the archisbop she let the
Jutland bishops crown Erik in Viborg, and in 1261 she lead
an army into the hertugdømme (duchy). Her progress was
only shortlived however, the Holsteiners arrived, and at
Lohede (28. July) they gained the victory over the Danes;
the young king and his mother fell into the hands of the
enemies. But now showed M.her untiring energy, from
her prison in Hamburg she called for the help from Albert
of Braunschwig; he suceeded in getting her out of prison,
and they returned to Denmark together. Hertug Albert was
appointed the vice-regent of Denmark, and M noticed
gladly, how violently he behaved against the opponents of
the royal house; she even fell in love with the young hertug,
so is it said in the Braunschwig-Chronicle. In 1263 Albert
left Denmark, but the next year could M. fetch her own
son back, and he was declared of age in 1266.
At this time M. had for life bwwn given Estonia to be in her
ownership as a widow. She was still the ruler of the kingdom
for a long time, and her energy was probably due to that the
archbishop-feud ended in a good way - and also that
hertugdømmet (duchy) after Erik Abelsøn's death 1272 again
came back to the Crown. Later she is more retired, and she
died in December 1282 during a stay in Rostock; in the
nearby Cisterciense-Abbey in Doberan, to which her father
had a friendly relationship, she found her last rest, and here is
still seen a strange wooden sculpture of her, which before was
a cover over her sarcophagus.
Her byname Sprænghest (jumping horse) suited well to all the
energy M, showed while she was a widow; in legends she is
also called Sorte Grethe (Black Grethe), but here is she mixed
with her great namesake, Margrethe Valdemarsdatter.
According to some it was M. who built a part of Danevirke,
called Margrethevolden, which however is not very possible.
M. gave some estate to the Holy Cross Kloster in Rostock;
soon after her death it was told that she had founded the
kloster and given it a splinter of the Holy Cross, which she
personally had received from the pope, and which during
her way home had saved her and her entourage in a storm
at the sea; everything was told in a document, which was
said to be from the queen herself, but the authenticity of
this document is uncertain.
Script, rer. Prussicarum I, 690 f.
Videnskab. Selsk. Skr., Hist. phil. Afd., 5. R. IV, 377 ff.
Aarb. f. nord. Oldkynd. 1877, S. 55 ff.; 1881, S. 50 ff.