Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Abel, 1219-1252, ~ Mechtild of Holstein --1288.

Abel, 1219-52, King, a son of king Valdemar
Sejr and his second wife Berengaria. At his
older brother Erik's election to king he
became in 1232 his successor as hertug of
Sønderjylland, which vasalry he took over
in 1237. At the same time he married, according
to an earlier agreement a daughter of grev Adolf
of Holstein, Mechtild. When grev Adolf shortly
after joined a kloster, he was for some years
a guardian for his underage brothers-in-law.
At his father's death in 1241 he became the
owner of a large part of the royal family's
inheritance, among this everything in the duchy,
and the cities Svendborg, Fåborg, Skelskør and
Rudkøbing. The mixed ownerships caused a
feud between him and the king; but it was not
an open fight, until Erik in 1246 had a break
with the mighty Hvide-family and shortly
after withdrew Svendborg to the royal estate.
In the years 1247-48 there were battles with
varying luck in Nørrejylland, at Funen and
Sønderjylland, until the sister Sophie of
Brandenburg succeeded in mediating peace
between the brothers. When the king's man
Henrik Æmeltorp in Rensborg was attacked by
the Holstein grafs, king Erik visited on his
way to his rescue his brother in Schleswig,
but was treacherously taken prisoner; A.'s men
Tyge Bost and Lage Gudmundsen let him kill and
lowered his body into the Slien (10 August).
After A. had disclaimed the responsibility
for E.'s murder, he was elected king and was
crowned in Roskilde (1 Nov. 1250). King
A. showed he was clever and moderate, and it
seems he was the most intelligent among king
Valdemar's left sons. He tried to help the
cities and promoted the relations abroad,
and by wise concessions he brought down the
unrest.But before the new conditions were
able to consolidate, he died, 33 years old,
a violent death in the fight against the
rebellious Frisians, 29 June 1252. His death
and his successor's interest in weakening the
sons' demand for the throne branded him as
a fratricide.
- His wife Mechtild survived him for many years;
she joined a kloster, but left it again and
married the Swedish jarl Birger, who died shortly
after. She died in 1288.

A. D. Jørgensen.

Mechtilde (Mathilde), Dronning, --1288, was a
daughter of Grev Adolf IV of Holstein; she was
probably named after her paternal grandmother.
In 1237 she married Hertug Abel of Jutland,
according to an earlier agreement between Valdemar
Sejr and grev Adolf, and she gave birth to several
sons.This marriage became fatal for Denmark by
drawing Abel towards Holstein; after his father-in-law
had joined a kloster, he was for a period guardian
for his young sons and defended later these
against his brother Erik Plovpenning. After Erik's
death M. was crowned  together with Abel in
Roskilde (1. Nov. 1250); but two years later she
had to leave the kingdom, and only with difficulties
she managed to have her firstborn son, Valdemar,
released from prison at the archbishop of Cologne,
but after he had got his paternal duchy transferred
he died in 1257. M. had to fight for her children's
right of inheritance again, she joined archbishop Jacob
Erlandsen ; and she broke the ww pf chastity she had
given after Abels death, and she married in 1261
Birger Jarl in sweden in order to find some
support there too. He died already in
1266, and M.resided since that in Kiel. She
made the base of the Holstein influence in Sønderjylland;
in 1260 she pawned to her brothers the land between
the Eider and Slien, and just before her death (1288) ,
she actually gave away this land, which she claimed to have
inherited from her eldest son. She was therefore very
hated in Denmark, and the Danes claimed that this
"German woman, a daughter of the Devil" had destroyed
the valuable adkomstbreve ( documents of title), which
Valdemar Sejr had got from emperor and pope on the
land north of the Elb.

Kr. Erslev. 

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Project Runeberg

translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright

Monday, November 22, 2010

Erik IV Plovpenning, 1216-1250, ~ Jutta of Saxony, --1250--

Erik Plovpenning, 1216-50, king
was Valdemar Sejrs and Berengarias firstborn son,
who soon after his birth in 1216 was appointed
hertug (duke) i Jylland. He replaced in 1226
his halfbrother Valdemar as a prisoner in
Schwerin and was released 1230. After his brother's
death he was crowned king in Lund by archbishop
Uffe on Whit Sunday (30. May) 1232. E. was said
to have studied in Paris and he was here aquainted
with the later pope Innocents IV. When pope Gregor
IX started a parti in Germany against emperor
Frederik II and tried ti have him ousted, E. was
offered the throne (1239) but he refused. it seems
was active by his father's side in the government
of the country. He married 9. October 1239 Judith
or Jutta, a daughter of hertug Albrect I af Saxony.
While E. was said in his younger years to be very
fond of the joys of life, he was later serious and
pious. One of the first letters, he issued after
his accession to the throne - at his father's death
28. March 1241 --, holds a declaration that he
want to die dressed in the dress of the Fransiscans
and to be buried in their Kloster in Roskilde.
Besides his winning attitude and his energy he
was also very belligerent and during his government
Denmark was in an eternal state of unrest.

His brother Abel was hertug in Sønderjylland, but
he considered this land more like inheritance than a
royal vasalry; in his marriage to the Holstein
princess Mechtild, and in the guardianship of his
underage brothers-in-law, which he took, his
position became dangerous, and E., who hoped to
regain his father's power over Holstein, was ready to
fight. When the war broke out 1242, lasting for 2 years,
a ceasefire happened, but 1246 the fight was renewed,
and Abel, who had attracted his brother Christoffer
to join his party, and who was assisted by Germany,
harrassed in Jutland and at Funen, burnt down 
Odense and conquered Ribe. E. reconquered this
town and his German allies fell into Holstein and
conquered Oldeslo. E. occupied now all his brothers'
castles and estates and took Christoffer and his
halfbrother hertug Knud prisoner. Moved by this sad
feud E.s sister, margrafin Sophie of Brandenburg had
already in autumn 1247 went up to mediate between
the brothers; she died on her travel in childbirth
without seeing any peaceful solutions.

E.s  was during these years also threatened,
because he had a feud with bishop
Niels Stigsen of Roskilde, i.e. about the ownership of
Copenhagen, which brought the bishop to leave the
country 1245. E.s relation to the clergy, which made
complaints about injustice of the Crown, was very
tense, and the feud with the bishop also showed a
beginning break with the mighty Hvide-family,
which he was a member of. Finally the king had to
see the Lübecks join his enemies and plunder the
Danish coasts; they captured and burnt Copenhagen.
In the year 1249 there was a pause of the war, and
the king tried to organize the Estland-expedition, he
had been preparing for long. Already in the re-start
of the bishopric in Reval in king Valdemar's last
years had E. been active, and a fight against the
heathens inside this country and at the borders
were always on his mind. On this occassion E. let
impose a tax of every plough, which caused a
rebellion from the peasants in Skåne. E. was
driven out of Lund and Helsingborg and had to
go to Sjælland, but returned a few days later, and
a peace and agreement were achieved (1249).
This tax caused that the king got the byname
Plovpenning. The expediton was carried out,
but the historian Arild Huitfeldt says that a battle was
never fought with the heathens.

In 1250 E suddenly attacked Sønderjylland and
conquered Schleswig; he was not lucky in a fight
against the Frisians, but Abel had to
surrender. 20 noblemen swor the agreed peace
on behalf of the duke and promised to leave him, if
he was not true to the king. In a dispute with E.
Abel showed that his grudge was stronger than ever,
and that he remembered how his daughter, caused by
E.'s attack "had barefooted to seek shelter
among poor women". He let E. take prisoner
by his kammermester Tyge Bost; maybe Abel did
not order to kill his brother, but his men knew
how to obey his wishes. E. was brought with shackles
on hand and foot down to a boat on the Slien, another
boat came near, where the king's worst enemy Lage
Gudmundsen was. E. saw that death was near, and
asked to be allowed to confess to a priest.They allowed
this and fetched a priest, to whom the king confessed
humbly, then they decapitated him with a sword.
It happened in the night of the10th August 1250. The
body was lowered into the fjord, but some fishermen found
it the next day and brought it to Schleswig, where the
Black Friars buried it in their church; later the body was
moved to St. Hans Nunnery in Schleswig and found at
last its place in Ringsted Kirke. E.s murderers were
soon after killed in various pitiful ways, and when rumours
were spread about miracles by the grave, people began
regarding the murdered king as a saint. E. was never
adopted among the saints of the church, but he was
honoured as a saint by the people, and various Gilder
(Unions) chose him as a patron.

Queen Jutta gave birth to 2 sons, who died young, and
4 daughters: Sophie, married to king Valdemar of Sweden,
Ingeborg, married to king Magnus Lagabøter of Norway,
Jutta and Agnes, who joined a nummery, but later left it.
The queen later married Burchard VIII, Borggreve of
Rosenburg by Harzen.

Suhm, Hist. af Danmark X.
Hist Tidsskr. 6. R. II, 359 ff.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Jutta, --1250--, queen, 
was a daughter of the Saxon hertug Albrecht(+1260)
of the Askanian House in his 1. marriage to a 
daughter of an Austrian duke, Agnes, and she 
married in 1239 the Danish king Erik Plovpenning.
She is mentioned as a witness in a letter where 
her husband a few months after his father king  
Valdemar's death told his wish about being buried in
the dress of the Fransiscans and to be buried in their 
church in Roskilde. Or else there is only an information 
about Jutta, while she lived at Skanderborg, that 
she was harrassing the monks at Øm kloster, she took  
their harvested corn and brought it on boats to 
her castle. J. had several children with Erik. It is 
uncertain if there were sons, if so they must have 
died before their father; four daughters are known, 
two became queen: Sophie in Sweden and Ingeborg  
in Norway, while Jutta and Agnes went to a 
nunnery for a period. After Erik's murder in 1250 she 
probably went soon to her home in Germany.She married
later Burchard of Rosenburg who was borggreve
in Magdeburg. A daughter of this marriage was 
Sophie who was married to Erik of Langeland. 
Kr. Erslev
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Valdemar (III) the Young, 1209-31, ~ Eleonore of Portugal, --1231


Valdemar (III), 1209-31, King, son of Valdemar
II og Dagmar , was born 1209. At a meeting of
the Danish magnates, which king Valdemar
arranged at Samsø in 1215, everyone agreed to
swear an oath to V., and shortly after he was
elected king (co-king) at Viborg landsting.
During a great feast in Schleswig on
Midsummer's day in 1218, with 15 bishops and
3 dukes present,V. was anointed and crowned.
He took part with his father in the unlucky
hunt at the island Lyø in the month of May
in 1223, where both kings were taken prisoner
by grev Henrik; and he was imprisoned until
Easter 1226, when he was released on the
condition that his brother Erik went to prison
instead. V., who was in the government together
with his father, was on Midsummer's day 1229
married in Ribe  with princess Eleonore of
Portugal; bishop Gunner in Viborg, had fetched
the princess to Denmark, and in his "Levned"
(biography)is told, how the young queen and V.
loved Gunner as if he had been their father.
V. was praised for his mildness and kindness
towards everyone and was very popular; the Latin
elegi, which a cleric authored, when the kings
were captured,mentions him in the best words of
praise. It was a tremendous grief to the country,
when V. was killed during a hunt at Refsnæs 28.
November 1231. He was buried in Ringsted kirke
besides Eleonore, who had died three months
before in childbirth; their only child died
only six months old.  
Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Eleonore (Alienor), –1231, queen, was a
daughter of Alphons II of Portugal and Urraca
of Castile. King Valdemar II Sejr, who had
been married to Alphon's sister Berengaria
(+1221), let by his delegate bishop Gunner
fetch her 18year old brother's daughter to
Denmark as a bride for his and Dagmar's son
Valdemar , who had been crowned king already
in 1218. The wedding took place in Ribe on
Midsummer's day 1229, and the next day E. got
as her morning gift the southern half of the
island Funen.  Only 2 years later E. died in
childbirth, 28 August 1231, and three months
later her husband was killed by an accidental
shot. When examining E.'s grave in Ringsted
kirke, it was found that her skeleton showed
traces of a very endemic benedder (cancer of
the bones),which probably was contributory to
her death. At the foot piece of E.'s grave was
a leaden coffin, which contained the bones of a
child about 6 months old, already sickly and
scrofulous from birth. So E. gave probably birth
to a child, who survived her for only 6 months.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Valdemar II Sejr, 1170 -1241, ~ 1) Dagmar of Bohemia, +1212; ~ 2 ) Berengaria of Portugal, +1221; and relation to Helena Guttormsdatter

Valdemar II Sejr, 1170-1241, king, son of  Valdemar I
the Great and queen Sophie, was born around Midsummer's
day 1170. Already when young his bold and lively personality
awoke great expectations, and he was an obvious choice as
hertug (duke) in Sønderjylland, which his father and
grandfather had been.This position was however entrusted
to his cousin bishop Valdemar Knudsen, but when V. became
18 years of age, the position was given to him. The
relationship between the two cousins soon became tense,
and V. took several castles and estates from the bishop,
probably with good reason, since he discovered that his
cousin joined the enemies of the country; and the bishop
was not backed up by the papal delegate who arrived to
examine his complaints.The bishop fled to Sweden shortly
after, and when he later recklessly attacked Denmark, V.
took him prisoner.

Grev (count/graf) Adolf III af Holstein was a very restless
neighbour and showed both on this occasion and later on an
obvious enmity towards Denmark;  but he also caused
aversion in his own country, and several members of the
displeased groups went to see V. in Schleswig. In order to
discipline him V. fell in 1201 into Holstein and conquered the
open land and Hamburg and Lübeck, but he was not able to
win Lauenborg. In a bold attack Adolf took back Hamburg,
but V. stood unexpectedly  outside the banks on Christmas
Eve, and Adolf had to redeem himself by giving Lauenborg
to V. The citizens of Lauenborg would not agree to this,
and Adolf had to go to prison, which raised a tremendous
hilarity in Denmark.When king Knud died without sons 12.
Nov. 1202, V. was unanimously elected king; archbishop
Anders Sunesen crowned him on Christmas Day in Lund's
cathedral. The next summer V. went with a large army to
the Elb; he was greeted as the lord of Nordalbingien in
Lübeck,  and Lauenborg surrendered soon after, when
grev Adolf was released. V. installed his sister's son, the
young grev Albert of Orlamünde as lord of Nordalbingien,
and he governed the land with just and skill.

V. made an expedition to Norway in June 1204 to support
the throne pretender of the Baglers, Erling (Stenvæg); the
swords were not drawn however, and the expedition was
of no importance. Although Erling greeted V. as overlord,
V. did not mingle in Norwegian affairs later on either. But
there was still unrest at the southern border of the kingdom,
not least caused by that V. on intercessions had released
bishop Valdemar from prison, and that the bishop in spite
of his oath let himself  be elected archbishop of Bremen.
The two brothers grev Gunzelin and Henrik of Schwerin
showed furthermore a hostile attitude, why V. let the
grevskab (county) occupy and forced them to greet him as
their feudal overlord. During the feud between Germany's
two rulers, Otto IV and Philip, V. took sides with Otto
and  supported him with money and auxiliaries, but after
Philip was murdered (1208), Otto felt safe and was ready to
turn his weapons against Denmark. Otto soon had a rival,
Frederik II, and since he still gained more power in
Germany, V. joined him. Frederik II was not interested
in the northern parts of Germany, and he gave all lands north
of the Elb and its tributary Elde (Dec. 1214) to V. This cession
was soon confirmed by the popes Innocents and Honorius.

But V. wanted to expand his power to more distant places,
he wanted to free the Baltic Sea of pirates and spread
Christianity to the heathen people along its coasts. After
an expedition to Øsel, which he conquered, but which he did
not keep occupied (1206), he went on a crusade to Preussia
and Samland, and the duke of Pommerellen had to pay
tribute to him (1210). The most important event was the
large expedition to Estonia in 1219. With a fleet of 1500 ships
he landed at Lyndanise. The Estonian chiefs seemed willing
to surrender and to be baptized, but one evening they
treacherously attacked the Christian army, who had to fight
a very tough fight with the Estonians, but who also defeated
them completely. The tradition has to this battle connected
the tale about the cross banner (Dannebrog), which fell from
the sky, while a voice was heard, that promised a victory
to the Danes under this sign - so the Danes attacked again
and  won. With a strongpoint of the built castle Reval the
Danish power spread across the country; V. lead two
expeditions there (1220, 1222), but the possession was still
not secure, and he lost it when the bad years arrived.

Before the story about these is told, it has to be told about
V.'s personal relations. He got married late. Before that he
had a relationship to Helena, the daughter of the Swedish
jarl Guttorm; she was a widow after Esbern Snare. She had
the son Knud with V. With an unknown woman V. had a
son Niels, who was married to Oda, a daughter of grev
Gunzelin of Schwerin, she died early and left a son, Niels.
Finally V. married in 1205 the Bohemian princess Dragomir
(Dagmar), whose beauty and goodness won her all hearts;
she gave in 1209 birth to the son Valdemar, but died already
24. May 1212. Two years later V. married the beautiful
princess Berengaria of Portugal; she gave birth to the sons
Erik, Abel and Christoffer and a daughter Sophie. The next
birth cost her life 27. March 1221.

In the night of 6.-7. May 1223 a drastic change happened in
V.s and his country's history. The king was together with his son
Valdemar on a hunt at the island Lyø, when grev Henrik of
Schwerin broke into the tents and after a short fight brought
the kings as prisoners down to his ships. Grev Henrik wanted
to revenge that V., probably wrongfully, on behalf of his
son's son and under the absence of grev Henrik, who was in
the Holy Land, had captured the half ot the castle Schwerin,
since it was a pawn for the dowry of Henriks brother's
daughter Oda. Henrik brought the prisoners to his castle
Lenzen, and then to a castle Dannenberg upon the left bank
of river Elb. This deed awoke dismay and instantaneous
irresolution in Denmark. Grev Albert took over the job as
rigshøvedsmand  (vice regent), and the Danes addressed
first of all the pope for assistance. After emperor Frederik
in vain had made efforts to have the king handed over,
various attempts were made in order to achieve an
agreement with grev Henrik; the conditions were very hard,
and it was said that the Danes interrupted the negotiations
themselves. The allied German princes, who had freed
themselves of obedience to V., attacked Holstein;  Albert
lost a battle at Mølln (Jan. 1225), he was taken prisoner and
put in jail in Schwerin, to where the kings now had been
brought. Denmark lost Lübeck, and Hamburg surrendered to
grev Adolf. There was now no other way out than closing an
agreement on the toughest conditions. The king had to pay
45.000 Mark silver and much more, he had to give up all
countries south of the Eider and the countries in the Wend,
except Rügen and what belonged to this island. V. and the
other prisoners had to be released gradually, dependent on
the payment of the ransom.

At Christmas time 1226 V. returned to Denmark, and he was
still cautious for some months after the release, but then his
vengefullness awoke, and pope Honorius released him from
the oath he had sworn grev Henrik. He attacked Holstein,
but the battle at Bornhøved 22 july 1227 brought him a
decisive defeat; furthermore he lost one eye in the battle.
From now on V.'s politics changed completely. In some
negotiations with grev Henrik's widow he achieved in
Schleswig in 1230 an agreement, where the sum of
the ransom was  considerably reduced, and the young
princes, who had gone to prison instead of their father
and brother, could now return to Denmark. V. entered
into friendly relations with the north German princes;
his son Abel married a daughter of grev Adolf of Holstein,
and his other children were married to princes in Germany.
The costy ransom had brought a strong economic pressure
on Denmark, and in 1230 came other serious troubles,
namely both cattle plague and famine, which killed many
people; the year after lost V. his oldest son, so he had to
undergo some dark hours.  But he became matured by the
disaster and displayed during the last decade of his rule an
important work in the government of the inner circumstances
of the country.

V. was during all his rule a true friend and protector of
the church; the archbishop Anders Sunesen was an
excellent assistent in his crusades; bishop Gunner in Viborg
was a faithfull adviser. By numerous gifts to churches and
klosters or by favours he showed his warm interest for
the ecclesiastical life. Most important of his work was
his close relation to the popes and their always ready
assistance in his enterprises. Innocents III had been his
helper in the feud against bishop Valdemar and the
German princes, Honorius III had been working for his
release from his imprisonment; Gregor IX had in many
ways helped him lighten the econimic burden in his latest
ruling period. All these popes also showed by several
pardons, how highly they appreciated him and his work
for the Danish church. Pope Gregor also helped V.
getting back Estonia. V. had not given up regaining his
supremacy there, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were
very pressed by the heathen neighbours; and by some
clever negotiations in Rome V. made the pope order the
Livonian Brothers to give back Estonia to Denmark. In an
agreement in Stensby at Vordingborg 1238 the German
Knigh'ts Order - of which the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
were now a part - transferred the landscapes Reval, Harrien
and Wirland to king V.

In all parts of the government was king V.'s influence obvious.
Statistic and economic informations were gathered about
the income of the country, the crown's estate and the royal
ancestral estate, which is seen in "Kong Valdemars Jordebog".
V. issued several statutories, but it was especially his great
credit to let compose "Jyske Lov" with the advise from the best
men of the country; it was issued in Vordingborg in March
1241, and it has had an immense importance for the judicial
life of the Danish people. During the next 100 years is referred
regularly to the system of justice at king V.'s time as the normal
and golden age. The first 20 years of his rule gave him the
byname "Sejr" (Victory), which he was called since the 16th
century, but he was also entitled to be named lovfører (legifer),
which he was called already in the 14th century. The least
accepted from his government was that he gave much land to
his sons (Abel got Sønderjylland, Niels Nørrehalland etc.) or
to relatives. Some transfers were necessary compensations for
the loss from the unlucky years, others were by V. considered
useful for the defense of the country, but the following times
showed the danger by such an outparcelling.

King V. died on Maundy Thursday 28. March 1241 in
Vordingborg and was buried in Ringsted church. - there are
no informations about V.'s looks and almost nothing about
his personal appearance.  But it is sure that he was highly
respected by everyone, nothing is mentioned about any
enemy among Danish men, nothing is heard of if he ever
bore grudge to anyone. There was no rebellion or unrest
during his rule, even in those years where he was imprisoned.
An evidence about his many interests is that several Icelandic
scalds went to see him  and was received with hospitality. Olaf
Hvítaskáld mentions the king's great knowledge, and how he
tried to convert the runic alphabet into Latin letters. Icelandic
sagas call V. the most excellent king in the Nordic countries.
Contemporary sources from Denmark speak of him with
gratitude and admiration, and the tradition never invented an
evil deed ; it has only praised him for being a victor and was
sad for him in his misfortune. When he died - an annual spoke
like this not long time after - "faldt Kronen af de danskes
hoved". (the crown fell from the head of the Danes.)

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk lexicon
Project Runeberg
Carl Fr. Bricka

translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hardicanute, 1018-42, and Gunhild (Kunigunde), son and daughter of Cnut the Great and Emma of Normandy. Gunhild ~ king Henrik III of Germany.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Hardicanute, 1018-42, king, son of Cnut the Great
and Emma, was appointed king in Denmark 1028, but
since he after his father's death stayed too long
in Denmark, his halfbrother Harald was elected king
of England. H. had been busy fighting Norway's
king Magnus, but he finally had an agreement with
him and could in 1039 go with a fleet to Flandern
to his mother. Harald died shortly after,and the
English magnates agreed in summoning H., who was
crowned king in June 1040. His rule did not last
for long, the weak king died 8. June 1042, when he
at a wedding toasted the bride; he was buried in
Winchester by his father's side.

Unfortunately there is nothing good to be told about
this last male of the Danish kings' family in
England; he had persecuted his opponents in a brutal
way, he had taunted his brother's body and imposed a
considerable war tax, which caused unrest in the

Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Dictionary of National Biography XXIV.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Gunhild, ab.1020-1038, daughter of Cnut the Great.
In his marriage to Aethelred's widow Emma of
Normandy Knud had two children, Hardicanute and
G. In June 1035 Knud arranged with Emperor Conrad
II a marriage between G. and the emperor's son
king Henrik, the later Henrik III, but Knud never
saw the marriage established, since he died 12
November 1035. The wedding took place in great
splendor in June 1036 in Nimwegen, where G. was
crowned and took the name Kunigunde.
G. is described as a fine and delicate woman with
a body and mind like a child. She had a weak
constitution and died after 2 years of marriage
18 July 1038; she had only one child, the daughter
Beatrix, who became an abbess.

Legend and folklore has incorrectly transferred to
G. the tale about a queen, who by her husband's
accussation of adultry proved her innocence by
letting a dwarf defend her in a fight with a giant
and defeat him.

Steindorff, Jahrbïcher des deutschen Reichs unter
Heinrich III.
J. Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Thorkel the Tall, -- ab. 1024, ~Eadgytha - and their son Harald Thorkilsson, --1042, ~Gunhild

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg 
Thorkel the Tall, --o.1024, Jarl, was the son of Strut-Harald, 
Jarl in Skåne.
At the magnificent wake for his father, which T.'s brother, Sigvald,
the Jomsborg-chief, let celebrate, Sigvald swore on his Brage-cup to go on an 
expedition to Norway to overthrow Hakon Jarl, and T. swore that he would accompany
his brother. The expedition took place shortly after, but in the unlucky battle
at Hjørungavaag the two brothers were both the first to take flight; in the
famous battle at Svold (1000) T. is said to have given Erik Jarl, Hakon
Jarl's son, the useful advice to put logs from his ship up to Olaf Tryggvasson's
ship «Ormen hin Lange», so the ship began to lean and they could
enter it. 
In the Danish expeditions to England during the next years took T. part together
with the Jomsborg-vikings (1009). After having conquered Canterbury (1012),
when the Vikings assailed the captured archbishop Aelfheah to force him to pay
ransom, T. tried in vain to save the archbishop's life by offering a big
reward to the warriors. Shortly after had T. an agreement with king Aethelred;
with a crew of 45 ships he went to serve him and undertook to defend the country,
if he was paid living and clothes for himself and his warriors. 
T. met his duty in the following years; he defended London with endurance and
courage , when king Svend attacked the town, (1013), and Aehtelred seeked refuge
with T. on his fleet; T. and his warriors were paid 21.000 pounds.

Shortly after came a change. After king Svend's death ( February 1014) the Anglo
Saxons made an attempt to surprise the Danes in their castles; T.'s brother 
Hemming was killed with all his crew. And T. left Aethelred and his case, he
sailed with 9 ships to Denmark and urged king Knud to attack England. With a large
fleet Knud went to England (1015) and subjected large parts of the country
during several struggles, in which T. took part, like at Ashington. At king
Edmund's death the same year Knud was elected king by all the people, and T. was
given the rule of one of the 4 large parts of the country, East Angel.

AFter king Knud had Eadric Streona killed, T. was for some years Knud's first
advisor and right hand. Upon the battle-field of Ashington Knud and T. built
together a church, and the church Bury St. Edmunds had a warm protector in T.; 
he appointed monks to do service instead of priests.
T. had married Eadric Streona's widow Eadgytha,a daughter of king Aethelred, 
and this made Knud suspicious. Since the king had planned to let England rule by 
the English only, he banished Denmark(1021). A few years later he reconciled 
with his old war comrade and turned over the management of Denmark to T. as a 
guardian for Harald, Knud's and Aelfgifu's son, (1023), but T. died shortly after,
according an unreliable English chronicle he was let down by the Danish chiefs 
and killed by the peasants. His son Harald was then by Knud appointed
regent in Denmark.

Munch, Det norske Folks Historie III.
Freeman, The Norman conquest I.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.
Stephen, Dictionary of national biography LVI.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Harald (Thorkilsson), --1042, Jarl, son of Thorkil the Tall, 
was married to Cnut the Great's sister's daughter Gunhild. Knud appointed in 1028 
H. as regent in Denmark and the Wendic possessions. When Magnus the Good after 
Hardicanute's death (June 1042) won Denmark's throne, was H. regarded as a
dangerous rival, and the Saxon duke's son Ordulf - who was married to Magnus' 
sister, let H. kill 13. November 1042, when he after a pilgrimage to Rome went 
through Holstein.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg


Monday, October 18, 2010

Svend Alfifasen, ab. 1015-ab. 1036, and Harald Harefoot, --1040, sons of Knud/Cnut the Great and Aelfgifu of Northampton.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Svend Alfifasen, o.1015-o 1036, king in Norway, was
a son of king Knud/Cnut the Great and his mistress
(consort) Aelfgifu, a daughter of ealdorman Aelfhelm
in Deira. When Knud married queen Emma (1017 ), he
sent Aelfgifu with her sons Harald and S. to Denmark.
S. was later appointed chief at Jomsborg.After Knud
had conquered Norway he let S., who by his side had
Aelfgifu and Harald, Thorkil Jarl's son, as advisors,
take over the rule (1030).

S. was, without contradiction, elected king at all
the land's things; he was handsome and benevolent,
and the Norwegians admitted that he kept good peace in
the country. Various laws, which he carried through,
awoke some aversion - several laws were adopted in the
later legislation, and his power-hungry mother was
hated; and since crop failures happened, and since
miracles were seen at the killed king Olaf's grave,
announcing his holyness, the public feeling turned
against the foreign rule, and the Thronds fetched
Olaf's son Magnus in Russia. At his arrival S. and
his mother had to flee to Denmark, where S. died
shortly after (ab. 1036).

Munch, Det norske Folks Hist. I, 2, 813 ff. 
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Harald Harefod, --1040, king, a son of Knud/Cnut
the Great and Aelfgifu of Northampton. When Knud
married Emma in 1017, he removed Aelfgifu and her
sons. H. was for a time king in Denmark with
Thorkel the Tall as his assistant and guardian;
later he resided in England. At Knud's death in
1035, the northern provinces and the sailors in
London - who was the pro-Danish part of the
country, and who did not like Knud's English-
National politics - joined with H., while the
land-army and the southern provinces acknowledged
Hardicanute.When his arrival to England was
delayed, and while Aelfgifu with gifts and tempting
banquets aimed at attracting Hardicanute's friends,
H. was elected king of all England in 1037,
whereafter Emma was chasen out of the country.

H.'s kingom did not last for long, since he after a
long sickbed died in Oxford 17. March 1040; he was
buried in Westminster. H. seemed to be of an
ambitious and violent character, and it was told
that he found more joy in hunts and dogs than in
church attendance.

Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Dictionary of National Biography XXIV. 
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canute the Great /Knud den Store, o. 995-1035, ~ Emma of Normandy, - 1052. (his consort before Emma was Aelfgifu of Northampton)

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
Canute the Great/Knud den Store, ab. 995-1035,
king of England, Denmark and Norway. K. was a son
of Svend Tveskæg (Sweyn Forkbeard) and Gunhild, a
daughter of hertug Miesko of Poland. Svend had after
many war expeditions conquered England, but when he
died 3 Feb. 1014, the ousted king Aethelred returned
from Normandy, and his son Edmund Ironside took
bravely up the fight with the Danes. K., who was
appointed king by the army, had to leave the country,
the hostages he had been given from the Anglo Saxons
were put ashore, mauled on nose, ears and hands.
In the North was realized though that England was now
ready to be taken by the Danes. Knud's brother
Harald, who was elected king in Denmark, and his
stepmother Sigrid Storråde's son, the Swedish king
Oluf , gave him ships for a new expedition, and the
Viking chief Thorkil the Tall came to his service.
With a splendid fleet of over 200 ships the attack
on England could take place (1015), but the brave
Edmund, who after his father's death, 23. April
1036, was elected king, gave in 6 great battles the
Danes the toughest resistance. The two army chiefs
therefore agreed in sharing the country, and in a
meeting at Olney in Severn the kingdom was divided,
K. got the northern part and Edmund the southern.
But Edmund died on 30. Nov. 1016, and this death
was so convenient that the chronicle-writers later
quite unfoundedly accused K. for having arranged
Edmund to be murdered by the traitor Eadric Streona.
Now was K. elected king of all England.

K.s politics at once intended to reconcile the
fighting parties and people.  He married (1017)
Aethelreds widow, Emma or Aelfgifu,a daughter of
hertug Richard I of Normandy, and it was decided
that K.'s and her sons became heirs to the throne.
The main part of the Danish fleet was sent back home,
and the Nordic chiefs, whom he in the first years
had given high positions, were gradually removed
from these, or they were exiled, while the Anglo
Saxons took their place. K. declaired, that the
existing laws, "King Edgar's Laws", had to be
maintained, and he joined closely church and clergy.
His kingdom had to rest upon national ground. But
K. had after his brother Harald's death (1018) also
won Denmark, and by new acquisitions his power soon
rose to a degree like an empire. In an expedition
in 1023 K. claimed power over large parts of the
south- and east coast of the Baltic Sea, he not only
controlled Jomsborg, he controlled several Slavic
people in Samland at the mouth of the river Weichsel.

When Norway's king Olaf den Digre (the Big) and the
Swedish king Anund Jacob joined against him, K. went
against them and fought a hard battle at Helgeå in
Skåne, (1026), but he did not win the battle. This
bad luck had to be revenged, and after K. by bribery
had won many supporters in Norway, he went there in
1028 with a fleet, which he had gathered in
Limfjorden. Without any battles he reached as far as
Nidaros, where he was celebrated king, and Olaf had
to leave the country.  Hakon, K.'s sister's son, was
made governor, but although the farmers at Stiklestad
(1030) destroyed Olaf's attempt to regain the country,
K.'s power rested upon weak feet. K. appointed his
son Svend governor or king in Norway, followed by his
mother Aelfgifu, the ealdorman Aelfhelm's daughter,
with whom K. had a relationship when young.  The
Norwegians found this foreign rule unbearable; the
killed Olaf's son Magnus was called back, and Svend
and Aelfgifu had leave. - K. had also to fight many
fights with the border-people in Wales, Cumberland
and Scotland, mostly with success.

But K. won his great name more by ruling in peace than
by wars and conquests. From the first day he showed
strange abilities in finding ways for his plans and
friends to work them out. His close connection to the
church was also very important. In his laws and public
messages to the people he always connected love for God
and for the king, religious belief and moral behaviour,
to keep the commands of the church and the secular laws,
and with a masterful hand he maintained both the power
of the state and the church. He supported churches and
kloster generously, and wisely he seeked papal support
for his power. A few months after the battle at Helgeå
he went to Rome and took part in emperor Conrad II's
coronation in St. Peter's Cathedral on Easter Day 1027.
It was the first time a Danish king visited Rome, and
it was certain  that the travel aimed at political
purposes to the pope and other princes. K. achieved
that emperor Conrad gave him the dispouted "danske Mark"
(Danish land) at the Eider. K.'s religious politics
were of great importance, especially to the still half
heathen Denmark, churches were built, the bishoprics
were changed, priests were summoned from England or
from other western districts, and klosters were

K.'s English laws were important because they created
a safe administration and a good order in the country,
and there is no doubt that he worked in the same way
in Denmark. In England he established an army of
3000 men, whose members (housecarls) were in a
brotherhood under a special law (vederlagsret): an
institution like this was made in Denmark, or the
English branched off to Denmark, where these laws soon
became important for the development of the aristocratic
landlords. Only few details from K's rule of Denmark
are known, but his influence is clear in the monetary

Many bad deeds which earlier were ascribed to K., have
been removed by new critics, or they are seen in another
light.His temper could make him violent, like when he
let his unreliable brother-in-law Ulf kill in Roskilde
Trefoldighedskirke. K. owned diplomatic ingenuity and
used often cunnings, but he was not faithless, either
hippocratic, he was a devout man, and the famous story
about how he acknowledged his scepter's lack of power
on the waves by the sea, is a good description of his
pious mind. He favored poetry and scalds; a stanza he
wrote is still preserved.

But like most members of his family his life was short.
He died in Shaftesbury 12. Nov. 1035 and was buried in
Winchester. That age called him "the rich" *c: mægtige
(great); when Denmark later had other kings by the name
Knud, he was named "the old", but the name "the Great"
was used from the late 12th century. By his sons'
incompetence and early deaths England was not in the
Royal Danish family for long.

With Aelfgifu he had 2 sons, Svend and Harald Harefoot ;
in his happy marriage to Emma he had the son Hardicanute
and the daughter Gunhild, who was married to Henrik III
of Germany.

Lappenberg, Geschichte v. England I.
Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III og IV.
Ersch u. Gruber, Allg. Encyklopädie, 2. Section, XXXVII.
Stephen, Dictionary of national biography IX.
A. D. Jørgensen, Den nord. Kirkes Grundlæggelse S. 435 f.
Olrik, Konge og Præstestand i den danske Middelalder I.

Emma (Ælfgifu), --1052, queen, was a daughter of
hertug Richard I of Normandy; she was in 1002
married to king Aethelred of England, which
marriage was very unhappy, caused by the king's
incompetence as regent and his adultery. E. was
by the Anglo Saxons named Aelfgifu/Ælfgifu, she
had with the king the sons Alfred, Edvard
( the Confessor) and Goda (Godgifu). When Svend
Tveskæg attacked in 1013, E. had to (and shortly
after Aethelred) to flee to Normandy, where
Aethelred died 23. April 1016. King Knud den Store,
Canute the Great,had in the meantime subjected
England; he now asked her hand in marriage, and
after he had promised that their eventual sons
became first heirs to the throne, the wedding took
place in July 1017. The year after gave E. birth to
the son Knud (Hardicanute) and later the daughter
Gunhild (married 1036 to king Henrik III of Germany).

Knud lived in a happy marriage with his beautiful
and clever wife. E. was called "Normannorum gemma",
the Norman jewel, especially by the clergy, which
she protected. At Knud's death 12. Nov. 1035 E.
tried to keep the kingdom for her absent son
Hardicanute, but he stayed too long in Denmark, why
Knud's illegitimate son Harald Harefoot gained more
influence and chased E. out of the country in 1037;
the count of Flanders gave her residence and protection
in Brügge. Urged by E. Hardicanute came to Flanders
with a fleet in order to attempt an expedition against
England, but then Harald Harefoot died (1040). E. went
to England with Hardicanute, who was crowned king. At
his death (1042) Edvard inherited the kingdom, and
already the next year he robbed E. of her riches
"because she had done too little to help him, both
before he became king and later"; yet she kept enough
for her support and lived in Winchester. She died in
Winchester 6. March 1052 and was buried next to Knud
in the cathedral.

Freeman, Norman Conquest I.
Steenstrup, Normannerne III.
Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Aelfgifu af Northampton (c. 990 – after 1040) was
an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who became the first
consort of King Cnut of England and Denmark, and
mother of king Harold I of England (1035–1040).
She served as regent of Norway from 1030 to 1035.
She is not to be confused with her rival, Emma of
Normandy, whose name could be rendered as Aelfgifu/
Ælfgifu in Old English,nor with king Aethelred's
first wife, Aelfgifu of York.
See: Aelfgifu af Northampton
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harald Skrænk, --1182--, royal descendant, son of Oluf?

Harald Skrænk, --1182--, royal descendant.
When the villagers in Skåne were told about
Valdemar I's death (1182), they renewed at once
the rebellion, which was recently put a brake on.
Archbishop Absalon and several magnates had to
leave Skåne. In order to get a chief the rebels
called H. from Sweden. He is just called a Danish
royal descendant, but all indicates that he was
a son of Oluf, Harald Kesja's son, who once with
Swedish assistance was made king in Skåne. H.
was also supported by the Swedish king,Knud
Eriksen, and the earl Birger Brosa, who both were
his relatives. Except for his high descent H.
lacked everything which creates a chief. «It is
not easy to know, if the shame was on Sweden for
sending him or on Skåne for accepting him," says
Saxo. The citizens of Lund closed the city gates
for him, the king's and Absalon's army were
victorius at Lommeaa - in spite of heavy resistance
- over the rebellious flock, and H. had to take
flight to Sweden together with the leader of the
villagers, Aage. (1183). A new rebellion was about
to start, but Absalon appealed to the peasants, and
at the Thing the magnates judged H. outlawed. When
king Knud Valdemarsen shortly after came to Skåne,
H.'s supporters were punished with money-fines. His
own conduct had been without honour, the byname
"Skrænk" ( = bottom) is not a very courteous, but
a well deserved sarcasm for his quick escape.

Hans Olrik.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two sons of Harald Kesja

Bjørn Jernside (Ironside), --1134.,
~ Cathrine of Sweden

Oluf Haraldsen, --1143 (?)

Bjørn Jernside,(Ironside) --1134. Erik Ejegods nonmarital
son Harald Kesja had 12 sons; among the oldest was B.
During the unrests after Knud Lavard's murder he joined
his father's brother Erik, who wanted to revenge the
murdered, and whom the Zealanders (sjællændere) and
Skånings had elected king. He followed him on an
expedition to Jutland (1132), where Erik at Onsild
bridge close to the town Hobro suffered a defeat and
had been taken prisoner by king Niels' men, if not B.
and the historian Svend Aagesen's(Aggesen) father had
fought the enemies so Erik could get to his ships,
where they quickly joined him. Although B. had been
so brave at that point, he was a few years later (1134)
killed by Erik, because he was a rival to the throne.
Erik was at that time sole king after king Niels'
death. B. had - like the earlier son of Regner
Lodbrog Bjørn - also achieved the byname Ironside for
his courage. B. was married to the Swedish king Inge
I's daughter Cathrine, they had a daughter Christine,
who became the wife of the Swedish king Erik the Holy.

C Weeke.

Oluf (Haraldsen), --1143(?),counter-king, was a son
of Harald Kesja and Ragnhild. When Erik Emune
surprised Harald near Vejle and killed him (1135),
he let catch Harald's other sons, who were there and
let them kill; only Oluf , who was very young, got
away, dressed as a woman, and took flight to Norway.
In 1137 O. was in Gøtaelven (river) with a fleet
and was ready to claim the Danish throne; Sigurd
Slembe, who was on friendly terms with the Danish
government and who arrived on his ships from an
expedition in the Baltic Sea, took 3 of his ships
and chased him up into the country. O. later returned
to Denmark and demanded Erik Lam to give him his
family estate, but was rejected as the son of a
traitor. O. had to hide his anger, but he secretly
made a conspiracy and tried to attack Erik one night
at the farm Arne at Lund. Erik's guard prevented the
assassination, and O. had to take flight to Sweden.
He started a feud from here (probably 1140-43), one
of the bloodiest in Denmark's history; the legend
said that there were 3 battles in one day and 13
battles in one year. After Erik Lam had left Skåne,
O. attacked. Archbishop Eskil tried in vain to stop
him, but he was defeated and had to give up Lund to
O. He had to swear loyalty to O. and give him hostages.
Eskil took flight to Erik and forgot both oath and
hostages; but when the archbishop as a leader of
Erik's army tried to land in Skåne, he was unlucky
again. O. now found another archbishop, who also was
named Eskil. The victory made O. too self-confident,
he was suddenly surprised by Erik's attack, who let
his archbishop hang and brought him a terrible defeat
at Glugstorp. O. had to flee to Sweden again. O.
attacked soon after Bleking, but was again driven back.
In a quick expedition he killed many civilians in Lund
and attacked boldly North Zealand, but was defeated by
bishop Rike at Buddinge Å (river) between Gentofte and
Copenhagen), whereafter he took flight to Halland. In
a new attack he surprised the warrior bishop in Ramløse
at Arresø and put his house on fire; Rike asked for
peace, and O. gave him free passage, but killed him
anyway. But O. was then excommunicated by the pope,
and his luck now failed him. Erik pursued him into
Halland, and O. avoided an attempted murder, which
Erik's man Ingimar aimed at him, but then he was killed
together with many of his men in the battle at Tjuteå
in Skåne (probably in 1143). One of O.'s sons was
the later throne pretender Harald Skrænk.

Script, rer. Dan. I, 384 f.
Saxo, ed. Müller.

Hans Olrik

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann   ©copyright

Friday, August 27, 2010

Harald Kesja, --1135--, ~ Ragnhild, a daughter of Magnus Barfod

Harald Kesja, --1135--, prince, was a nonmarital son
of Erik Ejegod and born long before his father became
king. When Erik was about to begin his pilgrimage, he
appointed H. as regent (1102).H. was a strong warrior,
who used his «Kesje» with great skill, the heavy
broad-blade spear; thus he must have got his byname
like other warriors, who were named after their kesje,
spear or sword. But he showed himself at the same time
as a not noble person, who misused the power for
robbery and violence. Asser who had just become an
archbishop, had to be his co-regent, but he had no
influence on H.

H. was hated by people, and when the message came
that Erik Ejegod had died (1104),no one wanted him to
be king; his paternal uncle Niels was elected. H.'s
descent gave him however a prominent place among the
Danish magnates, and he married Ragnhild, a daughter
of the late Norwegian king Magnus Barfod and a
stepdaughter of the Danish queen Margrethe Fredkulla.
Like his younger brother Knud (Lavard) he took part
in Niels' unlucky expedition to the Wendic chief
Henrik; upon a shield he was carried badly wounded
out from the fight at Ljutka. What else is heard
about him during king Niels' weak rule is not very

He boldly continued his robberies. From the castle
Roskilde Havn (harbour), where he probably was the
king's chief, he plundered far and wide. He was
especially brutal towards the citizens of Roskilde,
until they in their indignation went against H. and
forced him to take flight. He was also ruthless and
arrogant to his own brother Erik (Emune). Under the
pretext that Erik was born in adultery, he denied
him any part of the ancestral estate; Erik then
harrassed his farms and brought the property to
Arnakke, probably close to the present town Nyborg,
but he soon had to flee from H.; H. feared however
a new attack from Erik and put parts of his property
which he couldn't bring with him, on fire. Their
brother Knud Lavard, who was Denmarks hertug (duke)
and most outstanding man, summoned both and judged
that Erik had the right to inherit his father.

H. was also know for his immorality; his wife had
to put up with his many mistresses and nonmarital
sons, who were considered a rising gang of robbers.
After Knud Lavard's murder (7. Jan. 1131) H.
actually went on the Thing as an accuser of Niels
and Magnus, but he did not use much power in order
to revenge his murdered brother. Erik on the other
hand became at once a leader of the revengers. He
denied the Danish crown for H.'s sake; but before
the year had gone, he let himself be paid tribute,
and H. was in rage when seeing himself neglected by
his younger brother.But he followed however,
together with his sons Bjørn Jernside(Ironside) and
Erik Diakon,in 1132 Erik on the expedition to Jutland
and took part in the lucky fight at Sejrø; but after
Erik's defeat at Onsild and his flight from Jutland
he joined Niels, although his two sons still were
among Erik's trusted men.In order to fight his
brother H. fortificated his castle at Roskilde; but
German workers from Roskilde made catapults for Erik,
and the stones crushed H.'s strong defence tower; H.
escaped with difficulty to Jutland, and the castle was
destroyed. At the castle site were later found a hidden
silver- and gold-treasure and a number of coins from
that period.

When king Niels after the battle at Værebro drove
Erik out of Danmark (1133), H. took a brutal revenge
towards the Germans in Roskilde; but the rumor about
their mutilation enraged the German emperor Lothar,
so Magnus Nielsen had to prevent the trouble by a
humiliating submission. H. took part in the last
battle of the civil war at Fodevig in Skåne. Here
Erik Emune killed Magnus og gave Niels a terrible
defeat (4. Juni 1134). H. lost his son Magnus in the
battle, but escaped with great riscs together with
king Niels. They went hastily west through the country.
On the way Niels appointed H. co-king, but his luck
was short. H. was wise enough not to follow the old
king to Schleswig, and after his kill he was paid
tribute by the Jutlanders and took up residence in
the area near the old royal castle in Jelling.
Unexpectedly Erik went in the beginning of 1135, in
spite of ice and frost, against him, surprised him in
Skiping (Skibet) at Vejle Å (river) and let his own
brother be decapitated. The year before he had
ignominiusly let H.'s oldest sons, Bjørn Jernside and
Erik Diakon drown in Slien, although they had not
joined H., but only advised their father to leave
Denmark. At Skibet Erik took H.'s other sons prisoner;
only Oluf got away and later returned as a throne
pretender, causing a new civil war.Erik now carried
through the extermination of H.s descenders.He brought
H.'s 8 sons east and sailed them to an island where
they were murdered and thrown into a hollow. Their
names were Sivard,Erik, Svend, Niels, Harald, Benedict,
Mistivint and Knud. Besides 12 sons H. had 3 others.
According to the legends Magnus, Oluf, Harald and Knud
were born in wedlock.

H. Olrik, Knud Lavard. (translated from Hans Olriks Danish
text: grethe bachmann) 

Hans Olrik.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hakon Jyde, --1131--, ~ Ragnhild), a daughter of Erik Ejegod

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Hakon Jyde, --1131--, chief, a son of a Jutland
magnate and the Norwegian Sunniva, a daughter of
jarl Hakon Ivarsen and Ragnhild,who was a daughter
of Magnus the Good. From his mother, who was of
high nobility, he was also called H. Norseman or
Sunniva's son. He married a daughter of Erik Ejegod;
acc. to Knytlinga Saga her name was Ragnhild. Saxo
says that H. won his bride by revenging the murder
on Bjørn, Erik Ejegod's brother, and he possibly
already was jarl at the southern border at that time.
He is later mentioned, when he took part in the
conspiracy against Knud Lavard; he met with Magnus
Nielsen, Henrik Skadelår, Ubbe Jarl and his son Hakon
Skåning, and it might be to distinguish him from
Hakon Skåning that he is named Jyde or Norseman. What
made H. join the enemies of his brother-in-law, is not
known; probably he just wanted to weaken Knud's power.
However he left the conspirators, when he discovered
they wanted to murder Knud; but since he had sworn an
oath not to reveal the conspiracy he was not able to
warn Knud about the danger. After Knud Lavard was
murdered in Haraldsted Skov (7. Jan. 1131) H. left his
passive role; together with Skjalm Hvide's sons and
Peder Bodilsen he stirred up the Zealanders against
Magnus and thus started revenging the murder. From this
time he is not mentioned.He was the father of Erik Lam,
king 1137-46.

H. Olrik, Knud Lavard.

Hans Olrik.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Henrik Skadelaar ~ Ingerid & their son Buris Henriksen

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Henrik Skadelaar, --1134, royal descendant,
was a son of Svend Estridsen's son Svend, who
in 1104 in a forced manner craved for becoming
king in Denmark, but died on his way to Viborg
Thing. This ambition was inherited by H. Envy
and hatred were ruling his ways when he saw he
was shadowed by others, and the handicap which
gave him his byname, might even more have urged
him to bitterness. King Niels' queen, Margrethe
Fredkulla, who by arranging various marriages in
the royal house tried to secure the peace, also
wanted to win H.; he married Margrethe's brother's
daughter Ingerid,and at the same time Knud Lavard
married her sister's daughter Ingeborg. The queen
attached much importance to these marriages and
gave each bride a fourth of her Swedish paternal
property.In this way H. achieved property in
Sweden, which was later the starting point of his
son Magnus' demand of the Swedish kingdom ; in
Denmark H. owned among other things - as seen
from his son's gift-letter to Tvis Kloster -
widespread property in the Holstebro-area.

H. is especially known for his violent hatred
against his cousin Knud Lavard, whose honour
and power caught his envious eyes. Various
events increased this enmity.Ingerid was fed up
with her husband and went away with a lover, and
H. had to travel far and wide  before he caught
her at Aalborg; strangely enough he blamed Knud
for this. He wanted Knud's death and he urged
the weak king Niels to summon Knud to a meeting
in Ribe in order to give an answer to the
accusations of having done harm to the Danish
king and his kingdom, but when Knud's proud
answer disarmed his enemies, H. tried once more
to urge Niels against Knud. H. was the real
originator of the conspiracy against Knud, and
he became the leader of the delibarations. H.
drove the more kind-hearted Magnus to
assassination; and when Hakong Jyde left the
conspirators, H. forced him to swear an oath not
to reveal anything.

H. followed Magnus to the bloody misdeed in
Haraldsted Forest; and as soon Magnus had taken
Knud by surprise and cleaved his head, H. came
to and threw his spear through him. (7. Jan. 1131).
When king Niels after this was forced by the
Zealand thing-men to send Magnus in exile, H.
and others made the old king call back his son
and thereby he provoced the most violent civil
war, which had ever been fought in Denmark.
During the sudden upheavals H. probably hoped
for the title as king; but in the final battle
at Fodevig (4. Juni 1134) both he and Magnus and
many of their followers were killed. H. left
several sons: Magnus and Regnald played for a
short time a role in Sweden, Knud and Buris were
both connected to Denmark's history.

H. Olrik, Knud Lavard.

Hans Olrik.

Ingerid, --1134--, a daughter of the Swedish king
Inge I's son Regnald, who was first married to Henrik
Skadelaar.Her paternal aunt Margrethe Fredkulla, who
arranged the marriage gave her a part of her Swedish
property as dowage. I. gave birth to several sons,
but caused by Henrik's unpleasant character and her
own loose morals the marriage was unhappy. Ingerid
took flight dressed as a man with one of the
housecarls, but Henrik persued them and found her in
Aalborg in a slave woman's clothes and brought her
back home. After his fall (1134) she married the
Norwegian king Harald Gille, with whom she had the
son Inge. When Harald was murdered (1136), she
succeeded in having her son Inge celebrated king in
the southern Norway, while his halfbrother Sigurd Mund
was celebrated in Trøndelagen (1137). After this she
married the mighty Ottar Birting; but he was
assassinated by one of king Sigurd's men, whereafter
she had a son Orm with a man named Iver Sneis; Orm
later became one of his halfbrother Inge's trusted
men.Finally she married for the fourth time Arne at
Stodreim, which was now called «Kongsmaag». They had
3 sons, Inge, Nicolaus, famous as bishop in Oslo and
a ruthless party leader, and Philip, and a daughter
Margrethe. I. was said to have participated in the
assassination of Sigurd Mund (1155), but had hardly
any great influence in general. With Erling Skakke
and her husband she fled after Inge's fall back to
Denmark (1161),but returned to Norway again and died

Munch,  Det norske Folks Hist. II.

Hans Olrik.

Buris (Henriksen), --1167(?), Prince. He was a son
of Henrik Skadelaar, and a son's son's son of
Svend Estridsen. Although his father had been one
of Knud Lavard's killers , he was on Valdemar I's
side in the civil wars and played an important
role in this. Valdemar appointed him hertug (duke)
of Sønderjylland. Later he took part in the
expeditions to the Wends with distinction.But the
king always had some suspicions about him, since he
as a member of the royal family might wish for the
royal power for himself or his descendants, and
this suspicion grew worse, when B. in 1166 was
unwilling to acknowledge Valdemar's son as heir to
the throne. At last he agreed in this, if his duchy
was made hereditary. The king also suspected that B.
was connected to his Norwegian enemies, with whom he
was related on his mother's side, and he let him
take prisoner for life in 1167. This is what Saxe
said; but German history writers tell that he was
terribly mauled and later killed. In the old folksongs
about his illegal relation to the king's sister
"liden Kirsten" it seems that he is mixed with a
brother of queen Sophie, Boleslaus or Burislaus. He
had founded Tvis kloster and been married to a daughter
of Erik Lam's widow in her third marriage with a Graf
of Winzeburg.

Saxo. Suhm, Hist. af Danmark VII.
Grundtvig, Danmarks gl. Folkeviser III, 82 f.

J. Kinch.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Erik 3. Lam, 1137-1146, ~ Luitgard, --1152 --

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Erik Lam, --1146, king, was a son of the
Jutlander Hakon, Sunnivas son, one of the
leaders among the revengers of Knud Lavard's
murder, and Ragnhild, illegitimate daughter
of Erik Ejegod. When Erik Emune was killed
at the Thing 18. Sept. 1137, was E. present
and run up with drawn sword for the defense
of the king , but the murderer Sorte Plov
cried to him: «Put your sword in the sheath,
fat bacon fell into your pot anyway!». E.
became as the eldest of the pretenders elected
king, but he had to fight his cousin Oluf,
Harald Kesjas son, who several times settled
in Skåne and attacked Sjælland, until he
after a few year's struggle was defeated at
Thiute Aa (river) in Skåne. Although E. was
very brave, he showed in his rule of the
kingdom no strength or character, he therefore
was rightfully given the byname Lam or "den
spage" (weak). The Wends harrassed the country
and even forced him to take flight during an
attack at Storebælt, where he left his ship
in a lurch; and he gave up a planned expedition
to the Wends. He continued the indulgent
politics of Erik Emune towards Germany's demands
about supremacy in Denmark, and influenced by
the Germans he married in 1144 Luitgard, a
daughter of Rudolf,markgraff of Soltwedel and
graff of Stade, and a sister of Hartvig,
domprovst(rural dean), later archbishop of
Bremen. Luitgard caused scandal by her relaxed
customs and her extravagance, in which she made
E. take part. He was inconstant and without
self-confidence and felt inadequate in his rule,
and he gave it up in order to become monk in
Sct. Knud's Kloster in Odense. He died shortly
after, 27. Aug. 1146. In his marriage he had
no children, he had an illegitimate son, Magnus.
Luitgard later married graf Herman of
Winzenburg and was killed together with her
husband in 1152.

Suhm, Hist. af Danmark V.
Ræder, Danmark under Svend Estridsen og hans

translated from Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup's
Danish text: grethe bachmann.

Luitgard , --1152, queen, was a daughter of
markgraf Rudolf I of Soltwedel (d. 1124),
who for a time was also graf of Stade and
Ditmarsken, and Richardis (b. 1151), daughter
of a Magdeburg borggreve.(graf of castle) L.
first married the Saxon Pfalzgraf Frederik of
Sommerscheburg (d. 1162) and had with him a
son Albert and a daughter Adelheid; but since
she was a child of her husband's sibling, the
church had the marriage annulled, whereafter
her brother domprovst (rural dean)Hartvig of
Bremen arranged a marriage to king Erik Lam
(ab. 1143). This marriage was short and
childless, and L. was remembered in Denmark
as a loose queen who even seduced har husband
to ill-timed extravagance. After Erik Lam's
death(1146) L. married the third time, this
time to the violent graf Herman, who caused
by a kill had lost his main castle, the strong
Winzenburg, but now at this point strengthened
his power and at last, by the support of king
Conrad III, forced bishop Bernhard I of
Hildesheim to once again endowe him with
Winzenburg (1150). Here was Herman however
murdered by the bishop's men, and together
with him L., who was pregnant (29. Jan. 1152).
Herman and L. had 3 daughters, from which the
middle probably was married to Buris.
(Buris Henriksen, a son of Henrik Skadelår).

Suhm, Hist. af Danmark V.
Dehio, Hartwich v. Stade (Bremen 1872).
Koken, Die Winzenburg u. deren Vorbesitzer
(Hildesh. 1833).
Lüntzel, Gesch. d. Diocese u. Stadt Hildesheim
I (Hildesh. 1858).                       

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Erik II Emune, -- 1137 -- ~ Malmfred -- 1130 --

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Erik Emune, --1137, king, illegal son of Erik
I Ejegod. E. joined during his father's brother
king Niels' government his brother Knud Lavard,
who had given him some islands to govern. When
Knud was murdered 7. January 1131,E. wasn't in
the country, but he came quickly demanding
revenge; archbishop Asser reached a settlement
though on the condition that Magnus Nielsen
left Denmark. This was however not respected,
which made E. and his halfbrother Harald Kesja
urge the people to do a revolt. E. was let down
by king Lothar of Germany, while Niels bought
Lothar's friendship, and E. had to endure a tough
siege in Schleswig in the winter 1131-32, but he
got away in spring and succeeded in beating Magnus
at Sejerø. Soon after he suffered a defeat at
Onsild Bridge and was saved only by the braveness
of Bjørn Ironside(Harald Kesja's son) and Åge
Christiernsen. Harald Kesja had however joined
king Niels, and E. fought against both him and the
king, who won a victory at Værebro. At that time E.
had married Sigurd Jorsalfarer's repudiated wife
Malmfred, a daughter of the Russian Grand Prince
Mstislaw or Harald, and he hoped for assistance
from Norway, but king Magnus let him down. After
archbishop Asser had joined E., Niels tried to
start a main battle, but at Fodevig on Whit Monday
(4 June) 1134 E. was the victor, especially with
the assistance from his cavalry. 3 weeks later
king Niels was killed by the Gildebrødrene
(Brothers of the guild, Knud Lavard's friends)
in Schleswig (25 June 1134), and Erik was paid
tribute as king. The by-name Harefoot, which
his earlier roaming had given him, was replaced
after the victory by the name Emune, which meant
"the forever memorable". When Harald Kesja the
next year (1135) let himself proclaim king at
Urnehoved Thing, E. captured both him and his
many sons except one and let them kill.Shortly
after E. brought his cavalry across the sea to
Rügen and forced the Wends to submission and
christening, but the fleet had hardly left the
island, before they took up their old paganism.
King Magnus persuaded E. to an expedition to
Norway, but he met a serious resistance and
had to withdraw. When E. 18. Sept. 1137 held a
thing at Ribe or Urnehoved, a landlord, Sorte
Plov, stepped forward in front of the king. He
wanted revenge for having suffered an unjustice,
and when he noticed that the king did not wear
a coat of mail, he thrusted his spear through
him. E. was buried in Ribe Cathedral.

E. owned several qualities which also
characterized Knud Lavard, like courage,
enterprise and stamina, and he had, while he was
with his halfbrother, whose memory he honoured,
trained himself to be a great warrior. On the
other hand he was a different person, and his
character was blemished by thoughtless desire
of conquest,harshness and cruelty. He had no
children by Malmfred who survived him; before
his marriage he had a son Svend (Grathe) with
a mistress Thunna.

Suhm, Hist. af Danmark V.
Dahlmann, Gesch. von Dannemark.
Ræder, Danmark under Svend Estridsen og hans Sønner.
H. Olrik, Knud Lavards Liv og Gærning.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Malmfred, --1130--, queen, was a daughter of
the Russian prince Mstislav or Harald and
Christine, a daughter of the Swedish king Inge.
M.s maternal aunt Margrethe Fredkulla, king
Niels' wife, seems to have worked for relations
between the Nordic principalities, it might
therefore be she, who arranged a marriage
between M. and the Norwegian king Sigurd
Jorsalfar ab. 1120, like she had arranged a
marriage between M.'s sister Ingeborg and Knud
Lavard. Sigurd and M. had a daughter Christine,
who was later married to Erling Skakke. In
his last years Sigurd, who was mentally sick,
repudiated M. and took another wife. M. was
then married to her sister's brother-in-law
Erik Emune ab. 1132 and shared his changing fate
during the battles with king Niels and Magnus,
she followed him on his flight to Norway in 1133.
In 1134 she became queen at Erik's accession
to the throne, but nothing is known of her later

Munch, Det norske Folks Hist. II.
Olrik, Knud Lavard.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Knud V, 1129 - 9. August 1157 ~ a daughter of king Sverker I of Sweden

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Knud V. Magnussen,1129 - 9 august 1157, King.
K., who was a son of Magnus Nielsen and Richiza,
let the Jutlanders pay tribute to him after Erik
Lam's resign (1146). The Jutlanders had also
supported his father and grandfather, and K. soon
started a fight against Svend (Eriksen),who had
the supremacy over Zealand and the provinces in
Skåne. After K. with great promises had won
archbishop Eskil, he went to Skåne, but dared not
land; he deserted Eskil and advanced instead at
Zealand; Svend persued him however, defeated him
at Slangerup and drove him back to Jutland.

In 1147 K. and Svend joined together in a crusade
against the Wends, but the expeditions only increased
the discord and hastened a new feud. K succeeded in
surprising Roskilde, but after the defeat at Tåstrup
he had to flee to Jutland the second time.(1148).
Svend now started an attack, he resided at Funen,
while his cousin Valdemar, whom he had made hertug,
won Sønderjylland, although K. had tried to secure
it in an alliance with grev Adolf II of Holstein.

Later Svend advanced in Jutland and was victorious
at Viborg (1150), and K. then took flight to his
stepfather, king Sverker I in Sweden. The ousted
king tried in vain to get assistance in his
mother's homeland Poland and by the hertug of
Sachsen, but he won archbishop Hartvig I of
Hamburg-Bremen by promising him suzerainty over
the Danish church and went with a German army
into Jutland, but suffered a defeat at Gjedbæk
south of Viborg (1151) and took flight to

In a last attempt to win the kingdom K. gathered
the Danish Frisians , but Svend became again
the victor, and K. went to the German king
Frederik I . At the meeting in Merseburg (1152)
Frederik acknowledged now Svend as sole king in
Denmark, but he let him promise to give K. Zealand
as a vasalry.Svend did not keep his promise, but
he gave spread vasalries to K. instead of collected

Valdemar, who had worked for the agreement in
Merseburg, was now closer to K., who promised
him his halfsister Sophie in marriage and a
third of his paternal estate as a dowry.They
then went together to Svend's enemy king Sverker,
and K. married his daughter. Now Svend wanted to
kill them , and they dared to be paid tribute as
kings at Viborg thing; Svend lost his followers
and had to flee the country (1154).

K. couldn't compare with his co-king Valdemar,
and in the dividing of the kingdom in three parts
in 1157 he was the last of three, the other kings
had chosen their parts, and K. got the islands.
He still mistrusted Svend and felt deceit during
the Feast in Roskilde, he therefore said goodbye
to Valdemar and left, but he was not enough
resolute to avoid a sudden attack; Ditlev cleaved
his head, and soon after his relative Constantin
was cut down. (9 August 1157).)

- K. was an easy-going, not especially eminent
personality, but well-spoken and because of his
amiable manners very liked by his crew, where no
one would let him down in spite of his bad luck.
He had a great weakness for women, and from his
casual relations were several children: Niels
who later was honoured as a saint, Valdemar,
the famous Schleswig-bishop, who became a traitor,
the daughters Jutta, who married the Sachsen-hertug
Bernhard, Hildegard, married to prince Jarimar
of Rygen, Ingerd, married to hertug Casimir II of
Pommern-Demmin, and a daughter, married to Bugislav
III of Schlawe. It is probably a misunderstanding
that K. had a son Magnus, who was killed in Roskilde
in 1157.There are no informations about Sverker's
daughter - who was K.'s queen for about one year.

Translated from Hans Olrik's Danish text:
grethe bachmann.

Ditlev (or actually Thetlev), --1157, son of
Edlar, was an influental German hirdmand
(housecarl) by Svend Grathe, and at Blodgildet
(the Blood Feast) in Roskilde (9. Aug. 1157)
he was the leader of the attack on the kings
Knud and Valdemar. After an arrangement with
Svend he broke into the hall with Svend's
armed men. Valdemar quickly turned off the
lights and attacked D. so they both fell to
the ground. While Valdemar - although badly
wounded - got away during the muddle, D.
jumped up and cleaved Knud's head - and
together with his men he cut down Knud's
relative Constantin. In the  battle at
Grathe hede (23 Oct. 1157) D. was captured
and in spite of his pitiful pleas he was
put on a rack and broked on the wheel.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright