BOOK REVIEW: The Northern Queen by Kelly Evans

Book: The Northern Queen by Kelly Evans

Kelly Evans’Anglo-Saxon novel centres around the story of Aelfgifu of Northampton (990-1040); from her rise in court and eventual marriage to one of England’s most famous early kings, Cnut the Great (995-1035), to her repudiation, and later life with her sons after Cnut’s passing.

BOOK REVIEW: Grendel’s Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife by Susan Signe Morrison

Books: Grendel's Mother by Susan Signe Morrison.

Grendel’s Mother tells the story of Brimhild, a child found abandoned in a boat on the shores of Denmark. Taken in by a fisherwoman woman and her husband, she is received as a blessing for the child they recently lost. There is nothing to identify her save for a few strange, and foreign items packed […]

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages?

Medieval ice skates made of bone on display at the Museum of London. Photo by Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

How did medieval people pass the time during the coldest part of the year? I came across several instances of medieval people strapping on skates and taking a twirl (or a tumble!) on the ice. Here is how it all began!

Power and Politics at the time of King Harald Bluetooth, Denmark

Runeside of Harald Bluetooth's great Jelling stone at the church in Jelling, Denmark - Photo by  Jürgen Howaldt

He was the Harald that won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made pagans Christian, and that is fairly easy to read, but what did he exactly say? What does it meant when he says he won for himself all of Denmark?

1,000 year old silver treasure hoard discovered in Denmark

Coins discovered on the Danish island of Omø - photo courtesy Museum Vestsjælland

Over 550 silver items have been discovered on the Danish island of Omø. The hoard is believed to date from around the reign of Sweyn Forkbeard (986–1014) and includes coins and pieces of jewellery.

How to destroy gods

Bishop Absalon topples the god Svantevit at Arkona - created by Laurits Tuxen (1853–1927)

In the year 1168 a Danish bishop destroyed three pagan gods. The story is told in Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus, which has recently been entirely translated into English for the first time.

Ragnar Lothbrok and the Semi-Legendary History of Denmark

Ragnar meets Aslaug, as depicted by August Malmström (1829–1901)

An investigation into the historical models for the legendary/literary figure Ragnar Lothbrok, including discussion of semi-legendary Danish history from the early sixth to late ninth centuries. Presents an argument for a female model, Lothbroka.

Scandinavian trade ‘triggered’ the Viking Age, researchers find

Ribe, Denmark in 1588

Archaeologists from the University of York have played a key role in Anglo-Danish research which has suggested the dawn of the Viking Age may have been much earlier – and less violent – than previously believed.

13th-century Rune Stick discovered in Denmark

13th century runestick - photo courtesy Odense City Museums

Archaeologists working in the Danish city of Odense have discovered a rune stick with Latin writing dating to the early 13th century.

The Medieval Saints of Sweden and Denmark

Parchment fragment of a medieval church book. Photo: Sara Ellis Nilsson/University of Gothenburg.

There is a clear link between the celebration of native saints and the ecclesiastical organisation that emerged in Scandinavia in the 12th century. Yet, according to a new doctoral thesis in history from the University of Gothenburg, important differences can be noted between Sweden and Denmark.

The oldest Onion in Denmark

onion in Denmark - photo courtesy National Museum of Denmark

A 1300-year-old onion has been discovered as part of a woman’s grave in Denmark.

The (Attempted) Alliance of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Valdemar II of Denmark: the Infante Fernando’s Marriage Reconsidered

King Alfonso VIII 'the Noble' of Castile

This paper presents the evidence for a lost marriage alliance between Castile and Denmark, contextualizes the marriage within the larger framework of Alfonso VIII’s international relations, and finally, demonstrates that the match can help to underscore the importance of crusading lineages in the affairs of the Castilian royal family.

The Danes and the Marriage Break-up of Philip II of France

Philip Augustus

On 14 August 1193 the illustrious king Philip II of France repudiated his queen, Ingeborg, the daughter of the Danish king Valdemar I, during her coronation ceremony in Amiens cathedral. The events that followed, which merited twenty-four papal letters and the comment and speculation of several chroniclers across Europe.

Viking Fortress discovered in Denmark

Ground plan of the Fyrkat Viking fortress placed on top of the Vallø ringed fortress. The red lines show the outline of the Vallø excavation © Danish Castle Centre

Archaeologists from The Danish Castle Centre and Aarhus University have made a sensational discovery south of Copenhagen, Denmark. On fields at Vallø Estate, near Køge, they have discovered traces of a massive Viking fortress built with heavy timbers and earthen embankments. The perfectly circular fortress is similar to the famous so-called ‘Trelleborg’ fortresses, which were built by King Harald Bluetooth around AD 980.

The Danish Conquest: 1000 Years

13th century depiction of Svein Forkbeard

1013-1014 sees the 1000th anniversary of a successful invasion of England – and not many people seem to have noticed.

Making Sacrifices: Beowulf and Film

The Thirteenth Warrior

This essay reviews opening scenes in some recent film Beowulfs, which, although they have nothing at all to say about Scyld Scefing, suggest a sacrificial reading of the prologue and perhaps even the whole poem.

How Nordic are the old Nordic Laws?

Carta Marina

Medieval legislation plays a peculiar and very important role in Nordic legal history.

Gesta Danorum and the Wendish Crusade

wendish crusade map

The Wendish Crusade from 1147 marks the beginning of ‘Holy Wars’ fought against the Balto-Slavic and Finno-Ugric populations from the Baltic See.

Auðun of the West Fjords and the Saga Tradition: Similarities of Theme and Structural Suitability

Iceland - West Fjords

This paper evaluates the story of Auðun from the West Fjords, a þáttr dating from the Sturlunga period of medieval Iceland. It compares the short prose narrative to the much longer sagas in terms of their mutual concerns with kings, peace, and the place of Iceland in a larger Christian world.

The Royal Residence at Tissø in the Viking Age

mqdefault

A 3D animation film visualizing the royal complex at the time around 900 AD.

Reconsidering Agatha, Wife of Eadward the Exile

Edward the Exile/Edward Aetheling

The antecedents of Agatha, wife of Eadward the Exile and ancestress of Scottish and English monarchs since the twelfth century and their countless descendants in Europe and America, have been the subject of much dispute…

Archaeologists explore Hammershus Castle

Hammershus castle

A team of Polish and Danish archaeologists have discovered over 200 artefacts from the 13-century castle of Hammershus.

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