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

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

Paper by Anne Pedersen

Given at Viking Globalization – Truso from the perspective of Baltic Commercial Centres conference at the Museum of Archaeology and History in Elbląg on May 19, 2015

Excerpt: 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? This has been a great matter of  debate – did he reconquer territory that was lost? Did he, as many say, conquer Denmark? Or was it more a matter, this is the current belief, that he prevailed over other contenders to the throne?

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Abstract: The discovery of a monumental palisade complex in Jelling, Jutland, has added yet another piece to our knowledge of Denmark at the time of King Harald Bluetooth. The individual features of the complex closely link it to other major buildings of the second half of the 10th century, the circular fortress (Aggersborg, Fyrkat, Nonnebakken, Trelleborg and the recently discovered Borgring), a 760m long bridge 10km south of Jelling, and building works at Danevirke at the southern border of Denmark. These monuments all demonstrate a command of material and human resources, and together with other contemporary evidence they bears witness to a particularly resourceful ruler, who applied impressive and innovative means to communicate his status and ambitions, but also one who acknowledged the importance of referring to a traditional, royal style of ancestral worship.

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