The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 4.1


Book 7, Chapter 4.1,  The Battle of Assandun  (October 18th, 1016 AD):

(October 18th, 1016 AD) As the large English army moved into Essex, King Canute withdrew his forces from Hullbridge and they sailed to Burnham-on-Crouch and returned the women they had borrowed there to their homes and then helped occupy them.  The English army, for it was more than just a Saxon army now, so many other fyrds had joined them, then took up a position on a hilltop called Ashingdon and they camped there and rested from their long forced march.  Local fyrds were joining them as they rested so, Edmund was in no hurry to engage the Hraes’.  But Canute could see the English getting stronger as they rested so, when Witch Hallveig arrived the evening of October Seventeenth, the king moved his army to the hilltop of Canewdon, two miles straight east of Edmund and he had his officers ride out and plant hazel poles in the valley between them for the next day’s battle.  King Edmund sent out officers to adjust the poles a little further apart to adjust for the growing English army.  It was a minor point, but it smacked of victory for the English.  And Edmund knew that he needed every beneficial omen he could put on display for his men.  They were all nervous.  They heard rumours that a powerful witch had arrived from Norway, Halogaland, where the pagans still ruled some areas and they all knew they were in close proximity to the Unicorn scorn pole that had struck the legs out from under King Edmund’s father, King Athelred.  Everyone in the English camp was on edge, especially the Earls.  Many of the hostages that King Canute had maimed on the beaches of Sandwich were their sons and rumour had it that this witch from Norway was the same powerful necromancer that had put the curse on the scorn pole while they had been forced to watch the witchcraft.

Jarl Eirik had arranged Canute’s two Hraes’ mobile legions across the center of the field and had put his Vikings on their right and the Jomsvikings on their left.  One rank of Hraes’ Valkyries he spread across the very back of the full formation and he placed the Hraes’ heavy cavalry of the legions on each of their respective flanks.

King Edmund matched the Hraes’ legion center with his own Saxon army and on his right he put Earl Eadric’s Mercian fyrds and on his left were the Kentish fyrds, a few London men and a new force of Essex fyrds that had been joining him daily.  And on each flank he put his English knights and some light cavalry.

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 4.1,  The Battle of Assandun  (Circa October 18th, 1016 AD),of Book Seven of ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series, “The Saga of King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson” to the website under the Book Seven Heading.

Canute saw the Raven banners of his great grandfather crest the hill and then Prince Hraerik with his troops, and he saw the Prince signal for another manoeuvre General Wu had taught them called ‘the passing’, and Hraerik’s men turned sideways shield-first and passed between the rearward advancing legionnaires and the fresh troops took over the shield wall and began driving the English back down Canewdon.  Jarl Eirik patted the Prince on his shoulder couplet and he rushed off to join his own Vikings on the right.  He had seen an earl that he wanted to redress for a battle they had fought in the past when King Sweyn was alive.  Earl Ulfkytel was still driving his Essex men forward and Jarl Eirik was going to put a stop to that.  Jarl Eirik threw himself into the shield wall opposite the earl and when Ulfkytel saw it was the Viking, Eirik, he had his men break up the wall there and the fighting took on more of the semblance of a deck clearing in a naval battle and the Jarl and the Earl went at it with sword and buckler.  The men around them paused and caught their breath and watched.  Ulfkytel was a powerfully strong man but he was getting old and slowing down.  He delivered a series of heavy blows on Eirik’s shield, which started to break up.  Eirik was strong and he too was getting old, but he had lost none of his speed and Ulfkytel raised his arm for one last powerful blow when suddenly Eirik lunged out so quickly he could hardly be seen and he thrust his sword into Ulfkytel’s armpit and back out again just as fast and the Essex earl stood there for a second and then collapsed dead.  His men began fighting again, right away, as though they had not just seen their leader fall, so hard were they trained, and Jarl Eirik had to step out of the line for a new shield so an opportunity was lost, but Jarl Thorkel ‘the Tall’ and the Vikings began driving back the Essex men, just as the fresh Hraes’ troops were driving back the Saxons and when the Jomsvikings reversed their rearward advance and closed the space that had grown between themselves and the Mercians, Earl Eadric climbed on his horse, shouted, “It’s a trap!” and rode off with his Mercian men before the Jomsvikings could engage.


Please Note: This website is about Vikings and Varangians and the way they lived over a thousand years ago.  The content is as explicit as Vikings of that time were and scenes of violence and sexuality are depicted without reservation or apology.  Reader discretion is advised.

‘The VARANGIANS’ Series (AKA ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series):

‘The Varangians’ series (‘AKA ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ series) of five (seven) books is about the Danish Varangian Princes of early Rus’ (Ukraine), based on The Nine Books of Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus and the Rus’ Primary Chronicle of Nestor.  The Rus’ monk Nestor asserts that Rus’ was founded by three brothers, Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, but the Danish names in Book 5 of Saxo’s work are Erik, Sigfrodi (King Frodi) and Roller, three brothers from Denmark and Norway.

Book One of the five book Varangians Series places the Saga of King Frodi the Peaceful from Book Five of The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200) into its proper chronological location in history.  In 1984, when I first started the book, I had placed the main character, Erik’s (Hraerik’s) birth at circa 800 CE, but have since revised it to 810 to better fit with the timelines of the following books in the series.  Saxo had originally placed the saga at the time of Christ’s birth and later experts have placed the story at about 400 CE to correspond with the arrival of the Huns on the European scene but when Attila was driven back to Asia, the Huns didn’t just disappear, they joined the Khazar Empire north of the Caspian Sea and helped the Khazars control the western end of the famous Silk Road trade route.

When King Frodi’s Danes started their ninth century ‘Southern Way’ incursions into the rivers of present day Russia, they ran into the Khazar Khaganate that was controlling Silk Road trade there and cooperation looked promising when he married King Hun’s daughter, Princess Hanund.  But she cheated on him and he sent her back to Khazaria in disgrace and things got ugly, fast.  Two Norwegian princes, Hraerik and Hraelauger Hraegunarson, sons of the famous Hraegunar Lothbrok, visited Frodi’s court in Liere with a dangerous plan to protect their own Nor’Way trade route to Khazaria, but that plan changed when Prince Hraerik fell in love with and married Princess Gunwar, King Frodi’s sister.

When news arrived in Liere that the Huns planned to attack Denmark, Prince Hraerik convinced King Frodi to assemble a Varangian Army of the North and lead a pre-emptive strike against the Khazar Empire.  Following the capture of Kiev, the three brothers, Frodi, Hraerik and Hraelauger established the Hraes’ (Rus’) Trading Company and built an empire that exists in many forms to this very day, including Russia, Normandy, Great Britain and L’Anse Aux Meadows in America.  The wealth of the Hraes’ Trading Empire they created powered the prolific Viking expansion in Medieval Europe that still fascinates us today.

Book One, “The Saga of Hraerik ‘Bragi’ Hraegunarson,” recreates Book Five of Saxo’s work to illuminate the origins of the name Rus’ and how it evolved from Hraes’ in ninth century Russia and how the name Varangians originally meant Va Rangers or Way Wanderers of the Nor’Way.  The book examines the death of Princess Gunwar (Hervor) at the hands of the Hunnish Prince Hlod and how it drives Prince Hraerik ‘Bragi the Old’ Hraegunarson (Hraegunar Lothbrok’s son) to write a famous poem of praise that both saves his head and rallies the northern kingdoms to fight the infamous Battle of the Goths and the Huns on the Don Plain of Gardariki (Gnita Heath of Tmutorokan).

Book Two, “The Saga of Helgi ‘Arrow Odd’ Hraerikson,” recreates Arrow Odd’s Saga of c. 1200 to illustrate how Arrow Odd was Prince Helgi (Oleg in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev, by showing that their identical deaths from the bite of a snake was more than just coincidence.  The book investigates the true death of Hraegunar Lothbrok by poisoned blood-snakes (kenning for swords) and how his curse of ‘calling his young porkers to avenge the old boar’ sets up a death spiral between swine (Sveinald) and snakes (Gorm ‘the Old’) that lasts for generations.  It then goes on to depict the famous Battle of the Berserks on Samso, where Arrow Odd and Hjalmar the Brave slay the twelve berserk grandsons of King Frodi on the Danish Island of Samso, setting up a death struggle that takes the Great Pagan Army of the Danes from the ravaged coast of Norway to England and on to Helluland in Saint Brendan’s Newfoundland.

Book Three, “The Saga of Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Hraerikson,” reveals how Ivar ‘the Boneless’ Ragnarson was actually Prince Eyfur (Ivar in Danish, Igor in Slavic) Hraerikson of Kiev and then King Harde Knute of Denmark.  By comparing a twenty year lacuna in the reign of Prince Igor in the Russian Chronicles with a coinciding twenty year appearance of a King Harde Knute I (Hard Knot or Knytling) of Denmark in European Chronicles, Prince Igor’s death by sprung trees, which reportedly tore his legs off, may have rather just left him a boneless and very angry young king.  Loyal Danes claimed, “It was a ‘hard knot’ indeed that sprung those trees,” but his conquered English subjects, not being quite as polite, called him, Ivar ‘the Boneless’. And the Danish ‘Knytling’ line of kings carried on for ‘the Old’ Fridleif/Frodi line of kings.

Books Four, Five and Six, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson“, “The Saga of Valdamar ‘the Great’ Sveinson” and “The Saga of Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ Ivarson” demonstrate how Prince Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’ of Kiev was really Prince Svein Ivarson of Kiev, who later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark and England.  But before being forced out of Russia, the Swine Prince sated his battle lust by crushing the Khazars and attacking the great great grandfather of Vlad the Impaler in a bloody campaign into the Heart of Darkness of Wallachia that seemed to herald the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with the 666 Salute of the Army of the Impalers.  The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack the Army of the Impalers seemed not nearly enough, so Prince Svein attacked the Eastern Roman Empire itself.  He came so close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, that later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his kin, “The Lying Sagas of Denmark” and would set out to destroy them, claiming that, “true Christians will never read this saga”.

Book Seven, “The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson”, establishes how Grand Prince Vladimir ‘the Great’ of Kiev was also known as Prince Valdamar Sveinson of Gardar, who supported his father, Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’, in attacks upon England and later became King Canute ‘the Great’ of England and also King Knute ‘the Great’ of Denmark and Norway.  Unlike his father, he came to the aid of a Roman Emperor, leading six thousand picked Varangian cataphracts against Anatolian rebels, and was rewarded with the hand of Princess Anna Porphyrogennetos, a true Roman Princess born of the purple who could trace her bloodline back to Julius and Augustus Caesar.  She was called Czarina, and after her, all Rus’ Grand Princes were called Czars and their offspring were sought matrimonially by European royalty.


By recreating the lives of four generations of Russian Princes and exhibiting how each generation, in succession, later ascended to their inherited thrones in Denmark, the author proves the parallels of the dual rules of Russian Princes and Danish Kings to be cumulatively more than just coincidence.  And the author proves that the Danish Kings Harde Knute I, Gorm ‘the Old’ and Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormson/Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ were not Stranger Kings, but were Danes of the Old Jelling Skioldung Fridlief/Frodi line of kings who only began their princely careers in Rus’ and returned to their kingly duties in Denmark with a lot of Byzantine Roman ideas and heavy cavalry and cataphracts.

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