The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 6.0


Book 7, Chapter 6.0, King Canute Becomes King of All Denmark  (Circa 1018 AD), Excerpts:

(1018)  In the early spring, Queen Emma and Prince Hraerik prepared their fleet of tallships to sail once more for the Newfoundland.  Two more tallships had been added to their fleet and the goods they returned with were now extensive enough for the Prince to take furs back to the east with the Hraes’ merchant fleet.  Once the tallships left, Hraerik led the English component of the Hraes’ fleet to Roskilde harbour and he had a passenger on his shieldship with him and she was dressed in black.  He also carried with him a bundle of letters that Princess Estrid had given him to pass on to her brothers in Hraes’.  While the merchant fleet was assembling in the harbour, the woman in black slipped anonymously, invisibly, into the Danish population.  She could speak the languages fluently, both the Low Germanic Danish of the Angles and the High Germanic dialect of the Zealanders.  And she had gold and silver with her and she settled into a comfortable inn near the harbour that allowed her access to sailors and mercenaries and the type of people that could help her get her mission completed.  She also had her poison kit with her.

She planned on using the same slow acting poison she had killed King Edmund with, but she didn’t have to worry about giving food tasters antidotes because Canute had no written contract with Harald.  Canute had precedence over Harald regarding the title, but King Sweyn had left Harald in charge of the kingdom while he and Canute were campaigning in England, and when they’d won the war and then King Sweyn was poisoned, Harald had refused to relinquish control of the army in Denmark and Canute had control of a withdrawing Hraes’ army fleeing England, but Canute didn’t want to squander his men fighting Dane against Dane when he needed all of them to fight the English  —  What was needed in Denmark was a nice quiet economical killing and ‘Gretta’, the persona that the old woman had created for herself in Roskilde, was just the person to get the job done.  If she could just get a job.

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 6.0,  King Canute Becomes King of All Denmark  (Circa 1018 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.

When Prince Hraerik and the Hraes’ merchant fleet arrived in Novgorod, they learned that King Canute’s son, Prince Ivaraslav had been attacked by his brother Prince Sviatopolk and King Burizleif of Poland and had been driven out of Kiev.  The great merchant fleet was a Varangian army unto itself and when it arrived in Kiev, King Burizleif fled back to Poland and Prince Sviatopolk fled to live amongst the Pechenegs.  The Prince went about Kiev and inspected the damage done by the Lyakhs and Poles and then inspected the progress that had been made on the rebuilding of churches that had been burnt the year before.  He found Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg hard at work supervising the rebuilding of the German Latin Church in Kiev and he sat with him and they talked about the Chronicle he was writing as the work was progressing.  Thietmar passed the Prince his Chronicon, not expecting the Prince to be able to read the High German in which it was written.

“It is written in proper High German,” the bishop said, condescendingly, “not your Low German Anglish of Jutland.”  When Hraerik began reading it aloud, the bishop was visibly impressed.

“In this great city, which is the capital of the kingdom,” Hraerik began, “more than four hundred churches and eight markets are there, but the number of the people are unknown: which, coming there from every other province, the strong Slavs ran, who had come hither from all quarters, and were followed by the swift Danes, had hitherto resisted the great Pechenegs, but were overcome by the others.”

“Where did you learn to read High German?” the bishop asked.

“I learned it while being held captive in the court of Louis ‘the Pious’ in Ingelheim,” Prince Hraerik told him.

“But he reigned over a hundred years ago,” the bishop protested.

“I know.  I was there,” the Prince replied, becoming annoyed.  “Do you know what ‘swift Danes’ means?”

“It is what the Romans call you Hraes’,” he replied.  “They claim you flee from battle and that is exactly what happened here in Kiev when King Burizleif and his Polish army came.”

“It was specifically what the Romans called me,” Hraerik started, “when we Danes and Norwegians fought the Khazars before the Battle of the Goths and the Huns.  They called us ‘Rhos’ after my family byname ‘Hraes’, and they called us ‘those who run fast’ because we retreated before a Khazar army that was twice our size.  We retreated north back up to Novgorod and the Khazar army perished because of its huge size.  Then we chased the survivors back to Khazaria and we conquered Kiev from King Olmar of the Poljane Slavs and we founded Rus’.”

“That must have been before King Louis ‘the Pious’,” the bishop protested.

“That is the only time the Romans called us ‘the swift Danes’ and their secret Khazar brothers paid for it.  You are not to use this insulting terminology to describe my grandsons!”

“These are only my notes!  In German!” the bishop replied, startled at the Hraes’ prince’s anger.  “I will be rewriting my Chronicon in formal Latin.”

“I want to see your formal Latin version before you leave Hraes’,” Hraerik told the bishop.  “I’ll be back in early fall.  Your church should almost be completed when I get back from Baghdad.”

Before the Prince rejoined the great merchant fleet, he sent a messenger back to Denmark to tell Gretta, the woman in black to meet him in Kiev in the fall.  Then he spent the summer trading in Baghdad and India.


Prince Hraerik started writing ‘The Chronicle of Hraes’ that very night and he wrote about the Battle of Chernigov before falling asleep with a quill in his hand.  And he dreamed as he slept and he dreamt of a village near Chernigov called Chernobyl and it was the future and there were a thousand Tyrfingrs in a building there, immersed in water and the water turned to steam and made great machines turn.  Hraerik had seen these turning machines in Rome where a fire heated the water in a pot and spouts on the pot released steam and the pots spun about an axle at high speed and grinding wheels sharpened the swords of the legions of Constantinople, but these machines in Chernobyl were much bigger and were powered by the strange glow of Tyrfingr, of a thousand Tyrfingrs, and one of the machines exploded and the glow of hundreds of Tyrfingrs killed many men and Hraerik remembered his friend, the dwarf Dvalin, who had helped him forge Tyrfingr, and had died for it, far off in Giantland.

He tossed and turned because of the dream and he woke up Gretta, who was sleeping with him.  He had fallen asleep with the quill in his hand, but Gretta had gotten up and helped him back to bed and they’d had sex again before falling asleep in each other’s arms.  She noted that Hraerik was much like Canute, only not as big and not as rough, and she brushed his long hair from his face and said, “You must’ve been dreaming, my Prince.”

And the Prince answered, “I think I know how we can poison Bishop Thietmar very slowly!”  He looked across the captain’s cabin of his shieldship to the heavy lead box that held the ever more dangerous sword, Tyrfingr.  “We’ll do it tomorrow!”

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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