The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 9.0


Book 7, Ch. 9.0, King Canute Saves Princess Estrid  (c. 1021 AD), Excerpts:

(1021)  When Prince Hraerik had asked Duke Richard for the hand of his sister, Queen Emma, in 1017, the duke requested the hand of King Canute’s daughter, Princess Estrid, the eldest daughter of Princess Anna Porphyrogennetos, and also born of the purple blood of the Roman Emperors.  The young princess was very fertile and had provided the older duke with a number of children, but it was not out of love, which Estrid had hoped for, but out of due diligence and a once a month intercourse routine that was timed by the duke’s witch healer, who tested Estrid for peak fertility before giving the duke the go ahead.  They spent one night together per month until she was pregnant again and then she wouldn’t see him for ten months.  He spent the rest of his time with his first wife, with whom he was fervently in love and Estrid put the two together and realized that she was but a concubine contracted to produce babies born of the purple for European royalty and Norman alliances.  Beyond the one night a month when she wasn’t already pregnant, Duke Richard treated Princess Estrid with total indifference and, perhaps, even a touch of cruelty.

The marriage with Duke Richard was not a loving relationship, and Estrid passed her feelings, via handmaidens, back to Kiev and her brother, Prince Ivaraslav, and he passed the messages on to Prince Hraerik whenever he would lead the merchant fleet through Kiev.  Because the Prince had spent the last trading season in the Newfoundland, he had asked Queen Emma to look in on Princess Estrid once in a while whilst he was gone.  Emma had promised her husband to do it and when she did just that she was mortified at the cold treatment being shown the young princess, having, herself, gone through a cold relationship with her first husband, King Athelred.  Like all modern princesses, Emma had been raised on dreams of romance and had followed all the tales of romance between Tristan and Isolde and the Viking and the Nun and others and had hoped and prayed for such a love someday, but she had been married off by her brother into an English alliance and now she learned that her brother had married Princess Estrid to garner daughters for further royal alliances and the discovery sickened her.

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 9.0,  King Canute Saves Princess Estrid  (Circa 1021 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.

The next day the fleet sailed for Normandy and that night they camped at the mouth of the Seine River.  Their longships captured and held every boat and ship and fishing vessel that had the misfortune of plying the river that evening and the knights rode out and patrolled the surrounding land so that not a solitary scream worked its way inland towards Rouen.  Surprise, total and complete, is what King Canute ordered, and that is what his men gave him.  When the fleet sailed into the river city the next afternoon, Duke Richard and a few of his officers and troops managed to ride out of Rouen with a regiment of Hraes’ cataphracts hot on their horses’ tails.  Princess Estrid and her children were found alone in the palace and Queen Emma’s sons, Edward and Alfred were there as well.  King Canute wanted to sack the city, but Prince Hraerik had words with him.

“Rouen has not been sacked since the days of King Frodi,” the Prince began, “and my brother, King Hraelauger, Duke Rollo, ruled it.  It was a Hraes’ trading center then and should not have been sacked, and it should not be sacked now.”

“Our legion deserves and expects booty,” Canute complained.

“The Hraes’ Trading Company shall reward them with a bonus.  That is all.  There is no booty for training exercises.”

“Is that what you think this is?” Valdy asked.

“When is the last time the legion has fought?”

“At the Battle of Assandun.”

“In 1016!” Hraerik added.  “I think a full mobilization training exercise has been long overdue.  Let’s pack up for Princess Estrid and her children and take them to Southampton.”

“And the boys, Edward and Alfred?” Valdy asked.

“Queen Emma will want them left here, I’m sure,” Hraerik answered.

If there was any question as to Queen Emma’s wishes, they were soon confirmed.  The two Aelfgifu’s arrived in Rouen that very evening, disembarking from Queen Emma’s longship at the main quay of the city.  The two women arrived at the palace and hugged Princess Estrid warmly and Emma took her sons into her arms and hugged them too.  “They are staying in Rouen,” Queen Emma announced, “as am I.  I’m going to wait here until my brother, Richard, returns and then I’m going to give him a piece of my mind!”


“While I’ve been attending to the Hraes’ trade, Kasogians have been raiding the southern border of our lands.  When I get back I’ll have to wage war with them,” Mstislav admitted.  “I thought I could do both, rule and trade, but it’s proving to be difficult.”

“I’ll take care of the tithes in Cherson,” Hraerik offered, “and you can sail directly to Tmutorokan and assemble your legions and attack them.”

“That’ll help,” the young prince stammered, but he seemed apprehensive.

“When I finish with the tithes and release the fleet north to Kiev, I’ll come back to Gardariki and get my legions and we’ll make short work of the Kasogians!”

Prince Mstislav smiled and accepted the offer.  The great merchant fleet soon packed up and sailed north up the Tigris River and portaged to the Araks River which branched into the Kura and they sailed up it and portaged across to the Rioni River and sailed into the Black Sea.  They sailed along the northern coast and Prince Mstislav and his fleet sailed for Tmutorokan while the rest of the fleet carried on to Cherson Harbour to declare trade and pay tithes before carrying on up the Dnieper for Kiev.  The Prince took his small Gardariki fleet back east and assembled his legions in Gardariki and joined Prince Mstislav at the southern border of Tmutorokan.  A Kasogian army soon came forth to meet them.  It was fall, a time for raiding, and the Kasogians had gathered in full force, hoping to make a great sweep into Tmutorokan for riches and slaves.

Prince Hraerik joined Prince Mstislav for a celebration in the city of Tmutorokan and during the feast the young prince told Hraerik that Prince Rededya of the Kasogians had already vowed to attack the Hraes’ in revenge for their attack upon him.

“We’ll have to stall him,” Hraerik said.  “We’ll send him gifts and gold and apologies, enough to keep him expecting more to come, then, when nothing more is forthcoming, he will attack us.  But next fall.  Our slave schools will need filling again.”

The Kasogian war had delayed the Prince’s departure and he barely made it through the rivers of Hraes’ before they began freezing over.  Worldwide cooling was prevailing, heralding an end to the five hundred year warming period, and the rivers were freezing over a few days earlier than they had been previously.  The Prince made a mental note to keep that in mind.  The weather was more erratic going from warming to cooling than it was when going from cooling to warming, because hot weather was a lot more volatile than cold weather.  There was a lot more energy in the warm systems than in the cool ones, so, extremes of heat could be experienced while the cooling trend took over.  The change, itself, caused volatility, the type that could result in flooding as had happened in England but had been blamed on Prince Valdamar’s Unicorn curse that had paralyzed and killed King Athelred.  While it was possible that the Unicorn curse had paralyzed Athelred and the incapacitation may have contributed to his death, it had nothing to do with the flooding that had accompanied it.

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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