The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 12.0


Book 7, Ch. 12.0, The Marriage of Earl Godwin and Princess Gytha  (c. 1024 AD), Excerpts:

(1024 AD)  King Canute had finally consented to the Christian marriage of Earl Godwin Wulfnothson and Princess Gytha Thorkelsdottir.  He had allowed them to be married in the Danish way several years earlier, which allowed Valdy to maintain his relationship with the beautiful young princess as well, but he finally relented and allowed them Christian rites and had hoped that they would wed during the start of Yulefest, when there were many guests at his palace in London, however, they preferred to get married on New Year’s Day, before a small group.  Gytha already had several children by Canute and two that might be from either father, so it was decided to keep the wedding small and private.  Jarl Thorkel and his brother, Jarl Ulf, had been invited back from their exiles in Denmark to help celebrate the occasion and they were officially reconciled with their king over the Yule celebrations.  When they returned to Denmark, they took twenty four Greenlanders back to Roskilde with them, with orders to establish ransom negotiations with King Olaf of Norway for their release.

Not only did King Olaf refuse to pay ransom, but he had heard about the death of Jarl Eirik the prior fall and he now laid claim to the Earldom of Northumbria, claiming he had ruled it briefly under King Athelred and that King Olaf Tryggvason before him had ruled it briefly and that King Erik Bloodaxe before him had ruled it for a long time and it was more fittingly ruled by Norwegian Kings than by Lade petty jarls.  When King Canute heard this outlandish demand, he grew so angry that he ordered the immediate execution of the Greenlander captives, but, fortunately, they were in Roskilde and Prince Hraerik told Valdy he would take care of things when he led the great merchant fleet east.

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 12.0,  The Marriage of Earl Godwin and Princess Gytha  (Circa 1024 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.

In Kiev, the siege had been lifted and Prince Ivaraslav’s Centuriata officers informed him that Chernigov had submitted to Prince Mstislav rather than fight him.  Prince Hraerik used his position as Chief Merchant Officer of the Hraes’ fleet to get his ships moving along past all others and they were soon at the Dnieper shores near Chernigov and the Prince sent messengers to the city requesting Mstislav to come to him with some heavy carts and draft animals.  They rowed their gold laden warships into boat sheds that went out into the water and the Greenlanders unloaded some of the gold onto carts as they arrived, unseen by the many merchant ships passing by them on the river.

“That is your Hraes’ share,” the Prince told Mstislav, as the train of carts prepared to head back to Chernigov.  “Distribute shares to all the named princes east of the Dnieper from the city of Valdamar to your city of Tmutorokan and I shall be going to Novgorod to give Ivaraslav his share for distribution to all princes west of the Dnieper.  I shall tell him that that is the way things stand for now and let’s see how this works out.  D’accord?”

“Da,” Prince Mstislav agreed.  “All the way up to Valdamar.”

“Have you thought any more about getting the Iry Dada out of you?  Now that you should be done with war?”

“I kind of like him,” Mstislav replied.  “And Nado loves the extra sex!”

“Possession can be problematic,” the Prince warned him.  “Let me know if anything changes with it.  We now have the spells we need to rid you of him.”

“I’ll let you know.”

King Canute had sent a high level delegation to Roskilde and they had sailed north to King Olaf a few days before the Norwegian fleet arrived in Denmark.  They held a notice from their king that Canute considered himself to be the true king of Norway, and their writ outlined the various reasons.  Prince Hraerik heard about the writ from Queen Gyritha, and he knew there would be problems once the delegation delivered their demands, and he would have stayed in Roskilde with Gyritha and awaited their return, but he had a lot of gold aboard his personal fleet and could only visit shortly with Prince Svein and Princess Estrid and her husband Jarl Ulf, before heading off to the Isle of Wight to secure the gold in King Sweyn’s castle there.

When the delegation arrived in Tonsberg near The Vik, where King Olaf was now holding his court, they were kept waiting for days to be heard and, once heard, were kept waiting for days for Olaf’s reply, so angry had he gotten.  King Canute’s writ explained that as his father, King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’, had been adopted as a son of Jarl Haakon ‘the Bad’, or ‘the Rapist’ as some now called him, and held rights to both Trondheim and The Vik, as had been awarded after his victory at the Battle of Svolder, and as his great grandfather, King Frodi ‘the Peaceful’ of Denmark, had conquered all of Norway up to Halogaland and had allowed King Harald ‘Fairhair’ to rule it as a subject king, and the present King Olaf ‘the Stout’, professing kinship with King Harald ‘Fairhair’, should profess a similar fealty to the kin of King Frodi ‘the Peaceful’, namely King Canute ‘the Great’ of England and Denmark.  But if King Olaf ‘the Stout’ Haraldson wishes to rule Norway as King Harald ‘Fairhair’ had, let him fare to King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson and receive the Kingdom of Norway from him as a subject king and become his vassal and pay the same tribute as the prior jarls had earlier paid King Sweyn.

When King Olaf finally made his reply to the delegation, he said, “I have heard tell in times of yore that King Gorm ‘the Old’ of Denmark was an excellent ruler, but he ruled Denmark only; but now the Danish kings who have come since his day do not seem to be satisfied with that.  It has come to this, that King Canute rules Denmark and England and, in addition, has subjected a large part of Scotland and some of Ireland.  And now he challenges my inheritance from King Harald ‘Fairhair’ as well.  He should, however, emulate King Gorm ‘the Old’ rather than his English Earl Eadric ‘Streona’, ‘the Grasper’, and learn moderation, or does he intend to eventually lord over all the Northern Lands alone?  Perhaps he intends to eat, alone, all the cabbages in England?  He will have to accomplish that before I shall pay him tribute or do him any sort of homage.  Now you shall tell him these my words, ‘that I will defend Norway with point and edge as long as life is granted me; but never shall I pay tribute for my kingdom to any man.’  This you shall tell him!”

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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