Book 7, Chapter 15.0, King Canute Goes to Rome and the Vatican (Circa 1027 AD), Excerpts:
(1027) In early spring, King Canute and his pilgrim retinue left Winchester for Southampton and from there sailed across the English Channel and up the Seine River, following the new river trade route to the Rhone River and down it to Marseilles, inspecting every Hraes’ post and store along the way. Jarl Haakon of York was with him, as was his cousin, Ivar ‘the White’, who had slain the Christian Jarl Ulf in the Holy Trinity Church in Roskilde, and for whom they were seeking contrition in Rome. It had been Canute’s intention to visit King Rudolf of Burgundy on the way through Frankia, but he was already on his way to the Holy City. All the royals of Europe were going. The German Emperor Conrad of the Holy Roman Empire was being officially crowned by the Pope in the Vatican and had personally invited Canute to his coronation.
King Canute had several chests of gold with him and he made donations at all churches along the way. The generous progress south was one that was to be long remembered in the monasteries along the route. Important institutions at some distance from the chosen route were also sent fine presents and gifts of gold, as was the monastic foundation at Chartres, under Bishop Fulbert and a church at Cologne. But King Canute and his retinue followed the route that Jarl Ivar ‘the White’ had laid out on his trip to the Vatican two years earlier and they stopped first in Rouen to visit the new duke, Richard ‘the Third’, who had just inherited the Duchy on the death of his father, Queen Emma’s brother, Richard ‘the Second’ the year before. Things were in turmoil in Normandy, as Richard’s younger brother Robert had tried to usurp the throne and a civil war had just finished with Robert’s acceptance of Richard’s rule. But the inns they were staying at along the way were unchanged by this and the young local women that Jarl Ivar had arranged to meet up with them all along the route were unaffected by the unrest, so, Canute slept most nights with a recently deflowered young virgin under each arm, as did the jarls in their suites. They briefly visited the Hraes’ store in Rouen and then left for their pre-arranged lodgings in Paris.
King Canute visited with King Robert ‘the Second’, King of the Franks, and his son and then he visited the original Hraes’ store there and Queen Emma’s Hraes’ store as well and he was amazed at the difference between the two establishments. Emma’s store was much more modern and family oriented and had a restaurant in it that extended outside onto the dock by the River Seine and it was much more pleasant spending time there. There were no slave sales in her store and fur sales were minimal and usually as finished fashions. They sailed on up the Seine and visited her newer stores in Troyes and Dijon before being portaged across to the River Rhone and visiting her stores in Lyon and Marseille, and all were equally impressive. Valdamar could see why his father, King Sweyn, had encouraged Emma to design her Hraes’ store in Southampton and had then emulated them in all the eastern Hraes’ stores from Denmark to Baghdad and beyond. And a lot of the young women that were being suddenly blessed by English gold were workers from Emma’s stores along the route.
I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 15.0, King Canute Goes to Rome and the Vatican (Circa 1027 AD), of Book Seven of ‘The Lying Sagas of Denmark’ Series, “The Saga of King Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson” to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Seven Heading.
But there was another little problem that the Pope brought up with Canute, and it was about the slaying of a Christian earl while under holy sanctuary in a church in Roskilde the prior year. King Canute apologized for the incident and explained that a treasonous Jarl Ulf, meaning Wolf, had been sentenced to be executed and the order had been passed down to an Aesir Heathen prince in the Danish legion who didn’t appreciate the Christian custom of holy sanctuary. “I was going to have the truant officer executed for his crime,” Valdy started, “but I thought, perhaps it would be God-worthy to convert him to Christianity first, and I have tried and tried to convince him of the wonders of Christianity to no effect. I have brought him with me to the holiest of cities in the hopes that I could find someone who could help convert the young man before I sentence him to death so that he may find heaven in the afterlife instead of that evil hall they go to.”
“Perhaps I could have a word with the young man,” Pope John offered. “I have some expertise in that area.” So Valdamar had young Ivar ‘the White’ brought into the Vatican and the Pope had words with him, through Valdy, as interpreter, and soon the Viking warrior was nodding in understanding of the Christian faith and he agreed to be baptised.
“I am performing a number of royal baptisms on Sunday,” the Pope told Canute in Latin, “and it would be auspicious to have a heathen Dane baptised with them,” he added proudly.
“I shall bring him myself,” Valdamar told him.
“Your Latin is excellent!” Pope John told the king, visibly impressed. “Many read Latin, but so few of us speak it these days. Where did you learn it?”
Valdy did not want to tell him that his grandfather had been taught Latin by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theophilus while imprisoned in Constantinople, so he just said, “Good merchants learn the language of their customers and my Hraes’ Trading Company has just opened a new store here in Rome.”
The Pope was even more impressed and he took King Canute by the arm as he walked with him out of his huge office and he said, “That young prince of yours seems like a fine young man. Perhaps I can also intervene on his behalf and ask you to spare him so he can enjoy the benefits of Christianity in life as well as in the death that inevitably comes to all of us.”
King Canute had planned to stay in Denmark until he had brought King Olaf ‘the Stout’ Haraldson to heel, but mid-summer he got a message that King Malcolm II of the Scots was driving the English out of Lothian, the district between Scotland and England. Canute and Malcolm had fought a battle over Lothian in 1012, while Canute was still Prince Valdamar of Kiev and he had attacked the Scots under the orders of his father, King Sweyn, and the two had fought to a draw and made peace by allowing both Scottish and English to share the land equally. The Battle of Cruden, or Croju-Dane, as it was called, meaning ‘Slaughter of the Danes’, caused a terrible loss of life to both sides, but Valdamar left Malcolm to clean up the mess and bury the dead. King Malcolm built a church on the battlefield with the Scots buried north of it and the Danes buried to the south.
The peace had been maintained until 1018, when the Northumbrians, under Earl Uhtred’s brother, Earl Eadwulf Cudel, had attacked the Scots and lost, but King Canute had met with King Malcolm and assured him that the attack had been unauthorized, and the peace was restored when the head of Eadwulf had been presented to the Scottish king. Something had happened to disturb that peace, so King Canute soon sailed north with his mobile legion out of Wight and he met with the angry King Malcolm at Cruden Bay. Two hundred transport longships sat in the harbour east of the mobile legion that stood ten thousand man strong behind King Canute and west of the Cruden Battlefield sat fifteen thousand Scottish warriors behind King Malcolm. The two kings rode out alone and met each other in the center of the old battlefield they had fought upon almost two decades earlier.
“We lost many good thanes here,” Canute said to Malcolm as they sat across from each other.
“Aye, that we did,” King Malcolm replied, “and we shall again today unless we can repair our peace.”
“What has fractured our peace?”
“Why, your Jarl, Ivar ‘the White’ has,” Malcolm responded.
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.