The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 16.0


Book 7, Chapter 16.0,  The English and Danish Attack on Norway  (Circa 1028 AD), Excerpts:

(1028)  Over the winter, King Canute brought Prince Hraerik up to speed on what had transpired in the north of England and the peace he had re-established with King Malcolm of Scotland.  At the same time, Canute’s emissaries in Norway kept bribing and paying Viking chieftains to support his efforts against King Olaf there, and Olaf ‘the Stout’ saw his support outside The Vik withering.  In early spring a message arrived in Southampton that King Malcolm would soon arrive with his personal fleet and his three daughters with their new sons.  King Canute and Queen Emma sent greetings and congratulations to her nephew, Duke Robert of Normandy, and invited him to Southampton with his Princess Herleva of Falaise and their new son to meet with the Scottish king.  And Emma also asked him to bring his Roman and Norman knights for some friendly jousting in King Sweyn’s new castle on the Isle of Wight.

King Malcolm and his three daughters, Bethoc, Donalda and Olith, arrived first with their young sons, Mal Canute, Mael Canute and Maol Canute, and were put up in the north wing of King Sweyn’s castle, as were their troops, and their ships were beached in the harbour there.

Duke Robert and his concubine Princess Herleva, arrived next with their baby son William ‘the Bastard’, and were put up in the south wing of the castle, as were their knights, and their ships were also beached in the harbour.

King Canute and his Princess Aelfgifu sailed across the Solent each morning with Prince Hraerik and his Queen Emma to entertain their guests and Emma would tour the guests about the new castle and explain all the latest defensive accoutrements of the bastion.  The masonry and stonework was Norman in nature and Duke Robert saw that right away and took mental note of it.  He liked his castles Norman.  In the afternoons there was jousting on the Castle training grounds.  The jousting teams were made up of cataphract legion units, starting with the original Roman cataphracts, rather, the descendants thereof, against the Danish unit and the Norman unit against the Kievan team.  There was also a regiment of English knights, but they were still in training, so some were used as filler knights to replace the injured.  King Malcolm had seen the Roman and Norman knights years earlier in Rouen when he had visited Robert’s father, Duke Richard, but these new Norman knights were more heavily armed and armoured than he had seen before and Canute’s Kievan, Danish and English knights had their hands full competing with them.

“Our Norman knights,” Emma explained to Hraerik and Canute, “have been fighting against the Varangian Guard of Constantinople in southern Italy, and the equipment has gotten heavier as the battles grow deadlier.  The Romans of New Rome have all the best gear,” she lamented.

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 16.0,  The English and Danish Attack on Norway  (Circa 1028 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.

Meanwhile, King Canute’s mighty fleet sailed north up the coast of the Nor’Way, on past the Hornel-mount and the promontory of Stadt, till the “sea-falcons glided into the Nith River.”  At important points along the way King Canute landed and summoned the jarls and hearses to things and assemblies, and the summons were always obeyed.  The jarls swore allegiance to their new King and solemnly gave Canute the hostages he requested.  All remembered what he had done with the English hostages he had mutilated over a decade before and of the terrible things that had happened to that country after he had erected his Unicorn scorn pole and the oaths and hostages were not given lightly.  Whenever it was required, Canute appointed new local officials from Jarl Erling’s group, whose loyalty he believed in.

Olaf was informed of Canute’s actions and did what he could to prepare to meet the invasion, but his supporters who came to his aid were few and far between.  What forces the Norwegian king was able to collect sailed up into Oflo Fjord, where King Olaf prudently remained until King Canute had once more departed from the land.  The Vik was officially part of Canute’s Denmark, had been given over to the Danes after King Sweyn and Jarl Eirik had killed the last King Olaf at the Battle of Svolder, or so it had been believed, and Valdamar knew that if he went into The Vik, Olaf would only retreat further into the deep woods of Norway.  All the jarls in The Vik knew this, but most of them had to support Jarl Olaf anyway…most of them were related to him in some way or another.  But they were soon mortified by the news their spies brought: that King Canute had sailed back south across the Skagerrak to the northernmost promontory of Jutland and had begun erecting a huge Unicorn scorn pole and he faced the pole directly north into the mouth of The Vik Fjord and he had the Witches of both York and Rouen cut the runes that cursed The Vik and, in particular, the new town of Oslo, while Jarl Olaf ruled that part of his Danish Kingdom, for Jarl Olaf was a king no more, or a king of nothing.  King Canute had taken all of Norway away from him and the only lands he now ruled were Danish, had been Danish for years, and had never been given nor surrendered to him.

The people of The Vik were soon grumbling.  Every time someone fell off a horse and died or fell into the sea and drowned, it was King Canute’s Unicorn scorn pole that had caused it.  False rumours were even circulated by troublemakers that one of the Witches of Rouen had sacrificed herself and had used witchly powers to decapitate herself and had even mounted her own head upon the unicorn’s horn.  Jarl Olaf knew his days of ruling Oflo Fjord were numbered and, when, due to world-wide cooling, an early frost killed off a lot of the crops, he left for Sweden.  King Anund Jakob had fallen under the sway of King Canute, so Olaf fled to Prince Ivaraslav in Kiev, but he was still ruling from Novgorod, so Olaf carried on to Constantinople.  Emperor Constantine ‘the Eighth’ Porphyrogennetos was ill, but took the time to see his Christian proselytizing agent in Scandinavia and promised him support.

When Prince Hraerik arrived in Kiev he learned that Prince Ivaraslav still did not trust his half-brother, Prince Mstislav, and was continuing to rule from Novgorod.  Hraerik didn’t like it.  He wanted his grandsons to trust and support each other and, if Misty was ruling from Chernigov, then Ivar should be ruling from Kiev.  The capital was unstable if not directly lorded over.  He had Witch Nadege join him in Kiev from Chernigov.  She had been staying with Prince Mstislav and his wife, Princess Nado, the witch of the Alans, to monitor the possession of his grandson by the spirit, or half-spirit of Iry Dada.  Nadege has just turned twelve and was of marriageable age, so the Prince asked her to marry him and be his wife in Kiev.

“Prince Gretta is my wife in Gardariki,” Hraerik explained, “and it is working out well, and with the instability in this area, I would like you to live in my great hall in Kiev and keep my household here.”

“Will I have to have children for you?” Nadege asked, “because I really don’t want children.  I’m a witch and would like to practice my craft.”

“I have lots of children,” Hraerik admitted, “and grandchildren from India to the Newfoundland, so I would respect your wish, but I don’t want to keep you here if Rouen is where you could better practice your witchcraft.”

“Rouen witchcraft is Aesir based and practiced throughout the north,” Nadege explained, “and I have already learned most of it.  Here I have found Roman Vanir witchcraft and, through Princess Nado, the original Aran witchcraft of the Persians, so I would like to stay here and learn as much of it as I can.  If possible, perhaps I could travel to India with you to study Brahman witchcraft?”

“You would have to sail with me disguised as my cabin boy,” Hraerik told her.  “That is the way I have done it with my wives in the past.”

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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