The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 23.0


Book 7, Chapter 23.0, The Last Kiss of King Canute ‘the Great’  (Circa 1035 AD), Excerpts:

(1035 AD)   Prince Magnus Olafson set out from Sigtuna in early spring with a great force of soldiers, that he had gathered in Sweden over the winter.  They marched through northern Sweden on foot to Helsingjaland and then went east through Jamtaland over the keel-ridge of the country and came down upon the Trondheim district, where all men welcomed the prince with joy.  But no sooner did the men of King Svein Canuteson, the son of Princess Aelfgifu, hear that Magnus Olafson was in the country, than they fled on all sides and concealed themselves and kept quiet, so that no opposition was made to Prince Magnus, for King Svein was in the south part of the country.  Prince Magnus and his step-mother, Queen Astrid, took over the estates of the king in both Lade and Nidaros and announced that an Eyra-Thing was to be called to elect Magnus as King of Norway and to have Queen Astrid reconfirmed as queen, as had been her title when she was married to King Olaf ‘the Holy’.  They made much ado about the sanctity of Saint Olaf and of the right of young King Magnus to rule in his stead.  It was not often that a martyred saint of the ethereal plane had living offspring to represent them in the material plane.

At about the same time, Duke Robert and his entourage left Apulia, in southern Italy, and sailed to Constantinople, disclosing his Papal documents to Emperor Michael ‘the Fourth’ and Empress Zoe in order to secure approval to cross Eastern Roman lands on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Once he received his passport documents they sailed across to Chrysopolis and began a well-trodden pilgrimage trek southeast across Anatolia and down the coast of the Levant.  He could have sailed around Anatolia, but he wanted to familiarize his officers and knights with the terrain that they would soon be fighting in, so they rode the path that the faithful walked and arrived in Jerusalem much earlier than the theatre group that was tailing them from the Roman capital.  Gretta and her travelling thespians had carts and asses, but they could not keep up with the swift Norman knights.

Early spring in England found King Canute readying his legions and fleet for an attack upon Rouen, just across the Channel and a little up the Seine, and there was no way that Prince Hraerik could dissuade him from the misadventure.  Queen Emma tried to talk him out of it as well as she handed him over the latest tall warships to come out of testing in her Southampton shipyard.  Valdamar led his warfleet southeast into the Channel just as Emma’s Newfoundland tallship fleet sailed southwest along the Solent.  A week later, Prince Hraerik and Princess Nadege passed their latest baby to Emma and sailed east with the English merchant fleet to Roskilde where the great merchant fleet was assembling.  There was no news there of any Swedish activity in Norway and King Hardeknute of Denmark told him that King Svein of Norway was still overwintering in Agder Province so, the Prince collected tithes from the merchants of his great fleet and led them east across the Baltic to Kievan Hraes’.

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 23.0, The Last Kiss of King Canute ‘the Great’  (Circa 1035 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 King Canute sailed up the River Seine with a large fleet into Normandy to hold Duke Robert accountable for his failed attack on England, he was hoping to catch the Normans by surprise and claim an easy victory.  But on the north bank of the Seine, the walled city of Rouen was sealed up and prepared for siege.  Word of Canute’s war preparations had filtered out of England and the local Norman herses were not taking any chances with their Duke away in Rome.  So Canute attacked and took the unwalled village on the south side of the Seine and set up his headquarters there.  His tallships were impervious to attack and they controlled the river.

From the south village of Rouen, Canute had his forces throw up a ditch around the city of Rouen with a rough palisade of logs atop it, quite similar to the siege works he’d had constructed around London two decades earlier.  This allowed one legion of foot to remain outside Rouen and keep it isolated so no supplies could reach the city by land or river.  Then he took two legions of cataphracts and he led them west to conquer the towns and cities of Normandy.  King Canute had expected Normandy to be a lot like England, where the only stone walled cities and towns were those that the Romans had built walls around over five hundred years earlier, but Normandy was not like that at all.  It was a very martial state and every town and every city had a stone keep built by the local Norman lord to protect himself and his people from other Normans.  So every conquest was a siege and a battle and if forces weren’t left to occupy the keep, it was quickly reoccupied by the Norman locals.  And if insufficient forces were left to occupy a keep, the locals would sneak back into their castle through secret tunnels and slaughter the troops left in occupation.

Even the towns that didn’t have keeps were a problem, because the locals were quite violent in the defence of their abodes and even the women were proficient in arms.  King Athelred’s army had faced this problem when he had it attack Normandy years earlier and had lost it virtually to a man.  If Brittany had been so defended, Canute saw the problem Duke Robert had faced when he had attacked them.  Word had come up from Rome that the Pope had given Duke Robert the penance of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for that failed attack, so Canute urged on his forces afresh.

“The warlock will have a small army in the town,” Prince Hraerik told his ninjas, “all bought and paid for and very well trained.  And in the center is his manse, his mansion, and there he will have a dozen personal bodyguards, all warlocks in training, all strong and fast, and they’ll all bend you over your shield before they kill you.  Very old school.  Very Roman.  The Aran are the Vanir.  We Aesir are the Aran, but we came back south and we beat them.  The Aran that fled Troy became the Vanir and founded Rome.  The Aran of Persia fled Zoroaster and became the Brahmans of India.  These are pure Alan Aran warlocks and we Aesir are the only ones that have ever beaten them. 

“Now, if you’re fighting them and you are winning, they may try to disappear underground.  Don’t let them do that.  Grab them by the hair or the head and don’t let them go under.  They could come up anywhere.  Take their heads off.  That is the best way to kill them.  Don’t go after the head warlock,” Hraerik warned them and he looked each of them in the eye until they blinked, “leave him for me.  He is very powerful and will soon be going into full lust.

As they waited for darkness, they took their war gear out of their kit bags and started to gear up.  Their armour was all black leather, treated with special glues and emulsions to make it harder than forged steel and it was silent and had no reflection, being the blackest of black in colour.  And their helmets were of forged steel clad in this leather and they had spectacle drop loops that held tempered optical glass in them to protect their eyes from arrows.  And their lower face and throat and neck were protected by loose hanging chain mail with each ring black leather wrapped.  Their bodies were fully protected from their heads to their toes and it was all in black armour.  They were not called Black Ninjas for nothing.  “Did I tell you that each warlock can shoot iron arrows out of each fingertip?” Hraerik asked them.

“No sir, you did not,” one of them said.  There was no leader among this twelve.  They were all equally trained and all matched so that any one of them could lead if required, but all led until death or injury required otherwise.

“Well, you’ve been told.  And the rest will be told you on a need to know basis.”

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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