The Saga of Canute ‘the Great’ Sweynson Ch. 24.0


Book 7, Chapter 24.0, ‘The Great’s Northern Empire (Circa 1035+ AD), Excerpts:

(1035 AD)  “I want King Canute interred in Winchester!” Queen Emma told Prince Hraerik, when he arrived in Southampton from the east.  “I don’t want Valdamar buried in Normandy.”

“Why didn’t they bring him back after they’d won the war?” Hraerik asked her.

“Earl Godwin says it was his dying wish to be interred in the Cathedral of Rouen next to his great uncle, Duke Rollo.”

“Why would he want that?  Rollo’s my brother, but he’s been long dead.  Valdy wouldn’t have ever known him.”

“Exactly!” Emma declared.  “I think it was Earl Godwin’s dying wish.  If King Canute is buried in Normandy, it will be harder for me to remain Queen of England in Winchester.  I may actually have to move there.  But I do so love Southampton,” she fretted.

Prince Hraerik and Princess Nadege had already settled into Sweyn Castle on the Isle of Wight to raise their growing family, so, he too, wanted Emma to stay in Southampton, but it did look as though Earl Godwin may have left Canute in Normandy for ulterior reasons.  He offered up his eastern wife, Gretta, to watch over Southampton if Emma did have to move to Winchester.  “She’s Gytha’s mother and can keep an eye on Earl Godwin for us.  Visiting her grandchildren is a great excuse for popping in anytime and being nosey.”

“Sounds like you’ve had a few mothers-in-law,” Emma responded.

“Not as many as I likely should have,” Hraerik confessed, and he thought back and realized he hadn’t had any.

“That woman scares me,” Emma confessed.  “She was one of the women in black that killed Sweyn.”

“So was Gytha,” Hraerik reminded her.

“Yes, but Gytha turned out to be the kidnapped daughter of Sweyn.  She could hardly be held responsible.”

“And Gretta was born to a mother who was an assassin and was raised as one, just as Gyda had been.  She can almost hardly be held responsible.  Besides, all the women in black were working under your husband, King Athelred’s, orders.”

“That’s true,” Emma admitted.  “It takes me back to a very bad time in my life.  And so do my sons by him,” she added.  “Princes Edward and Alfred have offered to bring back Valdamar’s body if we will honour the king’s last offer to share the kingdom with them.  Canute offered to make Edward King of Wessex and Alfred King of Mercia.”

“That was only because Valdy wanted to be Emperor of the Great Northern Empire and he wanted a lot of vassal kings below him so he could be king of kings.  We could counter-offer them the Earldoms of Wessex and Mercia.”

“But Godwin’s the Earl of Wessex…,” Emma started and then realized what Hraerik was implying.  “I like it!” she said.  “It’ll teach Godwin right for leaving Canute in Rouen.”

“Exactly,” Hraerik agreed.  “We’ll put Godwin back in charge of Sussex and Gretta can keep an eye on him from Southampton.  You’ll have to move to Winchester to keep an eye on Edward.  And Princess Aelfgifu can keep an eye on Alfred from Northampton.”

“But Aelfgifu One is in London helping King Harald rule,” Aelfgifu Number Two reminded him.

“She’s Princess of Northampton.  She can do both.”

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 24.0, ‘The Great’s Northern Empire  (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.

So, negotiations were begun with Duke William ‘the Bastard’ of Normandy for the return of the remains of King Canute and the Normans were quite relieved to get rid of the body, as it reminded them of Canute’s attack upon Normandy, and they were ecstatic that the two English princes that had been living in the court of Rouen for the last decade would be taking the body with them on their return home, because the princes reminded them of King Athelred’s attack upon Normandy.  But young Duke William was a hard bargainer and he offered to support the two princes only if they agreed to leave their kingdoms to the Duke after they died.  They reminded Duke William that they were only receiving earldoms but the Duke was perfectly happy with earldoms.  “You will have the full support of Normandy,” the duke promised them, “should someone try to remove you from your earldoms or kingdoms while I am Duke of Normandy.”

The two English princes knew they were sticking their necks out by going back into the den of Danes that were ruling England and they had witnessed, first-hand, the growing power of Normandy.  The Norman knights were becoming world famous for their courage and prowess in battle in Italy and Brittany and in their own duchy.  King Canute had brought the full English army to bear upon Normandy and the duchy had fought it to a draw, with their Duke Robert gone and half their knights operating in Apulia.  They only let Canute win because he was dying and Earl Godwin had promised to quit Normandy if they would only bury King Canute in the Cathedral of Rouen, next to Duke Rollo.  If Duke William would support them for the rights to their earldoms, it was added security they felt they could count on.  And they made sure that everyone in England knew that the duke supported them by having a regiment of Norman knights attached with the Norman fleet that helped them deliver the sarcophagus with bodies to Southampton and then Winchester, but the fleet overshot Portsmouth and landed at Poole, just west, and the princes and knights escorted the kings carriage all the way to Shaftesbury before the English army learned where they were and accepted the body of their king and commander in the town.  Officially, King Canute was listed as dying there, at the location of the official transfer from Norman hands to English.  Many of the English officers there had fought with Canute in Normandy and they didn’t consider Princes Edward and Alfred to be very English anymore.

When the princes and their personal Norman retinues escorted the body to Winchester, their mother, Queen Emma was there to greet them.  “Welcome home, sons,” she told them.  “I’m so glad you brought King Canute with you.”

“He’s the only reason they let us come back!” Prince Edward said, bitterly, as Prince Alfred hugged his mother.  “It is dangerous here,” Emma responded.  “I wish you would have stayed in Rouen.  Now that the war is over, I would be back there visiting with you as usual.”

“The war was hard on us too,” Edward complained.  “The Normans were always watching us, suspicious of us.  Weren’t they, Alfred?”

“Always watching us,” Alfred agreed.  “Why aren’t we safe here?”

“Because you’re taking the two largest earldom’s away from their rightful English lords.  Earl Godwin has been very gracious about it, but Earl Leofwin of Mercia is not to be trusted.”

“Yes, mother,” Alfred said, always the loving son.

“If he causes trouble, we’ll have to have him killed,” Edward said, always the practical son.

Queen Emma came out to Wight from Southampton in the afternoon and she told Hraerik that she would have to be going back to Winchester soon.  “King Harald ‘Hare-foot’ was upset that only Earl Godwin showed up for Yule celebrations from Wessex.  He has invited Earls Edward and Alfred to visit him in London.  I don’t want them to go.  It will be too dangerous.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Hraerik asked.  He didn’t like the direction the English were leaning since his Grandson Canute had died.  They were already calling King Harald, the ‘Hare-foot’, which Hraerik knew to be an insult, an English version of the ‘Swift Danes’ of Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, and the Bishops of England were the ones who had started the byname and were withholding support for young Harald.

“I can handle King Harald,” Emma replied.  “But I’m not going to allow any of my sons to go to London without the fyrds of Wessex going with them.”

“Don’t trust the English,” Hraerik warned her.  “Canute gave preferential treatment to the Danes from Kiev and Jutland here in England and the English hold a lot of resentment for it.  They’re starting to show disrespect for the Danes and the Hraes’ amongst them.”

“You’re still concerned about this ‘Swift Danes’ thing?” she asked him.  “King Harald is young and into hunting and I’m sure they just mean he’s fleet of foot in the hunt.”

“I could beat Harald in a foot race!” Hraerik assured his primus wife.  “And I’m over two hundred years old!”  Both Emma and Nadege started laughing at it.  They didn’t doubt that Hraerik could, but it sounded funny.  They had an early supper together and retired to the master suite for some ‘manage et trois’ before they started casting spells and practicing witchcraft.  Emma almost wished that Captain Hugh was there to join them, but the Newfoundland fleet would not be assembling for another month or so.

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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