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Where is Pomerania and why does it have a Viking connection?

This article is for my friend Patricia Mayhew who is a fellow history geek! She has been following my family history search in Germany and mentioned that her ancestors came from an area called Pommerania. Her ancestor situation there is similar to mine… we can’t trace our individual family line back because of limited information. We can however, find out more about the areas they came from which is interesting in itself.  When I was doing my research on Old Saxony, I kept running across mentions of Pommerania and I immediately thought of Patricia!  So, Patricia- Here is a detailed  history of Pommerania for you… It looks like some Saxon or Viking roots may be tugging at you as well!

History of Pomerania

I first heard of Pomerania when Patricia mentioned that her ancestors were from a place called Pomerania in Germany.  The first question that comes to mind about this place is, Where on earth is it in Germany? It’s not one of the more common place names or locations that trigger some idea of where it might be when you think of Germany.  It is also one of those areas like Saxony or Prussia that covers a wide general area and no longer exists as a territory.  As I mentioned, I only came across it when researching early histories of Saxony and the Saxon Wars.  I’ve went back and gathered a number of maps so that we can see where the general area is or was and how it’s borders may have changed through history. I’ve also discovered that it may have more history with areas of Poland rather than Germany.  It is located near the Baltic Sea and when you look at maps of the area you can easily see why there might be connections to some Viking past in Denmark and Sweden.

Bistum_Cammin_1400

A medieval map of Pomeranian area in 1400s

This shows Pommeranian area in relation to German area of Mecklanburg

This shows Pomeranian area in relation to German area of Mecklenburg

 

This  map is one from Charlamagne’s time and while it does not show Pomerania, it shows the coastal area and the early Danish connection with Haithabu or Hedeby.

carolmap

Early Carolingian map 804-814 showing Danish connection and Hedeby

 

 I’ve already mentioned that  we do not have a city or village name to narrow our search so we will just look at the overall history of the area. We do know that Patricia’s family left the area in the mid 1800s so we can look at a few maps of that time to define the borders of the area during that time frame. I also know that Patricia is a fellow Vikings Saga and early medieval history fan so for that reason I am going to focus on some of the earliest history of the area as well!

The map below gives us an excellent representation of where Pomerania was in relation to modern day countries. The yellow line is represents the original border of Pomerania. With this map it’s very easy to see the early Pomeranian connections and importance to the Northern lands.

Pomeraniamap early border superimposed in yellow on modern Germany and Poland

Alright,  we know where Pomerania is or was so we can look at the history of the area. The history of Pomerania, an area in modern-day Germany and Poland, dates back more than 10,000 years. The name Pomerania comes from Slavic po more, which means Land at the Sea.  Settlement in the area started by the end of the Vistula Glacial Stage, about 13,000 years ago.  Archeological traces have been found of various cultures during the Stone and Bronze Age, of Veneti and Germanic peoples during the Iron Age and, in the Middle Ages, Slavic tribes and Vikings.  Starting in the 10th century, Piast Poland on several occasions acquired parts of the region from the southeast, while the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark augmented their territory from the west and north.

Earliest Pomeranian cultural artifacts-faced urns

Earliest Pomeranian cultural artifacts-faced urns

One of more than 1,000 megalith sites in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - the Lancken-Granitz dolmen

One of more than 1,000 megalith sites in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – the Lancken-Granitz dolmen

In the High Middle Ages, the area became Christian and was ruled by local dukes of the House of Pomerania and the Samborides, at various times vassals of Denmark, the Holy Roman Empire and Poland.  From the late 12th century, the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania stayed with the Holy Roman Empire and the Principality of Rugia with Denmark, while Denmark, Brandenburg, Poland and the Teutonic Knights struggled for control in Samboride Pomerelia.  The Teutonic Knights succeeded in annexing Pomerelia to their monastic state in the early 14th century. Meanwhile, the Ostsiedlung started to turn Pomerania into a German-settled area; the remaining Wends, who became known as Slovincians and Kashubians, continued to settle within the rural East.  In 1325 the line of the princes of Rugia (Rügen) died out, and the principality was inherited by House of Pomerania,  themselves involved in the Brandenburg-Pomeranian conflict about superiority in their often internally divided duchy. In 1466, with the Teutonic Order‘s defeat, Pomerelia became subject to the Polish Crown as a part of Royal Prussia.  While the Duchy of Pomerania adopted the Protestant Reformation in 1534,  Kashubia remained with the Roman Catholic Church. The Thirty Years’ and subsequent wars severely ravaged and depopulated most of Pomerania. With the extinction of the Griffin house during the same period, the Duchy of Pomerania was divided between the Swedish Empire and Brandenburg-Prussia in 1648. Prussia gained the southern parts of Swedish Pomerania in 1720.   It gained the remainder of Swedish Pomerania in 1815, when French occupation during the Napoleonic Wars was lifted.   The former Brandenburg-Prussian Pomerania and the former Swedish parts were reorganized into the Prussian Province of Pomerania,  while Pomerelia in the partitions of Poland was made part of the Province of West Prussia. With Prussia, both provinces joined the newly constituted German Empire in 1871. 

What this brief history means basically is that Pomerania went through the same chaos and turmoil as the rest of the Germanic territories and ended up as a part of that extremely large space called Prussia during the mid 1800s.  What does this mean for Patricia in searching for her family ancestors? Well, Patricia’s family left sometime in the mid to late 1800s- possibly around 1870s and they listed themselves as from Pomerania. This would conceivably mean that they were from the German-Brandenburg portion or the Swedish portion because at the time those two areas retained the name Pomerania. The Polish areas were renamed as West Prussians.   I know that doesn’t help a whole lot but maybe it’s a small start!  I am going to add my personal thought that they were probably from the German/Brandenburg portion or at least the western portion of Pomerania since they considered themselves German and not Polish.

Early history of Pomerania

Now that we’ve looked at the very brief and basic history of Pomerania, let’s explore further to find out how it fits into the rest of the early history of the surrounding areas. It’s history dates back as far as 13,000 years ago but let’s not really attempt to go quite that far back in any depth! Let’s just state that there are traces of pre-history culture throughout the area that include a number of different groups. From the 2nd century to about the 6th century there was a massive migration that left the area largely depopulated by the early 7th century.   Between 650 and 850 AD, West Slavic tribes settled in Pomerania.  These tribes were collectively known as “Pomeranians” between the Oder and Vistula rivers, or as “Veleti” (later “Liuticians”) west of the Oder. A distinct tribe, the Rani, was based on the island of Rügen and the adjacent mainland.  In the 8th and 9th centuries, SlavicScandinavian emporia were set up along the coastline as powerful centers of craft and trade.

 

The Veleti moved into modern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and adjacent southern areas from the south in the course of the 6th-7th centuries, assimilating the remaining Germanic population and West Slav tribes that had previously moved into that area from the east.

The Veleti did not remain a unified tribe for long. Local tribes developed, the most important being: the Kissini (Kessiner, Chizzinen, Kyzziner) along the lower Warnow and Rostock, named after their capital Kessin; the Circipani (Zirzipanen) along the Trebel and Peene Rivers, with their capitol believed to be Teterow and strongholds in Demmin and probably even Güstrow; the Tollenser east and south of the Peene along the Tollense River; and the Redarier south and east of the Tollensesee on the upper Havel. The Hevelli living in the Havel area and, though more unlikely, the Rujanes of Rugia might once have been part of the Veletians. Even the Leitha region of Lower Austria may been named for a tribe of Veneti, the Leithi.

 

One of the more important groups to settle parts of the area would have been the Rugii.

The Rugii, also Rugians, Rygir, Ulmerugi, or Holmrygir (Norwegian: Rugiere, German: Rugier) were an East Germanic tribe who also appeared in southwest Norway and who in 100 AD lived near the Vistula River south of the Baltic Sea in an area 900 years later known as Pomerania. A number of them went from the Baltic Sea to the Danube River valley, where they established their own kingdom in the 5th century AD.

Settlement areas of the Rugii Rogaland Pomerania since the 1st century Rugiland 5th century Rügen

The tribal name “Rugii” or “Rygir” is a derivate of the Old Norse term for rye, rugr, and is thus translated “rye eaters” or “rye farmers”. Holmrygir and Ulmerugi are both translated as “island Rugii”.   Uncertain and disputed is the association of the Rugii with the name of the isle of Rügen and the tribe of the Rugini. Though some scholars suggested that the Rugii passed their name to the isle of Rügen in modern Northeast Germany, other scholars presented alternative hypotheses of Rügen’s etymology associating the name to the mediaeval Rani (Rujani) tribe.  The Rugini were only mentioned once, in a list of tribes still to be Christianised drawn up by the English monk Bede (Beda venerabilis) in his Historia ecclesiastica of the early 8th century. Whether the Rugini were remnants of the Rugii is speculative.  The Rugini were also associated with the Rani.

The Rugii were first mentioned by Tacitus in the late 1st century.  Tacitus’ description of their contemporary settlement area, adjacent to the Goths at the “ocean”, is generally seen as the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, the later Pomerania.  Tacitus characterized the Rugii as well as the neighboring Goths and Lemovii saying they carried round shields and short swords, and obeyed their regular authority. Ptolemaeus in 150 AD mentions a place named Rhougion (also transliterated from Greek as Rougion, Rugion, Latinized Rugium or Rugia) and a tribe named Routikleioi in the same area, both names have been associated with the Rugii. Jordanes says the Goths upon their arrival in this area expelled the Ulmerugi.  and makes other, retrospect references to the Rugii in his Getica of the 6th century. The 9th-century Old English Widsith, a compilation of earlier oral traditions, mentions the tribe of the Holmrycum without localizing it. Holmrygir are mentioned in an Old Norse Skaldic poem, Hákonarmál, and probably also in the Haraldskvæði.

Around the mid 2nd century AD, there was a significant migration by Germanic tribes of Scandinavian origin (Rugii, Goths, Gepidae, Vandals, Burgundians, and others) towards the south-east, creating turmoil along the entire Roman frontier. These migrations culminated in the Marcomannic Wars, which resulted in widespread destruction and the first invasion of Italy in the Roman Empire period. Many Rugii had left the Baltic coast during the migration period. It is assumed that Burgundians, Goths and Gepids with parts of the Rugians left Pomerania during the late Roman Age, and that during the migration period, remnants of Rugians, Vistula Veneti, Vidivarii and other, Germanic tribes remained and formed units that were later Slavicized.  The Vidivarii themselves are described by Jordanes in his Getica as a melting pot of tribes who in the mid-6th century lived at the lower Vistula. Though differing from the earlier Willenberg culture, some traditions were continued.  One hypothesis, based on the sudden appearance of large amounts of Roman solidi and migrations of other groups after the breakdown of the Hun empire in 453, suggest a partial re-migration of earlier emigrants to their former northern homelands. By about the 6th century, the Rugii tribe ceased to exist as any separate identity. They were most likely assimilated into the various cultures that they became a part of.

Most historians agree on the idea that the area of Pomerania was essentially a melting pot of tribes and cultures that included Slavic tribes coming from the east, Germanic tribes venturing northwards, and Norse or pre-Danish tribes such as Angles, Saxons and later Danish coming southwards. It was such a large coastal area that many early tribes would have found their way to the area. Because of this large area and the large number of different tribes or cultures settling there, we are going to limit this discussion to a smaller portion. We’ve already discussed the fact that our friend Patricia’s family identified with the Germanic side so we will focus the rest of this discussion on that Germanic portion that includes the Mecklenburg and Brandenburg areas. We are also going to narrow the time frame a bit and concentrate on the history from about the late 8th century on.

Danish and Viking Connection

Some of the history mentions early Dane and pre-dane migrations to the area so let’s look at that since I know many of us are interested in that connection. If we look at early maps of the areas, we can easily see the connection for such migrations.

hedeby in connection to mecklenburg

hedeby in connection to Mecklenburg

hedeby2viking_trading_towns

These early maps show how those tribes of Jutes, Angles, Saxons and Ribes (possibly connected to the Rugii tribes) would have moved southwards as the early Dani or Danes took over their territories in the north. As these tribes settled the coastline of what would  later become Pomerania, they may have retained some connections or relationships with those Danes in the North. It has been often debated whether the take over of territories by the Danes was truly hostile or more a matter of them moving in and being able to take over because lands were limited and tribes were slowly migrating to other less populated areas anyway.  What ever the case, there is evidence from later times that the Saxons and other groups remained on friendly terms with the Danes and even sought their help when the Franks began invading in the late 700s.

This map shows Scandinavian settlements according to timelines and you can see that they moved into the Pomeranian coastline area during the 7th-8th centuries.

scandinavian settlement timeline

scandinavian settlement timeline

I mentioned Mecklenburg because it has a history with connections to the Danes as well as the Saxons. The name Mecklenburg derives from a castle named “Mikilenburg” (Old Saxon: “big castle”, hence the scientific translation used in New Latin Megalopolis), located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. In Slavic language it was known as Veligrad which also means “big castle”.  From the 7th through the 12th centuries, the area of Mecklenburg was taken over by Western Slavic peoples, most notably the Obotrites and other tribes that Frankish sources referred to as “Wends”.  

Evidence of Danish or Viking settlements in the area is found at Altes Lager a site 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi)  near Anklam, Western Pomerania, Germany. The site, on the banks of the river Peene, was an important Viking trading-post during the Viking Age. At that time, Pomerania was inhabited by Slavic Wends, yet several Viking trading-posts were set up along the coast (the nearest were Ralswiek to the West and Jomsborg/Wollin to the east). The settlement covered an area of approximately 18 hectares in the 9th century. Remnants of a bridge and a cemetery have been excavated. Some artifacts found in the graves originated in Ireland and in the lands east of the Baltic. Following Scandinavian customs, the dead were buried either in stone ships, i.e. ship-like graves, or within stone circles. The graves excavated so far have been found to be the tombs of women. Most findings date back to the 9th and 10th centuries.

Viking graves at Altes Lager in western Pomerania

Viking graves at Altes Lager in western Pomerania

In looking at the map location of Anklam, it’s easy to see a possible early Viking connection.

karte_anklamAnklam_8

Another important Viking age settlement in the area was Jomsborg. a semi-legendary Viking stronghold at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea (medieval Wendland, modern Pomerania), that existed between the 960s and 1043. Its inhabitants were known as Jomsvikings. Jomsborg’s exact location, or its existence, has not yet been established, though it is often maintained that Jomsborg was somewhere on the islands of the Oder estuary. While the previous site at Anklam is on the western German side, the supposed location of Jomsborg would put it on the eastern now Polish side of Pomerania.

Harald blutooth monument at wollen germany

Modern memorial in Wolin, the most probable site of medieval Jomsborg. The Danish and Polish inscription, held in rune style, commemorates the death of Harald Bluetooth in Jomsborg, 986

Pommern_Kr_Usedom-WollinVinetakarte

Jomsborg is often thought to be identical with the present-day town of Wolin (also Wollin) on the southeastern tip of the isle of Wolin, probably located at Silberberg hill north of the town.  In the Early Middle Ages, modern Wolin was the site of a multi-ethnic emporium (then known as Jumne or Julin).  The Nordic sagas use “Jómsborg” exclusively, while medieval German histories use “Jumne” or “Julin”, with the alternate names, some of which may be spelling variants, “vimne”, “uimne”, “Jumneta”, “Juminem”, “Julinum”, “uineta”, “Vineta” and “Vinneta”.  In 1931/32, Pomeranian historian Adolf Hofmeister suggested, through comparison of the events reported by the different chronicles, that all these terms describe the same place, which is at or near the modern town of Wolin.  However, this is by no means universally accepted; Steven Fanning writes: “The Trelleborg-type fortresses of Denmark have been taken to be actual examples of Jómsborg-style camps of such warriors and Wolin in Poland was believed to be the actual Jómsborg. However, all such attempts to locate Jómsborg or encampments of the Jómvikings have failed, leading many to doubt that Jómvikings ever existed outside of literature.”  According to Władysław Filipowiak there are several dated sources which attest to the presence of a company of armed Vikings at the end of the 10th century in Wolin, who may have been installed there as mercenaries by the Polish king Bolesław Chrobry.   Other theories see Jomsborg in the northwest of nearby Usedom island, on lands now submerged.  The small islands in this area are remnants of a long stretch of land between Usedom and Rügen, which fell victim to storm floods in the early 14th century.  Suspected locations in this area are the Veritas grounds between the petty islands of Ruden and Greifswalder Oie, and the Peenemünde shoals. While Viking Age jewelry has been found at the site, archaeological evaluation of these theories has not yet been possible.

Archaeologists believe that in the Early Middle Ages Wolin was a great trade emporium, spreading along the shore for four kilometers and rivaling in importance Birka and Hedeby.  Around 972 the island became controlled by Poland, under prince Mieszko I. However, it has not been established if Wolin became part of Poland, or if it was a fief. Polish influences were not firm and they ended around 1007. In the following years Wolin became famous for its pirates, who would plunder ships cruising the Baltic. As a reprisal, in 1043 it was attacked by the Norwegian king Magnus the Good.  In the early 12th century the island, as part of the Pomeranian duchy, was captured by the Polish king Boleslaw III Wrymouth. Shortly after, the inhabitants of Wolin accepted Christianity, and in 1140 pope Innocent II created a diocese there, with its capital in the town of Wolin. In 1181 the dukes of Pomerania decided to accept the Holy Roman emperor as their liege lord instead of the Polish king.

According to the Knytlingasaga and Fagrskinna, Jomsborg was built by the Danish king Harold Bluetooth (910-985/86) in the 960s.  The Jomsvikinga Saga mentions Danish Viking Palnatoki as its founder.  In medieval records, Jomsborg is described as a fortress with a harbor.  The harbour was overseen by a stone tower mounted with catapults, built on an arch spanning over the harbour entrance which could be closed by an iron gate.   According to the oldest records, the harbour had space for three ships,  later records give a capacity of up to 360 ships.   Jomsborg was destroyed in 1043 by Norwegian king Magnus the Good .   The fortress was burned down, and many of the inhabitants were killed.

Most records name the jarl of Jomsborg Sigvald(i), son of petty king Strut-Harald of then Danish Scania.  Sigvald died some time before 1010.  The Jomsborg Vikings (Jomsvikings) were composed of selected warriors, adhered to a special codex, and were loyal only to their leader.   In 1009, many Jomsvikings left Jomsborg and followed Sigvald’s brothers Herring and Thorkell the Tall to England, where they became the nucleus of Cnut the Great‘s Thingmen or Huscarls.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jomsborg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolin

Jomsborg is considered to be one of those almost mythical places of as yet unknown true location. There is another Viking city that was once deemed as that same sort but recent discoveries are proving this other city to have real origins. I need to make mention of this other city as well as long as we are delving into Danish settlements in northern Germany.

Sliasthorp, Fabled Viking Military Town, Possibly Unearthed In Germany :

Danish archeologists believe they have uncovered a once thriving center of Viking activity, Sliasthorp, the fabled military base occupied by the earliest Scandinavian kings. Since excavations began in 2010, roughly 200 buildings, along with weapons, precious jewelry, glass beads, and silver coins have been unearthed at Füsing, near the Danish border, National Geographic reports, findings that they say offer valuable insights into the military organization and town planning of what is thought to be the earliest Viking settlement in the historical record.    “Our studies have given us a completely new view on the anatomy of the very earliest cities. It differs greatly from what we see in the Middle Ages and today,” said Andres Dobat, a lecturer in prehistoric archaeology at Aarhus University, in an interview with Science Nordic.

Dobat, who is heading up the archeological dig, explained that the location of Sliasthorp was unknown until now. What was known is that it was used as a base by the Viking king Gøtrik, also known as Godfred or Gudfred.  From the town, Viking kings or their chieftains would have controlled trade and access to the region, the study team suggests.

“We have actually found the origins of what we today call Hamburg,” he said. “When the Vikings built this town and Hedeby, they were a precursor of Schleswig, which in the early Middle Ages was the great trading city in the region. Schleswig, in turn, was the precursor of Lübeck, which today has given way to Hamburg. We’re digging at the roots of world economy.”  Hedeby, a much larger city approximately 2.5 miles away, functioned as an international port and trading center during Viking times. “We have the international traders and craftsmen at one place, and the Scandinavian elite a few kilometers away,” Dobat told ScienceNordic.  Dobat first came across the site using a metal detector in 2003, according to Wired. And while the findings are promising, Mads Dengsø Jessen, of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen cautions that a positive ID still needs to be made. It’s “the best candidate we have for now,” he told National Geographic.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/sliasthorp-fabled-viking-military-town-unearthed-germany_n_1669351.html

 

hedeby in connection to mecklenburg

Hedeby history

Hedeby is first mentioned in the Frankish chronicles of Einhard (804) who was in the service of Charlemagne, but was probably founded around 770. In 808 the Danish king Godfred (Lat. Godofredus) destroyed a competing Slav trade centre named Reric, and it is recorded in the Frankish chronicles that he moved the merchants from there to Hedeby. This may have provided the initial impetus for the town to develop. The same sources record that Godfred strengthened the Danevirke, an earthen wall that stretched across the south of the Jutland peninsula. The Danevirke joined the defensive walls of Hedeby to form an east-west barrier across the peninsula, from the marshes in the west to the Schlei inlet leading into the Baltic in the east.  The town itself was surrounded on its three landward sides (north, west, and south) by earthworks. At the end of the 9th century the northern and southern parts of the town were abandoned for the central section. Later a 9-metre (29-ft) high semi-circular wall was erected to guard the western approaches to the town. On the eastern side, the town was bordered by the innermost part of the Schlei inlet and the bay of Haddebyer Noor.

Hedeby  was an important trading settlement in the Danish-northern German borderland during the Viking Age. It flourished from the 8th to the 11th centuries.  The site is located towards the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula. It developed as a trading centre at the head of a narrow, navigable inlet known as the Schlei, which connects to the Baltic Sea. The location was favorable because there is a short portage of less than 15 km to the Treene River, which flows into the Eider with its North Sea estuary, making it a convenient place where goods and ships could be ported overland for an almost uninterrupted seaway between the Baltic and the North Sea and avoid a dangerous and time-consuming circumnavigation of Jutland, providing Hedeby with a role similar to later Lübeck.  Hedeby was the second largest Nordic city during the Viking Age, after Uppåkra in southern Sweden, and used to be the oldest city in Denmark until the site became part of Germany.  The city of Schleswig was later founded on the other side of the Schlei, and gave the duchy its name. Old records mention two bridges connecting the two towns. Hedeby was abandoned after its destruction in 1066.  The site of Hedeby is located in the Duchy of Schleswig, which was traditionally the personal territory of the kings of Denmark. But the Kingdom of Denmark lost the area to Austria and Prussia in 1864 in the Second Schleswig War, and it is now in Germany. Hedeby is now by far the most important archaeological site in Schleswig-Holstein. The Haithabu Museum was opened next to the site in 1985.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedeby

According to some history, Godfred built the Danevirke as defense against Charlamagne and the Frankish invasions that were coming too close to Denmark for his comfort- especially with the conquering of the Saxons and those areas of Pomerania!

 

 

Pomeranian areas in relation to Charlamagne’s conquests

In the late 700s, Charlamagne decided to conquer and unite all of Europe into one Empire. This conquest would include Saxony and areas of Pomerania. During the time of these conquests and wars some areas of Pomerania were probably part of Old Saxony and vice versa. We have to look at much of it together to see the possible and plausible connections. Charlamagne was tackling the ambitious feat of fighting and conquering on many fronts at once, so many of the conquests overlapped each other. And, as he would conquer one area, he would then use it in his conquest of his next phase… sometimes that paid off well, but often it would result in the once conquered areas banding together and rebelling against him.  The following map shows the Frankish territories and conquest by time frame. It also shows that northern area of Saxony with it’s bordering territories of the Obitrites and the Veliti. These two groups would play important parts in Charlamagne’s ability to conquer the Saxons.

Frankish_Empire_481_to_814-en_svg

In 772, Charlemagne, ruler of the Franks, started the Saxon Wars to conquer the lands of the North German Plain. According to the Royal Frankish Annals, the Westphalian noble Widukind refused to appear at the 777 Imperial Diet in Paderborn and fled across the Elbe to Nordalbingia (or possibly further to the court of the Danish king Sigfred). Even after Widukind’s submission and Christianization in 785, the Nordalbingian tribes remained reluctant until they were finally defeated at the 798 Battle of Bornhöved by the combined forces of the Franks and their Obotrite allies led by Prince Drożko. The Saxons lost 4000 people, 10,000 families of Saxons were deported to other areas of the Carolingian Empire.

The areas north of the Elbe were at first given to the Obotrites, while Land Hadeln was directly incorporated. However, Nordalbingia soon was invaded by the Danes and only the intervention of Charlemagne’s son Charles the Younger in 808 pushed them back across the Eider River. The next year the emperor had Esesfeld Castle erected near present-day Itzehoe and the entire region was incorporated into the Frankish Empire. In order to encounter the ongoing invasions led by King Sigfred’s successor Gudfred, the Franks probably established a Danish march stretching from the Eider River to the Danevirke fortifications in the north. After King Gudfred was killed, his successor Hemming concluded the Treaty of Heiligen with Charlemagne in 811, whereafter the Eider should mark the border between Denmark and Francia. However, quarrels between both sides would continue for more than a century until the East Frankish king Henry the Fowler finally defeated the Danish forces of King Gnupa at Hedeby in 934.

There is no mention of when the Obotrites became vassals or allies of Charlamagne, only that they were already under his control and allegiance when he began his campaigns against the Saxons. When he succeeded in his conquest of the Saxons, the Obotrites were rewarded with the most northern portions.

The Veleti moved into modern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and adjacent southern areas from the south in the course of the 6th-7th centuries, assimilating the remaining Germanic population and West Slav tribes that had previously moved into that area from the east.  Because of their constant hatred and hostility toward the Franks, in the late 8th century, Frankish king Charlemagne organised campaigns against the Veleti, and fellow Slavic tribe of the Linonen. With the aid of Frisian, Obodrite1, Saxon and Sorbian1 reinforcements, Charlemagne managed to cross the Elbe River, advancing toward the Havel River into Veleti territory. Outnumbered, Dragovit, in 789, was forced to pledge loyalty to the Franks and surrender hostages.   Among others, Dragovit was also forced to pay a tribute and accept the influence of Christian missionaries among his people.

As I’ve already mentioned, the various campaigns were often inter-connected and overlapping. The were all connected to Charlamagne’s main goal of conquering the Saxons. It was a long drawn out war lasting well over 30 years. He began the campaigns in 772 and the fighting continued even after some sort of peace was achieved around 804.  After the last conquest involving the northern region of Nordalbingia, the Frankish frontier was brought into contact with Scandinavia. The pagan Danes, “a race almost unknown to his ancestors, but destined to be only too well known to his sons” as Charles Oman described them, inhabiting the Jutland peninsula, had heard many stories from Widukind and his allies who had taken refuge with them about the dangers of the Franks and the fury which their Christian king could direct against pagan neighbours.

In 808, the king of the Danes, Godfred, built the vast Danevirke across the isthmus of Schleswig. This defence, last employed in the Danish-Prussian War of 1864, was at its beginning a 30 km (19 mi) long earthenwork rampart. The Danevirke protected Danish land and gave Godfred the opportunity to harass Frisia and Flanders with pirate raids. He also subdued the Frank-allied Wiltzes and fought the Abotrites.

This Danish involvement would bring those Danish settlers to shores of the Baltic Sea once more in the form of the Danish Viking settlers that we have already discussed earlier. The Danish would continue to have a role in the area as would the Swedish.

Pomerania from 9th century on

From the 9th to the 11th century, at least ten Pomeranian tribes dwelled between the Oder and Vistula river.  They are not known by name except for the Volinians and Pyritzans. It is not known if these tribes ever formed any kind of a tribal union. It is also possible that on the two sides of the river, the tribes were split from the beginning into eastern and western Pomeranian groups, with the latter possibly related to the Veleti.  The settlements of the distinct tribes were separated from each other and from their neighbors by vast woodlands. In 1124, it took Otto of Bamberg three days to cross the woods separating the Pomeranians from the neighboring Poles.

Among the various Pomeranian tribes, the territory of the Volinians was the smallest, but also the most densely settled, with about one settlement for every four square kilometers, around 1000 AD. In contrast, the other tribe explicitly mentioned in contemporary chronicles, was that of the Pyritzans, who inhabited the area around Pyritz and Stargard but whose settlements numbered roughly only one for every twenty kilometers. The center of the Volinian territory was a town located at the site of the modern town of Wolin (Wollin) on Wolin (Wollin) island. Russian, Saxon, and Scandinavian merchants lived in the town.

During the 12th century, Obodrite, Polish, Saxon, and Danish conquests resulted in vassalage and Christianization of the formerly pagan and independent Pomeranian tribes.  Local dynasties ruled the Principality of Rügen (House of Wizlaw), the Duchy of Pomerania (House of Pomerania, “Griffins”), the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp (Ratiboride branch of the Griffins), and the duchies in Pomerelia (Samborides).

Starting in the High Middle Ages, a large influx of German settlers and the introduction of German law, custom, and Low German language began the process of Germanisation (Ostsiedlung). Many of the people groups that had dominated the area during the Early Middle Ages, such as the Slavic Rani, Lutician and Pomeranian tribes, were assimilated into the new German Pomeranian culture. The Germanisation was not complete, as the Kashubians, descendants of Slavic Pomeranians, dominated many rural areas in Pomerelia. The arrival of German colonists and Germanization mostly affected both the central and local administration.

In 1147, the western half of Pomerania had joined Henry the Lion‘s Duchy of Saxony. Following internal struggles, Henry fell against Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1181. Bogislaw I took his duchy as a fief directly from Barbarossa in the same year. At that time, the duchy was also referred to as Slavinia (German: Slawien) (yet this was a term applied to several Wendish areas such as Mecklenburg and the Principality of Rügen). The duchy remained in the Empire, although Denmark managed to take control of the southern Baltic including the Duchy of Pomerania from the 1180s until the 1227 Battle of Bornhöved.

Beginning in the 12th century, on the initiative of monasteries,  as well as the local nobility, German settlers began migrating to Pomerania in a process later termed the Ostsiedlung. The local nobles and rulers encouraged the settlement in order to strengthen and consolidate their position and to develop and intensify land use, while the settlers were attracted by the privileges that were granted to them.  Through a process that spanned three hundred years, in western Pomerania the local Slavic population was mostly assimilated, while in the eastern part, Slavic Kashubians and Slovincians held on to their ethnic culture and identity.

Eldena Abbey, a favourite motif of Caspar David Friedrich. Medieval Pomeranian monasteries, owners of vast areas, ensured the conversion of Pomerania and contributed to Ostsiedlung.

Eldena Abbey, a favourite motif of Caspar David Friedrich. Medieval Pomeranian monasteries, owners of vast areas, ensured the conversion of Pomerania and contributed to Ostsiedlung.

Ruins of Eldena Abbey

Ruins of Eldena Abbey

In the 12th century the Baltic coast south of the island of Rügen belonged to the Rani principality of Rügen, which in its turn was subject to the Danes. The Danish Cistercian monastery, Esrum Abbey, was thus able to found a daughter house in the area, Dargun Abbey, at Dargun, west of Demmin, in 1172. When in 1198 this monastery was destroyed in fighting between Denmark and Brandenburg, Jaromar I, Prince of the Rani, whose wife was of the Danish royal house, offered to re-settle the monks at a new site at the mouth of the River Ryck, close to the boundary between the territory of the Princes of Rügen, and the County of Gützkow, since the early 1120s subordinate to the Duchy of Pomerania.

The offer of the site, which included profitable salt-pans, was accepted, and in 1199 Hilda Abbey, now Eldena Abbey,  was founded,  and confirmed by Pope Innocent III in 1204. The princes of Rügen further endowed the new monastery with extensive lands in the border country between the Rügen-owned territories of Gristow and Wostrose (Wusterhusen), the area of Lositz (Loitz) which was debated between Rügen and Mecklenburg, and the County of Gützkow.

The monastery became wealthy from the salt trade and was very influential in the Christianisation of Western Pomerania. It also brought about the foundation at the beginning of the 13th century of the town of Greifswald, which started out as the monastery’s trading settlement opposite the salt-pans, near the point where the via regia, an important trade route, crossed the river. After the Battle of Bornhöved in 1227 the Danes withdrew from this part of their former territories, and despite some competition from the princes of Rügen, the Duke of Pomerania, Wartislaw III, was able in 1248/49 to pressurise the abbey into subinfeudating Greifswald to him. Wartislaw was later buried in Eldena Abbey, as were later members of the ducal family, the House of Pomerania.

Memorial plaque recording the burials at Eldena Abbey of Wartislaw III and later members of the ducal family.  Throughout the 13th century, Eldena Abbey organized the cultivation and settlement of its growing estates in the Ostsiedlung process, allocating and founding Wendish, Danish and German villages.  In the growing town of Greifswald however, the Cistercians of Eldena lost much of their influence the foundation in the town in the mid-13th century of friaries of the Franciscans (Greyfriars) and the Dominicans (Blackfriars).  The east end of the abbey church was built in about 1200, while the conventual buildings date from the mid-13th and 14th centuries, all in Brick Gothic. The final stages of construction were the west front and the nave of the church, which were completed in the 15th century.

After the 12th century, 12th  Pomerania became Christian under saint Otto of Bamberg (the Apostle of the Pomeranians); at the same time Pomerelia became a part of diocese of Włocławek. Since then, the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania stayed with the Holy Roman Empire and the Principality of Rugia with Denmark, while Pomerelia, under the ruling of Samborides, was a part of Poland.  The Teutonic Knights succeeded in integrating Pomerelia into their monastic state in the early 14th century. Meanwhile, the Ostsiedlung started to turn Slavic narrow Pomerania into an increasingly German-settled area; the remaining Wends and Polish people, often known as Kashubians, continued to settle within the Pomerelia.  In 1325 the line of the princes of Rügen died out, and the principality was inherited by the Griffins.  In 1466, with the Teutonic Order‘s defeat, Pomerelia became again subject to the Polish Crown as a part of Royal Prussia.   While the German population in the Duchy of Pomerania adopted the Protestant reformation in 1534, the Polish (along with Kashubian) population remained with the Roman Catholic Church. The Thirty Years’ War severely ravaged and depopulated narrow Pomerania; few years later this same happened to Pomerelia (the Deluge) .  With the extinction of the Griffin house during the same period, the Duchy of Pomerania was divided between the Swedish Empire and Brandenburg-Prussia in 1648, while Pomerelia remained in with the Polish Crown.

During the early 1600s, even Sweden held control of a portion of Pomerania!  Sweden, present in Pomerania with a garrison at Stralsund since 1628, had gained effective control of the Duchy of Pomerania with the Treaty of Stettin in 1630. At the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and the Treaty of Stettin in 1653, Sweden received Western Pomerania (German Vorpommern), with the islands of Rügen, Usedom, and Wolin, and a strip of Farther Pomerania (Hinterpommern). The peace treaties were negotiated while the Swedish queen Christina was a minor, and the Swedish Empire was governed by members of the high aristocracy. As a consequence, Pomerania was not annexed to Sweden like the French war gains, which would have meant abolition of serfdom which since the Pomeranian peasant laws of 1616 was practised there in its most severe form. Instead, it remained part of the Holy Roman Empire, making the Swedish rulers Reichsfürsten (imperial princes) and leaving the nobility in full charge of the rural areas and its inhabitants. While the Swedish Pomeranian nobles were subjected to reduction when the late 17th century kings regained political power, the provisions of the peace of Westphalia continued to prevent the pursuit of the uniformity policy in Pomerania until the Holy Roman empire was dissolved in 1806.

800px-Gustav_II_of_Sweden

Gustav II of Sweden during 1630s

Gustavus_Adolphus_at_the_Battle_at_Breitenfeld

Gustavus Adolphus at battle of Breitenfeld

In 1679, Sweden lost most of her Pomeranian possessions east of the Oder river in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and in 1720, Sweden lost her possessions south of the Peene and east of the Peenestrom rivers in the Treaty of Stockholm. These areas were ceded to Brandenburg-Prussia and were integrated into Brandenburgian Pomerania. Also in 1720, Sweden regained the remainder of her dominion in the Treaty of Frederiksborg, which had been lost to Denmark in 1715. In 1814, as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, Swedish Pomerania was ceded to Denmark in exchange for Norway in the Treaty of Kiel, and in 1815, as a result of the Congress of Vienna, transferred to Prussia.

Prussia gained the southern parts of Swedish Pomerania in 1720,  it invaded and annexed Pomerelia in 1772 in Partitions of Poland, and the remainder of Swedish Pomerania in 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars was lifted.  The former Brandenburg-Prussian Pomerania and the former Swedish parts were reorganized into the Prussian Province of Pomerania, while Pomerelia was made part of the Province of West Prussia. With Prussia, both provinces joined the newly constituted German Empire in 1871. Under the German rule the Polish minority suffered discrimination and oppressive measures aimed at eradicating its culture. Following the empire’s defeat in World War I, however, Pomorze Gdańskie Pomerelia was returned to the rebuilt Polish state (the region once called by the Germans the Polish Corridor), while German-majority Gdansk/Danzig was transformed into the independent Free City of Danzig. Germany’s Province of Pomerania was expanded in 1938 to include northern parts of the former Province of Posen–West Prussia, and in late 1939 the annexed Pomorze Gdańskie/Polish Corridor became part of the wartime Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. The Nazis deported the Pomeranian Jews to a reservation near Lublin  and, in Pomerelia, mass-murdered Jews, as well as some Poles, since Nazi ideology considered them to be untermenschen (sub-human) races. The Polish population suffered heavily during the Nazi oppression; more than 40,000 died in executions, death camps, prisons and forced labour, primarily those who were teachers, businessmen, priests, politicians, former army officers, and civil servants.  Thousands of Poles and Kashubians suffered deportation, their homes taken over by the German military and civil servants, as well as some Baltic Germans resettled there between 1940-1943.

After looking at all of the varied history surrounding Pomerania, I think that my friend Patricia could very well have some Danish or Swedish roots along with any Germanic ones from her ancestors that resided in Pomerania at one time.  My suggestion to you, Patricia… Go ahead and claim some Viking roots- they’re probably in there somewhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vikings: Lagertha, Kalf, and why is Hedeby so important?

 

Ahhhh while I am enjoying my comfortable vacation in Paris, that does not mean I do not hear rumors of what is going on elsewhere in our world! Paris is a great city full of merchants and traders from near and far. Now that it is quiet  on the Viking front- their raiding season is over and we can all rest easily for a bit- we get visitors even from that Northland, ones not involved in raiding, but true explorers and traders who travel to the farthest reaches of the world trading goods for wealth.  Our city even now in these early times, known for it’s finest and trend setting attire. Wealthy women from as far away as those backwards kingdoms of Wessex and Northumbria, from those far northern places such as Kiev and even such places as Hedeby all send their merchants and messengers to us in search of precious materials and patterns… They even at times think to bribe our talent sewers and weavers into leaving us for their households. Thankfully, our women are most happy and content here, they would not dream of leaving such luxury as we have here for those wild and heathen places where their creations would not be so appreciated or seen by so many! 

Rollo  like I said don't piss me off  I'm not in a good mood right now

Of  course, all of our best dressmakers and costumers are right now extremely busy and much overwhelmed by the daunting task of creating appropriate attire for the upcoming wedding of the Princess Gisla to our Viking friend Rollo! We are still negotiating this agreement and hopefully it will go through with few problems, but one never truly knows how things such as this will turn out? I am confident that Rollo and his current personal advisor, Sinric will manage to work all of this out. Please understand that in these times, this is a far more detailed process than just arranging a Royal wedding, which can be taxing in itself!  It involves many various contracts, treaties and agreements between both sides and it is a very intricate and delicate negotiation. The slightest wrong wording of something, or misplaced comment could end the entire deal and put us all in danger once again! And, then there is the matter of  Gisla herself, who as yet is still pouting, locked away in her quarters and refusing to give in on this marriage.  To say that this court is in disarray is putting it quite mildly!

I am enjoying my time here but everyone’s nerves are a bit frayed by all of these wedding and treaty details going on here. The seamstresses have the duty to ensure plain Gisla is attired in all of the wealth and bounty accorded to her status… yes, they must turn her into a glorious swan that represents her Royal status and causes people to overlook her flaws, even her most apparent behavior flaws! I do not envy this task at all.

gisla's instructions make sure they do not capture you alive

gisla's response to her father's whining  Father get up they have gone now you are safe

gisla is not amused

gisla is not amused

a stubborn and determined gisla does show her lack of complete understanding of the situation

The other massive difficulty for our ladies is that not only must they dress Gisla appropriately, they must ensure that she has a wealth of linen goods to accompany her to her new household, should this marriage finally go through. It is generally expected that she will bring with her a great treasure of household goods to set up housekeeping where ever Rollo should find for them to live. This would include all of the finery that she is accustomed to such as bed linens, coverlets and hangings, tapestries and wall hangings, table linens and adornments, plus bolts of cloth for future use.  Yes, the women are weary and stressed… and if this all should be for naught, they shall all be quite more vexed than they already are at the girl and her ongoing childish tantrums over such a thing as an arranged marriage for the good of their country.  This is what happens when you spoil a child and give her far too much leeway in her thoughts. The women all agree that she is no different from any other girl who’s duty  from birth is to work toward a marriage of alliances. I have also heard a number of women comment as to how if Gisla is not willing to do this, they would gladly trade places with her to wed and bed that Viking man, Rollo! He did cause quite a stir at his first court appearance and of course all of the women have heard the stories of his courage and bravery in battle!

rollo's thought Haaaaaa I understood every word I think you owe me even more money and land for taking her off your hands...

rollo’s thought Haaaaaa I understood every word I think you owe me even more money and land for taking her off your hands…

 

In spite of all of this wedding chaos, they are also trying to keep up with the ongoing requests from all of those merchants and traders visiting the city because these women have good business sense!  They are not willing to turn down a chance for profit and future business so they want to keep these merchants appeased as well. When I visited their quarters recently, they were busy with a design that I could tell immediately, was not meant for our Gisla. I made casual inquiry of who this gown was for.  They responded that it was for a woman of  high worth and quality in a far off North place of Hedeby… Hedeby?  I was now quite curious as I know of only one woman of such worth who might be connected to Hedeby. I had to satisfy my curiosity and question them for more information on this woman. Unfortunately, they were unable to tell me much other than that the woman of worth was named Lagertha!

someone as in Lagertha is getting a fancy new dress

someone as in Lagertha is getting a fancy new dress! Preview clip of season 4 costumes.

 

I watched them work on the gown and gazed thoughtfully at this  creation still somewhat in it’s early stages. Such a beautiful dress, I thought to myself, it would look magnificent on Lagertha. As I continued to gaze at it, I was reminded of the wedding dresses that the far off future generations of brides will wear. They do not wear such types of all white dresses now but they do adorn themselves in all of the wealth and finery that they can afford to display their worth and their value to their future family. What ever the case or occasion, this dress does bespeak of that worth and value such as a regal bride, a queen, an Earl in her own right, or say possibly the wife of an Earl might wear!

As I left the sewing rooms, my thoughts turned to my friend Lagertha, to the mysterious Kalf, and to that kingdom which they were at such odds over… Hedeby. I thought of how disillusioned and angry Lagertha was when they left Paris. Her last trust in Ragnar destroyed, her son Bjorn having to choose between her and Ragnar once again, and her words to Kalf during this time. She had told Kalf that she would go with him, be with him with his understanding and acceptance that one day, she would kill him!

Lagertha what if I agree to be with you to go with you but... Lagertha if you accept that condition then let us be together and enjoy each other

Lagertha is my friend, I love her dearly but sometimes she is just so stubborn and so insistent that she is right that she will not listen to the advice of others or listen to her own voice of reason. She is a fierce and mighty warrior and life often ends up as a battle or a competition to be won. I admire her for her determination and her pride, for her innate sense of honor and justice, and for her warrior spirit. She is so full of that spirit in all parts of her life, she lives, loves and fights with so much passion that sometimes it overshadows her clearer thinking.  She has made her share of mistakes, she has survived and achieved her fame in what is truly a man’s world in this time but it has cost her much. Men have used her, betrayed her, abused her but she does not give up or give in easily in anything that matters to her heart. Once she has her mind set to something, it is almost impossible to sway her from it… Ragnar did remind Kalf of this when he told Kalf that the matter of Hedeby was a personal one that the two of them must work out for themselves.

I want my land and my title back and I brought my Ragnar with me to get it

I want my land and my title back and I brought my Ragnar with me to get it

It's clear that these men do not like her or at least do not want to be ruled by her

It’s clear that these men do not like her or at least do not want to be ruled by her

ragnar's look to lagertha you stay out here and don't make any more trouble

ragnar’s look to lagertha you stay out here and don’t make any more trouble

 

that is between you and my ex-wife  and I wish you good luck on that one!

that is between you and my ex-wife and I wish you good luck on that one!

When I think of the situation with Lagertha and Kalf, I know that much of it comes down to her insistence on being right in this matter of Hedeby, and her feeling that both Ragnar and Kalf have betrayed her. While she was away in England fulfilling her and Ragnar’s dream and enjoying her dalliance with King Ecbert, she left Kalf in Hedeby to be responsible for it in her absence. When she spoke of Kalf during this time, she spoke fondly of him and even before that, it obvious that were feelings between them.

kalf says I have nothing to offer. Lagertha:   Let me be the judge of that

kalf says I have nothing to offer. Lagertha: Let me be the judge of that

 

kalf and lagertha

Not Kalf never Kalf he would never betray me

Not Kalf never Kalf he would never betray me

So, with a possibility of some future together between Lagertha and Kalf, one which so many have such concerns and doubts about, let us look at the entire situation realistically. Let us look at Lagertha’s decisions, what ever Kalf may or may not be hiding or be responsible for, Ragnar’s involvement in all of it, and let us look at Hedeby itself- it’s importance and it’s history.

Hedeby history

 

First of all, let us look at Hedeby, it’s importance and it’s history- and how that history and tradition relates to the present situation between Lagertha and Kalf. I do not want to overwhelm and overload you with historical facts, but my research has proven that Hedeby is clearly such an important place in history that it needs to be presented here in that context so that you understand some of the reasons behind Kalf’s behaviors and thoughts, Ragnar’s reasons for wanting to hold on to it and Kalf as an alliance, and Lagertha’s reasons for wanting it- because of it’s importance, it is of far more value than just her spoken reason of, I want it because it is mine! In looking at the history, we will also see why it might be next to impossible for her to actually rule this land on her own. When Kalf states his justification for having it, he may be more right than Lagertha.  Ragnar as King, and as one who know much more about everything than he lets on, would clearly know of Hedeby’s history and understand how difficult this situation is. He would  understand why Lagertha might not be able to achieve this rule but knowing Lagertha, he would also know very well that she would not be willing to listen to reason on this matter! As King, Ragnar should be aware of  and knowledgeable about Kalf himself. Kalf admits that he has ambitions of fame and greatness for himself, but that he rightly fears Ragnar. As Kalf puts it, What man would not fear such a man as Ragnar, a farmer who made himself King! I have always been of the thought that there is more going on between Kalf and Ragnar behind the scenes and beneath the surface than we are aware of.  Did they betray Lagertha outright with malicious and manipulative intent? Well, Ragnar has certainly betrayed her trust a number of times so, it wouldn’t be out of line for him to have betrayed her in this matter of Hedeby as well. On the other hand, he would know that this situation of Hedeby is a difficult one to solve and realistically, the easiest way to solve it would be as he put it, for Lagertha and Kalf to work it out.  In some way, I think Ragnar’s rationale is that if Kalf and Lagertha were to marry and form such an alliance, it would keep Hedeby, Kalf and Lagertha closer under his control and his watchful eye, since it’s becoming abundantly clear that he trusts few, not even Lagertha any longer.  Has Kalf betrayed her? Well, in some ways, yes of course he has but in looking back at the situation she left for him to manage, he may have felt justified and felt as well that he could find a way to work through this mess with her. He did tell her that he believed their lives and their fates were destined to be entwined together.

Is your earldom really that important to you  Yes because it's mine

Ragnar: Is your earldom really that important to you? Lagertha: Yes because it’s mine

kalf gives his speech I was born here in hedeby I belong here I have better claim and right to this than you

kalf gives his speech I was born here in hedeby I belong here I have better claim and right to this than you

realistically she is the outsider here

realistically Lagertha is the outsider here

ragnar's frustrated look of how do I explain this to her

ragnar’s frustrated look of how do I explain this to her

Well there is never much use in arguing with you

Well there is never much use in arguing with you

 

The history and importance of Hedeby

After researching the history of Hedeby, I am a little frustrated with how Michael Hirst has so far presented it and it’s importance to the Norse and Viking history. From what little information we have been given about the place, one might have a tendency to view it as a rather small, relatively unimportant village or earldom other for the fact that Lagertha ended up there when she left him and married the previous Earl. He does make some mention of it’s ships and that importance in his willingness to work with Kalf but other than that, it is portrayed as a place of little consequence other than to those living there.  In reality, it was one of the major port settlements and one of the oldest kingdoms in that northern land. Until sometime in the mid 800s, it was a kingship in it’s own right.

 Hedeby (Danish pronunciation: [ˈheːð̩byːˀ], Old Norse Heiðabýr, German Haithabu or Haddeby) was an important trading settlement in the Danish-northern German borderland during the Viking Age. It flourished from the 8th to the 11th centuries.

The site is located towards the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula. It developed as a trading centre at the head of a narrow, navigable inlet known as the Schlei, which connects to the Baltic Sea. The location was favorable because there is a short portage of less than 15 km to the Treene River, which flows into the Eider with its North Sea estuary, making it a convenient place where goods and ships could be ported overland for an almost uninterrupted seaway between the Baltic and the North Sea and avoid a dangerous and time-consuming circumnavigation of Jutland, providing Hedeby with a role similar to later Lübeck.

Hedeby was the second largest Nordic city during the Viking Age, after Uppåkra in southern Sweden,  and used to be the oldest city in Denmark until the site became part of Germany.

 

hedeby

Hedeby is first mentioned in the Frankish chronicles of Einhard (804) who was in the service of Charlemagne, but was probably founded around 770. In 808 the Danish king Godfred (Lat. Godofredus) destroyed a competing Slav trade centre named Reric, and it is recorded in the Frankish chronicles that he moved the merchants from there to Hedeby. This may have provided the initial impetus for the town to develop. The same sources record that Godfred strengthened the Danevirke, an earthen wall that stretched across the south of the Jutland peninsula. The Danevirke joined the defensive walls of Hedeby to form an east-west barrier across the peninsula, from the marshes in the west to the Schlei inlet leading into the Baltic in the east.

The town itself was surrounded on its three landward sides (north, west, and south) by earthworks. At the end of the 9th century the northern and southern parts of the town were abandoned for the central section. Later a 9-metre (29-ft) high semi-circular wall was erected to guard the western approaches to the town. On the eastern side, the town was bordered by the innermost part of the Schlei inlet and the bay of Haddebyer Noor.

Hedeby became a principal marketplace because of its geographical location on the major trade routes between the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia (north-south), and between the Baltic and the North Sea (east-west). Between 800 and 1000 the growing economic power of the Vikings led to its dramatic expansion as a major trading centre.

The following indicate the importance achieved by the town:

  • The town was described by visitors from England (Wulfstan – 9th century) and the Mediterranean (Al-Tartushi – 10th century).
  • Hedeby became the seat of a bishop (948) and belonged to the Archbishopric of Hamburg and Bremen.
  • The town minted its own coins (from 825?).
  • Adam of Bremen (11th century) reports that ships were sent from this portus maritimus to Slavic lands, to Sweden, Samland (Semlant) and even Greece.

Situated in present-day Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, the location at the neck of Jutland was the perfect site for a trading port, as pre-Viking settlers had already recognised. Here, only a narrow land-crossing separates the Schlei, an inlet of the Baltic, in the east from the then tidal river to the west, giving access to the North Sea. In what were the early days of kingdoms in Scandinavia, the wealth and power generated by long-distance trade prompted Hedeby’s documented foundation by Danish King Göttrik at the beginning of the ninth century. Commercial contact also meant cultural contact leading to the spread of ideas and beliefs as well as fashions and technologies. Trade flourished, workshops produced their wares, the harbour expanded. And at this place where political and cultural boundaries met, one of Scandinavia’s earliest towns developed and thrived. Merchant ships came and went with their cargoes of furs, amber, soapstone, semi-precious stones, iron, silver, glass-beads…  and, not least, slaves.

But as a kingdom’s prized possession, Hedeby was fiercely fought over by rival rulers, and in the tenth century defences were built around it. In the course of the eleventh century, trading was relocated to a site at nearby Schleswig, and when Haithabu was ravaged in the middle of the century it was abandoned. The site within the semi-circular rampart was left virtually undisturbed in its rural context, keeping its memories and treasures hidden, until its rediscovery by archaeologists in the late nineteenth century.

http://www.schloss-gottorf.de/haithabu/das-museum/viking-museum-haithabu.

So, obviously, Hedeby was an extremely important port which Kings such as Ragnar would have deemed crucial to have under their control. During much of the 9th century, Hedeby was under the control of Danish rulers but some time during the late 9th century it fell under the rule of a Swedish dynasty. A Swedish dynasty founded by Olof the Brash is said to have ruled Hedeby during the last decades of the 9th century and the first part of the 10th century. This was told to Adam of Bremen by the Danish king Sweyn Estridsson, and it is supported by three runestones found in Denmark. Two of them were raised by the mother of Olof’s grandson Sigtrygg Gnupasson. The third runestone, discovered in 1796, is from Hedeby, the Stone of Eric (Swedish: Erikstenen). It is inscribed with Norwegian-Swedish runes. It is, however, possible that Danes also occasionally wrote with this version of the younger futhark.

For a long period of time, Hedeby was the kingship location, not just an Earldom under the rule of  a King.  Mr. Hirst presents us with a version of Hedeby where the land is now a minor Earldom under the rule of Danes and a fictional Sigvard was Earl. Sigvard was domineering and abusive, often asserting his power and ownership over Lagertha. He is brutal, ill-tempered, and frequently drunk, beating Lagertha when she talks back to him. Sigvard dislikes Bjorn, Lagertha’s son with Ragnar, and takes pleasure in insulting and humiliating him in front of his people.  Lagertha eventually stabbed him and his nephew, Einar killed him- it is important to remember, Lagertha did not kill him, Einar did!

After Sigvard’s death, supposedly the people chose Lagertha as their new Earl rather than Einar. Einar  was not much more trusted or liked it would seem, than his uncle Sigvard.  The fact that he had just murdered his uncle for control of the Earldom probably had something to do with their not choosing him as Earl. Yes, they did choose Lagertha as new Earl, which was extremely rare and not a generally accepted practice at the time, or for this land. I believe they would have expected her to quickly marry an acceptable candidate and then co-rule or step down in deference to the one she would marry. They would also have expected her to remain there as ruler during this most precarious transition period when the land would have been in disarray and turmoil over the recent events. This all brought Kalf into the picture. Kalf, also a fictional character, was Lagertha’s well trusted and liked second in command. We know little else of Kalf’s ties and relationships within Hedeby. He did state at one point that he had more right and claim to the title than Lagertha did. He was born in Hedeby…. but, surely there must be some other reason to justify his claim than just that fact? Hopefully, Mr. Hirst will address some of this in the future!

Before we go on with the real history of Hedeby, let’s look closer at what Kalf was dealing with in Hedeby when Lagertha so rashly decided to follow Ragnar to England. She left a land in disarray and expected Kalf to manage it all for her while she was gone. Kalf had to deal with Einar, who held a seething grudge against Lagertha for spurning his sexual offers- and for insulting him with the comment that he would never be Earl because even his own people considered him a failure and unworthy of ruling.  Their decision to choose an outsider and a woman over him as the next male in line would surely have ate deeply at him and he would have reason to cause rebellion and revolt against her in her absence. Einar was bitter and willing to go to any lengths to see her deposed. Kalf is an intelligent man, always thinking ahead, and thinking of consequences and repurcussions. There would have been many who might side with Einar in his rants against Lagertha. Kalf had to find a way to diffuse this situation, not cause more rebellion by the killing of Einar. Kalf was in a difficult position. He could accuse Einar of treason and have him killed, but that would only lead to more rebellion.  Kalf is also an ambitious man with goals of fame of his own. He has some reason or justification for feeling that he has right to this Earldom and he needs to find a way to accomplish that without complete civil war. He chose to indulge Einar and gain his support for him as Earl.  I believe that he felt that he could work the situation out with Lagertha if or when she should ever return. Realistically, the land of Hedeby was in some chaos at this time without an actual ruler. Who knew if Lagertha or Ragnar would return from the voyage, how long does a country wait for a ruler to return? Kalf took the steps he needed to ensure that Hedeby had a ruler, one who was liked, trusted and capable of ruling. As to the situation with Erlandeur, son of King Horik… when we look closer at the history of Hedeby, we will see that Kalf may have his own reasons for luring Erlandeur in, for playing his own deceptive game with Erlandeur in order to eventually destroy the boy himself.

I’ve mentioned previously that we know little about Kalf’s past history or why he might feel justified in his claim to the Earldom. But, if we look at the history of Hedeby, we will find that it was Erlandeur’s father, a King Horick who was much responsible for the demise of  any Royal households in Hedeby and it eventually lapsing into a more minor Earldom.

For our history purposes, I am only going to deal with the earlier periods of Hedeby’s history and not the later periods when it became a part of Denmark and Sweden at various point of time. As I have already stated, Hirst has placed it as an Earldom ruled by the Danes. There could of course be some future ambitions on Kalf’s part to undo this but we do not know of such plans right now.  For now, I want to present the portion of history that ties Hedeby to the Carolingian Frankish Empire led by Charlamagne, and to Horick of Denmark.

This is a list of Kings of Hedeby covering the time period of 780 to about 916. If you look towards the bottom of the list, you will find reference to Ragnar Lodbrok’s son Ivar the Boneless. You will also notice reference to the lands held in Britain, as in York or Jorvick.
Kings of Hedeby (Haithabu) House of Vestfold c.780–798

Sigurd I … son of king Øystein of Vestfold in Norway; king in southern Jutland 798–804

Harald I … brother of Sigurd I 804

Harald II … son of Harald I 804–810

Halfdan … son of Harald I 810

Sigurd II … son of king Halfdan II of Vestfold, brother of Sigurd I 810

Godfred I … brother of Sigurd II; Vestfold 802–810? 810–812 Hemming … son of Sigurd II & 810–812

Sigurd III … son of Sigurd II 812

Anulo … son of Halfdan 812–814

Harald III, Klak … son of Halfdan; deposed, died 844 & 812–814

Rörik … son of Halfdan; deposed, died 844 813–854

Erik I … son of Godfred I 854–870:

Erik II … son of Erik I & 854–862

Sigurd IV … son of Erik I & 854–885

Godfred II … son of Harald III 870:–891:

Erik III … son of Erik II 891:–894

Knud … son of Rörik; deposed, died 894 House of York (Jórvík) 894–c.910

Oluf, the Brash … son of (?) king Ivar the Boneless of York, son of Ragnar Lodbrok c.910–c.915

Gurd … son of Oluf & c.910–c.915 Gnupa … son of Oluf c.915–c.916 Sigtryg … son of Gnupa
I. Mladjov

The early history of Kings of Daneland and specifically, Hedeby is actually documented within Frankish records of Charlamagne and later rulers. It is detailed in the Annales Fuldenses, or Annals of Fulda are East Frankish chronicles that cover independently the period from the last years of Louis the Pious (died 840) to shortly after the end of effective Carolingian rule in East Francia with the accession of the child-king, Louis III, in 900. Throughout this period they are a near contemporary record of the events they describe and a primary source for Carolingian historiography. They are usually read as a counterpart to the narrative found in the West Frankish Annales Bertiniani.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annales_Fuldenses

These Frankish annal mention early Rulers of Daneland and Hedeby. They also document much of the unrest and civil wars of Daneland and Hedeby during those early years. During many of those disputes, the early rulers of Hedeby sought protection and aid from the Frankish Empire. There is a very detailed account of this history in research regarding one of the rulers, Harald III, Klak.  What is confusing here is that these early rulers of Hedeby were the earliest rulers of the entire land of Denmark. Because Hedeby was the largest and most important settlement at the time, the rulers generally located themselves in that area.

The earliest disputes  came from King Horick’s Father, Godfrid and his brother Halfdan.  Little is mentioned of Halfdan other than that he turned to Charlamagne and the Franks for aid. We do know more about Godfrid, who supposedly was murdered by one of his own sons…. an action which I would not put past or above Horik who eventually became King!

King horik's family of daughters

floki also plays the dangerous game of politics trying to gain horik's trust ragnar stabs horik and looks down at the bloody dagger

Fearing an invasion by the Franks, who had conquered heathen Frisia over the previous 100 years and Old Saxony in 772 to 804, Godfred began work on an enormous structure to defend his realm, separating Jutland from the northern extent of the Frankish Empire. The Frankish invasion never materialized, but it caused Gudfred to construct the first sections of the Danevirke, which ran from the Schlei toward the west coast of Denmark by means of the river Trende. The wall was built with an earthen embankment topped by a wooden stockade and protected from the south by a deep ditch. Denmark’s most important town, Hedeby, which apparently already existed on the Schlien, was expanded and garrisoned with Danish soldiers and the early sections of the wall were designed to protect it.

In 808, King Godfred forced the Obodrites to acknowledge him as their overlord. The citizens of Reric were allied with Charlemagne, who used the port as part of a strategic trade route. King Gudfred attacked Reric burnt it down, killed Chief Drożko and ordered the merchants to resettle at Hedeby, which was being integrated into the Danevirke defensive line.

In 809, King Godfred and emissaries of Charlemagne failed to negotiate peace. In 810, Gudfrid led 200 ships to plunder the Frisian coast, and forced the merchants and peasant to pay 100 pounds of silver and claimed Northern Frisia as Danish territory. To protect the northern coast of the Frankish Empire, Charlemagne began paying Viking chieftains to protect sections of the coast from the Schlei west to the Weser River. That same summer King Godfred was killed by one of his housecarls. According to Notker of St Gall, the bodyguard who murdered King Gudfred was one of his own sons.

For some reason, when Godfred died, his nephew, Hemming inherited the throne rather than any of his sons. No reason is given for this but in any case, Hemming’s rule did not last long. Hemming died and  Sigifrid, the nephew of King Godofrid, and Anulo, the nephew of Heriold and of the former king, both wished to succeed him. Being unable to agree on who should be king, they raised troops, fought a battle, and were both killed. The party of Anulo won, however, and made his brothers Heriold and Reginfrid their kings. The defeated party out of necessity had to go along with Anulo’s party and did not reject the brothers as their kings. They say that ten thousand nine hundred and forty men died in that battle.” Heriold usually translated to Harald. This would bring us to Harald Klak as ruler of Hedeby and Denmark. Harald and his brother Reginfrid were installed as co-rulers.

There was another rebellion led by the sons of Godfred- Horik would have been among them… Harald and Reginfrid were defeated. The Annales entries of 814 start with the death of Charlemagne. Louis the Pious became sole emperor and turned to diplomatic relations with other European powers. The Royal Annales then mention the continuation of the conflict among the Danes and that Harald Klak sought refuge in the court of Louis. “Heriold and Reginfrid, kings of the Danes, had been defeated and expelled from their kingdom the year before [813] by the sons of Godofrid, against whom they regrouped their forces and again made war. In this conflict Reginfid and the oldest son of Godofrid were killed. When this had come to pass, Heriold despaired of his cause, came to the emperor [Louis], and put himself under his protection. The emperor received him and told him to go to Saxony and to wait for the proper time when he would be able to give him the help which Heriold had requested.

Eventually, some sort of agreement was made whereby Harald would be co-ruler with two of those sons. One of those sons would have been Horik. Everything remained calm for a time until Harald once again pleaded for assistance. He and a group of 400 Danes again sought sanctuary from the Frankish Empire and assistance to restore him to his throne. This assistance was granted on condition that he accept the Christian faith and be baptized. He was also granted land in the Frankish realm should he ever need to seek asylum or refuge in the future.   On his return to Denmark Harald was probably accompanied by Saint Anskar and a group of monks and it may have been in this time that a church in Hedeby was first built, as well as a school were twelve Danish boys (some of whom were from Harald’s household) were to be educated as priests.

In the second year after his return to Denmark, however, in 827, he was once again expelled by the surviving sons of Gudfred. One of them was Horik I. The Royal Annals mention in 827: “The emperor [Louis] held two assemblies. One was at Nijmegen because Hohrek (Latin:Hohrici), son of Godofrid, the king of the Danes, had falsely promised to appear before the emperor.” Later in the year the Annals mention the deposition of Harald. “In the meantime the kings of the Danes, that is, the sons of Godofrid, deprived Heriold of his share of the kingship and forced him to leave Nordmannia.” The reason for the deposition is not mentioned. His introduction of Christianity may have also made him unpopular with his subjects. 

It seems that, in the years between 829 and 852, Harald had remained a figure of some influence in the region, but he never again managed to launch a serious attempt to regain the Danish throne, nor did the Frankish monarchs seem interested in sending more armies to fight his cause. He died two years before his rival King Horik the elder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald_Klak

Horik I (died 854) reigned as sole King of the Danes from 827 to his violent death in 854. His reign was marked by Danish raids on the Franco-German empire of Louis the Pious, son and successor of Charlemagne.

Horik’s father was King Gudfred, known for his successful raids and wars against Charlemagne’s Frankish empire and against the Abodrites. In 810, Gudfred was assassinated by one of his own sons, and his nephew and successor Hemming made peace with Charlemagne.

Hemming did not last long. Horik and another of Gudfred’s sons took power in 811, later expelling a rival named Harald Klak, who took refuge at the court of Charlemagne’s son and successor, Louis the Pious. In 819, Louis forced Gudfred’s sons to accept Harald as co-ruler. Harald converted to Christianity in 826, with Louis standing as his godfather, but Harald was driven out of Denmark for the second and final time one year later. By then Horik was the only son of Gudfred’s still alive, making him the sole king of the Danes.

Horik refused to convert to Christianity, as it was his enemies’ religion, and resisted attempts by Archbishop Anskar of HamburgBremen to proselytize the Danes. In 845, Horik’s army attacked Hamburg and destroyed St. Mary’s Cathedral there. It was Horik’s last major war in East Francia.

However, Danish raids against Frisia continued. The Franks lacked an effective fleet, so the Danes could raid more or less with impunity. The Danes sacked the silver minting center of Dorestad in 834, 835, and 836, and plundered Walcheren in 837. In 845, a Viking warlord named Ragnar Lodbrok attacked Paris and had to be bought off with 7,000 French livres (pounds) (2,570 kilograms (5,670 lb)) of gold and silver.

King Horik seems to have disapproved of these raids, for successful raiders constituted possible rivals. Occasionally, Horik even punished raiders. In 836, Horik sent an embassy to King Louis declaring that he had nothing to do with the raids on Frisia, and that he had executed those responsible. In 845, following Ragnar’s mysterious death, he had Ragnar’s followers massacred.

In 854, King Horik I was killed by a nephew whom he had driven into exile. While in exile, the nephew had become a successful raider. No mention or name was ever given of the nephew who killed him.

In our Viking version of the history, Kalf makes a point of stating that no Christian King would ever be able to rule their land or their people.

Kalf's response to Ragnar's baptism  I hope it is true because no Christian King will ever be allowed to rule the vikings

Kalf’s response to Ragnar’s baptism I hope it is true because no Christian King will ever be allowed to rule the Vikings

 

Kalf: no christian king will ever rule our world  it's unthinkable it goes against all of our gods

Kalf: no christian king will ever rule our world it’s unthinkable it goes against all of our gods

While our Kalf is a fictional creation, I can’t help but wonder what his past story is, how he might possibly be connected to any of Hedeby’s rich history of dissenters and disputes over the throne of Danemark?

Aside from Hedeby’s rich Royal links, it’s history goes even deeper than that.

The broad and deep impact of the Danish peoples on world history has been long appreciated by scholars of the middle ages.  This is especially true for a branch of the Danish royal family that held the ancient town of Hedeby for many centuries.  Hedeby was perhaps the oldest and largest town and the most active marketplace in ancient Scandinavia.  Hedeby lies in the ancient region of Angle, which is now positioned in the modern German district of Schleswig-Holstein. 

 Wikinger Museum Haithabu 

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hedebyhouses001.jpg

The Angles, a subgroup of the Danish peoples, are well known in history for their role in the Anglo-Saxon development of England.  The full extent of Danish influence and especially that of the Angles, however, is only recently beginning to surface.  This site is developed for the purpose of further documenting the role of the Angles in world history in accordance with recent and ongoing discoveries, including those based on archeology, DNA and various other forms of research.

The seat of power in Angle was Hedeby-Haithabu, and the regional name of Angle derives from the angled, or curved shape of the large semi-circular bailey fort at Hedeby.  Hedeby was an ideal location due to its position at the end of a very long inlet that cuts half way through lower Denmark.  Merchants would pass through Hedeby to substantially reduce transit time and risk, a benefit for which merchants were happy to pay a toll to the kings of Angle.

A dominant feature of the fort at Hedeby was the placement of Hawthorn bushes atop a tall earthen wall.  These bushes bristle with long, sharp thorns, providing additional defense against invaders.  The wall was curved (angled) in a semi-circle, with one side opening to a bay.  This curved wall and the thorns of the Hawthorn bush are defining features of the fort at Hedeby, and many places and people from Angle are named in honor of these and other features of the Hedeby fort.  The list of such names is quite long, but we might consider a few root words and composite names relevant to the I1a migration topic:

  • Bul/Bol:  cognate with ball, bowl, meaning “round, curved”
  • Rus/Ris:  derives from O.N. hris, meaning “thorny thicket”
  • Ger/Gar:  derives from PIE *ghers- “stand out, rise to a point, bristle” used to name the thorny briar and spear
  • Poe/Pa:  cognate with pea, meaning “round, curved”
  • Tringen:  Old Frisian, “ring, curved”
  • Phris/Pres:   authorities beginning with Chalmers (see Watson) correctly identified -fries with Gaelic preas, Angl. pres(s), gen. phris, Angl. -fries, gen. pl. preas, (b)p(h)reasach, “bush, copse, thicket, briar”

From these root words, we get the following names:

  • Bulgar, “round [wall] of thorns”
  • Rus, “thorny thicket”
  • Rustringen, “round [wall] of thorny thicket”
  • Paris, “round [wall] of thorny thicket”
  • Frisia, “land named for the thorny thicket”

These names support the notion that Hedeby is the nucleus for migration of the Angles to Paris, York, Frisia, Kiev, Bolghar (Volga Bulgars), and Bulgaria (Danube Bulgars).

The Angles are known to have favored York and we know that a mass migration from Angle to York happened in the 5th century.  In the 9th century, the famous Viking Ragnar was ruler of Hedeby and was captured and killed in York.  His son Sigurd (aka Ingvar) captured York, which became an Angle stronghold and the capital of Northumbria.  A tribe called the Parisii held York in the 1st century.  As mentioned, the Parisii and Paris derive from Pa-hris, “round [wall] of thorny thicket” and are named in honor of Hedeby.  The Parisii “tribe” was also found in France near Paris.

Frisia is an ancient land lying within the current political boundaries of The Netherlands.   The Frisii and Frisia are names for the fris or thorny thicket ring hedge that characterized Hedeby.  Similarly, the Belgea and Bulgar are each named for the boll-ger, or “ring of thorns.”

The use of thick hedgeworks for defense was not known in Italy.  A tribe of the Belgea, the Nervii, became known to Julius Caesar during his campaigns.  The Nervii tribe, he says, had an ancient practice: they cut into slender trees and bent them over so that many branches came out along their length; they finished these off by inserting brambles and briars, so that these hedges formed a defense like a wall, which could not only not be penetrated but not even be seen through.  There is some evidence for hedges from excavation.  For instance, Hawthorn berry pits are found in great quantities in the refuse layers of Hedeby.  Archeologists are puzzled, as Hawthorn berries are not generally considered edible.  Also, part of a hedge was excavated at Bar Hill (Dunbartonshire).  Beneath the Roman fort were found hawthorn stems.

http://romanianhistoryandculture.webs.com/daciansindenmark.htm

There is one other very important concept that these earliest Dacians/Angels passed on to their future generations, and it applies directly to the situation that Lagertha is in right now with regard to ruling Hedeby. That extremely critical and paramount concept is, The Right to Rule!

Right to Rule

Claimants to power in Angle were from a ruling family, with preference given to the eldest male most closely related to the prior ruler.  This tradition reduced the likelihood of conflict during times of transition and served to concentrate wealth and power.  This tradition continued in Russia, Scotland, Flanders, Normandy, post-conquest England and other regions controlled by the Angles, likewise serving to enable the formation of powerful governments and military capabilities.  Conflicts were reduced to situations where the lack of an immediate male heir led to contested claims by paternal cousins.

The origin of this behavior is perhaps based on the very ancient notion that the royal family descends from the gods.  Perhaps this concept was borrowed by the Dacians and Thracians from the Romans.  The family of Julias Caesar (gens Julia), for example, claimed to descend by Venus through Aeneas.  The original royal family of Norway were said to be descended from Odin.  Frey was the main god of kingship among the Swedes and the royal family (the Ynglings) were believed to have descended from him.

We should consider the many similarities among the the Goths, Dacians and Thracians.  They shared common cultural characteristics and often shared a common government.  We might consider the possibility that these groups of peoples were aware of their common heritage and perhaps ruled by branches of a common ruling family.

When Kalf makes his point that he has better right and claim than Lagertha, the most rational or real reason for that could be if he is hiding something in his family history that would somehow link him to that “Right to Rule”? Just the fact that he is from Hedeby would not necessarily give him just reason to make such claim over hers. In Lagertha’s defense, she was the wife of the previous Earl and the people did choose her, although they later changed their mind. And, in looking at the history of Hedeby as we have, if Kalf does have some as yet unknown better claim to Hedeby, he might have some better claim to the rule of all Danemark because it is all tied together!

kalf gives his speech I was born here in hedeby I belong here I have better claim and right to this than you

kalf gives his speech I was born here in hedeby I belong here I have better claim and right to this than you

kalf admits I did yes I did even though all the while I was desiring you.

kalf admits I did yes I did even though all the while I was desiring you.

If one observes Kalf and his actions in Paris, he does present a regal and confident appearance. Some might say he displays that inherent leadership quality and bearing that those who carry a Leadership gene present naturally.  So, where might he have inherited it from, and what does he do with it in the future? Some of you are probably asking, What the Hell is a Leadership gene anyway and what does it have to do with this subject!

Kalf says his own last minute prayer to the gods

Well, that my friends is what I intend to discuss in my next post! We will look this leadership gene concept and how it relates and applies to that concept of Right to Rule and Rule by divine right!

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/leadership-is-in-the-gene-say-scientists-20130115-2cs7c.html

For more information on the rich history of Hedeby, here are some  additional excellent links!

Hurstwic: Towns and Traditions

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/Towns.htm

Viking Museum Haithabu

http://www.schloss-gottorf.de/haithabu/das-museum/viking-museum-haithabu

The Vikings- Heading west:

http://www.ivargault.com/vikingene/vesterled_en.html