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Jelling: Experience Viking kings and patricide at Kongernes Jelling (With life as stake)

Whoever lived in the Viking Age lived a dangerous life. In part, the average lifespan was short – perhaps 30 years.

And if toil, hunger or illness did not take you, there was a great risk of dying a head shorter than when you stood up for the fateful day that was your last. It happened, for example, to earl Byrthnooth when he tried to stand in for Svend Tveskæg on the conquest campaign he was on in England with his Norwegian ally Olav Thyggvason. The earl lost after a hard fight and lost his head. Svend and Olav took it with them in triumph, while Byrthnooth was humiliated by being buried with a head of wax*.

Svend Tveskæg was the son of Harald Blåtand, who in turn was the son of Gorm the Old. Harald is the first to be referred to as king over all of Denmark in writing, namely on the Jellingestenene. Here Harald saddened in runes that he was 'The Harald who won all Denmark and Norway'.

Harald Bluetooth was a very active king. He fought with the German emperor for the dominion over Southern Jutland. He expanded Dannevirke, built 4-5 large ring castles distributed throughout the country, built a bridge which for 1,000 years was the longest in the country and created the monuments in Jelling with the two runestones, two burial mounds and a Christian church.

He was also the one who Christianized the Danes. At least he said so himself. The truth is that the transition to Christianity had been going on for a few hundred years when Harald converted. The intention was perhaps more to please the big neighbor to the south.

Harald Blåtand appointed his son Svend Tveskæg as co-king. In other words, what we would call today a sliding generational change. But the plan failed. And Harald and Svend came to war for the kingship. A war that ended when Harald was wounded and died. The myth says that he was shot in the back when he was performing his duty. But that's probably a coincidence. Perhaps set in the world to damage Harald's good reputation and reputation.

You can meet the story of Harald, Svend and the rest of Denmark's kings and queens in the Kongernes Jellings experience center. Do it. And discover how the royal line came to be through bloody battles, intrigues, rebellions and diplomacy. For many years, becoming regent was a position with life as stake.