Gazzoli Paul, Anglo-Danish relations in the later eleventh century

Gazzoli, Paul, Anglo-Danish relations in the later eleventh century, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011, (dir. F. Edmonds, University of Cambridge)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis puts forward a new interpretation of the Anglo-Danish relationship for the period 1042-1103. It is argued that the impact of the Scandinavian settlement of England in the ninth and tenth centuries cannot account for the Danish sympathies visible in northern and eastern England in the later eleventh century and proposes that the Danish identity of these areas was reinvigorated or reinvented following Cnut’s conquest of England as a way for the inhabitants to identify themselves with their new rulers. This revitalisation was most pronounced in Northumbria, where, since Cnut was an absent ruler for much of his reign, the most important figure is argued to have been the highly successful Earl Siward. It is suggested that in this period England took on a central role in the formation of Danish identity, so that men from all over Scandinavia could become Danish by participating in the Danish kings’ campaigns; this inclusiveness was what made it possible for natives of England of Scandinavian descent to opt in to the new, prestigious identity of the conquerors.

After the Norman Conquest, a Danish cultural identity was still politically important to the rule of Siward’s son, Waltheof, and affected the reception of the Danish invasions of 1069 and 1070, both by the locals where the Danes landed and by the writers who described them. Denmark’s history after the loss of England in 1042 is also considered, and it is argued that English influence continued to be of the utmost importance to the Danish kings’ self-image and religious interests: in particular it is argued that Knud the Holy (1080–6) drew inspiration from and modelled himself on William the Conqueror, to whose rule he was exposed during his campaigns in England in 1069, 1070 and 1075 and that Erik Ejegod (1095-1103) built up strong relations to English religious communities beginning during his exile during the reign of Oluf Hunger (1086-95), which he used during his reign to promote Christianity in Denmark, especially in the form of the cult of his martyred brother Knud. In general, the re-conquest of England continued to be one of their highest priorities of the Danish kings until the end of the century, but was often hampered by the increasing importance of relations with the German Empire.

[Source : http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.609267]


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