On this date, in 943, the King of Germany died. This man was known as King Henry the Fowler. He had been Duke of Saxony under his predecessor, Konrad the Younger, a Frankish lord. Upon Konrad’s death, Henry was elected King by the lords of the realm. Henry had not expected this honor and was away in the forest pursuing his greatest love – hunting. It took several days for the messengers to find him and when they did he was mending his bird-catching nets, thus his nickname, the Fowler. Henry’s reign was marked by invasions and raids from the Magyars (Hungarians) to the East. Henry successfully repelled many of these invasions and found a peace with his eastern neighbors. His family would hold the King of Germany title for the next century as the Ottonian Dynasty. Much later in history, Henry’s name was taken up by Nazi Germany as the first German king of Germany.
Long ago, somewhere around 936 CE, a Viking warrior sat upon a throne in the midst of his homeland at the town of Jelling, Denmark. His name was Gorm and here he has being crowned king. He had no way of knowing it, but he has starting a line of kings and queens that would last over 1,000 years. His kingdom still stands, though now it is governed from a capital at Copenhagen. Gorm was king during the earliest days of Christianity’s arrival to his kingdom and raised the first of the famous Jelling stones located in central Denmark. These stone stelae are covered in runic inscriptions that describe the arrival of Christianity to the country and the earliest days of the Danish monarchy. He gained the sobriquet “the Old,” not due to his age, but rather because he was the first in the line of Denmark’s royal houses.
Featured Image: “Gorm’s Rune Stone.” By Jürgen Howaldt – Own work (selbst erstelltes Foto), CC BY-SA 2.0.
Figure 1: “Gorm the Old.” By dllu – Painting by August Carl Vilhelm Thomsen (1813-86), Public Domain.
“History of the Danish Royal House.” The Danish Monarchy.