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Canute the Great
The Rise of Danish Imperialism during the Viking Age

written by "Larson, Laurence Marcellus"
...earldom which he was to govern as vassal of the King of Denmark.[13] A decade passed without serious difficulties between vassal and overlord, when events on the German border brought demands on the earl's fidelity to which the proud Norseman would not [Pg 11]submit. It seems probable that King Harold in a vague way had recognised the overlordship of the Emperor; at any rate, in 973, when the great Otto was celebrating his last Easter at Quedlingburg, the Danish King sent embassies and gifts.[14] A few weeks later the Emperor died and almost immediately war broke out between Danes and Saxons. Hostilities soon ceased, but the terms of peace are said to have included a promise on Harold's part to introduce the Christian faith among his Norwegian subjects. Earl Hakon had come to assist his overlord; he was known to be a zealous heathen; but King Harold seized him and forced him to receive baptism. The earl felt the humiliation keenly and as soon as he had left Denmark he repudiated the Danish connection and for a number of years ruled in Norway as an independent sovereign.[15] King Harold made an attempt to restore his power but with small success. However, the claim to Norway was not surrendered; it was successfully revived by Harold's son Sweyn and later still by his grandson Canute. Earl Hakon's revolt probably dates from 974 or 975; King Harold's raid along the Norse coasts must have followed within the next few years. The succeeding decade is memorable for two notable expeditions, the one directed against King Eric of Sweden, the second against Hakon of [Pg 12]Norway. In neither of these ventures was Harold directly interested; both were undertaken by the vikings of Jom, though probably with the Danish King's approval and support. The Jomvikings were in the service of Denmark and the defeat that they suffered in both instances had important results for future history. The exact dates cannot be determined; but the battl...

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