Saturday, December 25, 2010

Schleswig Holstein area: Danewerk. Danes' Rampart. Dannewerk. Defend Against Charlemagne and Christians


German-Dane border
Land lost to Germany in Danish Civil War 19th Century

A.  Route

A circle trip in Scandinavia for us meant flexibility in timing.  We had no idea what time we would want there.  We traveled in four stages:

1.  Denmark.  First line through Denmark, starting at Copenhagen; drove through Odense and over to Jutland, then south to Germany.

2.  Germany. Second line through Northern Germany, to the ferry at Rostock; and then the overnight ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg, Sweden.

3.  Sweden.  Third line from Trellenborg around Kalman and up to Vaxjo, over to Stockholm, and across back through Kinnekulle to Goteborg, and the ferry from Helsingborg, Sweden, to Helsingor, Denmark.

4.  Denmark again. Fourth line became a loop.  With some days still available, we filled in with the rest of Denmark that we missed on the first loop. Kronborg and Northern Denmark, through Copenhagen, do another loop to Jutland and back, and back north for more, and then to the Copenhagen airport.

B.  Schleswig Holstein:  Part of Denmark for centuries. A flat drive.  There would be nothing to stop an invading army.

It was here that Denmark blocked Charlemagne and successors, held back the "Holy" Roman Empire with constructed bulwarks, see

What difference did it make to Danish development, that it was in the direct line of invasions, including religious.
  • All Norse are not alike.  Sweden's history, and its Vikings, seem different from those of Denmark and even Norway.  
  • Geography holds clues.  Denmark is connected by land to the lands of the Germanic tribes being conquered by Charlemagne; they could see what was happening as the Christians moved north. Sweden was never threatened by Charlemagne; Christian proselytizing took place more peacably.
Christians on the march to Scandinavia, and elsewhere.  Was it really "belief" or was it a baser motivation, power and territory? Was it both.

One viewpoint:

Christians had no easy path in converting the pagan Norse (why the pejorative? we prefer multi-deists, a more neutral, respectful category).

But the Christians were "backed by the power, wealth and army of Rome". The Roman church for centuries had been buying, selling, inheriting lands and wealth. See an unsympathetic view at Is there merit to the viewpoint.

Charlemagne, not touted as ethereal but for his actions as a "Vatican warlord" (new slant) in killing and making war, refugees streaming, but never got to Denmark. Danes were alert, seeing him in Saxony (see Germany Road Ways, post on Sachsenhain, near Verden. The Danes blocked their roads, and then responded:  attacks on the Roman Church outposts, like Lindisfarne in 793 AD. 

The rampart of Jutland. It worked, for a time.

No comments: