Inquiry: Byzantium goes to Denmarkian England


Cnut the Great's Domain of His Own

Cnut the Great’s Domain of His Own
Map from Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd,

Area of Inquiry
I am interested in learning more about the historical, cultural, and linguistic relationships between Denmark and the United Kingdom. The reasons for my interest are varied. For one thing, I have spent time reading history in various contexts (with a history concentration for my undergrad liberal arts degree), but have pretty much ignored northern Europe. I’m not totally devoid of knowledge in that area, but now might be a good time for further study for my second and third reasons. My youngest son lives in Denmark, in the outer edge of Copenhagen. A couple of years ago he married a Dane, and now has one of my granddaughters, with another one due by the end of the year. Coinciding with the end of this course, I will be flying with my wife and other parts of the family to Copenhagen to visit, then we all go off to London for a week.

Sweyn Forkbeard lives on as a Pub

Sweyn Forkbeard lives on as a Pub
Image CC-BY-SA by Brian,

Vector of Inquiry
Within the few weeks we have to complete this project, I will need to refine the direction and scope of inquiry. It could grow to an intensive and extensive study well beyond July 31. I am considering concentrating on two particular areas for now, areas that are related. The family that descended from Harald Bluetooth were the significant leaders in the Danish invasion, with son Sweyn Forkbeard becoming the first Danish King of England, and grandson Cnut occupying London in the early eleventh century. Two more were also King, and the mainline of the Danes ended a mere thirty years after it began. I’ll find out more details as I progress. The second strand is to learn what I can about the communication methods and technology of the time. How did Sweyn and Cnut coordinate their invasions? How did they communicate over their more extensive domain of Norway and Denmark? What was the written language like? Is there any trace of their language in English or Danish today?

Cnut the Great

Cnut the Great
Image from a medieval manuscript,

This Project in Concept Space
I envision a web-space that uses graphics to show the geographical, familial, and linguistic movements in the region and time under study (Denmark and England, early eleventh century). In addition, I will seek out any examples of the written and spoken language, and means of communication, and provide images and sound, either directly or as links. One decision point will be where to host the project. One option is to create a WordPress blog using a theme that would allow me to incorporate what I want. Or I could create a wiki at a suitable free wiki provider. There are other options and the possibility of combining the options into an interlinked web.

Since this inquiry is of limited time scope (at least initially; it could turn into a years-long project), most of the research will be conducted from secondary sources found via the Internet. This would include web sites of academic historians, governments, tourism, and other; documents located in academic scholarly searches via my university library resources; and any available media. I will probably find images of source documents, but lacking language skills and time to pursue them I will need to rely on translations and interpretations.

Request for Comments
Anmodning om Bemærkninger
I intend to have fun with this project, learn some history and culture, and learn new ways of presenting information on the concept space we call the Internet. Your comments, suggestions, well-wishes, guidance, and critiques are welcome and encouraged.

I Dreamt Me a Dream Last Night

I Dreamt Me a Dream Last Night
From Runes in Denmark

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