Denmark Medieval Arts

Kingdom of Northern Europe, including the peninsula of Jutland, between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and the islands of the archipelagos of Funen, Sjaelland, Lolland and Falster. 9 ° with reference to the area corresponding to the medieval kingdom; the name of the people is documented instead already towards the middle of the century. 6 ° from Procopio as Danoi (De bello Gothico, VI, 15) and from the gothic historian Giordane as Dani (Deigine actibusque Getarum, III, 25-26). Denmark, also the provinces of Scania, Halland and Blekinge, which were ceded to Sweden with the peace of Roskilde in 1658, and the region of Schleswig in the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein. The latter territory formed a part of the South Jutland region, during the Middle Ages it became an independent duchy with changing relations with Denmark. In 1864, with the Peace of Vienna, the region was ceded to Prussia and Austria; after the first world war it was divided on the basis of a referendum and the current border line was drawn. Despite the territorial fragmentation, the Denmark presented a remarkable cultural and linguistic homogeneity, guaranteed by the presence of a single Nordic population; only in the marshy regions of southwestern Jutland was a small ethnic group of foreign origin settled, the Frisians, who had inhabited the islands since the age of the great migrations and had only moved to the mainland in the Viking era.

The areas N of the Danish-German border, up to that moment almost uninhabited, were instead colonized in the century. 13 ° by the Saxons. Due to its position the Denmark was a bridge between the Scandinavian peninsula and the European continent, while the Danish straits connected the naval traffic between the North Sea and the Baltic. In the Middle Ages the kingdom of Denmark was divided into three parts with legislative autonomy: Jutland and the island of Funen; the islands of Sjaelland (Sjaelland, Lolland, Falster, Mön); the regions of Scania (Scania, Halland, Blekinge, Bornholm). Although from the end of the thirteenth century laws were enacted that affected the whole kingdom, however only in the century. 17 ° it was possible to reach a common legislation for the whole territory. At the beginning of the Middle Ages the southern part of Jutland was subject to a royal official, the jarl; in the sec. 12 ° the region became a duchy instead, usually administered by a member of the royal family. With the appointment as Duke of Prince Abel, in 1232, the hereditary lineage was established; with the extinction of the Valdemari dynasty in 1375, the duchy passed to the counts of Holstein, who held it until 1460, when Jutland was reabsorbed, together with Holstein, into the properties of the Danish kingdom. the middle of the thirteenth century, they were assigned as fiefdoms; only the northern and partly southern Halland remained outside the control of royal power until 1360.

The Denmark was Christianized by the archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen and the first bishops of Schleswig, Ribe and Aarhus are mentioned in 948, a few years before the baptism of King Harald Gormson Blaatand known as Blue-toothed. Around 1060 the subdivision into diocese was created, which remained unchanged throughout the Middle Ages: Jutland had five (Schleswig, Ribe, Aarhus, Viborg, Börglum); the island of Funen, together with those of Lolland and Falster, constituted the diocese of Odense, while the bishop of Sjaelland established the see in Roskilde. The regions of Scania, initially divided into two dioceses, with seats in Dalby and Lund, were united in the latter. After initially depending on the diocese of Hamburg-Bremen, the Denmark established a single archbishopric in the Middle Ages, founded in 1103-1104 with headquarters in Lund, under whose jurisdiction the revenge island of Rügen (diocese of Roskilde was later also placed) and northern Estonia (diocese of Reval).In the inscription on the great stele of Jelling, in Jutland (c. 970), King Harald Blaatand boasted of having unified the Denmark and Norway, but the Denmark was probably a long time ago a united kingdom, as the erection of the Danevirke (ca. 737), an imposing defensive system on the border with Germany, whose demanding realization suggests the contemporary existence of a central authority. At the end of the Viking age (1013) Svend Tveskaeg called Beard-bearded conquered England; his son Canute the Great (1016-1035) was king of England, Denmark and Norway, but this North Sea kingdom lasted only until 1042.The following period was an era characterized by internal strife and a strong continental influence ; in 1157 with Valdemaro I the Great (1131-1182) an authoritarian government established in the country, which continued with his sons Canuto VI (1182-1202) and Valdemaro II the Victor (1202-1241), but who led the Denmark to a period of economic progress with the development of agriculture and the foundation of new cities. series of military campaigns were subdued by the Vendas, on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, and, later, the neighboring regions, so that the Denmark at the beginning of the thirteenth century dominated the entire southern coast of the Baltic, from the German border to the Gulf of Danzig, and, from 1219, northern Estonia; however the era of the great expansion did not last long and most of the conquests were ceded in 1227.The second half of the thirteenth century was a period characterized by internal struggles, partly between the different lineages of the royal family and partly between the latter and the church. Under Erik Menved (1286-1319) an attempt to strengthen the monarchy with an aggressive foreign policy seriously weakened the state economy and, on the death of Christopher II (1332), the creditors did not consider it necessary to elect a new king. The political void was filled with the coronation of Valdemaro Atterdag (1340-1375), who restored the finances and re-established the absolute power of the Danish crown. 14th, the Denmark was reunited with Norway and Sweden in 1397 (Union of Kalmar) by the daughter of Valdemaro Atterdag, Margherita (1375-1412); this created close ties between the Denmark and Norway, while causing a growing conflict with Sweden, until the final break in 1521.


The last phase of the Viking civilization was characterized by a series of fortifications, called trelleborge from the toponym Trelleborg, in the Sjaelland region, where the first example of this typology was found (981), characterized by the circular shape of the moat and the precise location of the buildings in pre-established blocks. Other similar examples have been found in Fyrkat, Aggersborg (Jutland) and Nonnebakken (near Odense). Important documents of Viking age art consist of burial structures and tombstones; in Jelling, around the later church, there are two large mounds and the remains of a stone plant in the shape of a ship connected to one of them. The complex also includes two runestones: the first was erected by King Gorm the Elder and his son Harald Blaatand; the second (983), of monumental dimensions, it has runic inscriptions on three sides accompanied by representations, one of which reproduces the oldest image of the Crucifix found in Denmark. Mammen’s ax or Hornelund’s buckles (Copenhagen, Nationalmus.); the decorations are made up mostly of stylized and intertwined animalistic motifs, made with the use of a refined technology. Viking production has been uniformly classified in the Nordic countries through the denominations of animalistic styles derived from the sites of the most important finds. The style of Jelling, datable to around the century. 10th, takes its name from a small silver cup (Copenhagen, Nationalmus.) found in the royal burial mound of Jelling. This style was later developed into what takes its name from the ax found in Mammen, decorated with an animalistic motif and a lively ornamentation with branches; the most significant monument is the aforementioned large runestone by Harald Blaatand. Ringerike’s style flourished around the year 1000, with influences from Anglo-Saxon and Ottonian ornamentation. The style of Urnes (mid-11th century), whose name derives from the Norwegian stavkirke of the homonymous site (mid-12th century), is the last of the Viking age; the main decorative motifs consist of large stylized quadrupeds and snakes intertwined together in thick curls, often in the shape of an eight. Viking era; the main decorative motifs consist of large stylized quadrupeds and snakes intertwined together in thick curls, often in the shape of an eight. Viking era; the main decorative motifs consist of large stylized quadrupeds and snakes intertwined together in thick curls, often in the shape of an eight.

Denmark Medieval Arts