the year 936 the archbishop Unni of Hamburg travels to The North,
and at that time the king of Denmark is King Gorm the Old (kong Gorm
den Gamle) and his throne is in Jelling. We have taught at school
that the first name on the list of kings is King Gorm, but there are
quite a few kings prior to him and some of them have even left
tracks like buildings, military victories and resistance toward the
The Danish kingdom exists long before the time of King Gorm. As to
the Nordic Sagas the name of Gorm The Olds father was Hardeknud.
(Knud I Hardegon), and he was the king before Gorm. We know that the
name of Gorms wife was Thyra, and when she died Gorm erected a runic
stone for her. From scanning of a piece of wood from the
grave-chamber of The North-mound we know that Gorm died in the
winter of 958-959, but otherwise we know very little about him.
monument in memory of Thyra
front of the small stone in Jelling
thurui kunu sina
king made these memories after Thyra his wife Denmarks ornament
the time of King Gorm quite a different type of language was used
and a modern Dane would have to listen very carefully to understand
but a few words.
back of the small stone in Jelling
the back is says /Denmark/
small runic-stone in Jelling shows the oldest words known from a
Danish king. It is the first time in Denmark that the name of the
country is used, but in Europe it has been known for at least 75
years. The geography-book of king Alfred the Great is the first
place to mention the name Denmark. Alfred, who was king of Wessex
871-899, was a very culturally interested
king, and he produced a geographical description of northern Europe
mentioning "dene mearc" as the Danish area. The annals of
Reginos written around the year 900 in the monastery of Prum near
Cologne mentions "Denimarca" in the year 884, so the name
was well known when Gorm around the year 950 put it on the monument
for his queen Thyra.
Gorm died in the winter of 958-59. When Thyra Danebod died we do not
know, but she died before Gorm.
On the small Jelling stone she is mentioned as "tanmarkar but
The Pride of Denmark". We do not know where Thyra is buried, a
guess could be that the gigantic stone ship is a monument for The
Queen Thyra, and that she is buried at that place. The remains of
Gorm were found in the grave chamber beneath Jelling Church. Gorm
erected his stone "after Thyra". Then she must
have died before him, but probably not long before him, if they have
been of the same age. He mentions himself as king on the small runic
stone, so it must have been erected after Gorm became king about 934
and before 958, when Gorm died himself. Gorm has probably first been
buried in the North Mound in Jelling, and after his son Harald Blåtand
(Harald Bluetooth) had been christened about 969, Harald let build a
wooden church in Jelling, and moved Gorms body to the church. When
Gorm was found beneath the church in 1978 he was removed to
Nationalmuseet for further examinations. The examinations confirmed
that Gorm was about 50 years old when he died. He had been 172 cm
high, which was a considerable height at that time. He suffered from
rheumatism in the lower part of the vertebral column.
In the year 2000 Gorm was reburied in Jelling Church.
Gorm was placed in an metal box and placed in a concrete chamber in
front of the chorus in the church.
The place where King Gorm first was buried.
grave chamber in Thyras mound
Where Gorm was high seated.
Blåtand moved his father, Gorm from Thyras mound , into
chamber beneath the new build christen church.
the restoration of Jelling Church 1978-79
grave for the king is to day marked
with a cart
Gorm high seated and later buried here
words "Gorm King" are almost like a headline but in larger
writing than the rest of the inscriptions. "Kumler" is in
the plural form and means remembrance so there must have been more
than one runic-stone.
Most likely Thyra was buried with the runic-stone as a sort of
tombstone, but unfortunately there is only little or no hope of
finding her grave. If it was placed in the central area it is
perhaps in the present graveyard, but many graves have - during the
years - erased all traces of queen Thyra.
There has been a lot of speculation as to the original place of the
small runic-stone. Maybe on one of the mounds or maybe at its
present place. We know that in 1627 the stone was next to the church
entrance - used as a seat, and that no later than 1639 it was
returned to the present position.
It tells in Snorri Sturlasons "Norske Kongers Krønike"
that King Gorm had two sons together with Tyri Danebod whose names
was Knud and Harald. Knud was handy and the youngest of the two and
looked like his mother so he was called Knud dane ast (Knud the
Danes delight and love).
was king in England, and in his time Knud and Harald, the sons of
Gorm of Denmark, came with a large fleet to England and conquered
Northumbria, saying that it was their heir, and which their parents
had owned. King Adelbrecht forth against them with a huge army and
meet them north of Klyfland. There were many dead and wounded on
After some time Gorms sons went up to Skardeborg (Scarborough),
which is saturated east of York and further on to York. When Knud
and other Danes are swimming, the enemy uses bow and arrow and Knud
is killed. When King Athelstan comes with a large army, the Danes
sail back home. Then follows the story of how Thyra paints the
houses black so that Gorm says that his son Knud is dead.
As per "Ulsterannalerne" a son of Ailche plundered in the
years 921-927 at the south, west and north coast of Ireland. A note
says that Ailche was also known under the name of Tamar or Gomo Old.
If this is correct, Knud Dana ast has been Viking in Ireland.
Harald son of Gorm was killed in 986-987. He is old, but dies not
from old age, so he is probably born about 915.
As per "The Angelsaxiske Krønike" the only attack on
England between the year 924 and 942 is the two Olav´s fight
against Athelstan in 937, which turns out to be the battle at
Brunnanburh, where 5 young kings and 7 earls together with
uncountable others are killed. Knud and Harald sons of Gorm are
probably in England to help their relative Olaf Sigtryggsøn. It
must have been in this campain Knud Dana-ast were killed, either
during the battle or while swimming. Knud has a son, so he must have
been about 10 years older than Harald.
sons are just in England at the time when Hedeby-empire is
weakening. As the old Gorm is not able to lead the army, his
commander Harde-Gunni must do so.
Knud Dana-ast has a son, his name is Harald, later called
Gold-Harald. When Gold-Harald had grown up, he claimed from his
uncle Harald Blåtand half of the kingdom as inhertance from his
father. As per Tryggvasons saga, Harald Blåtand (Harald Bluetooth)
answers him: No man had claimed from his father Gorm that he should
be half king of Denmark, nor not from his fathers father Hardeknud
or Sigurd Ormøye or Regner Lodbrok.
Gold-Harald was shortly after killed by deceit at the entrance to
Limfjorden 976. Had Gold-Harald not been killed, he had surely
inherited the kingdom after Harald Blåtand, because Harald Blåtand
had no legitimate sons, only Slegfredsøn with a country daughter
from the island of Fuen, Svend(Tveskæg).
The Myth about Thyra
The historian Saxo and Svend
Aggesen Write in the 1200-years about the clever, pretty and
virtuous queen. She is said to be the one, who build Dannevirke, but
that the historians have denied, as it has been proven that
Dannevirke has been build a long time before. In stead it could have
been an enlargement of the rampart.
The historians tell that the German emperor Otto The I courted
Thyra, but she gave him no answer for a year, and in the meantime
she had Dannevirke erected, so that emperor Otto was not able to
conquer the country.
It was also told that Thyra was the christen, who has been a good
example for her son Harald. It could easily be the explanation why
he was kindly disposed toward the christen church and later was
Thyra Danebod, the pride of Denmark, tanmarkar but, the mother to
Names which symbolize that she was very much liked, and that she did
her best for Denmark.