young king Knud was a very tall man, over two meters. History praises him for
piousness and chasteness, but a real ruler-nature he was not.
In his first years of governing it is the men from his fathers days, first and
foremost Absalon, who is leading, and in his later time of governing he is
drawn behind his younger brother, the victorious Valdemar.
But his governing was succesfull. What his father for many years had had to
fight for, even what he has not dared to aim at, that the son felt easily
When emperor Barbarossa demanded oath from him, Absalon answered on Knud’s
behalf a firm no: “King Knud is just as free a master as emperor Frederik
Barbarossa, and has just as legal rights to the kingdom of Denmark as he to
the Roman kingdom“.
The emperor, whose army was fully engaged at other parts of the country, had
to accept this refusal, but had by gifts and promises, Pommern’s duke
Bugislav attack the Danish vasal Jaromar of Rygen.
As soon as Jaromar heard that Bugislav was gathering his fleet against him, he
sent quick message to Absalon, who in a hurry sent Zealands and the smaller
islands fleet off.
Whit Monday 1184, when Bugislav’s great fleet rowed through the sound
between Rygen and the mainland in dense fog, Absalon fell unexpected upon them.
And as soon as the Venders saw the Danish banners and heard the Danish songs
of war, they were stricken by fear and fled almost without fight, partly
through the narrow sound, partly over land through bogs and forests. Many
drowned or were chopped down, and the Danish fighters had an immense amount of
war-goods to share.
The message of this decicive victory reached far and wide. The emperor
received it in Mainz, well it came all the way to Miklagård (Komstantinopel),
and when king Knud had one of the participants tell about it at Viborg Ting (court),
the Jutlanders abandoned their deep-rooted resentment against the
Vender-raids, and accepted willingly to equip the fleet for a new raid the
And in 1185 the Danish again raided against Bugislav and surrounded him in
Kammin. The defeated Vender-count, who no help could expect from the emperor,
had to surrender and place hostages for his loyalty.
He went together with wife and children to king Knud, throw himself in front
of his feet and handed himself over to his mercy, after which Knud, touched by
his misfortune, got him up.
At the same minute an enormous thonderstorm broke out. It meant the end of the
slaves, the Danish said. Next year Bugislav came to Roskilde and wore the
sword for the king as his man.
In Obotriterlandet two Vendic princes still ruled, Niklot and Borvin. But not
long after (1187) they were cought by the Dansih county-chiefs Jaromar and
Bugislav, and were only released after swearing oath to king Knud.
He now called himself King of the Danes and the Slavers, and from that time
the Danish kings have in their title kept the words “The Danes and Venders
(Danish kings used this title until 1972).
Denmark could now correctly regard itself as one of the leading superpowers in
the Baltic Sea.
Denmarks borders now went along the river Elben.
from Fjerritslev Church
Asser Rig and mrs. Inge hand over the church model and presents to God.
Knud was son of Valdemar den Store and queen Sophie.
In 1177 he was married to Gertrud of Sachsen (about 1154-96), daughter of
Henrik der Löve of Sachsen.
Knud died 1202, only 39 years old, and was buried in Sankt Bendts Church in
At this place Knud is mentioned as the 4th. He is also seen to be
mentioned as the 6th, and it is depending on when one starts the
line of kings.