Sweyn Forkbeard

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Sweyn I Forkbeard, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in English Sven the Dane, also known as Swegen and Tuck (Old Norse: Sveinn Tjúguskegg, Danish: Svend Tveskæg, originally Tjugeskæg or Tyvskæg, Norwegian: Svein Tjugeskjegg, Swedish: Sven Tveskägg) (c. 960 – 3 February 1014), was king of Denmark and England, as well as parts of Norway. He was a Viking leader and the father of Cnut the Great. On his father Harald Bluetooth's death in late 986 or early 987, he became King of Denmark; in 1000, with allegiance of the Trondejarl, Erik of Lade, he was ruler over most of Norway. After a long effort at conquest, and shortly before his death, in 1013 he is said to have founded Swansea (which is often said to come from "Sweyn's Ey")[citation needed]. He then became King of England. In the last months of his life, he was the Danish sovereign of a North Sea empire, which only his son Cnut was to rival in northern Europe.

Contents

The Church and currency

On the northern edges of the relatively recent Holy Roman Empire, with its roots in Charlemagne's conquests hundreds of years prior to Sweyn's time, Sweyn Forkbeard had coins made with an image in his likeness. The Latin inscription on the coins read, "ZVEN REX DAENOR", which translates as, "Sweyn, king of Danes".[2]

Sweyn's father, Harald Bluetooth, was the first of the Scandinavian kings to officially accept Christianity, in the early or mid-960s. According to Adam of Bremen, an 11th-century historian, Harald's son Sweyn was baptised Otto, in tribute to the German king Otto I,[3] who was the first Holy Roman Emperor. Forkbeard is never known to have officially made use of this Christian name. He did not use it on the coins he proudly sent forth, and when he was given the English crown by the Witenagemot of Anglo-Saxon nobles, in 1013, he took the crown as king Sweyn[citation needed].

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