On This Day in 1014: Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, Norway and England Dies

Sweyn Forkbeard, possibly being murdered in his sleep by St Edmund. 13th century, artist unknown.

Sweyn Forkbeard, possibly being murdered in his sleep by St Edmund. 13th century, artist unknown.

One thousand years ago today…

…Sweyn Forkbeard, son of Harald Bluetooth, father of Cnut the Great, died of causes yet to be agreed upon. By the time of his death, he had set the groundwork for a great maritime power known as The North Sea Empire, to be ruled by his son. He ruled over Denmark, his territorial homeland, Norway, and for a period of five weeks, England (becoming the first Viking king of that country).

The cause of death is uncertain. Some say he fell from a horse. Others say he was murdered in his sleep by St. Edmund. He died in Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. As if being a Viking king weren’t epic enough, he may have been murdered by a ghost saint!

Continue reading

Fab Five Series (Me first): A Khan, Rousseau, Orwell, a Sex Machine and The Greatest

Sgt. Pepper's album cover. A work of art in and of itself. More than five people, but a good example of what I'd like from you.

Sgt. Pepper’s album cover. A work of art in and of itself. More than five people, but a good example of what I’d like from you.

When I was younger, my father would ask friends and acquaintances to name their five favorite historical figures. He didn’t require an answer straight away. You could go home and think about it and get back to him. He said you could tell a lot about a person by the answers they gave. Some people would put so much time and effort into their answer with lengthy justifications. Tedious care would be taken to select the perfect five. Others? Not so much.

I’ve been mulling over a way to incorporate this icebreaker into my blog. Then it hit me. I’ll ask other writers to play along. That’s where you come in! If you’d like to participate it’s simple. First you select the five historical figures you want to include. The criteria for selection is completely up to you.

Continue reading