Talk:Cnut the Great/Archive01

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Age of King Knut?

I want to propose a theory, which I hope some people will comment on.

If Canute the Great was at a young age on the death of his father, and the English conquest which he led, it is certainly a point which will be significant for interpretations of his deeds throughout his entire life, as a novice at the begining, rather than the cream of the crop, so to speak. If he was ten years older, the story differs dramatically, with successful wars and battles, led by the man himself, rather than by the boy sat on the sidelines, to be lord out of his league, rather than Viking warrior king. This is not a moot point.

If we consider the picture we see drawn, as drawn by the Victorians, tales of him as a light-headed fool certainly aren't surpriseing. Victorians were so civil, and the Queen as Empress, leader of the Empire's conquests, was no warrior-king ideal, while Alfred the Great, bastion against the cruel pirates of Scandiavia, was their hero of the dark ages.

Evidencially, as Cnut let his second wife Emma's son Harthacnut be his heir, and the first wife Aelfgifu was a 'handfast' wife he apparantly treated as a northern queen, he was entirely ready to let her son Sweyn rule Norway, as the deal with Emma was, on some level, an attempt to stem the Norman avalanch poised to break on England if left alone. It must be true, if he sent Sweyn and Aelfgifu to rule Norway together, in 1030, when the boy was nearly twenty, younger or older, he meant the mother to be the mentor, rather than himself. I reckon this is because he was preparing to die, of old age, at 50. His trip to Rome after 1030, and the death, which Norweigians were anticipant of, in Shafstbury, a monastery with much of his patronage, suggest, he was not unhealthy, but his health was at an end. If it is true Sweyn and Aelfgifu were driven away by the Norwegians before Cnut's death, it is likely they knew he was on his last legs, and the likelihood of retaliation, unlikely. It fits with an old man trying to reconcile his wives, the first's sons he let rule in the north, Harald Harefoot probably to be Earl of Northumbria, and the Kingdom of Norway for his first son, and the second's, Harthacnut, true to his word, he let rule Denmark and England. If only the Norwegians were less sore on taxes, it might have been made a success.

WikieWikieWikie 15:28, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Canute v Cnut

Which spelling is more authentic, Canute or Cnut? I heard that he was in his day called Cnut, but people changed his name to Canute, due to similarity to the word "cunt". Is there any truth in this? -- Anonymoues 09:47 Oct 27, 2002 (UTC)

I have studied Knud d. Store/Canute the Great quite a bit in both Danish and English litterature and I have never seen it written as "Cnut" before. If it is indeed some medieval British or Danish form of the name it should be specified. In any event, the Danish name "Knud" is more relevant than some medieval British form of it. Celcius 23:44, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

This Danish king is in Denmark called "Knud" ("Knud den Store" = "the Great"). In Latin sources he is called "Canutus", see

In English he is usually called "Canute". The suggestion about "cunt" has probably litte to recommend it.


I'm surprised not to find vandalism in the page history changing the name from "Cnut" to "Cunt"... 01:48, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Also "Boleslaw the Brave" to "Coleslaw the Brave". These guys may have conquered the known world, but I bet that behind their backs they were most cruelly taunted. 01:57, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

In all the history books I've read it's Cnut (as in the title of M.K. Lawson biography, Rumble's collection of papers &c. The ODNB entry is under Cnut [Canute]. Probably most people would search for Canute, as that's the spelling schoolchildren come across when learning about him trying to hold back the tide, but more properly the article should be Cnut i reckon

I'm a History stupid in England and I have to say I'd never even seen the 'Canute' variation until just now on Wiki. It's always spelled 'Cnut' or 'Knut' as in Knutsford, which I happen to live very near to. I also think the article should be changed to Cnut.

  • Can we decide (by vote, discussion or otherwise) on one form to use consistently throughout the article and the title? Wikipedia naming conventions essentially suggest it should be the name by which he is most commonly known in England and English-speaking countries, without giving much other guidance. It seems like there's a disconnect between popular sources (Google: 770K Canute, 150K Cnut; most print encyclopedias use Canute as the primary title) and the historical sources cited here, which tend to eschew the later Anglicisation in favor of the version his contemporaries would have used. Willhsmit 19:28, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, Knud/Knut den Store is actually his name, so I would say they should all redirect to that and use 'Knud' or 'Knut' as the spelling. --Veratien 13:53, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
The common English name is Canute, and as said above, we use common names in our article titles. Variations should be addressed, but we need to use Canute, and make sure it is consistant through the article.--Cúchullain t/c 18:42, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
What are you basing 'Canute' being the most common on? As a student specialising in the Viking era I can safely say I've never seen it spelled 'Canute' anywhere until I came to this wiki page. It's always Cnut/Knut. That's how everyone here knows it. It's even Cnut on my pack of kings and queens of England cards. I think the article title should be changed to 'Cnut'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
For starters, most other encyclopedias use Canute, such as Encarta, Britannica, and the Catholic Encylopedia. A Google search will also reveal several times more hits for Canute than Cnut.--Cúchullain t/c 18:11, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
These are hardly credible primary sources. If they are wrong there is no reason to ape them. I was also brought up on "Canute", but now understand this to be a bowdlerisation of Cnut or Knut. Canute may be more popular but there is no reason it should not redirect to the correct (original) name to educate our readers -most of whom will after all not be searching for "Canute_the_Great". Pterre (talk) 19:31, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
As I said several times above, our naming convention is to use a person's most common name in article titles. Canute is clearly more common Cnut; I demonstrated that it is used in several encyclopedias. We don't have Ghenghis Khan at Chingiss for this reason.--Cúchullain t/c 23:23, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I suggest Knut the Great, that is the way I have heard it and spelled it. I am quite suprised the way it is spelt here( no offence)

Regards —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I too was surprised - if not stunned - to see the spelling 'Canute' being used. Yes small anglophone children will be taught about King 'Canute', but that's only because their teachers are using obsolete materials. For an idea of the currency of 'Cnut', do an English language Google search now for simply 'Cnut' - and check their quality, not just their number. Certainly spellings change over time according to fashions, but the fashion in current historiography for example is to be as scientific as possible about such details, so 'Cnut' is a current anglicisation, agreed by those in a position to study the matter. It clearly has taken root, and given the circumstances it is unlikely to change again in the future. And, despite previous mention here of the Latinisation 'Canutus', in fact the Latinised spelling 'Cnutus' is present in splendid medieval authorities, e.g. Anglo-Saxon charters - the ending '-us' simply forming the Latinisation. None of that makes the spelling 'Cnut' an elitist preserve: just accurate.
So, I'd be sorry to see Cnut locked in an unsustainable past as 'Canute', by his own Wikipedia page. 'Canute' is no more sustainable than archaic English 'sparrowgrass' for 'asparagus': English still has 'coleslaw' for 'Kohlsalat', but only out of continued ignorance. I would argue that we generally use 'Ghenghis' instead of 'Chingiss' for precisely the same reasons: 'Chingiss' is actually found in modern English materials, so the justification given above for the use of 'Ghenghis' over 'Chingiss' is an argument that falls (for me, anyway). Equally, the Danish spelling of the name might be 'Knud', but we are talking about an English language article, so the most highly qualified English form should be used: 'Knud' is appropriate for articles in languages where 'Knud' is used, but it wouldn't work in English. In English, 'Knud' would inevitably be mis-pronounced 'Nud', like 'bud', 'cud', 'mud'. By way of further illustration, and by a similar modernising process, 'Ethelred the Unready' might by now be called 'Æþelræd Unræd' in Modern English - but 'Æ, æ' and 'þ' are not found in Modern English; 'Ethelred' works as a close phonetical substitution for 'Æþelræd' (though 'Aethelred' is a reasonable preference for many academics); calling him 'the Unready' may strictly be inaccurate, but it makes some sense of something that would otherwise be obscure; and in fact he should be referenced without 'the Unready', as this is not contemporary for the man himself.
I would suggest that the simple answer is to re-name the page as 'Cnut the Great', and to re-direct 'Canute' and 'Canute the Great' there. That's my two penn'orth, anyway. Nortonius (talk) 11:42, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Thought I would check with the BBC. - To my mind this is sort of saying We may have used Canute but we should use Cnut Aatomic1 (talk) 17:28, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Your point being...? Unfortunately the BBC isn't the paragon of authenticity and accuracy that it and we would all like it to be (though I think it is generally sincere). If you're pointing to their use of 'Canute' in the headline, I don't see that as an authoritative use at all: such sources are derivative, not arbiters; and see my previous comment on e.g. 'coleslaw/Kohlsalat', 'Ghenghis/Chingiss'. 'We may have used Canute but we should use Cnut' sounds like a good reason to change it, to me. I just think, people come to Wikipedia for accurate information, 'Canute' is inaccurate, and changing the name of the page while adding re-directs would see to it. Nortonius (talk) 17:35, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
...I was sort of agreeing with you. Aatomic1 (talk) 20:20, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Great, that's what I hoped, though I admit I wasn't sure, so thanks. Obviously I'd like to see further discussion and a consensus, but I'm tempted to say that, if that doesn't occur, the name should be changed and re-directs added in a week or two. I really don't think that simply appealing to obsolete convention is reasonable, otherwise we'd still believe the Earth to be flat. Nortonius (talk) 20:48, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
For the record Aatomic1 (talk) 21:34, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I'd seen that, and I'd say it's a product of the modern historiographical fashion for being more scientific, so a good example (though I'm not sure that the change to 'Canute' was as arch as that article might imply - I think it was probably more the product of a lazy incomprehension, along the lines of 'sparrowgrass' for 'asparagus'). Time Team might be a kind of reality tv, but they do have proper people trying to do a proper job, rather than merely enthusiastic tv personalities. Nortonius (talk) 22:45, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Canute's Mother

I am not native speaker, but a lot of sentences made no sense to me. Also, was Canute mother Gunhilda or Sigrid? If Sigrid (as i read in Polish sources) then he couldn't be born in 995 (Since she married Sveyn later). Szopen

Regarding Gunhilda and Sigrid, Sweign was first married to Gunhilda and divorced her and sent her back to Poland when he decided to marry the Swedish Queen? Sigrid. The feelings of her sons Harald and Canute are clear in that once Sweign died, they returned their mother to Denmark. (Anon?)

Sigrid was EITHER Swedish QUeen, OR Polish princess. See the talk on page on Sigrid for that. Szopen 14:26, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Swiatoslawa, or Saum-Aesa, was obvioously the Polish princess, and the name change to Gunhilda obviously only happens to people marrying across a language barrier. Sigrid the Haughty, married Sweyn Forkbeard after the birth of Harald and Cnut, before 994. It is a good point that (Anon?) puts forward, Harald and Cnut are indeed said to have 'rescued' their mother from Boleslav of Poland, her family, and the only reason must be that she was sent away from Sweyn's court with the arrival of his Swedish wife.

WikieWikieWikie 15:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Clapha Canute

Regarding this recently added sentence: "His first name is Clapha, and as he set his base up on the grounds which Clapham in London is built on, the town was named after him."

I'm not saying it isn't true, but I couldn't find any evidence, and really I'm not even entirely sure what it means. Everyking 18:02, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Aelfgifu of Northampton is described as a "concubine." I was under the impression that she and Canute had a "Danish" or "handfast" marriage which form was not recognized by the Church. That lack of recognition wouldn't make her a concubine, though. Plus, Canute finnaly had to formally repudiate her to make everyone happy, which I don't think he would have found it necessary to do had she been only a concubine. Anyone? --Michael K. Smith 02:31, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

In all the books I have read, including an excellent recent one on Emma of Normandy by Harriet O'Brien, the view that Cnut did have some kind of official marriage to Aelfgifu of Northampton prevails. Certainly no-one seems to have questioned Harold Harefoot's legitimacy when he seized the throne upon Cnut's death (although legitimacy was not such an issue in the succession at that time).

old faith

The intro para says he "was an avid supporter of the old faith". What's the "old faith"? – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 13:39, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Scandinavian Odin, Thor, etc

He was an avid supporter of the new faith too. That means he was pragmatic towards religion, as he was, wisely, able to merge the two as best suited his nation(s). WikieWikieWikie 15:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


from the ODNB, 2004 The poem Knutsdrapa, composed for Cnut by the Icelandic skald Ottar the Black, says that Cnut started his military career unusually young, and mentions an attack on Norwich perhaps identifiable with that by his father in 1004. If so, Cnut might have been born in the early 990s or a little before; if not, his earliest campaigns may have been in 1013 and 1014, which would suggest a birthdate of c.1000. The thirteenth century Icelandic Knytlinga Saga, which wrongly states that he ruled England for twenty-four years, reports that he was thirty-seven when he died, so I think that it's a bit blasé to just state that he was born in 995 - is this supposed to be a happy compromise? It doesn't really fit with either estimation. Also, one of the things I really object to on wikipedia is the way it makes assertions of right and wrong facts with regard to periods or people that we really have very little idea about, as well as much evidences in contradictions, which there is much historiographic debate on, which requires proper analysis. It distorts our idea of the whole area of study, and so if we always listen to popularism, then the truth will never be found, as the facts are ultimately already falsehoods.

I totally agree. Maybe the remains of King Canute and Queen Emma, also with Harthacnut, in a chest at Winchester Cathedral, could be studied, for an age authenitication. It is a remarkable stroke of luck for the bones of a man whose age when he did the things he did changes the history of a nation, to be amoung the few survivors of the last thousand years of strifes.

WikieWikieWikie 15:57, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Ca. 995 is what at least one of my academic sources estimates. The problem with the bones is that we don't know which are whose; they all got thrown about during some uprising or another and then interred again. In any case carbon dating is not a very precise tool. Haukur 12:47, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

It is expliciltly unknown. If the bones are there, I suppose people have tried yet failed, at the collection of the data nescessary. If anyone can, maybe they should try looking at the things we know about the bones in the collection, all in caskets with names, and the people the names belong to, and the information might be enough to at least find a better estimate of Cnut. Radiocarbon should put them in the right half of a century, or in the correct decade evem, and the examination of skeletons is very accurate, too accurate, maybe.

As I understand (from a guided tour of the Cathedral I think), when Cromwell took Winchester the bones of all the monarchs were scattered - used to smash the stained glass? - and later put back in caskets thoroughly mixed up.Pterre (talk) 00:37, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Anyway, it is irresponsible to put the wrong date on the site, even if it is so widely accepted. The point at the beggining of this section sums up my opinion, and the ??? should be used to avoid falsehoods. At least a wider approximation, yet that is worse form that question marks, these even direct to a quirky little page especially for the facts of unknowns.

WikieWikieWikie 15:57, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

The Emperor of the North?

This was added to the article:

"On his throne, when at the zenith of his dominion, he was dubbed, by the Skalds, poets who sung his praises, the Emperor of the North, and the King of England most worthy of the title Bretwalda."

Quite a lot of skaldic poetry on Knútr is preserved but I'm not aware of any that calls him "Emperor of the North" or "Bretwalda". Haukur 09:41, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

It should be quoteable, I agree. I knowI read it was the proclamation on Cnut, in a recent biograhphy, M.J.Trow's, Cnut: Emperoror of the North, with no evidence which supports it, while Cnut's age is a main theme also, which I find to be incredulous. I think M.K Lawson's biography, which refuses any comments on Cnut's age at all, refrains from it all together. Point conceded. I will try an edit with only facts, yet it must be, only, the facts.

WikieWikieWikie 15:58, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed paragraph

I removed a paragraph. Here are some of the problems I see with it.

Cnut's mother was Gunhilde (once Swiatoslawa, daughter of Mieszko I and Dobrawa of Poland), his father's first wife (his second wife was Sigrid the Haughty, and the marriage bore five daughters).

This is by no means certain, the issue of Svein's wife(s) is complicated; Swiatoslawa was Canute's sister and there's no direct evidence that it was also his mother's name. Haukur

Swiatoslawa is a useful conjecture, which happily avoids the real complication of whether it was either Gunhild or Sigrid the Haughty which gave birth to Forkbeard's sons. It is reasonably certain a Polish princess was the mother of Canute the Great. I agree Gunild is not the best answer to the question, but the use of Swiatoslawa is within reason.

WikieWikieWikie 16:12, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

His early years were in a culture with powerful ties to the religion of the past, as well as the future, and the Baltic Sea was a mysterious harbour to ancient faiths of anscestral beliefs, which variously held on, until the Clergy's words, and the Crusaders' swords, finally spread the Church's doctrines across Europe's entirety.

Cnut was a third generation Christian; I don't think there's any evidence that Norse paganism had an effect on him. The rest of the paragraph is a digression. Haukur

His sister was in a marriage with Erikr Hakonson, and the Norwegians were still heavily pagan, as well as the Northumbrians, whom Cnut thought it allright if should rule them as the Earl of Northumbria when he divided the country into it's four Earldoms. It is probable the Scandinavians held on their pagan beliefs strongly. Even to this day!

WikieWikieWikie 16:12, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

By most accounts Eiríkr converted to Christianity (at least formally) around or after the Battle of Svolder. He certainly ruled Northumbria as a Christian lord. His name is even in the liber vitae of Thorney. I'll concede that there were no doubt some pagan Norwegians as a part of Cnut's forces and many of those who had been baptized had probably a rather superficial knowledge of Christianity. Haukur 16:17, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. If Eirikr was Christian, I am sure it was simply in lieu with the Danish influence, as it was in Denmark itself. In my view, Chritianity was clearly spread in Demark through the Holy Roman Empire, which surely meant it was 'do or die' for the Danes, under threat of Europe's original Crusaders; Germano-Franko empires' imperiums. If this is the case, I am sure any Christianity, although clearly of some, real appeal, was only a flirtation with the wider world beyond Scandinavia, which, I stress, even today keeps it's pagan roots at heart.

WikieWikieWikie 19:22, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Cnut probably spent some years on Polish soil, maybe at the Jomsviking stronghold Jomsborg.

We don't even know if Jómsborg existed. Haukur

If it did it is probably right in the middle of Pomerania.

WikieWikieWikie 16:12, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

His mother's mother, Doubravka, was brought from a nunnery for a pagan marriage and the Slavic princess wed to the principal Duke of Poland, Mieszko, who later adopted Christianity, when the weight it bore on his domain was clearer. This, in conjunction with his father's haughty Christian faith, and the Viking beliefs, was probably the foundation of Canute the Great's pragmatic attitude to religion, happy to accept praises of his poets, Skalds, in verse with pagan connotations, as well as prayers. At a vernacular melt-point, England held up it's Viking sovereignty glady, and the Church overlooked his two wives, always in support of a ruler with a disposition to patronise it.

I don't quite understand where this is going. And some of the surviving skaldic poetry on Cnut is explicitly Christian. Haukur 20:36, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

I was aiming for some patroniseation of the Church here, which I thought was quite clever (by the suggestion he did not take the institution which almost kept his granparent apart seriously). In terms of the skaldic verse I meant it included both pagan praise, and the prayers, with Churches maybe experiencing similar mixes of influence in his time.

WikieWikieWikie 16:12, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I'll write a section on Cnut's skalds. Would that please you? :) Haukur 16:17, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh yes indeed! I am particularly interested in the Knytligasaga, or Knutsdrapa, whichever one is by the Skladic poet, Otarr the Black, and the verse in particular is the one which states Cnut was at a very young age as he set out to war, and the 'Destroyer of the Chariot of the Sea'. It says this, and the verse, in my view, with previous allusion to the young, unchiefly, then reitterates another point, as it proclaims another stage in Cnut's life, as, 'Chief', readying 'arrowed ships', and the 'red shields', for war, at which he was 'daring beyond measure'. I suppose more daring than the measure of bravery he displayed as he was destroying sea chariots (?). I am not sure if Ottar the Black was contemporary with Cnut, but I think he was, which means a proper examination of the poem he produced is very important, yet if he was not, it is still vital to, 'get it', properly. It is this evidence on which the presumption of Cnut's age rests, almost entirely, I think.

WikieWikieWikie 19:14, 19 August 2006 (UTC)


At an assembly at Trondheim, he was officially crowned King.

Which source claims he was crowned and not just hailed in the traditional way? Fornadan (t) 15:30, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Comments on Comments

Which of these is better for an introductory paragraph on Cnut the Great, only 'Emperor of the North', as full of interest as he is full of controversial analysis, the first or the second?

Canute (or Cnut) I, or Canute the Great (Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki, Danish: Knud den Store, Norwegian: Knut den mektige) (ca. 995 – November 12, 1035) was a Danish king of England, Denmark and Norway and governor or overlord of Schleswig and Pomerania.
Cnut I, or Canute the Great, (Danish: Knud den Store, Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki, Norwegian: Knut den mektige), ??? – November 12, 1035, was a king of England, of Denmark, of Norway, parts of Sweden, as well as overlord of Schleswig - in treaty with the Holy Roman Emperors, Henry II, and, Conrad II - and the Pomeranians also. He was a Viking prince, with some connections to legengendary Jomsvikings of Jomsborg, known as, in some circles, the Emperor of the North.
I'm going to go with choice 1 - it's short and to the point, doesn't misspell "Legendary", and doesn't have any intensely awkward constructions. john k 11:34, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

You seem to know your stuff, legenend. Is there any middle ground you feel might be drwan between them? If you or anyone cares to offer any alternate versions, it will be a great help to this Cnut enthusiast!

WikieWikieWikie 15:46, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

"Norwegian: Knut den mektige" Does that mean in English "Knut the mighty"? Sounds very German then: "Knut der mächtige". "ä" (also written "ae" when the keyboard lacks the mutated vowels) is nearly pronounced like "e" in German. -- (talk) 17:09, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Alternate spelling

Why is Cnut also spelt Canute? Is it to help with pronunciation, or so people don't confuse it with the c-word? Scott Gall 04:35, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Canute is simply a Latinate derivation. Slac speak up! 23:19, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Knut is the best way it may be spelled. The 'Ca', seems to be an attempt at a 'K', of course, while 'C' is maybe insufficient, which means Knut is the best linguistic compromise.

WikieWikieWikie 11:38, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

The Empire of the North!

One of these maps should be the one the article uses! Which one? One is based on the ideas of 'some of Sweden' a hundred years ago. One, with the extra bit of Sweden, is based on the offical Danish site I source for the adaption, today. If you look at the site 'some of Sweden' on the older map, which is Blekinge, the Skanian region, was a conquest of Harald Bluetooth, while Sigtuna, on the newer map, is a bit of the Emperor of the North's domain, in 1028. If you want to disagree with the Danish official historians, maybe incling bias, maybe better informed, prey tell what authority there is that beats this government's. I clearly want to side with the Danes. WikieWikieWikie 08:43, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Cnut 1014 1035.jpg
The latest research indicates that the old supposition that Cnut held Sigtuna as some point cannot be sustained. Although some coins from there read "CNUT REX SW" they are now held to be only partially adapted copies of Cnut's English coins, something common in mediaeval times. For more details see the article on Cnut's coinage in The Reign of Cnut: The King of England, Denmark and Norway, ISBN 0718502051 Haukur 09:21, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I feel this explaination is insufficient, yet it intersts me. If a coin is "CNUT REX SW", surely it means, even if an adaption from an English type, it is not ENG, but SW. If it is in Sigtuna too, the capitol region, it means Cnut was on the throne. It is though maybe evidence that he was a King of Swedes as well as King of English, Danes and Norwegians, separately, maybe not one dominion at all, yet still an Empire, according to English constition anyway. I will buy this book, which is on my Amazon wishlist at the moment, although it discourages me that it seems to be a sceptical author, wishing to downplay the life of the greatest King of England, yet again, still. WikieWikieWikie 09:27, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Your reasoning represents the traditional theory. The book is a collection of essays by several authors on different aspects of Cnut's reign. Downplaying Cnut is by no means its theme, I'm sure you'll find a lot to enjoy. There are photographs of Cnut's bones there, for example. Haukur 09:56, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, I will read it with an open mind, yet if the coin study reasons on the side of the sceptical, rather than the creditorical (my word), I am unlikely to pay it it's own credit. I like to think, with Cnut's position, as the greatest Viking ruler ever, in consideration, it is actually unlikely a move on Sweden was off the cards. While if Cnut was conspired against by the Swedish sovereign, he was certainly, likely, to be conquering with his forces in the Sigtuna area. I was under the impression, though, it was the unconventional, maybe controversial, theory, because the original map here is pretty old, and the other maps I can find leave Sigtuna out, and the offical Danish historical site is apparantly newer, although the theory may be old in Denmark, and the rest of Scandinavia.

I will look at the bones carefully too. Is there a bone study? I have actually seen an Emma and Cnut picture, their bones in one box, although to see one with the bones set out on a table is the next step for any answer. I reason Cnut was 50 at death. As the idea a twentyish young man was an elect warrior-king, allowed to lead a successful invasion of England by the Vikings, is, unlikely, and the idea Eric of Lade was a mastermind behind Cnut's successes, is, unlikely, both the reasons being the fact Vikings were individuals, and the rulers were the strongest people, front-line-fighters, unlikely to allow a potential hamperance in their structures. It is likely, as the apparant equal, or brother, of Edmund Ironisde, which is a statement in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, I think, to do with the treaty at the Forest of Dean, Cnut was the same age, thirtyish, on the year of his claim to the English throne, 1016. Which means he was at least a decade older in 1036, at 50. It all ties together with this age in consideration; ten years younger is significant. Cnut's death at Shaftsbury, a place of solace, rather than a palace of solmness, and the fact Scandinavians (especially Norway) got wind of his situation, suggests old age was the cause. 40 seems to me to be too young for a man to die of old age, even at the time, Cnut was clearly fit, yet still, if he was just a royal toff in tow with a large piece of the pie, maybe he was unfit. It is unlikely this was the case though.

WikieWikieWikie 09:50, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

The bones are all mixed up, as I explained earlier, but the book shows pictures of the contents of the chests. Haukur 09:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I see. It seems as though the Cnut bones may be separable from the Emma bones though, for an age anylysis. I think it is nescesary for a comprehensive study of the Winchester Cathedral bones. It is a stroke of luck they survive, after Reformation, and the Roundheads. If a few male skeletons exists of the ages 40-50, I suppose it is down to physical identification.

A description of Cnut exists. The Knytlinga Saga tells.

Knutr was expetionally tall and strong and the handsomest of men exept for his nose, which was thin, high-set, and rather hooked. He had a fair complexion and a fine thick head of hair. His eyes were better than those of other men, being both more handsome and keener sighted.

Of these descriptions, hight, strength, and the high set, thin nose, should be apparant in the bones. I personally trust Norse Sagas on their accuracies - if embellishment and the tendancy to paint pictures of obscure aspects to the stories are a fact, memory and the traditions of poets to pass real history on, are facts also. I got this out of M.J Trow's, Cnut: Emperor of the North, which is really quite good, apart from the biographical slant which fully embraces Cnut as a teenager in 1014, a near crime (although I like it's style, and the fact is slightly in question), which M.K Lawson's, Cnut: England's Viking King, is fully innocent of. Anyway, this description is all there is, while the coin apparantly corroborates it. The bones to compare include 6 men, Cnut, Hardecnut, Edward the Confessor and William Rufus number amoungst them. Edward the Confessor was 60ish, William Rufus in his twenties, as well as Harthacnut, with two more then which might be similar of age range to Cnut, while if they are short and fat, or completly flat nosed, only Cnut's remain.

WikieWikieWikie 10:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I just read on, and the bones are slightly more muddled, and the sets less some, or something. It is a little confusing, with descriptions of past observances of the bones, and the present state the bones are in left non descript. I suppose if the twelve names are not all skulls in the boxes, Cnut's may be lost completely, although, if the picture is after all of Cnut's skull, and the type of nose the Norse Saga tells of the same, a skeleton might be put together, at least partially, while the skull may be enough anyway.

WikieWikieWikie 11:23, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I can actually see the high set, nose ridge. It is definitely the skull of a big man. It looks like the teeth are smashed, although a jaw floating round could be Cnut's, and the teeth are the best way to tell an age. I can't tell any age, though it is definitely fully grown. I think a skeletal reconstruction, if posibile, is the way for a truely positive result. Somebody get those bones out of the dust and solve this case.

WikieWikieWikie 11:33, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Canute the Great#Family tree

Why does it need clean up? In the context of this article or generally? I think you may have plonked that tag on it while I was editing it and it wasn't at its best. {{User|Neddyseagoon}} 16:14, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I think it includes too many persons who are only very marginally related to Canute Fornadan (t) 12:49, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Popular Culture

I was just skimming through this article and thought to myself that maybe, in the 'popular culture' section at the bottom of the article, there should be a small reference to The Eraser by Thom Yorke as it's cover features artwork by Stanley Donwood based on the legend of Canute being unable to control the sea. Just a thought anyway. Franz T. Speeling 05:46, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I removed this from the pop culture section:
"The legendary University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne is probably named for Canute"
which is nonsense. You might as well say that all Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes named Knud/Knut are named after Canute... --dllu 11:26, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

May I ask why the 'Popular Culture' section has been removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

i don't know what some of these words mean -- perhaps others don't either

from the article:

"He was in treaty with the progenal Holy Roman Emperors, the German kings, Henry II and Conrad II, suzertly the vassals of the pontificate, and, in relations with the papacy himself."

What do "progenal" and "suzertly" mean? Perhaps these words should be explained or linked, or if not, replaced with more common words? Bayle Shanks 08:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I've removed them; an earlier version of the article had essentially the same sentence without those two words. I would assume they are derived from "progeny" and "suzerain" respectively, but even if they are to be found in a dictionary (I haven't checked) I agree they're too unusual to be used in this context. Mike Christie (talk) 16:08, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 09:03, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Ruthless Character

Cnut,in addition to having Eadric Streona executed, purged a number of the English aristocracy, including children and most of Ehelred's children. He also got the support of the Danes in Lincolnshire and then sailed off and left them to Ethelred's mercy, which had been illustrated in the St. Brice's Day Massacre and his penchant for blinding people with a hot poker. Also he was a Saint. But not a nice one. Streona 11:38, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Of course you arte right on the points here. I think it should be seen in context with the reason Cnut was in England though. The massacre of St Brices Day was a reaction to the Viking raids over many decades, and the conquest of Forkbeard was probably a reaction to the nature of Ethelred the Unready (clearly a rather crueler person than Cnut). Cnut was left with little choice than to abandon England after an effective rebellion of an army on the home turf, as well as probably far larger (I believe it is likely Normans were also in support of the English here). Cnut's return, and the purges against the former regeim and the magnates of a corrupt state, were acts of supplicance, to meet the needs of England as a whole, as well as of course to advance himself. England was better off after though.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 14:26, 15 December 2007 (UTC)


I've just done a GA assessment on the article Þingalið. It's mainly OK, although short and possibly a bit pro- in its tone. My main concern with it is a feeling, and I can't really put it any higher than that, that it may be an OR synthesis. I've given some of my reasoning here. I suppose my question is: was the Þingalið really a largely Scandanavian standing army in the employ of the English kings (apparently primarily Cnut)for around 50 years? Grateful if someone with some background in this area could set me straight. Cheers. 4u1e (talk) 14:38, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

P.S. By English kings, I mean kings of England, and nothing more! 4u1e (talk) 14:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


I see no relevance to Canute's dominion for

Legends relate the rulers of the Danish kingdom to the mythical Jomsvikings, whose stronghold, Jomsborg, is thought to have been made at the delta of the Oder river, on the Island of Wolin.

Furthermore The actual Wiki article Wolin has references highlighting the dubious nature of this statement. Aatomic1 (talk) 16:56, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I read this in M.J. Trow's, Cnut: Emperor of the North. I cant offer a page for I do not have the book available to me. It is in there though.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 17:50, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

  • You do not have access to the book; you provided no references then. You cannot simply now invent a reference and place it in the article. Aatomic1 (talk) 18:29, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Dubious Logic

conflicts with the Wends, as well as assistance from the Poles, suggest a strong Danish presence in Pomerania

This is unreferenced what is its relevance to Canute? Aatomic1 (talk) 17:00, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I read this in M.J. Trow's, Cnut: Emperor of the North. I cant offer a page for I do not have the book available to me. It is in there though.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 17:50, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Canute's Dominion

It is incorrect to state that Canute's dominion was spread over the British Isles. There is no evidence to support this and no reliable sources can be found or quoted. You cite Encomiast, Encomium Emmae to claim it may be there is just enough evidence to suggest that there is no exaggeration of his lordship over the British Isles. But you are doing exactly that - it is exaggerating his lordship. There also appears to be some question marks over the source you quote - it appears that it was not written as a historical record, but was commissioned by Queen Emma with a view to paint a particular picture to those in court[1]

The British Isles comprise mainly of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, and the Orkney Islands (plus other islands, etc). Your earlier edit states that his kingdom spread over the British Isles .... except for Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Orkney Island. His kingdom didn't even stretch to all of England either. In List of monarchs in the British Isles he is listed as an English monarch. (Side by side table, easier to use and see, is available on older page - try here. I think that this is what history has recorded, and this is what the article should say. Anything else appears to be an opinion, and Original Research.

I'll await a response before editing the article. I believe the article should be changed to reflect Canute's dominion as England. Bardcom (talk) 18:16, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I agree entirely AND have a referenced source <no wiki>[1]</no wiki> which I hope you will add to the existing. Which I will add if you make that edit Aatomic1 (talk) 18:22, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  1. ^ Barry Cunliffe, Robert Bartlett, John Morrill, Asa Briggs, Joanna Bourke (2001). Atlas of British & Irish History. Penguin Books. p. 71. ISBN 0 141 00915 2. 
The idea that Cnut had significant influence in north Britain and Ireland doesn't seem especially radical. The Uí Ímair certainly did a hundred years earlier. As for references, Woolf, Pictland to Alba (pp. 241–242), offers the idea that Cnut was been playing "Scottish" kings off against each other, to ensure that nobody replaced Brian Bóruma as effective overlord of Ireland. Hudson, Viking Pirates (p. 108), asks whether Sitric Silkbeard became Cnut's client. He notes cooperation against the Welsh in 1030 (p. 120) and returns to the possible alliance later (pp. 124–125) noting the benefits to Cnut. Downham, Viking Kings (p. 233), wonders whether the Uí Ímair, i.e. Sitric and the Dubliners, had assisted Swein and Cnut earlier. But this is all "may have", "possibly", "suggests" stuff, not "did" or "was". The tone of the article at present is far too certain. Too much weight seems to be placed on weak reeds like the Encomium and some smatterings of skaldic verse. Angus McLellan (Talk) 19:43, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
It is also influence, diplomacy & cooperation - not reign dominion Power Hegemony as WWW has been consistently inserting. Aatomic1 (talk) 20:35, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
True enough, but influence all the same, and an influence previous English kings did not have where Ireland is concerned. I'm plodding slowly on with Donnchad mac Briain so I'll stick something in there, but it's also worth a mention here. Angus McLellan (Talk) 21:15, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
It is still conjecture to say that his influence was any more or less than any other king at that time. I'm sure that any king could claim to have wielded influence over a wide area. Bardcom (talk) 22:56, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
It'll certainly be hard to find a quote to that end. Here's what Woolf says: "From Cnut's perspective contested supremacy within Alba, and Ireland for that matter, may have been the preferred option. As long as his Gaelic neighbours were more worried about internal competition than asserting their autonomy he would be able to exert his own loose hegemony without too much trouble. He may even have exerted influence to maintain the balance and prevent the emergence of an outright winner. One might compare his policy in Norway, where the Danes promoted division between the traditional provinces, playing off the earls of Hlaðir and their Trønder subjects against the kinglets of the east and the interior. Thus, the unprecedented interregnum in Ireland and the division of the kingdom, north and south, in Alba, may have been actively promoted by Cnut." (Pictland to Alba, pp. 241–242) "Loose hegemony" anyone? Angus McLellan (Talk) 09:13, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
MJ Trow p181 "coins of Olaf Skotkonung and Anund Jakob, however carry the legend Rex A[nglorum] - king of the English". Let us hope that no Swedish historian ponders that this was not necessarily an exaggeration.Aatomic1 (talk) 13:35, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Lund's "The Danish Empire" (The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings) says that Swedish Sigtuna coinage was copied from Æthelred's, and then later from Cnut's; apparently there's no need to worry. Lawson was evidently considered enough of an expert on Cnut to get the ODNB article to write. His views can't be as easily discounted as Trow's. But they should be compared and contrasted with what Higham, Hudson, Keynes, Lund, Sawyer, Stafford, Woolf and whoever else we can find have to say. If there are different interpretations, we don't pick one and sweep the rest out of view. We should tell the whole story, warts and all. Part of that approach is to explain what historians believe about the reliability of the various sources. Skaldic poetry is a case in point, so too is the Encomiast's "artful dissimulation" [Stafford, "Encomium Emmae Reginae" in The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England] and that the Encomium itself "might be supposed a reliable addition to our knowledge of the period, but in fact the work has its own agenda" [Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 118]. However confused and biased chroniclers and historians like Thietmar or Adam of Bremen or Rodolfus Glaber or the compilers of English, Welsh and Irish annals might be, they weren't writing blatant propaganda of the sort which the Encomium, or the surviving snippets of skaldic poetry, represent. Yet the article doesn't give the reader any information on this. Lots to do. Angus McLellan (Talk) 16:05, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Bardcom, the Encomiast comment in relation to evidence for the dominion of the British Isles is a sort of double reference. The suggestion is from M.K. Lawson, and the ref at the sentence end is for this. The ref just after the Scotia and Britannia citation is for the source of the words themselves. It is not entirely on the basis of the Encomium at all. The point Lawson makes is it has an unusual amount of credance, for the source, with the bigger picture in perspective.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 02:32, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Bardcom, again. I do not disagree with you he was just the King of England in the Brith Isles. He was though, also King of Norway, and the Vikings of the islands under the Norwegian sovereignty. This territory, that is not England, if not the British Isles, is what? I further forward the point of hegemony. It is a creditable part of history that the King of Scotland, along with two other kings, one of whom was possibly the ruler of the Isle of Man and Galloway, as well as the king of Dublin after 1036, felt the obligation to offer their homage to Cnut, in Strathclyde. This is the very definition of hegemony, without the necessity for military conflict, or at least an entire conquest.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 02:43, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

To the point of Angus McLellan and Aatomic, as well as Bardcom. I personally think the references to Ottar and the Encomiast, being contemporary and in agreement, yet nothin to do with each other, is pretty solid evidence. They are amoung the only contemporary Cnut sources. Even if this werent the case, the weight on the references resides with Lawson's book. His statement that there is just enough evidence, refers to confirmation of these contemporaries, rather than their confirmation of the fact. When I get the opportunity I will probably be able to find references in the Trow book on Cnut too. These are reliable references if ever there were any.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 02:52, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

M. K. Lawson, ‘Cnut (d. 1035)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The following is verbatim by M. K. Lawson

Canute left few identifiable political legacies,... the flattery lavished upon him by his wife's encomiast...secured for Cnut a favourable posthumous reputation which many of his contemporaries would hardly have recognized

Probably Cnut also had contacts of some sort with the Welsh and the Irish. Emma's encomiast lists Brittania among his dominions, and a verse attributed to Ottar the Black greets the ruler of the Danes, Irish, English, and Island-dwellers

(WWW - and Scotia? Aat -Not in ONB but see AMc below)

I am beginning to believe that WP:OR is being presented/camoflaged as referenced material. Aatomic1 (talk) 23:13, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

sing this assertion solely on referencing Encomiast (not a reliable source) or has he other sources for this. Conjecture based on conjecture? Even the terms Lawson uses are indefinite (not necessarily - far from unlikely - may have enjoyed), and are still not close to the claims being made in the article. There is no concensus for this point of view. I agree with Cuchullain - unless better and more specific sources can be found, the article should not make these claims. Bardcom (talk) 00:21, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
This has been a recurring problem for several years now. The solution will be better sourcing and more specific phrasing than is currently here.--Cúchullain t/c 23:32, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Well... Im still awake. Cant seem to sleep with all this in my head. The problem here is there are very few works which deal with Cnut. I think the phraseology is allright here. Maybe it could be better. Really though, what authority do you want to confirm the points? God himself? Things in this era are uncertain and historians seem to pay Cnut little attention. If you think M.K. Lawson's references here are unworthy, then there really is not much else to choose from (as far as Cnut goes anyway). I agree with you CuChulainn as far as better phraseology goes. I really am the last person that wants to see fanciful and groundless ideas on the Wiki. Well... maybe not the last, definitely one of them though. If you discredit my references, and the others here, I think there really is not much hope. Conjecture you say? Try historical analysis! If you say original research. I say use of sources to create an article with focus and scope specific to itself. My facts are referencially solid though. This is the main point. The facts.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 02:23, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Here is a quote from the Time Team [2] in contradiction to the quote of Aatomic. I think I reckognise the above text from a passage which relates to the Encomiast's attempts to tame Cnut's character, and shine the best light on Emma of Normany, and pour dirt on Aeligifu of Northampton. Not quite the point Aatomic uses it for. Maybe I am wrong. I am sure though there are numerous other quotes other than the one I state below to contradict this. I am though a slow reader and it will be at least a week or two until I can get through Lawson's book again, as well as note all the possible references. Anyway, here it is:

According to Dr Ken Lawson, the Cnut scholar who appeared in Time Team's Nassington programme, he was, quite simply, 'one of the greatest European figures of his time'.

On the other quote I just cant believe you just cut and paste it over the passage I put a good deal of work into to bring to standards of acknowledgemt of reasonable doubt.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 18:15, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

A further quote from the Time Team [3] to override the use of the above quote to override the previous text (Conquest of England) is below.

England had (under Cnut) enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity in itself a major advance on the 30 years of war that had preceded it. He was still engaged in wars during this period, but none of them on English soil. The historian, F M Stenton, wrote of his reign: 'It was so successful that contemporaries found little to say about it'.

This validates the text quite well I think. It does not discount the possibility of expedition in the Irish sea either. A point in support of the British Isels usage.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 18:29, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Overlord of Pomerania, and the Mark of Schleswig

Does M. K. Lawson confirm this? Aatomic1 (talk) 23:30, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

This is from M.J. Trow's book. M.K. Lawson tends to refrain from statements if they are not written directly in sources. I did not just conjure this out of thin air, though. There is a good deal of evidence, or at least tangible evidence for these claims.

It is late now though and I will try to bring my points across tomorrow. The British Isles thing though seems to be the main objection. The pages 102-103 in Cnut: England's Viking King state quite clearly there is reason to believe Cnut's dominance was felt all across these Isles. I cant really see any reasonable doubt for this belief. He was the most powerful Viking ever, and the Vikings were all over the British Isles. And the submission of the Scottish king, as well as the future king of Dublin, suggests Scotland, probably Wales, as well as the Irish Norse, if not the all the Irish, were under of Cnut's hegemony (not direct sovereignty).

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 01:16, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's my main reason for commenting - other people's mileage may vary. If you're going to make that claim (that his dominion was over the British Isles) you're going to have to back it up with more than references in books that paraphrase a monk hired by Cnut's mother to speak in glowing terms of all he wrote about. I would expect to see your assertions in articles on Irish history (which I haven't). For example, Cnut *is* mentioned in List of English monarchs. But he is *not* mentioned in the List of High Kings of Ireland, *not* mentioned in the List of Scottish monarchs, *not* mentioned in List of rulers of Wales, *not* mentioned in Lord of the Isles, etc. Even the quotations and sources you include *do* *not* *make* *those* *claims*. They only go so far as to say that there *may* be *reason to believe*. Bardcom (talk) 15:10, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Just one more thing. Tomorrow I will try and find a passage I read from Lawson. It says something like.. although Norway was lost before his death and the empire he built rapidly fell apart, after a short span, of its fullness, this does not detract from the achievement. The fact this is not found in every history is is just that it was only the empire of British Isles inclusion, for less than 5 years. I second the point this does not detract from the achievement. I do after all say (now at least) 'at it's height', in the intro. This is though verifiable fact.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 01:26, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

  • In reply to the above there is no mention of the above in the MJ Trow Book Aatomic1 (talk) 11:07, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Adam of Bremen says that Conrad sought the marriage of his son (the future emperor Heinrich II) to Cnut's daughter with Emma, Gunnhild, and ceded Schleswig and territory north of the River Eider as a token of their treaty of friendship[1]

  1. ^ M. K. Lawson, ‘Cnut (d. 1035)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005

Aatomic1 (talk) 11:13, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Surely Schleswig was then simply part of The Kingdom of Denmark. Aatomic1 (talk) 11:17, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Still no wiser regarding Pomerania. Aatomic1 (talk) 11:18, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok it was Lawson who said this. I am not sure if Schleswig was part of Denmark, in its entirety though. Apparantly the Danevirke went through Schleswig. This is in the middle of the area now known as southern Schlewsig. It is also now German. This territory was under dispute, though. And the nationality of the people was probably some sort of mix. I think this qualifies as overlordship. Maybe someone can clarify this.

On the Pomerania point though. I did not fantasise this, like Barbara Cartland. I do not appreciate these insinuations either. I fell your motives Aatomic are actually bias against Cnut here. You slight the main references available on the subject, and quote Lawson out of context too. At least this poses a not entirely unwelcome challenge to rectify, or maybe just reassert, the articles scholarlyness. It was my summer plan anyway.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 15:19, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Saum-Aesa - M J Trow

The articles states

Canute was a son of the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard and the Slavic princess, Saum-Aesa,[1]

  1. ^ Trow, Cnut, p. ???.

I now have M.J.Trow's book. Page 38 states that Saum-Aesa was a servant girl...yes a servant girl. Saum-Aesa is actually Forkbeard's mother

P40 I stand corrected Forkbeard did indeed marry a slav who renamed herself Gunnhild, Saum-Aesa who was the sister of Boleslav of Poland

P41 The Other possibility that his mother was not Saum-Aesa/Gunhild

Aatomic1 (talk) 08:24, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Expedition to the Irish Sea

Is the current text really the right tone?

  • An expedition to the Irish Sea, in 1031, led to the submission of three Scottish kings

ML Trow says

  • Then in 1031 the King rode to Scotland

MK Lawson says

  • He went there (to Scotland)

Aatomic1 (talk) 11:47, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Hudson's "Cnut and the Scottish kings", which the footnotery suggests is likely to be one of Lawson's main sources for this episode, starts: "In the second quarter of the eleventh century, Cnut the Great, king of the Danes and the English, led an expedition to Scotland to receive the submission of three kings...". Hudson suggests that Cnut's major concern was for security in Norway with raids into Northumbria a distant second. In support of this he points to the doings of Tryggvi, who supposedly led a fleet from the west to Norway circa 1033. Woolf, on the other hand, thinks that Cnut's trip north had something to do with the killing of Gilla Coemgáin mac Maíl Brigti, for which reason he favours either a 1032 date for it, or a 1031 date for Gilla Coemgáin's death. Pauline Stafford, Nick Higham and Archie Duncan all have different versions, Duncan even prefers 1027 for the date of the expedition. Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:02, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

is there evidence to suggest

  • to the Irish Sea

is not another of WWW's WP:OR? Aatomic1 (talk) 15:53, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, Lawson, p. 102: "Hudson has concluded that Cnut received the submission of the Scots in 1031 in Strathclyde, during an expedition into the Irish Sea." Now that must be something Hudson said to Lawson - they discussed this episode, see p. 101, note 76 - because I do not see it in that form in "Cnut and the Scottish kings". Angus McLellan (Talk) 16:14, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

There is. It is not.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 16:10, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

This expedition was one way or another resultant in the submission of three kings. Malcolm was the King of Scotland. Maelbeth was a king of lands in the north of Scotland, and Iermach was, at least possibly, king of the Isle of Man and Galloway. The latter also went on to become king of Dublin in 1036. This is direct evidence for Cnut's hegemony over people's not only on the isle of Great Britatin, yet also other islands within the British Isles, as well as Ireland too, maybe. Not to mention terriroties under his direct sovereignty through Norway.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 16:25, 15 April 2008 (UTC) Canute was dead in 1036 Aatomic1 (talk) 16:31, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Very. And the Isle of Man is not Ireland, nor are the Hebrides, although to Cnut's contemporaries they, and other parts of Britain, might be called "Irish". Echmarcach's eventual success in driving out the descendants of Amlaíb Cúarán owes more to aid from Donnchad mac Briain - his sister Cacht married Donnchad in 1032 - and Donnchad mac Gilla Patráic - probably Echmarcach's cousin - than anything Cnut did while he was alive. (For all this, including the geography, see Hudson, Viking Pirates and Christian Princes, pp. 131–135) Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:08, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I realise this. Do you really think I didn't?

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 16:35, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

This title looks quite good AngusMcLellan. I just put it on my Amazon wish-list. I think this then shows the possibility to be quite considerable Cnut did not put Iermach on the throne. I did not say this though. This is just a point to hightlight he was powerful in the Irish Sea, and the Vikings of Ireleand, as well as the Irish, surely felt this. I dont want to even press the Ireland thing though, although there is no contrary evidence as such to discliam the Encomiast. Here is an M.K. Lawson quote, to ramify the point the Encomium may be correct.

Cnut was well able to raise powerful fleets, which may have been effective not only in Scandinavia, but also in Scotland and Wales, and in the Irish Sea. Claims to suzerainty over the Scots, Irish and Welsh, are thus far from unlikely, and may for a time have been a reality. (Cnut: England's Viking King, pg. 103)

This actually directly follows the Encomiast's validity on the point, and the Ottar the Black verse is also under consideration. It is the claims (plural). There is no mention of vassalage to Cnut amoung these peoples, maybe. Yet there is no mention of Cnut's reign in England for years at a time, and the Scandinavian sources are even sparser. This is all we can rely upon.

Another M.K. Lawson quote refers to a second imperial crown and the possible link of this with not only Scandinavian successes, yet also successess in the Britsh Isles.

Cnut's taking of a second imperial crown may have been stimulated not only by a position in Scandinavia... but by achievement in Britain which lay firmly in a tradition established by his Anglo-Saxon predecessors (also).(Cnut: England's Viking King, pg. 104)

This follows a discussion on the conflicts of the period between the English, Scottish and Welsh. It may be there was indeed military action, over much of Cnut's reign, and the consequent vassalage of these, and Anglo-Danish suzerainty, follows.

I press the assertion of the British Isles, rather than simply Great Britain or England, to be under Cnut's dominion, on the basis of most of the other islands, if not the isle of Ireland wholly, or even in part, and the certifiable evidence for submission at least of Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Especially in light of his ratifiable sovereignty over the islands under the Norwegian crown's mandate. After all. The responsibilities of the Norwegian throne, as well as the Danish, put him in the midst of the politicss of the Vikings of all the British Isles, not only in England. This surely lead him to press his dominance over the non-English parts of the British Isles, as is evidencial in the Irish Sea expedition.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 19:28, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Western France

Now Western France? Aatomic1 (talk) 15:52, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm. Im not sure exactly what this is meant to mean. There are books, by Christopher Lee, on the series, as well as a radios series. I thought I remembered this showing on the tele too although maybe I am wrong. Maybe I confuse it with Schama's series.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 16:09, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Still, it says the British Isles were at the centre of his empire.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 16:39, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

And the Western France thing may be Normandy. There is some evdience Richard the Fearless, Duke of Normandy, was an ally of Cnut's against Scotland.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 20:46, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi, in the absense of a verifiable reliable source (WWW - This is not the case in the slightest. The case here, is misinterpretation of the assertions in the article), most of what you are saying is considered "Original Research" (WWW - It not original research, it is on the basis of actually extremely reliable secondary sources, and the interpretation of primary sources, within them. This is the case. It is not original research). Wikipedia has strict policies over what this - read WP:NOR. Also, if you have a source, but another source contradicts it, you can't just put your version of the article in place. Normally a discussion is held and wording will be agreed by consensus. Finally, for all concerned, we always Assume Good Faith, No Personal Attacks, and we Keep Things Civil. With that in mind .... Bardcom (talk) 17:16, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
I added this above, but received no response so I'll say it again...
If you're going to make the claim that his dominion was over the British Isles, then you're going to have to back it references - and not just your interpretation of what the books say either. For example, the BBC article does not make any assertion or state any facts in the main article, and only uses the term "British Isles" in a "Did You Know" footnote. This usage is clearly incorrect and is an example of using the term "British Isles" imprecisely. So far, your references appear to come from books that paraphrase a monk hired by Cnut's mother to speak in glowing terms of all he wrote about. I would expect to see your assertions in articles on Irish history (which I haven't). For example, Cnut *is* mentioned in List of English monarchs. But he is *not* mentioned in the List of High Kings of Ireland, *not* mentioned in the List of Scottish monarchs, *not* mentioned in List of rulers of Wales, *not* mentioned in Lord of the Isles, etc. Even the quotations and sources you include do not go as far as you, and therefore do not make those claims. They only go so far as to say that there *may* be *reason to believe* (WW - Dont forget *far from unlikely*. Anyway, if this is not original research, an accusation some here level against me, apparantly through ignorance of the source material, it is verifiable, and worthy of inclusion, rather than disclusion. You cant countermand evidences without contrary evidences. I try to be reasonable, yet get unreasonable, unreferencial, discreditation of the credible references I offer. I think this is not Wikepedianly). Bardcom (talk) 17:16, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Yet again the point I forward is misinterpreted. I say the Brish Isles in terms of hegemony, not sovereingty. The part of the article Aatomic totally overwrote, and I thought dealt with both sides of the point, brings to light the probability the Gaels did not see Cnut as High King, nor even overlord. This is not to say Irish cannot mean the Viking settlements also. Scotland definittely did cencede Cnut's dominance though, not as King, nor High King. Just as someone capable of destruction of their nations if they did not comply. This compliance was probably to do with the Vikings all over the isles and the coastal areas of Scotland, rather than just his English border. If the British Isles is a term not specific enough please advise on a better one (other than Great Britain or England, as it was not as simple as this). After all, if it is allright to say Cnut's dominion was spread across Scandinavia, with some areas not under his control, surely this use of a basically geographical term translates in much the same way.

This hegemony (not sovereignty) was a dominion spread across the British Isles. Not entirely, yet substancially enough to mention it thus. Even if we keep Ireland in the regions of doubtfullness, there are still enough lands held under Cnut to verify their expanse beyond Great Britain, or even just England. I am not sure if this can be any clearer in the intro (with the difference between hegemony and sovereignty). Although the use of the word dominance suffices for both these meanings. Further explaination in the article is surely the best way to deal with this. We cannot just sweep it all under the carpet and claim is is unverifiable. It does comply with Wikpedia's demands for academic consensus. There is also no contrary evidence, only the lack of it, and the doubt of some in the academic consensus on the interpretation of evidences.

Additionally, hopefully to validate the direct use of the term the British Isles in academia (although I feel this will still be put under the auspices of hostility towards this geographical term's expansiveness), I did just buy This Sceptered Isle (there are quite a few books, I hope the wider scope one suffices). I realise website quotes arent really good enough. This is a BBC website though. The time Team website in the links is pretty damn good too. In Channel 4's network, another reputable media broadcaster. Will it be good enough if it is in a book (the irony, and possibly even hipocracy of this does not escape me at least)?

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 17:57, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi WWW, I invite you to reread the paragraph that you wrote above again. Look at it from an encyclopedic point of view, as facts, not speculation. Using words like "probability" means that you are giving an interpretation to published material (WWW - neigh, the verifiable sources under academic consensus offer this interpretaion, not myself alone, I do not appreciate these insinuations) - there's a policy against that too. I dispute your assertion that he had influence in Ireland at that or any time - there are no reliable references (WWW - no reliable references? Can you define your interpretation of reliable references? It is in fact your own original research to discount those I offer here). Until you can produce a *reliable* reference that shows that he had influence in Ireland, it's clearly Original Research to use the term British Isles (WWW- Ireland encompasses the use of the British Isles to describe the extent of Cnut's domininance does it?). Also, you are using the term "hegemony" to justify the use of "dominion" - but these terms mean very different things (WWW - I dont think this is the case. Hegemony is a form of dominance. If this is not dominance, and hence dominion, you must mean only sovereignty within a kingdom, and the suzerainty of political and military force over a vasssal, can be a dominion. Do you really think this? Hegemony, in fact describes the existence of dominance of one social group over another, such that the ruling group — referred to as a hegemon — acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate, as opposed to dominance purely by force.).
For the rest - Scotland, Wales, etc, there is no other article that attempts to document hegemony as fact. There is a reason for this - and it's because you can't back it up with sources and facts (WWW - really?). Can you imagine the reaction if an article on the current Queen of England asserted her "hegemony" over Ireland (even if you just meant "influence" and not "dominion" (WWW - This is quite an ostentatious statement. There is no subordinance of Ireland under the UK at this point. There is no evidence for this. There is evidence for subordination of kings, without a conquest, under Cnut. If other articles do not mention it maybe they should. It is though less significant in other article than in the article under discussion here). Bardcom (talk) 18:43, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I dont want to even press the Ireland thing though, although there is no contrary evidence as such to discliam the Encomiast. Here is an M.K. Lawson quote, to ramify the point the Encomium may be correct. I dont think this qualifies as original research. This is consensus found in a publication from a reputable achademic on the subject of Cnut.

Cnut was well able to raise powerful fleets, which may have been effective not only in Scandinavia, but also in Scotland and Wales, and in the Irish Sea. Claims to suzerainty over the Scots, Irish and Welsh, are thus far from unlikely, and may for a time have been a reality. (Cnut: England's Viking King, pg. 103)
There are many scholars who discount the veracity of the Encomiast. Anyway, your claims above only state one item as fact - that Cnut was able to raise powerful fleets. The rest is speculation and not fact. If you draw a conclusion from the sole fact, it's Original Research. Bardcom (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Its not my conclusion. The refence for the Encomiast is to verify the passage in the Encomium. The refence for Lawson is to verify the conclusion is in a publication under academic consensus. The fact many scholars consider the work in question to be unreliable, is part of the very point Lawson presses. It is, for once, if you will, quite accurate.
WikieWikieWikie (talk) 18:47, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

This actually directly follows the Encomiast's validity on the point, and the Ottar the Black verse is also under consideration. It is the claims (plural). There is no mention of vassalage to Cnut amoung these peoples, maybe. Yet there is no mention of Cnut's reign in England for years at a time, and the Scandinavian sources are even sparser. Such references is all we can rely upon. I stress the point again; no contrary references, with no reasonable doubt, in fact, is unreasonable doubt. Dont you think? If it is not in any other article it just goes to show the obscurity of the subject, and the necessity to produce as full an article as possible.

You say that there is no contrary evidence. I'm still waiting to see one reliable source for the previous assertions. I would hazard an opinion that the reason there is no contrary evidence is because there is no evidence of any kind (WWW - Im not sure of the assertion you mean). Bardcom (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Another M.K. Lawson quote refers to a second imperial crown and the possible link of this with not only Scandinavian successes, yet also successess in the Britsh Isles.

Cnut's taking of a second imperial crown may have been stimulated not only by a position in Scandinavia... but by achievement in Britain which lay firmly in a tradition established by his Anglo-Saxon predecessors (also).(Cnut: England's Viking King, pg. 104)
This quote asserts no facts (WWW - the fact is my statements are not original research). Only opinions and speculations (WWW - Under academic consensus). Note the use of words like "may". Bardcom (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

This follows a discussion on the conflicts of the period between the English, Scottish and Welsh. It may be there was indeed military action, over much of Cnut's reign, and the consequent vassalage of these, and Anglo-Danish suzerainty, follows.

Note your use of the word "may" (WWW - God as my witness, I use this word just the same as the word is in use in the references I state. I note the focus on myself to discredit things I write, with references, and the attempts to discredit these refences too. You offer no contrary evidence, and ignore my references. You say you see I want to produce a good article, yet want to discredit my additions too? I do not understand!). Bardcom (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I press the assertion of the British Isles, rather than simply Great Britain or England, to be under Cnut's dominion, on the basis of most of the other islands, if not the isle of Ireland wholly, or even in part, and the certifiable evidence for submission at least of Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Especially in light of his ratifiable sovereignty over the islands under the Norwegian crown's mandate. After all. The responsibilities of the Norwegian throne, as well as the Danish, put him in the midst of the politicss of the Vikings of all the British Isles, not only in England. This surely lead him to press his dominance over the non-English parts of the British Isles, as is evidencial in the Irish Sea expedition.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 19:28, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Press away. But as I've said countless times (and pointed you to policies, etc), I'm waiting for the reliable source. I am not waiting for your opinion, or your interpretation of the text in the source - just the reliable source that states, as fact, the assertions that you're putting in the article. Bardcom (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Can you clarify the assertions you think are not good enough for the artcile? I beg you!

Maybe detail the bits not in the sources I reference. You maybe cannot read these sources. If you say the things you think are in my head, I will find you the reference with the assertions I assert in, yet not myself alone. The orignal research policy does not mean you cant state academic consensus in secondary sources, with the provision of primary source interpretation. This is ludicrous.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 20:13, 17 April 2008 (UTC)


Let's be positive and look forward. The difference between the original version and what the various references so far dug up would support is fairly minor. Cnut held "a loose hegemony" over Britain and Ireland [Woolf]. The Encomium's story "may for a time have enjoyed a foundation in reality" [Lawson]. Cnut "had relations" with the Norse-Gaels in Ireland [Lawson], he may have prevented the rise of a new king on Brian Bóruma's lines [Woolf]. He received some form of acknowledgement from the northern kings, etc [Woolf, Lawson, Hudson 'Cnut']. Sitric Silkbeard may have supported Cnut in 1014-1016, was probably present and his court, and probably felt safe going to Rome because he had Cnut's protection [Hudson]. And so on. These let the reader see what "a loose hegemony" means. Not king of Britain and Ireland, but most powerful king, able to influence events in the neighbouring kingdoms. This is what WP:V and WP:NPOV say we should do: repeat what the sources say, explaining where necessary, but not make arbitrary judgements as to who's right and who's wrong or adding our own ideas. No drama necessary! Angus McLellan (Talk) 22:27, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

At this stage I would like to say that it is important that, the perspective of Irish historians is fully taken into account. For instance the article previously stated that
There is reason to believe Vikings of Ireland, like those of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limmerick, were in relations with Canute already, as they were with Sweyn Forkbeard.[1]
(Would Angus please confirm that this is an accurate quote).
It is my own words yes. If you want we can leave it as just Dublin. Although I suspect you dont want this at all. The refrence just sayd Vikings of Ireland. I just thought it was a good idea to include their main settlement. Is this really a crime? If you have contrary evidence in respect of Limerick, please rapidly disclude Limerick from the artcile. This is no reason to do the same with Dublin, at least, though.
WikieWikieWikie (talk) 19:09, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Yet when I added
However, following Brian Boru's military victories over Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the Danes were a minor political force in Ireland, at the time, firmly opting for a commercial life. [2]
this was amended to suit an anglo centric POV (so strong that references that do not agree with it are edited out entirely). That aside, (if) MK Lawson did include, Limerick in his list, I would hope to see some qualifications to his statement ie:
Infact Limerick had been captured by the Dal Cais in 967 and it was to be ruled by their descendents until 1197[3]
  1. ^ Lawson, M.K., Cnut: England's Viking King, rev. edn., Tempus (2004), pg 103
  2. ^ Ranelagh, John O'Beirne (2001). A Short History of Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0521469449. 
  3. ^ Connolly S.J (1998). The Oxford Companion to Irish History. Oxford University Press. p. 580. ISBN 0192116959. 

Aatomic1 (talk) 09:22, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Well this really is turning out to be a bit of a fiasco inst it? Firstly Aatomic, I did not edit you quote on the Brian Boru thing to be ANglo cantric. In actual fact I thought it was Ireland centric. I thought the edit put it in the broader, and more neutral (as far as Ireland today, and Ireland then, can be of concern) perspective of the 11th century British Isles. Secondly. If you Angus can offer some more specificness on the quote you state I can use them to further support the thing I wrote. Maybe if a compromise can be brought to the table we can all be happy. With the evidence in hand, it is certain there was a hegemony, dominant, if you will, of Cnut over the British Isles, at its hight is the text in the passgae in the intro (<not right now>). If the wide dominion spread across Scandinavia and the British Isles is put to one side, and maybe in a position of dominance over Scandinavia and the British Isles is put in its place, or something like it (its a bit out of context), is this a good enough compromise? I appears the problem is too much definitivenss. Surely this relieves some of this? Im not sure of the sort of scholarly neutrality some here profess, though.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 18:41, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't agree that there is enough evidence to support the assertions you are making. He did not have a wide dominion or dominance of the British Isles, period. Bardcom (talk) 19:18, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I do think there is. It is academic consensus. The only thing unsure is the extent of this dominance/dominion. This was throughout the British Isles, not only England or even Great Britain. If the political and military influence of Cnut in Ireland in doubt then this does not mean the British Isles is not a term we can use here. Expedition into the Irish Sea (as well as other evidences) are enough to arise the point of the possibility though. We cant just leave out all the other islands definitely under the sway of Cnut's kinship just because this is in doubt.

You say 'press away' Bardcom, yet dont offer any compromise. You just assume I mean the British Isles includes Ireland and say, oh no, you cant say that. This is kind or ironic when you consider the hipocracy of it. It seems you want to say Ireland is the penultimate territory of the British Isles, and the country was totally free from the strongest King of England to sit on the throne until the days of the colonies. With territories spread across the British Isles. Because this is ambiuguos towards Ireland. Yet the opinion Ireland means British Isles or not British Isles, is the really ambiguos one. You offer no contary endience, to the evidences of Cnut's dominational position, just the lack of anything to specificly say 'British Isles' (quite absurdly), and discredit scholarly opinion on the basis of your own, original, opinion (not reasonable, yet unreasonable, doubt). The geographic term of the British Isles, denotes an area far larger than Ireland itself, dont you agree? This justifies its usuage. I agree, as long as it is clear Cnut's position in Ireland is on the borders of certainty, yet not exactly uncertain.

Here is the main section Aatomic overworte with a simple quote, withouth any idscussion of the scope of the reference's validity and aspects of the wider reality (below).

There is reason to believe Vikings of Ireland, like those of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, and Cork, were in relations with Canute already, as they were with Sweyn Forkbeard.[1] A Lausavísa attributable to the skald Ottar the Black, suggests these relations were on the level of overlordship, when he greets the ruler of the Danes, Irish, English and Island-dwellers.[2] It is likely, though, while the Island-dwellers were firmly Viking, and Gall Ghaedil, this was meant to mean the Vikings of Ireland, rather than the Gaelic kingdoms too. After Brian Boru's military victory over Sigtrygg Silkbeard, at the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, the Norse leaders felt it prudent to opt for a commercial life in Ireland, rather than one of raids and settlement.[3] Still, when the Encomiast names Canute's domains, not only as England, Denmark and Norway, but also Scotia and Britannia,[4] it may be there is just enough evidence to suggest that there is no exaggeration of his lordship over the British Isles.[5]

In this passage (above). There is full reckognition of the factors at work in relation to the primary source references. This is not orignal research, yet with referencially sound use of secondary source, academic consensus, from a lead scholar on the subject of Cnut. I repeat, this is not original research. Can anyone suggest what it is that this passage states to mean it is not of any merit for use within the article?

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 19:02, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

After Brian Boru's military victory over Sigtrygg Silkbeard, at the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, the Norse leaders felt it prudent to opt for a commercial life in Ireland, rather than one of raids and settlement.
This is supposedly referenced to Ranelagh's book. Does the book actually say what you have written or have you made it up?... again (WWW - rather than just the insinuation this is in my head, maybe you can tell me what it is that you have a probalem with and maybe we can make it good. Your stance, and attacks against me, offers no compromise though. You expect to prove your point by the simple notion of my wrongness, and the rightness of your opinion in the unreliability of my references. I did alter the text you wrote, although this was to embellish it, not dismember it. This tactic is in fact yours).

Aatomic1 (talk) 20:04, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Well its your source Aatomic. Here is the previous:

However, following Brian Boru's military victories over Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the Danes were a minor political force in Ireland, at the time, firmly opting for a commercial life.

I dont think it is nescessary to state exact words is it? There are no quotation marks on the sentence. It is informative. It is not lies. I do see now, though, the death of Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf, at the hands of Irish Norsemen in retreat, means this is actually inaccurate. Innocently enough though. Surely this just requires some simple alteration.

Maybe if...

After Brian Boru's military victory over Sigtrygg Silkbeard, at the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, the Norse leaders felt it prudent to opt for a commercial life in Ireland, rather than one of raids and settlement.

...was something like...

After Brian Boru's military victories over Sigtrygg Silkbeard, and the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, the Norse leaders felt it prudent to opt for a commercial life in Ireland, rather than one of raids and settlement.

... it might be satifisfactory?

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 20:21, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

My source states the Danes were a minor political force in Ireland, at the time, Aatomic1 (talk) 06:51, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Niall mac Eochada defeated the Dublin Norse in 1020, 1024 & 1026 - I am not convinced they had much choice in the matter. Aatomic1 (talk) 08:15, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

'A Lausavísa attributed to the skald Ottar the Black, puts these relations on the level of overlordship, when greets the ruler of the Danes, Irish, English and Island-dwellers.' The only addition I have made on the reference (Aatomic thinks is gobbledigook) in slant, is the overlordship bit. This is not original research for the reference says ruler. I still dont state this as fact, and this statemtent is in context with the reference. At no point do I exeed this mandate of the factualalities. This is an assumption. I do not assert Cnut was King of Ireland, or King of Scotland, or King of Wales, or Lord of the Isles. Only the fact these were maybe, and the Kingdom of Scotland definitely, under Cnut's hegemony. Further islands were under his political and military sovereignty though Norway. These facts denote fair usage of the British Isles, in the context my text uses. I dont want to pretend anything to be true if it isnt. If anything I write over-steps the mark, it must be put right. I dont think this means it is ok to simply overwrite it with quotes out of context (still the gobbigook actually, overwritten on the thoughtful text, with numerous other referencial points).

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 21:49, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

WWW, please learn how to indent your responses properly by placing a colon (or a number of colons) in front of your response.
Step back and think about your sources. You are using works of fiction (poetry, a monk writing on commission for his family) as primary sources, and commentary on these works as secondary sources. Do you really think that's a good enough source? I don't. So when you ask to point out which bits I have a problem with, I have a problem with it all! Policy is very clear on what you can and can't put in an article - and I didn't make the policies up. Find a reliable source. If you can't, don't put it in. It's that simple. Bardcom (talk) 23:04, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Yet again it is all misunderstood. Worse of all though there seems to be some misconception of the nature of historical scholarship. You say I cannot state the primary sources I state because they are written by totally bias people, I assume, and the achademic thought on the matter is irellevant due to this????????? This is quite absurd. I cite Napoleon's idea history is only a myth everyone agrees upon. The essence of this is that what we consider to be fact, always relies upon the elements of a story people choose to report. And the nature of humanity is full of bias, and prejudice. I think this discussion shows this quite contritely too... funnily enough. These sources, in context of the consensus of achademics, are not original research, as long as the reasonable doubt is brought to light, in conjunction with the evidence at hand. If the only evidence at hand is not brought under consdieration, only the doubter will be able to say their piece, unreasonably.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 20:09, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Conrad II was the most important ruler in Western Europe, but the text tries to present him as being overawed by Cnut. That really won't do. The Norwegian Atlantic Empire is unattested at this time, and indeed until the time of Magnus Haraldsson and Harald Sigurdsson most likely. Cnut's "politics were now woven with the Scots" from the day he became king of England. Being king of Norway may, as Hudson says, have made the Scots and the Norse-Gaels more important in his foreign policy, but they'd have been a factor before then. There's still much that's in need of work here.
I'll remind you that Queen Emma's encomiast wrote rather bad history, even by C11th standards. If you set out to be Cnut's encomiast, the results will be equally disappointing. If there are two sides to the story, and for most things to do with Cnut there are at least two sides, both should be represented here. Angus McLellan (Talk) 21:40, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh I absolutely agree. You pick up on some good points here. Indeed the importance of the areas of the British Isles prior to the reciept of the crown of Norway is something I want to include in the article. I do not want to be like the Encomiast, and the use of the Encomium quote has been made quite a thing. I do not cite it as the most reliable source (primary does not mean this), nor even the Ottar the Black verse, only as part of the citation of Lawson (a reliable secondary source). This Lawson reference, along with the other reference I now forward (below), is really more than enough to write the things I write.

I do want to shine a favourable light on Cnut, this is true. Although it is not on the lines of fancifullness. The errors you point out above are not exactly outrageous deviances from the facts. Only not quite correct. I want to rectify then for sure now I know this. If only some here could not be so surreptitious, and actaully work to undermine the achievements of Cnut. The work of Aatomic on the intro is quite absurd. He quotes Lawson, althogh I know these are only half quote, and the final part of the point is that although such things are true this does not detract from the achievements of Cnut. Aatomic is irresponsible.

All I want to do is tell it like it was, and produce an article to reflect 'the Great', in the title. If you think this can only produce bad results then I think you are wrong; they could be good. If all the facts are put straight, we cant go wrong. In the extract(s) in the next section I think only the vindication of the use of the British Isles can follow, and the doubfull will be doubtless of this. Unless of course they refuse to accept it yet again. This will be a kind of anti-Encomiastship and worthy of the same sort of scholarly scorn.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 12:33, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Overlordship of the British Isles

I am in the process of wrting an extract of the pages I reference in support of the information I include in the article. This appears to be necessasry in light of the war some here wage against me. If this reference is put under attack, I will move to get a block on the people who refuse to accept verifiable evidence, and the inclusion of these factualities in the Wiki.

I hope this reference (or references) will help clarify the optimum approach for the article, and the facts at hand. In the Index of the Viking Empires under Canute, are the pages for overlordhip of British Isles. Not fully, yet substacially, rather than the lesser.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 21:09, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

pgs 196-198

A. Forte, R. Oram, F. Pedersen, Viking Empires, pgs 196-198. This is an extract:

COPYRIGHTED CONTENT REMOVED Finn Rindahl (talk) 10:24, 22 January 2011 (UTC)


Is the text (and Wales) actually in the text and, if not, why has it been inserted into what has been presented as Verbatim text? Aatomic1 (talk) 12:08, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


I suppose it is because of the nature of the kingship of England, and the fact like Ireland and Scotland, there were Norsemen on the coastlands of Wales, and even Cornwall. These latter though were already well within the political status quo of the English before Cnut. Scotland and Ireland were Cnut's concern in the 'western maritime zone'. I just though the addition of this (now Cornwall too) was more accurate to the point at hand, yet off the line of thought in the extract.

WikieWikieWikie (talk) 12:24, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

pgs 227-231

A. Forte, R. Oram, F. Pedersen, Viking Empires, pgs 227-231. This is an extract:

COPYRIGHTED CONTENT REMOVED Finn Rindahl (talk) 10:24, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

pg 202

A. Forte, R. Oram, F. Pedersen, Viking Empires, pg 202. This is an extract:

COPYRIGHTED CONTENT REMOVED Finn Rindahl (talk) 10:24, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

pg 206

A. Forte, R. Oram, F. Pedersen, Viking Empires, pg 206. This is an extract:

COPYRIGHTED CONTENT REMOVED Finn Rindahl (talk) 10:24, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Right enough. "Military cooperation between Sitric and Cnut is revealed by the Annals of Tigernach that record a raid on Wales by ships from England and Dublin in 1030." (Hudson, Viking Pirates, p. 120) The Annals of Tigernach, AT 1030.11, say "Orguin Bretan o Saxanaib & o Gallaib Atha Cliath" or, more or less, "Destruction of the Britons by the Saxons and the Dublin Foreigners" The land of the these Britons is generally, as we have seen, read as Wales.
Of course, this being the 11th century, there's more than one version on offer. "There is another item in an Irish chronicle that could mark an initial stage in the demise of Strathclyde. In the 'Annals of Tigernach' [AT] it is noted that in 1030 there was 'a ravaging (orguin) of Britons by the English and the Foreigners of Dublin'. This has, not unnaturally, been taken to refer to a raid into Wales; and a possible explanation for an attack by Dublin Vikings into Wales has been suggested (although this involves redating the raid to 1033). There is certainly some evidence of Dublin's military involvement in Wales by this date, and a cogent argument has been made that King Sigtryggr/Sitriuc of Dublin and Knútr (Canute) of England may have shared an interest in limiting the expanding interest of the Welsh king, Rhydderch ap Iestyn, at this time. There is no allusion in any other source, however, to an attack on Wales by English and Dublin Vikings. The mention of 'Britons' does not mean that the victims were necessarily in Wales: the raid recorded in AT 1030.11 could just as well refer to a ravaging of Strathclyde by Northumbrians and Dubliners. ..." (Broun, "The Welsh identity of the kingdom of Strathclyde c.900–c.1200" in The Scottish Historical Review, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 111–180 at pp. 136–137). Angus McLellan (Talk) 18:51, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Just a thought - is it appropriate to have all those internal links from refs in the article to these massive quotations from a copyrighted, published source in this talk page? It seems unlikely to me, as it's not really what a talk page is for; and, regarding copyright, see on 'Publishing extracts from the work of others', where it seems pretty clear that these quotations infringe copyright as linked, though perhaps not in the context of a talk page alone. Anyone? Nortonius (talk) 12:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Gainsborough and the Five Boroughs

While it is inherently unlikely in early 11th England that one borough would be controlled politically or administratively by another, of course control could arise through military activity - which is a different proposition entirely. This difference seems to be causing some confusion, despite the fact that there is a major clue to this, in the presence of the word "borough" in the name "Gainsborough": I haven't checked that the "borough" in "Gainsborough" is even the particular kind of borough that's at question here, my point is, that either it warrants a search for further sources, or we can just accept the sources as they are. However, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle seems to make it clear that Gainsborough had no relationship with any members of the Five Boroughs, prior to Swein's arrival:

[Swein] came to Gainsborough. Then … all Northumbria … submitted to him, and … Lindsey, and then … the Five Boroughs, and soon afterwards all the Danes to the north of Watling Street… (Garmonsway, G.N., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Dent, Dutton, 1972 & 1975, p. 143)

Indeed, logically, the very fact that Swein, and after him Cnut, are said to have based themselves at Gainsborough emphasises the same point: unless someone comes up with a source which indicates the contrary, it doesn't look like Gainsborough had any particular relationship with any of the Five boroughs. Pointing to a WP image showing modern boundaries isn't checking the sources. Nortonius (talk) 10:20, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Conquest of England

In September 1015, Canute was seen off the shore of Sandwich. The fleet went around the coast about Kent and the south of England, on the English Channel, about Cornwall, and the south-west, on the Bristol Channel, up the Avon, to the mouth of the Frome. There, at Bristol, the army disembarked, and ravaged Wessex.

This part of the section may be incorrect. I believe it was the River Frome, Dorset and not the River Frome, Bristol where Canute disembarked to attack Wessex. A Google search of 'Cnut 1015 Frome' returns many websites mentioning the Frome in Dorset and Wareham but nothing as far as I can tell indicating Bristol was his destination. BarretBonden (talk) 16:17, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I haven't looked at this issue before, but it looks to me as though it is indeed the Dorset River Frome from which Cnut attacked Wessex in 1015; and, I have no idea for the moment why Cornwall, the Bristol Channel, the Somerset Avon, or indeed Bristol are mentioned in this connection. The only version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to record events in 1015 says as follows:

…king Cnut came into Sandwich, and straightway sailed round Kent to Wessex, until he came to the mouth of the Frome, and harried in Dorset and Wiltshire and Somerset. (Garmonsway, G.N. (ed. & trans.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Dent Dutton, 1972 & 1975, p. 146)

While that alone indicates that it is the Dorset Frome which Cnut entered, there is no mention there even of Cornwall, let alone the Bristol Channel. On the face of it, this looks at least to be a result of confusion with some other event, but it may either be drawn from an alternative source (e.g. Florence/John of Worcester, William of Malmesbury, etc.), or it may be OR. I'll try to look into it. Nortonius (talk) 17:41, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I've just undertaken a quick survey of sources both primary and modern, and have found nothing that goes beyond the information from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, quoted above by me. I note the reference in the article to a more recent edition of the Chronicle than the one I've used, but I don't see how a new translation could change the meaning of the original so substantially. Unless it does change the meaning in that way, I think the itinerary as it stands in the article looks fairly strongly like a misguided attempt to give Cnut's manoeuvres of 1015 a route; but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle already does that. Indeed, this whole passage in the article carries a whiff of POV. I'll check that ref to the "Encomium Emmae Reginae" too. In the meantime, the information given in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as I have it is quite enough to justify an immediate change of the relevant part of the article. If someone objects, and can show I'm wrong, they can always change it again, though in doing so they should of course provide an adequate citation. Under the circumstances, perhaps a quotation would be best. Nortonius (talk) 18:03, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus. PeterSymonds (talk) 00:29, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Requested move 1

Please see existing sections "Canute v Cnut" and "Canute or Cnut" for previous discussion, and review discussion below, before commenting. As far as I can see, this issue has long been discussed, but no consensus has been achieved, one way or the other.

I think you could characterise my argument, in a nutshell, as being that "Canute" is a character in a legend, who apparently tried to stop the incoming tide, whereas "Cnut" was a king of England. I'm suggesting that the article should be moved to "Cnut", as that page is currently a re-direct. Furthermore, the tag "the Great" is not commonly used in English as far as I'm aware, and it isn't even commented on in the article as it stands. Indeed, Alfred the Great is often said to be the only English king known as "the Great". I suspect that inclusion of "the Great" in the present title for the English language article is simply a reflection of Danish usage, in which case I now believe that it's not appropriate as part of this English language article's title, and should instead form part of the article itself. I'll admit here and now that, should it be agreed to move the article, I have no idea how to do it, and so would be reluctant to take that job on, for fear of messing it up. Nortonius (talk) 00:42, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Oppose. I suspect that oft-repeated claim about Alfred (which has bugged me since I was a kid) is the byproduct of an era of "Germanic" English nationalism which emphasised Anglo-Saxon heritage. I am more familiar with Canute, and his nickname is no surprise to me at Wikipedia, therefore I do not see a reason to move the page. Besides, "Cnut" is ambiguous. Srnec (talk) 02:14, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Cnut is a dab page redirect, you haven't offered any reason why that should change other than the current title of this article is wrong. What makes it primary meaning of "Cnut" ? (talk) 04:35, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Comment the same problem also occurs with a move to Canute, since that ALSO does not redirect to this page, so also indicates that this Canute/Cnut is not necessarily what people want in most occasions. (talk) 06:34, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks - this issue has previously been addressed on more than one occasion in this discussion. Nortonius (talk) 10:11, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm unsure of any procedure here on if, where or how I might comment further on my own proposition, but I've been asked a direct question, so forgive me if I respond in this manner, I can only hope it's appropriate.

To respond to the direct question first, about what makes this article the "primary meaning of Cnut", I think this is also raised by Srnec's observation that '"Cnut" is ambiguous'. I wouldn't suggest that the "Cnut" in question is either the primary meaning of the name, or is unambiguous. I was thinking merely of WP precedent. There seem to be plenty of examples of WP articles with potentially ambiguous titles, but these have been accepted and other uses have been disambiguated. Brighton was the first place I looked just now, for a concrete example, and it turns out to be just so. But I could well imagine that such an approach might run counter to some generally "preferred" approach, as even to me it looks a little like the principle of "first come, first served" might be at work there. To that extent, I would suggest that the target of my proposed move is no more than that - a proposition - and that a better alternative might be found, through this discussion. An alternative, following what seems to be a much sounder precedent, might be "Cnut of Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden", or whatever order of country names might be settled upon. Be that as it may, I'm only aware of this individual being referred to by the title "King" and his name, in English usage: as I understand it, honorifics are not to be used in article titles, so at first sight at least the simple title "Cnut" looks like a good option for the English language WP.

However I would also suggest that "the current title of this article is wrong" is a pretty good reason for proposing a move in the first place. I'm no expert on "dab page redirects", but I don't think it follows that a name for an article should necessarily avoid disturbing such a page. Forgive my ignorance - and, I did already confess to having no idea as to how to actually undertake such a task - but it seems to me that such pages could be shuffled around to reflect a move of the article. It would seem unfortunate that a move proposed for reasons to do with this king's name could be blocked by a practicality like the pre-existence of a redirect. Unless I'm missing something - and if I am, I hope you'll enlighten me - I would liken this aspect of any move to a shift in centre of gravity.

About "the Great", I only offered the example of King Alfred often being cited as the only English king to be called "the Great" in order to illustrate how uncommon "the Great" is when applied to Cnut. I'm proposing to drop "the Great" from the title here, for reasons already given, and I'm no fan of Alfred being called "the Great", either. I'm not sure that it being personally "no surprise" to find Cnut called "the Great" helps the discussion, unless it's explained in terms of current usage, or whatever. Cnut clearly was a "great" king, but that doesn't mean he has been called "the Great" - at least, not in English usage. Equally, I accept that people may be more familiar with "Canute" than "Cnut", but, "two wrongs don't make a right" - supposing they are wrong in the first place, of course. To that end, I would refer to current usage in reliable, published sources rather than a simple google search, for example. As I previously suggested, it seems to me that the historical figure of "Cnut" is precisely that - the business of historians - while the cultural figure of "Canute" is another matter entirely: perhaps the real question is, with which of these figures is the article primarily concerned?

In the meantime, it's great to get some responses already, as this existing issue has lain dormant for quite a while, and I think it needed addressing, one way or the other. Nortonius (talk) 05:32, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

GoogleBooks shows 631 hits for "Canute the Great" or "Cnut the Great" in publications postdating 1945. I can assure that, for whatever it's worth, "the Great" is not a Wikipedianism and is used. And can I ask why the spelling "Canute" is wrong? Srnec (talk)
Ok, I'm going to have to go and look at that google books list in some detail, so bear with me. In the meantime, perhaps "wrong" is the "wrong" word here - I think the idea I'm trying to express would be more like "appropriate for WP"; but, this aspect is covered in the existing discussions "Canute v Cnut" and "Canute or Cnut" above, if you want to have a look at them in the meantime. And, I would say that this historical name "Cnut" is more "appropriate" than "Canute", in exactly the same way that it was decided that "Medeshamstede" was more appropriate than "Medeshampstede", and that article has been moved on that basis - see this brief discussion, and the discussion of the name "Medeshamstede" in the article itself. For now, I'll be back when I've had a look at that google books list - or when I've got some sleep, whichever takes precedence! Nortonius (talk) 06:30, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Right - I've had a look at that google books list. What I've looked for reflects my previously expressed notion of separating the "historical Cnut" from the "cultural Canute", so, taking as my sample the first 30 items listed, I've categorised these mainly according to whether they are recent, "specialist" works of historiography, or not. Under "not" I've included obviously "cultural" items, items which can't be classed as "recent", and items which may be "specialist", but whose use of "the Great" or otherwise would arguably not be critical to their subject. A good example of what I mean by "cultural" would be an item entitled Famous Men of the Middle Ages, which is classified as "juvenile non-fiction"; and a good example of what I mean by items which might or might not use "the Great" uncritically is an item entitled Numismatic Literature. The latter appears to be a list or discussion of works on the history of coins, and it appears to have "Harold Harefoot" as "Harold Barefoot" - hardly a reliable source.
Two items immediately fell because, despite being listed, I couldn't see any reference to "the Great": for example, one was M.K. Lawson's Cnut: England's Viking King. However, the same author used plain "Cnut" exclusively in his earlier Cnut The Danes In England In The Early Eleventh Century. Of the 28 remaining items, only two plainly belonged in the category of recent, "specialist" works of historiography. However, one of these is in fact the Saga Book of the Viking Society, which is a regular journal, and it was not possible for me to assess the three reported uses of "the Great", in 60 years or so of publication for this Scandinavian orientated source; and the other was itself a work by a Scandinavian user of English. In other words, both might conceivably carry what I suspect to be Scandinavian POV in using "the Great" - something which I've already mentioned. Of the remaining 26, 1 is solidly "specialist", but in the history of coins, and not in English history as such; 6 are translations, modern or otherwise, where we're at the mercy of writers who weren't using English, not to mention their translators; 3 are, on closer inspection, from before 1945 (and one of these appears to have "Ashington" for "Ashingdon", making it look like another unreliable source); and the other 16 are what I would call solidly "cultural", after the example already cited (if you want another example, how about an item called Denmark: From Castles and Windmills to Cycling and Windsurfing).
Of course, you could suspect that my categorisations might be inherently subjective, and if you want to test that, you're welcome to try the same exercise; but, crucially for what I'm getting at here, none of the items in the sample is a reliable, published edition of a primary source from Anglo-Saxon England. There are some items which are, no doubt, reliable published editions of primary sources, but these are translations of Norse sagas. If you're still reading (!), I'll say 'QED': if it's accepted that my distinction between the "historical Cnut" and the "cultural Canute" is at the heart of this discussion, I'd still say the tag "the Great" is a non-starter in English language WP. Regarding the question of "Canute vs. Cnut", I've already pointed to earlier discussions on this talk page, and the exclusive use of "Cnut", without "the Great", in Lawson's work on Cnut: indeed, in David Bates's editorial preface to Lawson's 1993 volume on Cnut, he says that, prior to 1993, 'there has not been a book devoted specifically to Cnut's life and career since the early twentieth century'. That sort of says it all for me. Nortonius (talk) 08:10, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
The request is to move this page over a redirect that does not point to this article. Since it does not point to this article, it's not simply a redirect, it's a redirect TO ANOTHER SUBJECT, so you have to show why this Canute/Cnut is more important than the current destination of the redirect, for the "Cnut" spelling. That the current title is wrong does not mean the requested title is appropriate. (talk) 08:05, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, in light of which I think an answer to your question is already offered in my second comment in this discussion, where I suggest that "Cnut" is only a proposed title, and that this discussion might well come up with a better one - I've already suggested "Cnut of Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden". This reflects the fact that my principal concerns are with the current use of "Canute", as opposed to "Cnut", and of the tag "the Great". Thanks again. Nortonius (talk) 09:21, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose move to Cnut or any other variation of Canute. Rough consensus above seems to be for Canute and I also think this is the common name. Unsure about the Great. Andrewa (talk) 11:43, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • My encyclopedia says Cnut, but I am not particularly concerned as to how we anglify the name. I want to dispute Nortonius's claim. The index of Hudson's Viking Pirates... has "Cnut, son of Svein Forkbeard (Cnut "the Great")". The Sawyer's Medieval Scandinavia has "Knut the Great". Peter Sawyer (ed.) Oxford Ill. Hist. of the Vikings has "Knut the Great". Fair enough, it's not universal, but those are reliable sources which refer to this Canute as "the Great" so as to distinguish him from the many other kings of the same name. I rather dislike Canute, but am quite content with "the Great" as a means of disambiguation. Angus McLellan (Talk) 13:55, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
This is interesting! The debate certainly seems to have been stirred. Regarding alternative reference sources, I've only looked at three, but there seems to be a pattern here. The Encyclopedia Britannica has "Canute", in an entry written by Dorothy Whitelock (1901-1982), whereas the Dictionary of National Biography has "Cnut", in a more recent entry, written by John Blair, who continues to publish. In between, Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England, by Richard Fletcher (published 1989), has "Canute, properly Cnut". The En. Brit. entry in itself displays this same pattern, in its "Additional Reading" section, which reads 'Laurence Marcellus Larson, Canute the Great (1912, reprinted 1970); G.N. Garmonsway, Canute and His Empire (1963). Alexander R. Rumble, The Reign of Cnut: King of England, Denmark and Norway (1994)'. So, at least I'm not the only one heading in this direction. Perhaps then the question is not "if", but "when" WP "Canute" should be changed to "Cnut", per the sentence 'If Torino ousts Turin, we should follow; but we should not leap to any conclusion until it does', at Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(use_English). The consensus for that so far appears to be that we're not in favour of it yet.
Agree. Cnut appears to me to be promoted by many as the "correct" name; If they succeed, we should follow. But it will take some time, and meantime, Wikipedia policy rejects our being part of this campaign. Andrewa (talk) 15:09, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
A couple of other points. One is, no offence to Andrewa, but is it reasonable to support or reject a proposition on the basis that 'Rough consensus above seems to be for Canute'? It's a bit like saying 'I agree with him': that's fine in itself, but shouldn't the discussion revolve around the facts? The other thing is, Angus McLellan's examples supporting "the Great" all have a Scandinavian bias, evident in their titles, and that's something that I've previously identified as a reason for dropping "the Great", and I've already indicated why. Onwards and upwards, eh? Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 14:19, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Good question and no offence taken. I obviously think it's reasonable; My reasoning is that while consensus can change the onus of proof is on those who claim it has changed or should change. See user:andrewa/MWOT. Andrewa (talk) 15:09, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes indeed - I only hope I have the stamina to keep up with it! But that's not special pleading - honestly, though I personally am in favour of "Cnut" vs. "Canute the Great", in the end I'm more interested in putting the issue to bed for now; or, perhaps more accurately, I'm testing the water to see if WP is yet ready for a change which does seem to be happening, per my previous discussion of Enc. Brit. etc. Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 15:33, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Very Strongly Oppose Canute is English usage, whether we are dealing with the legend or not. I have no particular attachment to the Great, and it's not needed for disambiguation; this is the best-known Canute - even the best-known Knut, if it comes to that. The point about Alfred is interesting, but it works like this: Alfred is the only English king called "the Great", because Canute is Danish. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Upgraded per discussion below. We are optimized for lay readers, not for specialists; single-handed efforts to rewrite the English language should be severely discouraged, no matter who engages in them. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:19, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the further contribution. Could you explain the basis on which you identify the proposed change as not being "optimized for lay readers", and what you mean by "single-handed efforts to rewrite the English language"? Thanks. Nortonius (talk) 00:47, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
See my earlier comment re Encyclopedia Britannica etc. I'm not sure about that clarification of "the Great": I can see that there'd be an argument in favour of using "the Great" if it were the norm, but it clearly isn't, either in terms of common usage, or in terms of alternative works of reference (see my earlier discussion of the google books list); and, as far as English usage of "the Great" is concerned, is it being suggested that there was some sort of racist or xenophobic principle at work here? William I of England is commonly referred to as "the Conqueror" more often than he's referred to as "the Bastard", for example, and he and his immediate successors continued to be heavily involved in their French possessions long after the Norman Conquest. Nortonius (talk) 15:33, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
You appear to have misplaced the list of sources supporting your claim. That's unfortunate. As well as those I mentioned earlier, I could add many more, such as Barlow, Edward the Confessor: Cnut; Campbell, Anglo-Saxon State: Cnut; John, Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England: Cnut; Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Cnut; Bates, William the Conqueror: Cnut; Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England: Cnut; Duggan (ed.), Queens and Queenship: Cnut; Williams, The English and the Norman Conquest: Cnut [the Great]; Williams, Æthelred the Unready: Cnut. Until now, the only place I've found Canute among the books on my shelves is in 1066 and All That. Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:37, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
You appear to be missing Garmonsway's Canute and his Empire, and Brita Malmer's King Canute’s coinage in the Northern Countries. Both are printed lectures, but as such, they speak to intelligibility. We are supposed to be written for a lay audience, after all. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:58, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Interesting - Garmonsway's item was published in 1963, and Malmer's was published in 1972: against the examples I gave previously from Enc. Brit., DNB and Richer's Who's Who, these look like two more examples of how it used to be "Canute", but usage has long since been moving to "Cnut" - and not, by the way, "Cnut the Great". The examples cited above by Angus McLellan and myself range in date from 1970 to 2004. So, from "material brought to this discussion thus far", it looks overwhelmingly as though "Cnut" is now preferred to "Canute", or indeed "Canute the Great".
Further, IMHO, I'd say this preference is clearly nothing like "promotion", as was suggested as a possibility previously, but simply a solid shift in usage, based on simple accuracy. Regarding the "lay audience", while neither Garmonsway nor Malmer were addressing a lay audience in particular - much less so than, say, the current edition of the DNB, which uses "Cnut" - I would return to my notion that, to the "lay audience", "Canute" is simply a figure of legend, not a historical king; and of course that aspect can be catered for by mention of "Canute" (and "Canute the Great") in the article, and by a simple re-direct, reflecting this shift in usage. Thanks. Nortonius (talk) 22:28, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Those are two which I found because they happpen to have Canute in the title. I see very little evidence of a shift in usage, especially in popular usage; there may be some evidence of an increase in scholarly pedantry; there is all too much evidence of a single POV-pushing editor. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:04, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
  • As for scholarly usage: Google Scholar (even selecting for recent papers) still finds more for Canute than Cnut; not many, but paedantry should have an overwhelming majority on its side to overcome normal English usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:13, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Um - I'm not sure what to make of this use of the word "pedantry", and the phrase "POV-pushing editor" - it doesn't look like a useful contribution to the discussion. All useful contributions gratefully accepted, one way or the other. About Google Scholar, I just had a look at "Canute", and the first four pages list websites where "Canute" forms part of a living (or at least fairly recent) person's name, many of them being references to the same individuals, e.g. a "Michael Canute", a "Gregory Canute", and a Mr. Canute Walaki Temu' - with one reference to "Canute the Great". Looking at the first four pages of a Google Scholar search on "Cnut" gave results only relating to the Cnut under discussion here, with no occurrences of "the Great". Thanks. Nortonius (talk) 00:54, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I see that Nortonius has not bothered to look at the searches linked to, both of which include England as a secondary search term, precisely to avoid this problem. (It occurs to me now that king is better; this makes Canute more common than Cnut by 1740 to 1210.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:34, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, to be honest, that's what I thought I had done, but clearly I hadn't - quite. I'd not heard of this resource before, so I had a look at "Google Scholar" first here, then entered the search terms as they were presented in the earlier comment, which produced the results that I reported, thus for "Canute", and thus for "Cnut". It would be helpful in comments to present searches precisely as they were carried out, rather than fail to do so, and then suggest that another editor has simply "not bothered to look at the searches linked to", which is hardly a balanced description of what has occurred here. Thanks. Nortonius (talk) 16:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with "the Great". No strong feelings on Canute vs. Cnut. If Angus thinks Cnut is more appropriate then that's more likely right than not. Haukur (talk) 17:48, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your contribution, Haukur. But, do you think you might expand on the reasoning behind your comment? In saying that, I'm just trying to keep this discussion centred on such facts as people bring to it, like those which I, Andrewa, Angus McLellan and others have set out. Thanks again. Nortonius (talk) 18:22, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't have much to add, really. I think calling this 11th century king "the Great" isn't a big neutrality problem and I generally prefer nicknames to numbers. As for the name itself the only book I own about him uses Cnut (The Reign of Cnut: The King of England, Denmark and Norway, ISBN 0718502051). Haukur (talk) 18:39, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
That's great, and thanks for taking the time to come back. Nortonius (talk) 18:41, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support deletion of "the Great"; ambivalent/weak support move to Cnut - I can see arguments both ways for this one, but personally I would probably spell it Cnut as this seems more accurate than the Anglicised spelling. DWaterson (talk) 23:03, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose deletion of "the Great". I can't see why a well established nickname should be removed and no good reason have been proposed for this. I am neutral about the Canute/Cnut issue, and can't see any definitive argument for either side.--Saddhiyama (talk) 00:54, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the contribution. While information already presented indicates that "the Great" is not commonly used in contemporary literature on the history of "King Canute/Cnut", I very much doubt that English language users come across "Canute/Cnut the Great" nearly as often as they come across "King Canute/Cnut". My idea regarding "the Great" is essentially that, while it's not commonly used in English, it reflects a Scandinavian point of view. For that reason alone it must of course have a place in the article, since Cnut was Danish, and was king also of much of Scandinavia; but I'm suggesting that a title such as "Cnut of Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden" would be more appropriate than a minority use nickname - a simple title in "Cnut" apparently being ruled out by a complicated situation regarding existing re-directs.
Remember folks, I've already said that I'm essentially "testing the water" here, and the discussion's only been running a couple of days. Thanks. Nortonius (talk) 01:21, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
His nickname appears used often enough, as Angus showed. Srnec (talk) 05:28, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I can't deny that the nickname is used "often enough" - I've spent quite some time discussing its use in this discussion, and it depends on what is meant by "often enough". I don't intend to confuse here, for example I've directly addressed both Srnec and Angus McLellan's points about "the Great". I'm not insisting that I'm right, that's for others to decide, in developing a consensus; but, at least I've tried to look at the issues raised in some detail. Perhaps I should clarify that, in saying above that '"the Great" is not commonly used', I simply mean it's not a term that's encountered nearly as often as just plain old "Canute" or "Cnut" - which is what I then go on to say. Saying it's "commonly" used runs counter to the notion that King Alfred is 'the only English King to be awarded the epithet "the Great"' (see Alfred the Great). That's clearly not true - depending on the intended definition of "awarded" - but I suppose the point here is that we can't have it both ways. Compared to "Canute/Cnut the Great", we hear "Alfred the Great" deafeningly often, for example in Pollard, Alfred the Great, 2006, which is currently listed as a "best seller" ranked between 40 and 51 in three different categories at Amazon. Nortonius (talk) 08:56, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Further, compare the situation with Pope Gregory I: "Gregory the Great" is also found, but he is "properly" - to borrow Richer's use of the word (see above) - known as simply "Pope Gregory I". In WP, his article is titled "Pope Gregory I", and "Pope Gregory the Great" is a re-direct. Likewise "Peter I of Russia", vs. "Peter the Great". Nortonius (talk) 07:58, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
There's only one Pope Gregory I, but six or more kings called Canute/Cnut. Some form of disambiguation seems unavoidable. If the page here is not to be Canute the Great, or Cnut the Great, what is it to be? Neither Canute/Cnut tout court nor Canute/Cnut II is unambiguous. As for Alfred being the only English king called "the Great", that seems a fairly weak argument. Alfred wasn't called "the Great" until he'd been dead for half a millennium - compare Charles and Otto, Great within a couple of generations - and in any case, Alfred was only king of England in the imagination of medieval historians. If the intended meaning is that Alfred is the only English, i.e. Anglo-Saxon, king called "the Great", that remains true whatever Cnut/Canute is called. Angus McLellan (Talk) 08:37, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, to the foregoing - hoping that I've understood it correctly. I mentioned previously that I'm no fan of "Alfred the Great", essentially for the reasons given here. About the "ambiguity" of "Canute/Cnut", I've previously suggested that perhaps a better title for the article might be "Cnut of Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden": it follows an established pattern for such articles in WP, and, while one might well wish to debate the order in which those countries are listed, or one might want to exclude Sweden, it refers directly to the fact that Cnut was king of more than one country. I've previously explained that I believe "the Great" disambiguates Cnut in a manner which is inappropriate for WP (see my preceding comments). Incidentally, about Alfred being the only 'English, i.e. Anglo-Saxon, king called "the Great"', perhaps I'm coming from a different direction here. I've always understood the distinction in fact to be that he's supposedly the only king of England (with due regard to the preceding objection to "England") to be called "the Great" - though I do understand the (modern) historical context in which "the Great" came to be applied to Alfred, and hence my previous comparison with "William the Conqueror". But my understanding of the application of "the Great" to Cnut is that it is indeed more appropriate within a Danish context, not an English one, as I've previously indicated. Not wishing to put words into anyone else's mouth (or should that be typing fingers?!), I think that's pretty much the same as what Angus McLellan has just said, but arrived at via a slightly different route - though I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong! Nortonius (talk) 09:07, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Please read WP:NCNT. We have considered the problem of kings of many countries, when it arose about James VI of Scotland and I of England and Ireland. Such names are impractical. There's really nothing wrong with plain Canute; this is the primary meaning of that term. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:10, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

(undid indent) Thanks, yes, I'd already had a look at WP:NCNT. I think the example given there of "Richard I of England" vs. "Richard the Lionheart" is actually a very good precedent for dropping "the Great" with regard to Cnut. The tag "the Lionheart" is, I think, likely to be far more familiar to English language WP users in reference to Richard I than "the Great" is in reference to Cnut, yet in WP Richard's article doesn't use it, for reasons which (as given at WP:NCNT) I would support. Thus I still think "the Great" is not suitable for use in the title of the article for Cnut. Thanks also for pointing out discussion of the title for James I of England. I should say that my suggestion of moving "Canute/Cnut the Great" to something like "Cnut of Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden" was made solely out of a desire to be internationally inclusive. However, that discussion indicates a strong argument for reducing that suggestion to simply "Cnut of England", on the basis that it is as king of England that Cnut is best known - and I'd be perfectly comfortable with that. Further, I've previously said that I don't see "Canute" as "wrong" exactly, describing it instead as "inappropriate" for English language WP, and explaining why I think that.

Just this morning the Discovery Knowledge tv channel in the UK was showing a repeat of the part of David Starkey's "Monarchy" series covering the reign of King Canute/Cnut, originally shown on UK Channel 4. His name was only shown on screen twice: once in the form "Cnut", when we were treated to a shot of a page in the New Minster Register (which you can see here - it's as close to home as we're going to get, being both contemporary, and produced at Winchester) and once in the form "Canute", when we were shown a shot of a stained glass window. We weren't told where the window was, or anything about it in fact, but it looked strongly Victorian in style. To that extent it's not "pedantic" to say "Cnut" is clearly "correct" - though it doesn't prove that "Canute" is "wrong", in terms of the issue of "common use". However, I think that issue has already been adequately discussed for people to consider or develop their own opinions one way or the other. Incidentally, I didn't hear Starkey use or refer to "the Great" once. I'm not a fan of Starkey, I mention it only because the medium of television clearly informs (or reflects) common usage in all areas. Even so, I would return to my suggestion that, if the WP article concerns the historical king of England, it should use "Cnut", not "Canute".

Regarding my use here of the word "pedantic", I note previous observations, apparently concerning what I'm trying to do here, to the effect that scholars are being pedantic, that I'm a "POV-pushing editor", and that what I'm trying to do is effectively a "single-handed effort to rewrite the English language". I have to say I think that's most unfair, given the material that I and others have brought to this discussion, given that I have already said twice in contributing to this discussion that I'm essentially "testing the water" here, to see if WP is ready to follow a change in usage that has demonstrably been under way for many years now, and particularly in view of the fact that such observations were used to explain an upgrade in opposition to "Very Strongly Oppose". I think my introduction to the discussion (which I've just altered slightly, solely in an attempt to avoid duplicate comments, requiring duplicate responses - please see) is itself quite neutral in terms of my intentions, and I've since tried to bring forward illustrations of what I mean, and tried to be even handed when discussing comments, whether for or against - at least, that's been my intention. For example, I don't think it's unreasonable of me to have often used the form "Cnut" in my own comments here, since that's the form to which I originally proposed the article's title should be changed. In any case, the outcome of the discussion is of course not mine alone to judge. Thanks. Nortonius (talk) 10:11, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose change to "Cnut". Britannica,[4] Encarta,[5] Columbia,[6] Compton's,[7] Hutchinson's,[8], and the Catholic Encyclopedia[9] all use Canute. If that doesn't establish common English usage I don't know what would. Also, notably, some of those encyclopedias use the term "The Great" in either the title or address it in the article. I don't really care about "The Great", but removing it would leave us with having to decide whether we title it "Canute I" or "Canute II" (assuming we don't decide he's the most prevalent and doesn't need it).--Cúchullain t/c 16:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the response, which IMHO comes as a bit of a breath of fresh air. Just to be clear, I previously discussed the "Britannica" entry, with regard to its own "historical" nature (see above); the "Columbia" and "Hutchinson's" entries are effectively one and the same, since both reference "The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-07"; the "Catholic Encyclopedia" entry in full is 'Canute (Or CNUT: THE GREAT, THE MIGHTY)'; and the recent (2004) entry in the Dictionary of National Biography has "Cnut [Canute] (d. 1035), king of England, of Denmark, and of Norway". On balance this looks to me like a good argument in favour of retaining "Canute" for the title of this article, in terms of "common usage". I'm not so clear about the problem of "Canute I vs. Canute II" though, since this enumeration seems to be limited in use to his rule of Denmark, unless you're referring to a distinction between the "Canute/Cnut" here, and "Harthacanute/Harthacnut"? That distinction is found (in e.g. "Canute (Cnut) I (1016-35 AD)" vs. "Canute (Cnut) II, Hardicanute (1040-42 AD)"), but it seems most unusual, to me at least. How would you see this situation in relation to preceding discussion of James I of England, who can be referred to as James VI of Scotland and I of England, and whose enumeration has been discussed here and here? Thanks again for the useful response. Nortonius (talk) 18:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the numbers, I should have been clear: I meant removing "The Great" would means we have to further disambiguate him, and would have to decide between his title as king of Denmark (where he was Canute II) or as king of England (where he was the first, and only Canute). I'm currently ambivalent about which we should chose in the event that we drop "The Great". I have no opinion about James, I'd leave that in the hands of people who know more what they're talking about. My snap judgement would be to choose which title he was most famous as, or in the event that he was equally famous for both (as Canute seems to be), to go with the earlier one.--Cúchullain t/c 21:28, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
That's great, thanks. Understood about the need to disambiguate "Canute/Cnut", and about your having 'no opinion about James' - I mentioned James because another editor raised his example, and he's analogous to an extent. My view would be yes, precedents like that are there to be followed, but not slavishly - which is pretty much the same as what you said, I think. I agree that it would be good to "choose which title he was most famous as" - I think that's as king of England? It would certainly seem so, and he was king of England before he was king of Denmark: this of course is why James is relevant, since he was king of Scotland first, but is better known as king of England. By which I mean only that, if "the Great" is dropped, "Canute/Cnut of England" seems a reasonable title. Another analogy (previously mentioned) is the title "William I of England": there, his title as king of England is used in preference to "the Conqueror" (or indeed his title as duke of Normandy), and enumeration is required by the existence of his successor "William II of England". So, I pretty much agree, supposing "the Great" were to be dropped. Thanks again. Nortonius (talk) 10:04, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
  1. ^ Lawson, Cnut, p. 103.
  2. ^ Lausavisur, ed. Johson Al, pgs. 269-270
  3. ^ Ranelagh, John O'Beirne (2001). A Short History of Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0521469449. 
  4. ^ Encomiast, Encomium Emmae, ii. 19, pg 34
  5. ^ Lawson, Cnut, p. 103.