(Bloomberg) Denmark’s First Viking Queen Was Likely More Powerful Than the King, Research Finds

Author: Medieval Institute

The Jelling Stones
The Jelling Stones in Jelling, Denmark; photo taken by Casiopeia and used under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-SA).

From Bloomberg News, written by Sanne Wass:

In Denmark, which has Europe’s oldest monarchy, new research shows that royal women in the age of the Vikings were much more powerful than previously assumed.

Scholars made the discovery as part of a project to use 3D scanners to identify who carved the rune scripts on Denmark’s iconic Jelling stones. The findings support theories that the genders were more equal among Vikings compared with other societies at the time.

Thyra, who was queen from about 935 to 950, was “exceptionally important,” the researchers said. Gorm and her son Harald Bluetooth, in comparison, are mentioned on two rune stones each; the king only in connection with Thyra.

Queen Thyra probably came from a posher and older family than Gorm, whom Danes usually consider to be their first king, said Lisbeth Imer, runologist and senior researcher behind the study. “It’s incredibly interesting in terms of understanding the power relationship and how Denmark was formed as a nation at the very beginning,” she said.

In fact, Gorm was likely only king because he was married to Thyra, Adam Bak, the head of the museum where the Jelling stones are placed, told local media. The museum is now ready to dedicate more space to the queen in upcoming exhibitions, he said.

Read the original article from Bloomberg, published September 23, 2023. Republished on medieval.nd.edu on October 4, 2023. 

Originally published by Medieval Institute at medieval.nd.edu on October 04, 2023.