Eric I of Denmark

Eric I of Denmark

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Eric I Evergood ' onMouseout='HidePop("74451")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Slangerup">Slangerup
Slangerup
Slangerup is a town with a population of 6,822 in Frederikssund municipality in Region Hovedstaden in the northern part of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark.-The town of Slangerup:...

, Denmark – July 10, 1103, Paphos
Paphos
Paphos , sometimes referred to as Pafos, is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos and New Paphos. The currently inhabited city is New Paphos. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, about west of the...

, Cyprus), also known as Eric the Good, , was King of Denmark following his brother Olaf I Hunger
Olaf I of Denmark
Olaf I of Denmark was king of Denmark from 1086 to 1095, following the death of his brother Canute IV the Holy. He was a son of king Sweyn II Estridsson, and the third of Sweyn's sons to rule. He married Ingegard, the daughter of Harald III of Norway, but did not have any children...

 in 1095. He was a son of king Sweyn II Estridsson
Sweyn II of Denmark
Sweyn II Estridsson Ulfsson was the King of Denmark from 1047 to 1074. He was the son of Ulf Jarl and Estrid Svendsdatter. He was married three times, and fathered 20 children or more, including the five future kings Harald III Hen, Canute IV the Saint, Oluf I Hunger, Eric I Evergood and Niels...

, by his wife Gunhild Sveinsdotter, and married Boedil Thurgotsdatter
Boedil Thurgotsdatter
Boedil Turgotsdotter was a medieval Danish queen, queen consort of King Eric I of Denmark.Bodil was the daughter of the Danish Earl Thrugot Fagerskind and sister of Svend Thrugotsen. Her grandfather, called Galicieulf in the Knytlinga Saga, was famous as a pilgrimager to Santiago de Compostela in...

.

Biography


Eric was born in the town of Slangerup
Slangerup
Slangerup is a town with a population of 6,822 in Frederikssund municipality in Region Hovedstaden in the northern part of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark.-The town of Slangerup:...

 in North Zealand. During the rule of his half-brother Canute IV of Denmark
Canute IV of Denmark
Canute IV, later known as Canute the Holy or Canute the Saint , was King of Denmark from 1080 until 1086. Canute was an ambitious king who sought to strengthen the Danish monarchy, devotedly supported the Roman Catholic Church, and had designs on the English throne. Slain by rebels in 1086, he was...

 he was an eager supporter of the king, but he was spared during the rebellion against Canute IV. Eric remained at the royal farm instead of accompanying Canute IV to St Albans priory in Odense where Canute IV was killed. Eric talked his way off the farm and fled to Zealand then fled to Scania
Scania
Scania is the southernmost of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden, constituting a peninsula on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, and some adjacent islands. The modern administrative subdivision Skåne County is almost, but not totally, congruent with the...

 which was part of Denmark at the time. Olaf I Hunger
Olaf I of Denmark
Olaf I of Denmark was king of Denmark from 1086 to 1095, following the death of his brother Canute IV the Holy. He was a son of king Sweyn II Estridsson, and the third of Sweyn's sons to rule. He married Ingegard, the daughter of Harald III of Norway, but did not have any children...

 was elected King of Denmark, but his reign was short. At last Eric was elected as a king at the several landsting
Landsting
Landsting can mean*Thing - the supreme assembly of a land in Scandinavia, during Viking and mediaeval times*The Parliament of Greenland.*Landstinget - one of the two houses of the Danish parliament between 1849 and 1953...

assemblies in 1095. Eric was well liked by the people and the famines that had plagued Denmark during Olaf Hunger's reign ceased. For many it seemed a sign from God that Eric was the right king for Denmark.

Medieval chroniclers, such as Saxo Grammaticus
Saxo Grammaticus
Saxo Grammaticus also known as Saxo cognomine Longus was a Danish historian, thought to have been a secular clerk or secretary to Absalon, Archbishop of Lund, foremost advisor to Valdemar I of Denmark. He is the author of the first full history of Denmark.- Life :The Jutland Chronicle gives...

, and myths portrayed Eric a “strapping fellow” appealing to the common people. He could keep his place when four men tried their best to move him. Eric was a good speaker, people went out of their way to hear him. After a ting assembly concluded, he went about the neighborhood greeting men, women and children at their homesteads. He had a reputation as a loud man who liked parties and who led a rather dissipated private life. Though a presumed supporter of a strong centralized royal power, he seems to have behaved like a diplomat avoiding any clash with the magnates. He had a reputation for being ruthless to robbers and pirates.

On a visit to the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 he obtained canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 for his late brother, Canute IV, and an archbishopric for Denmark (now Lund
Lund
-Main sights:During the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town was the seat of the archbishop, many churches and monasteries were built. At its peak, Lund had 27 churches, but most of them were demolished as result of the Reformation in 1536. Several medieval buildings remain, including Lund...

 in Scania), instead of being under the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen. Bishop Asser then became the first Archbishop of Lund.

King Eric announced at the Viborg assembly that he had decided to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The cause, according to Danmarks Riges Krønike, was the murder of four of his own men while drunk at a feast in his own hall. Despite the pleadings of his subjects, he would not be deterred. Eric appointed his son, Harald Kesja
Harald Kesja
Harald Kesja, Harald the Spear, was the son of Eric I of Denmark and anti-king of Denmark.He acted as regent 1103-1104 for his father while he was on pilgrimage to Jerusalem alongside Archbishop Asser of Lund. As regent, he was courageous, but violent, cruel and debauched. Harald plundered far and...

, and Bishop Asser as regents.

Eric and Boedil and a large company traveled through Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 where he was a guest of the emperor. While there, he became ill, but took ship for Cyprus anyway. He died at Paphos
Paphos
Paphos , sometimes referred to as Pafos, is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos and New Paphos. The currently inhabited city is New Paphos. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, about west of the...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 in July 1103. The queen had him buried there. He was the first king to go on pilgrimage after Jerusalem was conquered during the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

. Queen Boedil also became ill, but made it to Jerusalem where she died. She was buried at the foot of the Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south. The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters . It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes...

 in the Valley of Josaphat
Valley of Josaphat
The Valley of Josaphat is mentioned in only one passage of the Bible, in Joel 3.2 : "I will gather together all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people, and for my inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations"...

.

Family


Eric and Boedil had one legitimate son, Canute Lavard
Canute Lavard
Canute Lavard was a Danish prince. Later he was the first Duke of Schleswig and the first border prince who was both a Danish and a German vassal, a position leafing towards the historical double position of Southern Jutland...

. Harald Kesja was Canute's half-brother. Eric had two sons outside marriage Eric II the Memorable
Eric II of Denmark
Eric II the Memorable was king of Denmark between 1134 and 1137. Eric was an illegitimate son of Eric I of Denmark, who ruled Denmark from 1095 to 1103. Eric the Memorable rebelled against his uncle Niels of Denmark, and was declared king in 1134. He punished his adversaries severely, and...

 and Benedict, and the daughter Ragnhilde (mother of the future king Eric III Lamb
Eric III of Denmark
Eric III Lamb was the King of Denmark from 1137 until 1146. He was the grandson of Eric I of Denmark and the nephew of Eric II of Denmark, whom he succeeded on the throne. He abdicated in 1146, as the first and only Danish monarch to do so. His succession led to a period of civil war between...

).

Canute Lavard was king Eric's eldest son, and he was a chivalrous and popular Danish prince. Canute was murdered January 7, 1131 by Eric's nephew Magnus the Strong
Magnus the Strong
Magnus I of Sweden, son of Nicholas , later called Magnus the Strong , was a Danish duke who ruled Gothenland in southern Sweden from 1125 to 1130...

, the son of King Niels
Niels of Denmark
Niels of Denmark was King of Denmark from 1104 to 1134, following his brother Eric Evergood, and is presumed to have been the youngest son of king Sweyn II Estridson. Niels actively supported the canonization of Canute IV the Holy, and his secular rule was supported by the clergy...

, who viewed Canute as a likely competitor for the throne. Canute's death occurred days before the birth of his child, Valdemar I the Great
Valdemar I of Denmark
Valdemar I of Denmark , also known as Valdemar the Great, was King of Denmark from 1157 until 1182.-Biography:...

, who would become King of Denmark from 1157 to 1182. Eric Ejegod is the ancestor of later Danish monarchs.

Ancestry