352 – Chaos

It was November 11 of 1035 and King Cnut was dead. He was buried at Winchester Cathedral. Cnut, and likely the Court, seemed to anticipate his death. Possibly because he had been ill for some time. But the ruling classes of Europe were still completely unprepared for the chaos that followed. Consolidating multiple kingdoms under [...]

351 – Collapse

I wonder if Cnut could see what was coming. All the signs were in front of him. Everything was starting to line up. But was he actually putting it together? Anger in Norway was reaching a boiling point over the austerity policies and heavy enforcement imposedbyAElfgifu and Cnut’s son (Swein). Armed rebellion was just around [...]

350 – A Tough Cnut to Crack

We have another mystery on our hands. We have a missing year. And I don’t think it was because nothing was happening. As we know from the previous episodes, in 1031 things in Norway were getting a bit ropey. Cnut’s son and ex-wife, having just been handed the reins of the region, made some particularly [...]

349 – AElfgifu’s Tale

Successful Kings don’t rule alone. This is especially true for Kings with as much going on as Cnut. And one of Cnut’s most influential right-hand men was actually his Queen. And Emma was more than just an advisor. She was wielding considerable power in her own right, power that likely expanded every time Cnut journeyed [...]

348 – Ruling Hard or Hardly Ruling

Europe was in chaos in the 1020s. Crises just kept coming, and the powerful were trying to capitalize on disorder. And in times like these, actions can have outsized impact, even the smaller ones. For example, if you sat in Leicester during the 1020s, the last thing you would have been paying attention to would [...]

347 – Aggressive Diplomacy

What we call history was, at one point, just current events. And world affairs never happen in a vacuum. It’s never just one thing happening after another… it’s a whole mesh of events that, while they might happen in their own sequences that look very much like just one thing happening after another, they’re actually [...]

345 – Building Blocks

In the early 11th century, the English were crushed by the Scots in the Battle of Carham. We are told that King Malcolm of Scotland, supported by King Owain of Strathclyde, brought their combined armies to bear against the forces of Ealdorman Uhtred of Bernicia in 1018… and there, they slaughtered the English. But there’s [...]

344 – Cnut’s Mad Lads

In the year of 1021, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells us two things. A Bishop died. And Thorkell the Tall was expelled from the country. And that’s all it tells us. We know by now that the Chronicle gets a little quiet when the establishment hits the rocks… and, with Cnut’s right hand man being [...]

343 – By Thorkell’s Beard

This is a story of palace intrigue, murder, and atypical alopecia… and it all begins where these things usually do… with a real estate transaction. An Englishman owned some lands in Elsworth, which is in Cambridgeshire. We don’t know his name, nor do we know why he was executed by the King. What we do [...]