In 1040, England once again had a new King. But England was finding Harthacnut a tough pill to swallow.
Today’s story starts in 1039. It’s a big year, and a lot has happened to get us here. So let’s recap very quickly.
The death of Cnut caused a cascade of consequences that reached up to the tip of Scotland and even into the continent. It was an empire crumbling just as it had been born, and the kingdoms with in it (and neighboring it) were undergoing a rapid series of changes as Cnut’s empire came crashing down.
The early 11th century was an unlikely time of heroes. By heroes I unfortunately don’t mean people of good character and brave deeds, but just people who perform extraordinary feats for their time. One of these was the very first King of Wales, Gruffudd ap Llewelyn.
Here is the story of Macbeth. If you have just tuned into this episode because of the title, know that it is the second episode in a two-part series. You will want to go to the previous episode, Double Double Toil and Trouble, and listen to that first. There you will learn about the peculiar region that spawned this shadowy highland King.
Since some very angry people are accusing me of lying in my intro, here are my receipts.
- Presidential ire directed at Portland
- The recent far right riot in Portland
- The Far right planning their violent riot in Portland
- The far right proud boy pointing a gun at the public
- The far right militias setting up checkpoints
I don’t lie. Furthermore, I was just explaining why the episode was delayed. These are all real things that have happened, they are having a real impact on the lives of the people who live in Portland, and if you feel attacked by this then maybe reassess who you’re aligned with.
Because this has been messed up.
And since I’ve had some people claim that BLM are the real problem… here’s something I wrote regarding the protests against police violence, and appalling degree of police violence the city has experienced as a result.
The issue is a lot more complicated than the soundbites you’re getting on cable news.
As we have been covering the Dark Ages, we have been at the mercy of the scribes. If they don’t write something down, there is almost no way for us to know about it. One of the biggest casualties in this dynamic has been Scotland.
The death of Cnut and the fall of his near-Empire would obviously have impacts on his own dynasty. But while Harold was trying to secure England, Emma was trying to regain power, and poor Edward was trying to stay out of the whole mess, the political tsunami was roaring over the shores of the Irish Sea.
And I guess the best place to start is in a region we haven’t heard much from lately. Wales.
The Medieval chronicler, Adam of Bremen, was writing at around this point in history and among the many things he tells us he also includes how Cnut planned his almost empire. And Adam tells us that Cnut intended Sweyn to rule Norway, Harthacnut to rule Denmark, and Harold Harefoot to rule England.
And that might be true.
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.
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?