Last week in Part I, we learned that Younger Futhark is not a person but the language of the Vikings written on the Runestones around Scandinavia. Some of the biggest of these runestones were erected by King Harald I of Denmark, who united Denmark and Norway? But how does he continue the connection from Younger Futhark to Audiology?
Nationalmuseet(2012) states that most of what historians know about Harold is from the runestones in Jelling, Denmark; where Harald I not only erected monuments to his father and mother, but he also gave some insight into himself with a special stone, depicted at right. He lived from about 935 to 985.
Ericsson (2012) indicates that Harold was an unusual Viking, that is if your concept of Vikings is battles and pillage. He was a good king, who brought Christianity to Scandinavia. Most of the writings say that he was a builder of bridges, ring forts, monuments and other structures.
The origin of the name Blåtand or Bluetooth depends upon the reference. Legends have it that Harald was fond of blueberries and his teeth were blue from the berries. Others say that the name Bluetooth had nothing do to with blue or teeth. There is also some discussion about if blueberries were even available in Denmark in the 10th century and thus the consensus seems to be that these were bilberries (left), which would also stain teeth with a blue color. Deeper research (mostly message boards and scuttlebutt) suggests that Harald may have had a damaged or rotten tooth that had turned black since in the old languages the same word was used for black and blue. Others such as Ericsson (2012) write that Blåtand just means “dark complexion” in the Viking language of Younger Futhark and was simply a comment on his very dark hair, unusual for Vikings.
No matter what color his teeth, he was not the typical Viking ruler. He was forced into Christianity by the German King Otto I after losing a battel to the Germans, and he was baptized by Poppa, a monk, sometime in the 960s. He ruled as a Christian and most references found him to be fair and kind.
The Wars and Harald’s Demise
Wikipedia (2012) says that peace prevailed throughout Denmark so the king was able to turn his thoughts to foreign enterprises. The area in red is Harald’s territory and the area in pink is that of his allies. in the years 945 and 963, he came to the help of Richard the Fearless of Normandy , while his son conquered Samland (present-day Poland). After the assassination of King Harald Greycloak of Norway, the Danish ruler also managed to force the Norwegians into temporary subjection to himself.
The Norse sagas present Harald in a more negative light. He was forced twice to submit to the renegade Swedish prince Styrbjörn the Strong of the Jomsvikings, first by giving Styrbjörn a fleet and his daughter Tyra, the second time by giving up himself as hostage and an additional fleet. Styrbjörn brought this fleet to Uppsala in Sweden in order to claim the Swedish throne. However, this time Harald broke his oath and fled with his Danes to avoid facing the Swedish army at the Battle of the Fýrisvellir.
After his army was defeated by the Germans in the Shadow of Danevirke in 974, Harald lost control of Norway and the Germans settled back into the border area between Scandinavia and Germany. But the German settlers were driven out of Denmark in 983 by an alliance consisting of Obodrite soldiers and troops loyal to Harald. Soon after, Harald was killed fighting off a rebellion led by his son Swein. He was believed to have died in 985 or 986.
Oh yes….in researching this article I also found out that real Viking Helmets do not have horns; the ones with horms must originate from Minnesota!
Ericsson (2012). King Bluetooth. Retrieved January 22, 2012: http://www.cellular.co.za/bluetooth_king_harald.htm
Nationalmuseet (2012). Harold Bluetooth’s Runestone. Retrieved January 22, 2012: http://jelling.natmus.dk/om_jelling/runestenene/harald_blaatands_runesten/language/uk/
Wikipedia (2012). Harald Bluetooth. Retrieved January 22, 2012: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald_Bluetooth