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Medieval tradition

Around 1200 the Danish historians Sven Aggesen and Saxo Grammaticus both give vivid descriptions of King Gorm. However, the king lived more than 200 years before, in the first half of the 10th century. We cannot decide whether the description of him is built upon handed down knowledge or the preconceptions of the authors’ own time. Queen Thyra was pretty, clever and energetic, whilst King Gorm apparently had both deficiencies and vices.

Sven Aggesen (1186-87) on Gorm the Old and Thyra

”Gorm Løghe, that is to say: the Lazy, who surrendered himself exclusively to pleasure and drinking as a king can allow himself to. His wife was that well-known and famous woman, I mean Thyra, she had been given the nickname the Kingdom’s Adornment... a striking woman, who nature had blessed with countless gifts. For both an admirable grace decorated her countenance and rose mixed with lily had painted the purple colour tinge on her cheeks. Likewise she was chaste, modest, witty and abundantly filled with all sorts of fineness in her nature.” (Brevis Historia Regum Dacie, Chapters IV-V, translated into Danish by M. Cl. Gertz, 1917).

Saxo Grammaticus (circa 1200) on Gorm the Old

”Gorm was reckoned to be an unusually tall man, but on the other hand was not in possession of a mind that could match his body. That is because he had enough in the kingdom he possessed and led, and used no more than the force that was necessary, which meant that he was more interested in preserving his dignity than in increasing it, insisting that it was better to defend himself rather than lay violent hands on others, and was more worried about taking good care of what he had than aspiring to more.” (Gesta Danorum, Book IX, XI,1, translated into Danish by Peter Zeeberg, 2000).