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treated by him with great cruelty, for he was chained and thrown into the dungeon of Söborg Castle, where he was kept for many years in painful and close confinement, an act of injustice and cruelty, which, as we shall see, brought a bitter return to Prince Valdemar. Bishop Valdemar's ally Count Adolf of Holstein was also forced to submit, and his land was seized on by Duke Valdemar who threw the unhappy count into the dungeons of Söborg.

The latter years of Knud were disturbed by disputes with Philip Augustus of France, whose cruel conduct to his queen, Ingeborg, the Danish king's sister, gave rise to much trouble both in France and in Denmark and led the pope more than once to excommunicate the French monarch and his people. Bishop Absalon went on to the last days of his life working for the good of King Knud and his brother Valdemar, whom he had loved and cared for from their childhood. These princes owed to him much of the skill in knightly arts for which they were noted, but he had taken care that they should be adepts in the learning as well as the warlike exercises and athletic sports of their age, and had caused them to be instructed in all the historical knowledge which could be gained in those times. Absalon was a kind friend to those who cared for learning, and he encouraged Saxo Grammaticus and his friend Svend Aagesen to collect all the popular Danish traditions and historical tales that could be learnt among the old Skalds and poets; giving money to them and to the other monks in Soro monastery to enable them to carry out their search for these remains.

Absalon died in the year 1201, and a few months later the death of Knud VI. opened the path to the throne to his brother Prince Valdemar, who was now the nearest heir, as the late


See Chapter II. Bishop Absalon, who had studied at the University of Paris, was learned for the age in which he lived. He spent all his large fortune in enriching the monasteries of Esrom, Vitsköl, Ringsted and Oem, which had been founded under his predecessor, the primate Eskil, who had been the first to call Cistercian monks into Denmark. Under Eskil and Absalon the Danish Church acquired special canonical laws, and the chapters first claimed the right of choosing their bishops, independently of the sovereign's wishes and only subject to the pope's approval.

king had left no children. Valdemar was in Northern Germany at the time he heard of his brother's death, and so great had been his success over his enemies, that the princes of Holstein, Lauenburg, Pomerania, Rygen and Mecklenburg, without waiting to see on whom the choice of the Danish Thing would fall, at once did homage to him in a solemn court, held at Lübeck, where the Hanse Leaguers joined them in accepting Valdemar for their sovereign lord.




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London: Macmillan & CO


DENMARK FROM 1202 TO 1259.

The greatness of Denmark under Valdemar Sejr; his successes for twenty

years—The sudden blow by which all the glory of the Danish Monarchy was thrown down-The fatal hunt on Lyö-Valdemar and his son gagged, bound, and carried away by night—They are kept captive in Germany for three years—Their hard fate-Cruelty of Black Henry : Count Albert of Orlamunde tries to rescue them ; is defeated and put in the same dungeon with Valdemar-Valdemar's return to Denmark ; nearly made captive a second time; his merits in peace ; his law. books; his death; his two wives ; their sons; the fame of Valdemar among the Danes—The troubles under Valdemar's sons and grandsons - Erik ; his disputes with his brothers ; his wars; his nickname Plovpeng ; his visit to Slesvig—The conversation of the brothers-Abel's rage -Erik murdered ; his body sunk in the Slie-Abel's false oath of innocence ; his choice as King; his murder— The recovery of Erik's body-Christopher I.; his disputes with the clergy ; excommunicated ; conduct of people; Christopher's murder.

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Valdemar II. 1202-1241.–Never in the whole period of her existence had Denmark been in so prosperous and glorious a condition as under the earlier part of Valdemar II.'s rule. His many conquests gained for him the well-merited title of “Sejr," the conqueror, and his great merits as a lawgiver and a ruler secured him the love of the Danish people, who, not only in his own times, but to the present day, have looked upon him as the best and noblest of the kings of Denmark. Soon after he came to the throne Valdemar overcame his enemy Adolf, Count-Duke of Holstein, and compelled him to give up

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