anglo-banish period, a.d. 1016—1041.
Canute and his queen Alfgyfe, from a MS. Register of Hyde Abbey formerly in the possession of Thomas Astle, Esq., and engraved in the first volume of Strutt's Horda Angel Cynan. Being excessively rude in the original, they have been put into better drawing.
For the costume of the Danes, from the time of their first descent upon the English coast to the establishment of their dominion in the island by Canute the Great, we have but little authority on d 2
which we can depend,1 but that little enables us to ascertain that in many respects it resembled that of their Scythian kindred the Anglo-Saxons. Indeed, Mr. Strutt shrewdly enough remarks, that the silence of the Anglo-Saxon writers on the subject, while they are particularly diffuse in the description of the dress of their own countrymen, is corroborative of such similarity. It would appear, however, from various passages in the Welsh chronicles and the old Danish ballads, that the favourite if not the general colour of the ancient Danish dress was black.8 Caradoc of Llancarvan repeatedly calls them " the black Danes." The chronicles continually allude to them by the name of the " black army/' In the Danish ballad of • Child Dyring' he is represented as riding even to a bridal feast in " black sendell," * and black, bordered with red, is still common amongst the northern peasantry. Black amongst the Pagan
1 The illuminations prefixed to a copy of the Gospels supposed to have appertained to Canute, and preserved in the Cotton Library (marked Caligula, A. 7), do not belong to the MS., and were probably executed about the time of
Rufiis. Mr. Astle's reliquary, which is said to represent the murder of Theodore, Abbot of Croyland. by the Danes in 690, is. we strongly suspect, of the age of Henry 11»
8 The Danes being undoubtedly of Scythic origin, it ii a curious circumstance that we should find Herodotus mentioning a nation bordering on Scythia who wore no other clothing than black, and whom he therefore calls the Melancnlcenians.
8 Silk. Danish Koempe-Vfeer. Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, 4to. Edinb.
Danes had eertainly no funeral associations con* nected with it. We have already noticed the absence of black in representations of Saxon burials, but it is well known that the Danes nevermourned for the death of even their nearest or dearest relations ;4 and this sombre hue may have been their national colouir, their standard being a raven.4 Arnold of Lubeck describes the whole nation as originally wearing the garments of sailors, as befitted men who lived by piracy and inhabited the sea; but that, in process of time, they became wearers of scarlet, purple, and fine linen.' It is probable, therefore, that on their conversion to Christianity they cast their " 'nighted colour off,'9 and on their establishment in England endeavoured to outshine the Saxons; for we are told that " the Danes were effeminately gay in their dress, combed their hair once a day, bathed once a week, and often changed their attire: by these means they pleased the eyes of the women, and frequently seduced the wives and daughters of the nobility."7
A Saxon MS. Register of Hyde Abbey, written during the reign of Canute, contains his portrait and that of his queen Alfgyfe. (Vide engraving
4 Adam of Bremen distinctly mentions this fact. He flourished about 1127, and may be called, 6ays Mr. Sharon Turner, the Strabo of the Baluc. Hist. Eng. vol. i. p. 30, note.
* See account of the celebrated Bsefkn, worked by Ubo's three sisters in one noontide, and taken by Odon, Earl of Devonshire, in the time of Alfred. Asserius, in Vita Alfr.
• Chap. 5, ver. II. 7 John Wailingford, apud Gale at the head of this chapter.) The king is in & tunic and mantle, the latter ornamented with cords or ribbons, and tassels. He wears shoes, and stockings reaching nearly to the knees, with embroidered tops. The dress is perfectly Saxon. In June, 1766, some workmen repairing Winchester Cathedral discovered a monument, wherein was contained the body of Canute. It was remarkably fresh, had a wreath or circlet round the head, and several other ornaments, such as gold and silver bands. On his finger was a ring, in which was set a remarkably fine stone; and in one of his hands was a silver penny.8
The materials of which their habits were com* posed must have been very splendid. The coronation mantle of Harold Harefoot, given to the Abbey of Croyland, was of silk, embroidered with flowers of gold.0 The vestment which Canute presented to the same abbey was of silk, embroidered with golden eagles ;10 and the rich pall, which he ordered to be laid over the tomb of Edmund Ironside, was embroidered with " the likeness of golden apples, and ornamented with pearls." 11
Bracelets of massive gold, and some of them curiously wrought, were worn by all persons of rank, and always buried with them.18 The Pagan Danes had,
9 Ingulphus, Hist. Abb. Croyl.
10 Ingulphus, Hist. Abb. Croyl. 11 Scala Chron.
18 Bartholinus; Johannes Tinmuth.
indeed, a sacred ornament of this kind kept npoif the altar of their gods, or worn round the arm of the priest, and by which their most solemn vow^ were made ; their common oaths being, " by thé shoulder of their horse," or " by the edge of their sword." Alfred, having gained an advantage over* the Danes, caused them to swear by their holy bracelet, which they had never done before to the king of any nation.18
Of their pride in their long hair, and the care they took of it, we have several instances recorded. Harold Harfagre, i. e. Fair-locks, who derived his' name from the length and beauty of his hair, which is said to have flowed in thick ringlets to his girdle,' and to have been like golden or silken threads, made a vow to his mistress to neglect his precious curls' till he had completed the conquest of Norway for her love ;14 and a young Danish warrior, going td be beheaded, begged of his executioner that his hair might not be touched by a slave or stained with hii blood.15 In the Anglo-Saxon poem on Beowolf, mention is made of
" The long-haired one, illustrious in battle, The bright lord of the Danes."
On their arrival in England we still find them attentive to these flowing locks, combing them once
18 Asserius, in Vit. Alfred, and Ethelwerd, Hist. lib. iv. cap. 3.
19 Jomswikinga Saga, in Bartholinus de Cans. Contempt. Mort. lib. i. c. 5.
* day; hut a few years afterwards the fashion of popping was imported from France, as we shall see in the next chapter, and the portrait of Canute seems to have been drawn after that change took place* The Knyghtliuga Saga describes Canute's hair as profuse.
the armovr of the anglo-danes was similar to that of the Anglo-Saxons of the tenth century. 3y the laws of Gala, said to have been established by Haqon the Good, who died in 963, find that any possessor of six marks, besides his qlothes, was required to furnish himself with a red shield of two boards in thickness, a spear, and an axe or a sword. JJe who wa? worth twelve marks in addition to the above, was ordered to procure a steel cap (st&l hufu); whilst he who had eighteen marka was obliged to have a double red shield, a helmet» a coat of mail (brypin), or a panzqr, that is to say, a tvnic pf quilted linen or eloth (which hereafter we shall find warp by the Normans under the name of a gambeson), and all usual military wear pons.19 In the history of this same king, who was called " Adelstein's Fostra," from having been educated at the court of our English Athelstan, we read that the king put on a tunic of mail (brynio), girded round him, his sword called quern-bit (i. e. millstone-biter), and set on his head his gilded
16 Thorstens Vikings-sons Saga, with ReenhieUn's notes« 12mo. Lips. 1680, cap. 10, p. 78.
helmet He took a spear in his hand, and hung his shield by his side.1* So also, in the description of the bactle of Sticklastad, where King Olaf of Norway, called the Saint, was slain, a.d. 1030, th# monarch is said to hare worn a golden helmet, a white shield, a golden-hilted and exceedingly sharp sword, and a tunic of ringed mail," hringa brynio,"*9 the " ringed byrne " of the Saxons* The Danish helmet, like the Saxon, had the nasal, which in Scandinavian is called nef-biorg.1*
The Danish shields were of two sorts, circular and lunated ; the latter rising in the centre of the inner curve, and therefore exactly resembling the Phrygian or Amazonian pelta.*0 That they were generally painted red we learn from the laws of Gula before quoted; and Giraldus de Barri, who was an eyewitness of the transactions of the North*
17 Heimskringla, L 155, edit Schoning. w Ibid, ii 352. w Saga Magn. Btrrf. c. It.
* Strutt, Horda Angel Cynan. The shield engraved there is from an Anglo-Saxon MS. marked Tiberius, C. 6, in the Cotton collection. It was not peculiar to the Danes, but carried, apparently, by all who fought with the battle-axe. The expression " moony shields occurs in the Lod-broka-ouida, but it may mean orbicular. That the Scy thiaus pursued the Cimmerians into Asia Minor, six or seven hundred yeans before Christ, is asserted by Herodotns and Strabo; and the tribes that afterwards migrated with Odin towards the Baltic might have adopted, from their consanguinei, the Phrygian shield as well as the Phrygian cap and tunic of rings. In the Royal Museum at Copenhagen is an ancient group of figures cut out of the tooth of the walrus, in which appears a King on horseback, holding a crescent-shaped shield. Archaeologia, vol. xxiv.
men in Ireland in the next century, says," the Irish carry red shields in imitation of the Danes." Per-sons of distinction, however, ornamented theirs very highly with gilding and various colours;21 and though regular armorial bearings are not acknowledged earlier than the middle of the twelfth century, fanciful devices and personal insignia were used by the Romans and the Gauls, and crosses were gilt and painted on the white Norwegian shields at the commencement of the eleventh, accordingly to a MS. quoted by Sperlingius, describing an expedition of King Olaf the Saint, who also ordered his soldiers to chalk a cross upon their helmets. In Saemund's poetical Edda mention is made of a red shield with a golden border; and the encomiast of Queen Emma, in describing Canute's armament, speaks of the glittering effulgence of the shields suspended on the sides of the ships.8*
21 Sir F. Madden has collected all the known authorities on the subject in an interesting paper in the Archaeologia, vol. xxiv. He remarks " The usual pigments were white and red." The white shield was the distinction of the ancient Cimbri. Vide Plutarch, in Mario; Val. Max. lib. ii. c. 6, The Goths of all descriptions seem to have borne them originally white, and ornamented them by degrees with gold and colours. In the poetical Edda Gunnar, one of the Reguli of Germany is made to say, " My helmet and white shield come from the Hall of Kiars" (a Gaulish chief who lived in the sixth century). The Anglo-Saxon shields in the illuminations are generally white, with red or blue borders and circles painted on them, but we find no crosses depicted on them before the eleventh century—a fact which bears out Sperlingius in his conjecture that they were introduced (in the North at least) by St. Olaf, as above mentioned.
Of the splendour sometimes exhibited in the military accoutrements of this period, we have another instance in the attempt of Earl Goodwin to appease the anger of Hardicanute. He presented that prince with a magnificent vessel, on board of which were eighty soldiers, armed in coats of gilded mail, their shields embossed with gold, and their helmets richly gilt. Each of them had two golden bracelets on either arm, weighing sixteen ounces. The hilts of their swords were also of the same precious metal, and every man had a Danish axe on his left shoulder, and a spear in his right hand.*8
The spear, the sword, the bow, and particularly the double-bladed axe, were their offensive weapons. They were famous for the use of the last. The Welsh bard Gruffyd ab Merredydd speaks of
" A destructive heavy fleet Of the men of Lochlyn (Denmark) With their keen-edged axes."
" At Scarpa-Skeria," says the dying king, Ragnar Lodbroch, " cruelly hacked the trenchant battle-axe^ " To shoot well with the bow " was also a necessary qualification of a Danish warrior. The Saxons had totally neglected archery.
We have little or no authority for the anglo-danish female costume, but can scarcely doubt its similarity to the general
® Florence of Worcester, 403; MS. Chron.; Cotton, Tiberius, B. i. and iv.
habit of the sex in the north of Europe at this period. Canute's queen wears the tunic, the mantle, the veil, and either the diadem or the half-bend; but she was the widow of Ethelred, and daughter of Richard, third Duke of Normandy. The mantle, like that of the king, has cords or ribands, with tasselled ends attached to it. In the poem on Boe-wolf, the following lines appear respecting the Queen of Denmark:—
" Waltheow came forth, The queen of Hrothgar, Mindful of her descent»
She the queen, circled with bracelets."
" Encircled with gold she went, The queen of the free-like people, To sit by her lord."
In the Danish ballad of Ingefred and Gerdrune,'4 mention is made of Ingefred's golden girdle, and she takes a gold ring from her arm to give to the physician.
It is scarcely necessary to remark, on closing this chapter, that though the monarch, and many of his nobles, warriors, and domestics, were Danes, the people were still Anglo-Saxous; and if any difference in dress did exist between the two nations,
84 Ksempe-Vizer, p. 662.
the Danes were as likely to adopt the fashions of their new country, as the English were to assume those of their new rulers. The researches now making by the learned Professor Worsaau of Copenhagen, both in Ireland and Denmark, are likely to throw considerable light on this subject and furnish us with authentic types by which both past and future discoveries may be tested.
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