Queenship in Medieval Denmark

  • Inge Skovgaard-Petersen


Material for studying the queens of medieval Denmark is very scarce. Among the best sources relevant in this connection are diplomas, coins, annals, chronicles, and saints’ lives. Diplomas provide evidence of Danish queens acting as donors or receivers of land, or as witnesses to royal acts. Only one coin, from the 1120s, mentions the name of a queen expressis verbis: King Niels (r. 1104–34) and his wife Margaret “Fredkulla,” daughter of King Hakon of Norway. We also have some small bracteates (Fig. 3.1) from ca. 1160 on which both a king and queen are represented, but the lack of inscriptions makes their identity uncertain (Jørgensen and Skovgaard 1910). Chronicles and annals, Danish as well as foreign, give a more qualitative representation of the queens although the chroniclers’ bias must be taken into consideration.
Figure 1.

Danish bracteates from the middle of the 12th century (P. Hauberg, Danske Udmyntninger fra Tidsrummet 1146–1241. Det kongelige danske Videnskabernes Selskabs Skrifter, 1906).


Thirteenth Century Twelfth Century Danish Throne Small Bracteate Hanseatic League 
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Copyright information

© John Carmi Parsons 1998

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  • Inge Skovgaard-Petersen

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