In Jelling, Denmark, Harald Bluetooth had a runestone raised in memory of his parents, King Gorm and Queen Thyra. The monument stands next to the two enormous ship settings (burial mounds), generally thought to be the two rulers’ graves. The runes carved into the stone reads: “King Harald had made these runes after Gorm, his father and after Thyra his mother, the Harald who won Denmark all and Norway and made the Danes Christian” (my translation). At this same location in Jelling stands another runestone. It claims to have been commissioned by Gorm in the memory of his wife, Thyra.
There is some dispute to this claim as most historians and archaeologists think that Thyra outlived Gorm. Some believe that Gorm could have had the stone made before Thyra’s death, though that does not seem to be a common practice at the time. Some suggest that after Thyra’s death, Harald built the burial mounds close together, exhumed his father’s body, and laid it next to his wife. Harald likely commissioned these giant mounds and the runestone to prove his status and power. But I like to think that it is also a symbol of caring, love, and respect for his parents that Harald had them buried next to each other.
Artist: Libbe Sambiria Bjerknæs
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Click here to learn more about what this license means
Thiss means you are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format; Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material. As long as you: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made; ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
Credit: Libbe Sambiria Bjerknæs and Open Past
Want more images?
We will be publishing more images in the coming months. If you would like to be alerted when they are published, please subscribe below.