Cnut for Danelaw, Cnut against Swein: two aspects on the process of Cnut’s conquest of England
By Minoru Ozawa
The Round Table – Danelaw Reconsidered : A symposium at the 23rd Western Branch Conference The Japan Society for Medieval English Studies, Vol.22 (2008)
Introduction: Cnut the Great obtained the crown of England in 1017, next that of Denmark in 1019 and at last that of Norway in 1028, and died in 1035. His established territory has been sometimes called North Sea empire. For many years this empire has been examined by British and Danish scholars like J.C.H.R. Steenstrup, L.M. Larson, A.E. Christensen, M.K.Lawson and N.Lund. However, despite the commonly recognized historical importance of Cnut, some problems remain to be solved. Some of the problems concern Denmark where Cnut was brought up in his youth. As many scholars claimed, Cnut, certainly, regarded England as main territory rather than Denmark.Here we should emphasize the fact that Cnut was originally aⅥking leader of Danish origin.It seems to me that his ethnicity gave lasting influence on each process of incursions, conquest and government of England implicitly and explicitly.
In this article, in order to know Cnut’s govemment of England, I would like to look closer at two aspects of the process of his conquest which few scholars have discussed on. Both of the aspects concern the problems depending on his ethnicity. The next chapter will deal with the relationship between the Danelaw and the Jelling kings, and the chapter 3 about what Swein Forkbeard left to his son Cnut.