Saturday, January 19, 2019

07 Works, Today, January 19th, is Saint Canute's Day, With Footnotes - 19

Holy Knud on the medieval wall painting in the Wigsteads Church
Canute IV, byname Canute the Holy, or Saint Canute, (born c. 1043—died July 10, 1086, Odense, Den.; canonized 1101; feast days January 19, July 10), martyr, patron saint, and king of Denmark from 1080 to 1086.
Canute succeeded his brother Harold Hen as king of Denmark. He opposed the aristocracy and kept a close association with the church in an attempt to create a powerful and centralized monarchy.
 Canute the Great illustrated in an Initial of a medieval manuscript
At the beginning of his reign, he led a war against the barbarians who were threatening to take over the civilized world.   King Canute and his army defeated them. He forged an empire that took in the crowns of Denmark and Norway, as well as England, where his reign officially lasted from January 6 1017 to his death on November 12 1035. He introduced Christianity to people who had never heard of Christianity.
King Canute's encounter with the waves

Canute is supposed to have had his throne carried to a beach near his castle where, comfortably seated at the water’s edge, he then commanded the tide to cease rising – with the predictable result of getting his feet very wet. Historians claim that if this happened, it was for Canute to prove that even the power of kings is worthless against the elements.

The death of Knud the Saints in St. Albani Church 1086, fragment of hand-colored copper engraving. 
Photo arslong

In ecclesiastical matters, Canute generously patronized several churches, including the Cathedral of Lund, Denmark’s archbishopric; established a Benedictine abbey at Odense; and supported apostolic preaching throughout Denmark. In temporal matters, he attempted an administrative reform, particularly an enforced levying of tithes that incurred the wrath of the rural aristocracy. In 1085 he reasserted the Danish claims to England and, with the count of Flanders and King Olaf III of Norway, prepared a massive invasion fleet that alarmed the Norman-English king William I the Conqueror.

The death of Knud the Saint in St. Albani Church in 1086
Illustration: The History of Denmark in Pictures 

Canute’s plan, however, had to be abandoned suddenly, for those aristocrats who opposed his tax policy revolted as he was preparing to embark for England. He fled from the rebels, led by his brother Prince Olaf, to St. Alban’s Church, Odense, which he had founded, and was assassinated there with the entire royal party.

Christian Albrecht von Benzon (1816 - 1849)
The death of Canute IV of Denmark in the Church of Saint Albanus (1086), c. 1843

Christian Albrecht von Benzon (11 July 1816, Copenhagen – 3 September 1849, Paris) was a Danish painter.
He took up an artistic career relatively late, after encouragement from an uncle, and studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1833 to 1836, though he won no medals there. In 1835 he painted a portrait of Hans Christian Andersen (now in the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle). Benzon also exhibited portraits, genre paintings and one history painting in Leipzig from 1836 to 1846.
Benzon travelled to Düsseldorf where he sent back two paintings to Denmark; in 1842 The Last Confession (also known as A Sinner on His Deathbed or The Death of Don Juan) and in 1844 The Death of Saint Canute.
In 1845 he travelled to Paris, where he won a gold medal from Louis Philippe. However, he ended up in debtors' prison in Paris, where he died of cholera on 30 September 1849. More on Christian Albrecht von Benzon
Canute was buried in St. Alban’s, renamed c. 1300 St. Canute’s Cathedral. Miracles were recorded at his tomb, and, at the request (1099) of King Erik III Evergood of Denmark, he was canonized (1101) by Pope Paschal II. More on Saint Canute
Sct. Alban's martyrdom from a 1200-century manuscript, now in Trinity College Library, Dublin.

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