Niels Ebbesen

Randers, 1 April 1340 Nightfall. 48 men force themselves into the house of Gerhard III, alternatively known as "the bald count" (with an 'a', indeed), and find him inside his bedroom. One of the men steps forward and chops the count's head clean off. After chopping down Gerhard's chaplain, a knight, and three soldiers, the... Continue Reading →

In the Snake Pit

Ragnar Lodbrók died in a snake pit, laughing. At least, that is what the sagas tell us. The Danish antiquarian Thomas Bartholin the Younger (1659-90) presented Ragnar's remarkable demise as a prime example of the contempt for death that he deemed typical of the people he called the 'ancient Danes', but whom we would now... Continue Reading →

An Ode to Failure

Is this a blog about failure? The question popped up in my head when I was browsing through my last few posts. I mean, I wrote about the poor Høyer, who owing to his pigheadedness lost his membership of the Royal Art Academy, his workshop, his clientele, and his good name. And I wrote about... Continue Reading →

Tordenskjold, Linnaeus and the Hydra

The Danish-Norwegian naval hero Tordenskjold and the Swedish "Father of Modern Taxonomy" Carl von Linné - perhaps better known as Linnaeus - are connected through the taxidermied remains of a seven-headed hydra. The mysterious beast indirectly caused the young Tordenskjold's death and forced Linnaeus to leave Hamburg in a hurry. Hannover, 9 November 1720 After... Continue Reading →

Kjerstrup

In my previous blog I cited Jens Johan Vangensten's amusing anecdote about a disastrous attempt at ballooning by a certain Kjerstrup. Today I could not contain my curiosity and tried to find out whether I could dig up some more information about this intriguing character from the comfort of my office chair. No fooling around... Continue Reading →

Tordenskjold i Dynekilen (1844)

Writing means killing, killing darlings. My latest journal article - on the afterlives of the naval hero Peter Wessel Tordenskjold - is no exception to this gruesome rule. The article has many a deleted scene. One of the more enjoyable ones is related to Henrik Hertz's play Tordenskjold i Dynekilen from 1844 (see pages 33-37... Continue Reading →

C. F. Høyer

Between the years 1812 and 1821, the Danish art world was entangled in a heated feud on the "usability of Norse mythology in the arts." Main players in the "Yes! Norse mythology should be used in the arts!" camp were the theologian Jens Møller and the antiquarian Finnur Magnússon; they considered the Norse gods to... Continue Reading →

The Wild Hunt

In the Summer of, say, 1864, a young Norwegian student hiked through the mountains of Hallingdal, all alone. The weather had been wonderful, unbearably warm even. But all of a sudden our student saw dark clouds appearing behind the snowy peaks of the mountains. A mighty storm was approaching, and with some pace. Just in... Continue Reading →

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Weblog van Jona Lendering

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Invenīre: Discovery & Innovation in Pre-Modern Scandinavia

February 22- 23, 2019, Berkeley, California

The Woods Called

and I had to go