Denmark: The Mound of Hagbard

F1000021dmtripOn our trip around Zealand, my manuscript summer class stopped in what felt like the middle of nowhere to see a bronze age (1800- 500 BC) mound mentioned in the great Gesta Danorum (History of the Danes), a Latin work of medieval “history” written a Dane named Saxo Grammaticus in the 12th century AD. Saxo mentions Hagbard’s Mound (Hagbardshøj in Danish) as physical evidence of the tragic love story of Hagbard and Signe…..scroll down for my brief retelling.The Mound of Hagbard, DenmarkOnce upon a time, there was a handsome Norwegian prince named Hagbard. This gallant knightly fellow was in love with a Danish princess, Signe, and she loved him back. Alas, Hagbard had, within the last few years, killed Signe’s brother, making him less than desirable as a son-in-law to the King and Queen. In order to spend time with his lady friend, Hagbard dressed up as a shield maiden and snuck into the Danish court. Signe knew that his life was in peril, and she swore that if he were sent to the gallows, she would follow him to the grave by lighting her bedroom on fire and burning alive (ahhhh love). Surprise surprise Hagbard was discovered and carted off to hang. Of course, poor Hagbard was tormented by the thought that Signe might not love him enough to follow through on her gruesome oath. So, he hung his cloak on the gallows to see what would happen. Signe saw the cloak and thought that her lover was swinging…so she promptly self-immolated like any truly love-struck teen would. Hagbard spotted the flames and went happily to his death, because there’s nothing to ease the terror of dying quickly like knowing that your lover is dying and slow and horrific death by fire. The end. The Mound of Hagbard, DenmarkIf these crazy Danish kids reminded you of a certain Romeo and Jules, you might be interested to know where a certain Danish Shakespearean character (yup I speak of everyone’s favorite pouty prince, Hamlet) originally comes from….that’s right….a legend preserved by our very own Saxo! Ahh history. The Mound of Hagbard, Denmark[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. I’m currently on exchange in Copenhagen from the University of Iceland. If you want to see more of my film photography from Denmark, follow the blog on wordpress and/or facebook and click here for the rest of the posts in the “Denmark” category.]

 

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