For those who are interested in Danish history the Jelling dynasty from the second half of the 10th century to 1042 has had a special meaning. The successive 6 kings from Gorm the Old (-958) to Hardecnut (-1042) transformed a small Danish kingdom into one of the most influential states in Northern Europe in the 11th century. After Gorm and Harald made steadier the foundation of the kingdom the following kings expanded their stage of activity westward to gain booty with their army. In 1013 Swein conquered England to take the crown into his hand and, after his sudden death, his son Canute reconquered the kingdom to reign over three kingdoms of England, Denmark and Norway which surrounded the North Sea.
While it is important to reevaluate the rule of the Jelling dynasty from the viewpoint of European political history, we should remember another important activity by the Danes: raising rune stones in memory of the dead.
As some scholars including me noticed in recent times, raising rune stone – which demands much resource — was a kind of political activity for the contemporary landed magnates to demonstrate their power. This is the case for the Jelling kings, which resulted in creating the magnificent Jelling monument including DR41 and DR42. Did the Jelling dynasty stop raising their rune stones at the time of rulership of Swein Forkbeard, however? In my report I will aim to reconstruct the commemorative strategy of the Jelling dynasty through rune stones after the Jelling stones in the context of a changing Danish society.