Friday, 17 June 2016

Better And Better

"Years went by.
"Denmark waxed in might and wealth. The kingly brothers worked well together. Hroar steered the realm and strove to better it, with a wisdom that grew as he himself did. Showing enough manly skills to keep the respect of warriors, he became much loved...
"He must travel a lot, building up the land as he wished." (Hrolf Kraki's Saga, pp. 61-62)


makes an annual round of the Things;
listens to men alone and at length;
sees for himself how matters stand;
travels abroad under the white shield of peace;
guests foreign visitors and listens to them;
occasionally fights to discourage the greedy and ruthless but leaves most of this to Helgi.

Hroar is good. Helgi is a mixture of good and bad. He leads plundering cruises but also hunts robbers, despoils viking lairs and overawes outland chiefs who trouble the peace. One of Hroar's greatest skills is to continue working with his wayward brother.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

It helped enormously that King Helgi was unshakably loyal to his older brother and always accepted him as the senior monarch.

It was one of the weaknesses of the Germanic/Scandinavian concept of kingship that ALL the sons of a king were held to have an equal claim to that office. Inevitably that led to disputed successions when royal brothers quarreled over who would succeed their father.