Monday, December 30, 2013

Trondheim. People, Symbols: Social and Battle History. Klerkon's Head at Olaf I's feet?

Research pays. Atop Olaf I's statue column, appears Klerkon's head, 
severed by Olaf I in vengeance for Klerkon's killing of Olaf I's foster father, Thorolf.

It takes odd travelers to even notice.  Is our theory correct?

We are Europe Road Ways, ad hoc Car-Dan Tour Company. 

We miss nothing, speculate much and vet often. 
Down is up.

A walk around Trondheim.

1.  Olaf I Tryggvason. 11th Century.  The one with the head at his feet. 
2.  Tordenskjold, 18th Century
3.  Go'dagen. A lady, always.
4,  Doorway in Trondheim:  sunburst, solstice, or echo of old Norse

1.  Olaf I Tryggvason  Whose head? Is it Klerkon?
Or some cleric offering a blessing for Olaf I's killing in the name of Christ.

Note the mystery head at the feet of Olaf I on the column at Trondheim: Is it Klerkon, who killed Olaf I's foster father, and then Olaf I killed him with his axe. Or is this an institutional cleric, who gave military support to Olaf for forcing conversions.

Vote:  Klerkon killed by Olaf I.

 We prefer the Klerkon theory, for the head. A vengeance killing fills in a unique biographical detail, even a just cause, in that day. If this head signifies just another chieftain in Scandinavia who got a blessing for converting in order a) to get military help from the church in the ruler's turf goals, or b) to escape deadly invasion by the powerful institutional church forces if he refused to convert, it is not worth repeating.
Background:  This column, Town Square in Trondheim, is 58 feet tall, with Olaf I Tryggvason atop, as though he should or does rule the world.  Olaf I lived 960's -1000, with a childhood including successive episodes of benign slavery in Russia, see The Edinburgh Review 1875, Volumes 142-143, pp.111 ff.  He conducted a "storm of conversion", see site, that was ferocious so that many were turned against him instead.  He solidifyied his turf with institutional church allies, and had even fought for Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. The church militant.  Ask: Was he at all interested in Christianity as a way of life of turning the other cheek, what concept of it was modeled to him, or was he a warrior-politician mix, who saw his opportunities for alliances if he whacked the hands and heads off  "heathens." As in the rest of Europe, the Christianity that prevailed was not the Christianity of the founder.

Olaf I was the son of Tryggvas, an earlier regional king, see, and was king in a part of Norway for only five years.  In that time, however, he extended his hegemony to neighboring islands by forcing Christianity, the convert or die version, upon the people of the Shetlands, Faroes, Orkney, Iceland, as well as parts of Norway:

  • "All Norway shall be Christian or die," quoth he.  He apparently settled Trondheim in 997 or so. Alliances ruled in seeking power:  whether religious, political systems, or other.  We see little "inspiration". The Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I, ruled 962-973, and successors, offered the means to acquire.  Soldiers. See overview or religion gone militant at

As in the rest of Europe after the earlier monastic contemplatives and quietly helpful Christians were overcome, Christianity soon meant no ideas of do unto others and loving your neighbor. Selective dogma spawned in Europe promoted political and turf interests after the earlier Celtic missionaries and their voluntary modeling of a good life..

  • Look at Olaf I Tryggvason, now held high on his power pedestal as other European leaders were held high because they won for "Christianity" by force. 
  • Is that Christian?  He got his "friends," or local sorcerers, stories vary, drunk, and then burned their houses if they did not convert.  He implemented other methods for compelled Christianity, including the directly brutal: mutilate, banish, otherwise punish, see

Look closer at Olaf I on his pedestal in Trondheim. The head at the feet of Olaf I.  Ask sculptor Wilhelm Rasmussen who it is. I cannot find itdefinitively yet.  Does it represent the fate of the determined indigenous religious believers, who resisted Olaf's "Christianity?"  Think of the European alliances dangling temptingly within reach of Olaf if he converted Norway.  Politics, not inspiration, as today. with our religio-commercial-cultural hegemony compulsions.

2.  Tordenskjold.
 18th Century Naval Commander, with attitude, near Church of St. Mary 

Walk from Trondheim Cathedral toward the Church of Our Lady, and see this trendy fellow.  The one on the pedestal.

Tordenskjold is the knighted name (thanks to Frederick IV, King of Denmark and Norway) of one Peter Wessel, 1690-1720, an adventurous and successful naval officer in a variety of battles among Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, in the early 18th Century.  He also survived a courts martial and arose again to rank of captain in one dicey turn.  This statue is located near the Church of Our Lady in Trondheim. Sites about Wessel seem to be all in Norwegian, so search for Tordensjkold Trondheim and click on the translate.

3.  Go'dagen.

There was a resident, a citizen, lady of the market, who is honored because she was a consistent, humble presence, and always said, Good Day.  Go'dagen.

Anna Cornelia Holm frequented the square in Trondheim who became the model for the sculptor. Anna Cornelia Holm came to Trondheim when she was a girl, as a maid, and in later years sat outside the Cathedral on a bench.  To greetings, she would respond, "Go'dagen." Look up Norway's Wikipedia for the information.

4.  Norse indigenous religion. Vestiges of old norse in new houses?  The sunrise, the sunburst.


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