Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Holy. Cow.

The romantic notion that one's ancestors were royalty is not entirely implausible. Through the many generations of marriages and births, different bloodlines become intertwined. Corroborating the fact is another problem entirely, as it can be rather difficult to trace a family lineage through the intractable lines of history. I realize that I'm lucky in that regard, because after some research, (and a stumbling block in the Dark Ages) I pieced together that through my Mother's side of the family, we are nearly directly descended from royalty in Denmark, Sweden, England, Norway, and Holland. But it doesn't end there...

Incredibly, the records for this lineage, for which I traced back without a break, date to 30 AD. Unbelievable, but true. The royal lineage is initially linked through King Valdemar II Valdemarsson of Denmark, who was born on June 28th, 1170. What I pieced together from there is that for the preceding five hundred years, my ancestry was the head of state and ruler of the country (whether it be Denmark, Sweden, England, or Holland by virtue of marriages of allegiance and political gamesmanship). Being that I only discovered this familial linkage yesterday, I don't even pretend to know anything about the actual history of Europe through this time. Other than the broad strokes, the likely mounting of armies for the Crusades to the Holy Land, and the survival of the lineage through the Black Plague of the Middle Ages, I'm pretty clueless.So, after the briefest of searches, here are a few of the more intriguing people that dot my ancestry.

King Valdemar "The Great" I of Denmark (Born January 14, 1131, Died May 12, 1182): "Valdemar's father was murdered days before his birth; his mother, Ingeborg, daughter of Mstislav I of Kiev, named him after her grandfather, Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev. {Vladimir's father in law was King Harold Godwinson of England. Vladimir 's grandfather was Constantine Monomachus, Byzantine Emperor}." (Wikipedia)

Canute Lavard "King of the Slavic Odobrits": "On 7 January 1131, Canute was trapped in the forest of Haraldsted near Ringsted in Zealand and murdered. Some sources attribute the murder to Magnus, some to (King) Niels himself. The murder provoked a civil war that intermittently lasted until 1157, ending only with the triumph of Canute’s posthumous son Valdemar I. The fate of Canute and his son’s victory formed the perfect background for his canonisation in 1170, which was requested by the same Valdemar. His feast day is celebrated on the day of his death, January 7." (Wikipedia)

So, what that means potentially is that my Great (to the 14th or 15th Great) Grandfather was both a King, and posthumously, a real-life, Vatican approved Saint, which is just surreally unfathomable.

Moving on down the line, we have King Sweyn I Tjúguskegg "Forkbeard", who was "king of Denmark and England, as well as parts of Norway. He was a Viking leader and the father of Cnut the Great. On his father Harald Bluetooth's death in late 986 or early 987, he became King of Denmark; in 1000, with allegiance of the Trondejarl, Erik of Lade, he was ruler over most of Norway. After a long effort at conquest, and shortly before his death, in 1013 he is said to have founded Swansea (which is often said to come from "Sweyn's Ey"), he then became King of England. In the last months of his life, he was the Danish sovereign of a North Sea empire, which only his son Cnut was to rival in northern Europe." (Wikipedia)

Wow.... just, wow.

I could go on about this forever, but let's face it, it's probably only interesting to me and whatever family member might happen to see this post. So, I'll close with the earliest ancestor I could track down, one Scaldea Trojan, who literarally, lived during the life of Jesus Christ. I don't know anything more than his name, but if this page is correct, is the 16th generation removed (directly) from Memnon Trojan, King of Troy...

At this point, legend, myth, and reality are all intermingled, but what I read when I researched Memnon very nearly blew my mind...

"Brazen-crested Memnon, a comely man according to Odysseus, is the King of the Ethiopians who came with a great force to help Troy against the Achaean invaders, and was killed by Achilles." (Greek Mythology Link)

This of course is both fantastic and fantastical, astounding and unbelievable, all at the same time. The two things I do know for sure are this: if you don't have a strong and sudden desire to research your own family ancestry, you never will, and that I have a whole hell of a lot of reading to do...

No comments: