|The Viking church. Moesgård. Museum,|
|south of the hill|
The reason why Hamlet's grave was known, is the name of the hill which it achieved in the beginning of the 1930s via Shakespeare's play Hamlet, who had the inspiration from the Danish chronicle Gesta Danorum, written down by Saxo about year 1200, after having been handed down orally through centuries. In this chronicle is also the legend about Amled, who according to Saxo ruled Denmark in the 6-7. century AC (Iron Age) . Saxo describes that King Amled after many internal feuds had regained the throne, but was killed in a battle against the King of Lejre Rørik's successor Viglet upon a "campus" (field/heath) by his name. The place name Ammelhede north of Hamlet's grave is the only place name in Denmark, which can be transferred to the legend. Kronborg at Elsinore cannot - like 6 other places which through times have claimed the story - document such a connection to a local place name. The story of Ammelhede was the reason why a 10 tons heavy memorial stone was raised on the hill on the initiative of Randers Turistforening in 1933. This is a place for memory, no one knows for sure where the real Amled was buried.
Here is a shortened version of Saxos story about Amled:
Fenge was however insecure about this crazy Amled, and he tried repeatedly to find out what was going on with him. Since Fenge presumed that Amled would be honest to his mother, he arranged that one of his people had to secretly watch a conversation between mother and son, while Fenge was away. The spy hid under a heap of hay in the room, but as soon as Amled saw the heap, he suspected the mischief. He crowed like a cock and jumped around in the pile, until he felt where the guy was hidden, and he stuck through the hay with his sword and killed the spy. He hacked up the corpse, cooked the pieces and threw them to the pigs. Not until then his mother entered the hall, and she reproached him loudly of his foolishness, but now Amled could talk freely: "Shameful woman! You married your husband's murderer and threw yourself affectionately in the arms of the man, who killed your son's father. I play dull with good reason. He, who murdered his brother, would also kill his brother's son. The role of stupidity hides me untit better times come. You, my mother, should be shedding tears, not because of my dullness, but because of your own disgrace". These words made a great impression on Amled's mother, who now felt shame over her marriage to Fenge.
When Fenge returned, he asked for the guy , but no one knew where he was. Amled was asked too, and he replied that he had seen him being eaten by the pigs. Everyone laughed at the idiot. Fenge's fear of his stepson grew, and he decided to send him to England to visit the king. Fenge's intention was to instruct the Anglo-Saxon king to kill the young man at his arrival. Amled accepted in going to England, but agreed secretly with his mother that she one year after his departure should keep a wake for him as if he was dead - and that the walls on that occasion should be covered in blankets.
|Christopher Plummer - Hamlet, Michael Caine - Horatio, Kronborg 1964.|
After almost a year Amled spread a rumor in Denmark that he was dead, but a year after his departure he was back on the Jutland castle, as agreed with his mother. They had begun his wake. When he entered the hall, he was alone with his two golden sticks in his hands. And now he was again acting as crazy as ever. When they asked where his two companions were, he said happily "one here the other there" and pointed at the two sticks. During the drinking he fumbled with his sword and cut his finger. In order to prevent the idot from repeating this they drove a nail through the sheath of his sword so it was impossible for him to draw it. Finally everyone was so drunk that they tumbled about and fell asleep on the floor. Amled fetched his old wooden hooks, tore the blankets down from the walls and fastened them to the sleeping men with the hooks, so they could not get free. Then he put the hall on fire, and all the men were all burned.
|Jude Law, Kronborg 2009.|
Front page of edition 1605:
|Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh as Hamlet and Ofelia, Kronborg 1937.|
Shakespeare built his story on Saxo Grammaticus' story of the Jutland prince Amled which origins from the work Gesta Danorum which was finished ab. 1200. Today Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet is the most cited play in the world, and it is said to be the most performed play world wide. Some say that Shakespeare has made Hamlet the most famous Dane in the world.