Sunday, May 02, 2021



Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Spice Herb

Petroselinum crispum

Parsley Petroselinum crispum is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region and naturalized elsewhere in Europe - it is widely cultivated as a herb, a spice and a vegetable. The Latin name Petroselinum means "that which grows upon a cliff". Parsley was in ancient time shipped from Egypt to Greece and brought on to the Romans who brought it with them to Middle Europe. Today it is cultivated all over the world. Two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf and the Italian flat leaf group (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum). The flat leaf group more closely resembles the natural wild species. 

In Denmark parsley is not a part of our wild flora but it is often seen feral from cultivating. Parsley is the spice herb most commonly used in Scandinavia.

The fresh look of the plant means that it can be cultivated among the flowers in the garden and it is a fine border plant in the kitchen garden. The ancient Greek gardens were often framed with a border of parsley. Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some gardeners as it is easier to cultivate, it is more tolerant of both rain and sunshine and has a stronger flavor, while curley leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing. A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick leaf stems resembling celery.

Devil, Fanefjord, Møn /GB
Parsley is biennial, the second year arrive lots of umbels with yellowgreen flowers and with the characteristic two-piece fruits. After the blooming season the leaves have a bitter taste. Parsley is easy to cultivate but it takes 7-8 weeks before you see a hint of something above ground. In the old days it was said that it took such a long time because the little seeds had to go seven times to and from the devil to ask permission to get up. Each tour took one week. But when Christianity arrived all the poor  little seeds had to go seven times to and from the pope before they could get up through the soil.

The seeds can be sowed directly in the earth or in pots in spring. Some give the advice to put the seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours before sowing.  The seeds have a bitter taste and are not suited for food. Parsley does not require the big care, but the rows with the new plants must be kept free of weed and the earth must be loose  If the parsley stands in a very sunny spot it is necessary to  water them regularly. Parsley should never be cultivated in the same place two years in a row.
You can start to pluck the leaves as soon as the plant has achieved a fair size. If the plants get enough water they will grow well. Parsley tolerates low temperatures well and you will be able to pluck fresh parsley until Christmas. The plant can overwinter but likes to be covered with sprigs of spruce in the cold period, then you'll have the old plant to pluck in early spring until it blooms and withers, while the newly sowed parsley grows up and is ready for use in early summer. 

Before the cold weather arrives in the winter season the plant can be moved to a pot and brought inside.  When the leaves are plucked regularly the plant will remain fine and bushy. 
Anna Ancher - Wikipedia, den frie encyklopædi A Greek proverb "to be in the parsley" means that you have just started something. 
Parsley can be used as aroma and flavor enhancer in various dishes like vegetables, sauces, soups, stew and fish. Parsley reconciles all kinds of flavor so they go up in an artitstic unit. Parsley leaves and root should be used while fresh, they should not be kept more than two days before use. The leaves loose quickly the C-vitamin contents which is also reduced by cooking 

Fines herbes is traditionally: estragon, parsley, chervil, chives.

Bouquet of herbs for bouillabaise: fennel, lovage, 1 stalk hyssop, parsley, thyme, basil, sage, a bay leaf, and a little whole allspice. 

Parsley can be frozen or dried, when it is dried it is easy to crush in the hand. When drying parsley the leaves easily grow yellow if the drying proces is too long. It is better to dry the leaves in an open oven by 35 degrees  The dried leaves are kept in a glass jar.

After a big meal a cup of parsley tea or a little parsley in vegetable juice is good. If you chew parsley after meals with garlic or onion you'll get a fresh breath .Fresh parsley is also suited for freezing. Put fx finely chopped parsley in the icecube tray and it is then ready to put into the sauce.  

The difference between parsley and hemlock: crushed hemlock has a very unpleasant odor resembling cat piss. 

Parsley is described in a Greek herbal in the 3rd century B.C. In the Middle Ages parsley was often called the Devil's herb. People were convinced it meant death if the plant was moved from its place. The ancient Greeks considered parsley a bad plant and as a symbol of death and therefore it was used in funeral rituals.

In Rome however parsley was very popular. A garland of parsley was said to stop drunkenness - and the Romans had already discovered its good qualities in the kitchen too. 

In Greek mythology the hero Archemorus took part in the Istmian Games -  religious festivals which were celebrated at the island Isthmos in honor of the god Poseidon. Archemorus was wounded and when the drops of blood fell to the ground the parsley grew up and a victory garland was made for him from the herb. The Greeks and Romans decorated themselves with festival garlands where bunches of parsley were braided together with other plants and flowers.

King Mithridates, king of Pontos, was a fine botanist who knew all poisonous plants. He murdered his own family with poison, but he was afraid of being poisoned himself, and he invented an effective antidote: thyme, coriander, rue and many other spice herbs and lots of parsley. Nero later improved the  recipe.


The Romans gave the gladiators parsley before they had to go to fight in the arena -  it had almost the same effect as the spinach had on Pop-eye whose arm muscles grew to the double !
Parsley was also used as a medicine plant in Antiquitiy, but Plinius warned however people against eating parsley beause it might make men and women unable to have children. 

Plinius also wrote that the plant was useful to spread in a fish pond in order to cure sick fish.

Highly fragrant plants  had a prominent place among the contraceptives and here was the origin of the brides' myrtle wreath, which should manifest that she no longer needed to drink parsley tea. Since parsley is strongly diuretic and contractive with a strong effect on the uterus, parsley oil was in the past used as a means to induce abortion, The frivolous girls' streets in Paris were called "The Parsley Streets". 
Parsley is a useful drug as well as a well-tasting spice herb. In spite of some superstition parsley was highly appreciated in ancient times, also as an effective aphrodisiac. The doctors prescribed it in medicine for almost all everything. It was also in great demand as for gastronomy -  and Galen said about 1800 years ago that it was a good and healthy herb to have in the garden. Culpeper said that parsley was ruled by Mercury who was the light messenger of the gods  Later he became the protector of the highwaymen and the god of trade.

parsley root, wiki

In medicine it was especially the root and the seeds of the plant which were used. They were a good help in bladder diseases, urinary infections, dropsy, kidney disorders. Soldiers in WWI, who suffered from kidney disorders associated with diarrhea, had prescribed parsley. Parsley's etheric oil contains apiol which irritates the kidneys and therefore works strongly diuretic. It is also used in rheumatic diseases, since it works conducive on the secretion  of accumulated waste products in the body. 

As said above parsley is strongly diuretic and well suited for the treatment of urinary infections and for water retention, parsley stimulates the uric acid excretion and is good for gout, it increases the amount of breast milk and works stimulating in the musculature of the womb. It is the cause using parsley in migraine, asthma and other conditions which have to do with cramps in the smooth musculature. The substance apiol, which is a part of the etheric oil, works however specifically stimulating on the musculature in the uterus. Apiol is by far the highest concentration of the seeds and pregnant women should not take parsley seeds or compositions made from these. 

Parsley , wiki
Parsley was like uniper berries a means against edemas and a good means against long bladder infections The parsley seeds were used in a decoct against malaria, and it was used as a painkilling medicine in neurological disorders. The fresh leaves were put on tumors and insect bites.It was also used in problems with prostate after an inflammation. A mix of chopped parsley, salt and oil was used against toothache. 

The fruits and the root are still used in folk medicine against kidney disorders and dysmenorrhea, intestinal colic and as a diuretic. 

Warning: Since the fruits -  because of the apiol-content - in large doses and for a  long times' use  can give severe liver damage, intestinal inflammations and even paralysis of the central nervous system they must be used with utmost care, 

Parsley is extremely valuable as a nutrient. 
Lots of vitamin A, it is also one of the most valuable  C-vitamin plants which contains almost twice as much ascorbin acid as black currant. Besides this it has also considerable amount of B vitamin . Parsley has seven times more A vitamin than carrots and four times more than in Spinach and it is very rich in minerals. Parsley is also rich in iron and strengthens the blood.


Decoct of parsley as face water or upon protruding veins. 
Parsley juice used to bleach freckles. 
Macerated in water used as a hair rinse.

Anemette Olesen: Krydderurter i Haven; Annemarta Borgen: Krydderurtehaven på Knatten; Helbredende urter, Politiken ; Li Hillker: Naturens egen lægebog;  Magna Leth: Havens Krydderurter; Lægeplanter i farver, Politiken ; Hans Wohlmuth: Lægeplanter og Krydderurter til husbehov.

foto: grethe bachmann
foto: wikipedia

A Medieval Banquet at the Bishop's House

Spøttrup, a bishop's castle, North Jutland

The chancellor started the banquet by saying grace, and later the curate read from the Holy Scripture. During dinner was entertainment by folk musicians with fifes and drums and some appeareances by the jester. It was a principal concept to let music and other cultural experiences accompany a high gastronomic cuisine. The ten-course dinner was served in several dining rooms in the hishop's house. The bishop himself was dining in the biggest room ('borgstuen') together with his highly trusted staff and special guests. Only the bishop was served every course on a daily basis, but on a big festival all courses were shared by everyone.

Table cloth in several layers covered the tables in the dining rooms. The service were mainly ceramics or wood and eventual pewter, and the cutlery were knives, spoons and the fingers, since the fork had not yet arrived. Glass ware was seldom in use by the Norse Tables, as people had a bad habit of crushing the valuable glass after drinking. A cupbearer, called the 'Kredens', had the job to cut meat and bread - and also to taste food and drink, before it was served to the bishop and the party. A comprehensive domestic staff was present at a ceremony like this; they were young men from the nobility. This was a part of their good breeding in order to be able to serve Royal visitors and other VIPs in the most distinguished way in their own manor one day.

The water bowl for dipping hands at some special parties today is not a new invention. During and after meals servants carried basins with rose water and towels for the party to have their hands washed and dried. Between meals several festive sights were shown to the guests. Servants carried along magnificent show dishes, large decorated centrepieces with peacocks and other animals, together with decorated patés with ingenious lids, indicating the contents.

Example of a menu:
1) spit-roast leg of lamb (spices: thyme, sage, parsley, cinnamon, garlic, wine vinegar, salt)
2) wine soup (egg yolks, sugar, grated nutmeg, saffron, white wine, a stick of cinnamon, grated ginger, butter roasted bread squares)
3) boiled beed (salt, vinegar, chopped sage)
4) poched eggs
5) fried venison tenderloin (fresh ginger, pepper, salt, butter, venisonstock, white bread without crust)
6) boiled pike ( Hamburg parsley, parsley, white bread without crust, white wine, white vinegar, fresh grated ginger, white pepper, crushed cinnamon, sugar, cloves and saffron)
7) paté venison (deer shoulder, fat, salt, black pepper, fresh ginger)
8) fried pigeons ( butter, vinegar, red wine, fresh ginger, a stick of cinnamon, black pepper, sugar, salt, saffron, white bread without crust)
9) fresh cheese
10) fig dessert ( dried figs, evt. mead, white bread without crust, almonds, currants, fresh grated ginger, a stick of cinnamon, sugar, saffron, whipped cream)

For some courses were served vegetables, i.e. all sorts of root and leguminous fruits and cabbage, and leek, onion, garlic. Some of the bread, served for religious feasts were small 'sacred' breads.

Spøttrup, a bishop's castle, North Jutland

Herbs and Spices.
Common medicine plants in Denmark in the Middle Ages were angelica, parsley, chives, horse-radish, Danish cumin, mustard, dill, fennel, cress, dandelion etc. Some other herbs, used to grow in warmer climate, arrived with the monks, who cultivated them in the closter gardens from about 1100s; they were rosemary, basil, lavender, hyssop, savory, marjoram, oregano, currant, sage, thyme, borage, curled mint, peppermint and lovage. The Oriental spices arrived to the North via the Hansa. Black pepper seems to have been most widely spread. Bachelors worked for the Hansa selling pepper and other spices, and they were not allowed to marry. From this custom origins the Danish expression 'Pebersvend' (Pepper Boy). The word Pebersvend is still in use in Denmark, and if a guy is not yet married on his 30th birthday, then his presents might still be some fine pepper pots.

All these herbs and spices are mentioned in the Danish physician Henrik Harpestræng's herbal book, but there is no doubt that only very well-off people could afford such luxury. In the Middle Ages pepper and other Oriental spices were very precious, and spices like saffron , cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, ginger etc. were imported to Denmark in a limited quantity. In the Danish king Christoffer III of Bayern's court accounts from 1447 is told about some purchase of precious spices for a festival.

The doctors at court were very important. From medieval courts at Richard II of England and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, is described how the doctor at court had to take care of the prince and his family's good health.The doctor and the cooks prepared the food together, and the choice of medicinal herbs played a big part, since they contributed to give the course an intentional balance. During dinner the doctor stood by the prince's table, where he gave instructions as to the proper composition concerning the well-being of the prince.

But there were also other reasons for taking care of the prince and other important persons by the dinner table. A serious problem was the safety around food and drinks, as the period was known for poisoning royalties and other significant people. The 'Kredens' /cupbearer had to taste all food and drinks, before they were served. A preventive means, an antidote, Theriak, was placed upon the table in a fine vessel, often formed like a ship and made in silver, but also the salt and pepper were being watched over. The salt vessel had to be covered, and between meals it was kept in the 'Silver Chamber'.

Theriak was an Arabic invention from the late 1100s, which is also described in the Danish physician Henrik Smith's herbal book. It consisted of birthwort (Aristolochia) , gentian, laurel, the best and noblest myrrh and honey. The original Arabic theriak contained snake, but this was replaced by crushed powder from the strong and poisonous herb birthwort. (Danish name: slangerod =snake's root) It was also a common advise to use the powder of the root against snake bites and as an emetic. In the morning it was recommended to take theriak in the size of a hazelnut. This would protect humans from plague etc., and it was said in general to be suitable for both man and beast.

Medicine puré:
Some medicine puré mentioned in a medical adviser like 'Conserva' and 'Electuarum' and 'Latverge' (German) showed to be a forerunner for today's assorted chocolates and other goodies. In Queen Christina's court accounts from 1510-12 was bought cinnamon- and ginger candy, almond- and anis candy etc. Henrik Smith's collection of recipes from 1546 gave common people the opportunity to make these goodies themselves. A medicine puré could be barley groat puré with figs and raisins, cooked with water into a consistency like a thick syrup, and when cool, sprayed with grounded cinnamon - and maybe served with crême fraiche!

Source: Bente Leed: Danskernes mad i middelalderen, 1999.

photo Spøttrup: grethe bachmann


Thursday, April 29, 2021



 Hello dear followers and readers!

A whole year has gone now with pandemi and corona and vaccination. This has really been and still is  a tough period for all of us and I can only hope that we are moving forward to a better and more promising time. 

I myself - being old enough -   have got two vaccinations with Pfizer.

I hope that I can find and write some interesting articles for you this year. There is fx so much going on about natural environment right now - but also much much more exciting stuff!


Have a nice day!

Grethe Bachmann/ aka "Thyra".



Tuesday, December 08, 2020



Mistletoe/Mistelten Viscum album
photo Paris, October 2009: stig bachmann nielsen, Naturplan Foto

Flora and Fauna
The Old Norse word for mistletoe is mistiltein. The evergreen 20-70 cm high bushy plant is a parasite, in Denmark found especially on apple, hawthorn, poplar and birch - the stalks are bifurcated and articulated with oblong leatherlike leaves, the small yellow-green flowers are in the bifurcate-corners, the berries contain a sticky juice. It is planted in many gardens and parks, in Knuthenborg park at Lolland (southern DK-island) is a large growth - from here are sold twigs for gardeners and flower-shops at Christmas time.The mistletoe immigrated about 7000 years ago. Pollen analyses show that the mistletoe was common in DK in egetiden (the oak-period), but declined between Bronze and Iron age - it might later have disappeared, but was brought back in the Middle Ages with the improved sweet-appletrees from Middle Europe. The plant was considered a sickly excrescence and was therefore destroyed in many places by people in present times.

The word Mistletoe is synonym with the Greek word mysterion, and the plant mistletoe was always wrapped in superstition, mystery and fascinating imaginations. It had a symbolic significance connected to purity and innocence, and it was able to keep away evil, misfortune and witchcraft - therefore people hung it over their doors by midwinter to protect themselves against the evil demons who feared the Green - but the evergreen plant was also a symbol of people's welcome to the increasing light after winter solstice.

Elmer Boyd Smith 1902, Balder
Although many sources say that kissing under the mistletoe is a purely English custom, there is another explanation for its origin that extends into Norse mythology. It's the story of a loving if overprotecting mother. The Norse god, Balder, was the best loved of all the gods. His mother was Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son so much that she wanted to make sure that no harm would come to him. So she went through the world, securing promises from everything that sprang from the four elements, fire, water, air and earth - that they would not harm her beloved Balder. But then Loki turned up, a sly, evil spirit, and he found the loophole. The loophole was the mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood, and then he revealed his nasty and treacherous mind. He took the arrow to Hoder, Balder's brother, who was blind. Guiding Hoder's hand, Loki directed the arrow at Balder's heart, and he fell dead. Frigga's tears became the mistletoe's berries. In the version of the story with a happy ending, Balder is restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant - making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.

Mistel (Mistil) is together with tidsel (tistil) and a little kiste (kistil = box) mentioned in a magic formula upon a rune stone found at Gørlev in northwest Sjælland. A branch placed in the stock of the gun abolished a witchcraft which caused no shot to hit target - at Christmas and New Year's Eve the plant was hung upon fruit trees, which then would bear much fruit. The plant became a symbol of purity and innocence, to kiss under the mistletoe was a sign of love. The girl who did not get a kiss under the mistletoe, would not be a bride the following year. On Christmas Eve it was allowed to kiss every girl who came to you under a mistletoe. The custom origins from England. In the year 1888 the mistletoe was used for the first time in a Danish Christmas - and since then it was often used as a Christmas symbol. Misteltoe is especially imported from Italy.

The folklore and the magical powers of this plant blossomed over the centuries. To burn the herb banished evil, and a magic quality like invisibility was achieved by wearing the herb around the neck. A sprig placed in a baby's cradle would prevent the child from being mixed up or abducted by the fairies. Put under the pillow at night mistletoe promoted sleep and beautiful dreams.

Druids cutting Mistletoe, Henri Paul Motte 1895
From the Celtic tradition the Mistletoe was known as the golden bough, and it was held sacred by both the Celtic Druids and the Norse. The plant was used in forms of immortality conditions and in order to open locked doors, and the Druids used mistletoe in a very special ceremony, held around the sixth day after the New Moon in the new year. The Druids had to cut the mistletoe from a holy oak tree with a golden sickle and let it fall down upon a white cloth. This scenery is also known from Asterix! The priests then divided the branches into many sprigs and distributed them to people, who hung them over their doorways as protection against lightning strikes and other evils. The power of the mistletoe lasted until the Twelfth Night.

Mistletoe was once called All-heal, and it was used in folk medicines to cure many ills. Wearing a ring cut in mistletoe prevented illness, and women wore the herb in order to conceive. The use of mistletoe in Denmark goes back to what was written in Antiquity about the plant in southern Europe, where it was considered to be fertilizing. Giving a sprig to the first cow calving after New Year would protect the entire herd. The plant was also known to give good luck in hunting, and if enemies by chance met in a forest where mistletoe grew, they laid down their arms and maintained a truce until next day. If it was plucked in March at new moon and hung around the child's neck it would protect the child against epilepsy. Simon Paulli said in 1648: crushed mistletoe alone or mixed with peony seeds and roots drunk in lily-of-the-valley-water on every change of the moon against epilepsy - some women added gold dust filed from heritage or from their wedding ring - and they felt protected from this terrible and bad disease.

The plant was considered to counteract nightmares and protect sheep against Fasciola hepatica. Stalks, leaves and berries were written into the Danish Pharmacopoeia in 1772-1850; in Danish pharmacies was still in 1922 used a formula collection with mistletoe, mixed in a means against epilepsy, and "Markgrevindens pulver" (the powder of a countess)  was in pharmacies as late as in 1950. From the berries were, cooked together with linseed oil and white spirit, made a birdlime catching little birds, (now forbidden). And cooked with lye-salt the berries gave a good soap.

Source: V.J.Brøndegaard, Folk og Flora, Dansk Etnobotanik, 3, 1979

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

November Images
















To Autumn  

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies

John Keats (1795-1821)


Friday, January 24, 2020

Alphonse Mucha and Art Noveau

 Alfons Maria Mucha   24 July 1860 – 14 July 1939, known internationally as  Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech painter, illustrator and graphic artist, living in Paris during the Art Noveau period, best known for his distinctly stylized and decorative theatrical posters . His illustrations, decorative panels, and designs, became among the best-known images of the period.

Alphonse Mucha was born in the small town of Ivancíce in  Moravia, now a region of the Czech republic. He showed an early talent for drawing. His father was a court usher, his mother a miller's daughter.  In 1871 Mucha became a chorister at the cathedral of Brno, where he received his secondary school education.  His singing abilities allowed him to continue his musical education at the Gymnázium Brno in the Moravian capital of Brno, but his true ambition was to become an artist, and in 1878 he applied without success to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, but was rejected and advised "to find a different career".
The Slav Epic. King Premysl Ottokar of Bohemia

In 1880 he travelled to Vienna and found employment as a scenery painter for  Vienna theaters.  Here he discovered the museums, churches, palaces and especially theaters and also Hans Makart, who created murals for palaces and government buildings in Vienna. His style turned Mucha in that artistic direction and influenced his later work. He also began experimenting with photography, which became an important tool in his later work.

Later in 1881 he went by train to Mikulov in southern Moravia, and began making portraits, decorative art and lettering for tombstones. His work was appreciated, and he was commissioned by Count Eduard Khuen Belasi, a local landlord and nobleman, to paint a series of murals for his residence at Emmahof Castle, and at his ancestral home in the Tyrol, Gandegg Castle. The paintings at Emmahof were destroyed by fire in 1948, but his early versions in small format exist and are now on display at the museum in Brno. He showed his skill at mythological themes, the female form, and lush vegetal decoration.

From Museum in

Count Belasi decided to bring Mucha to Munich for formal training, and paid his tuition and cost of living at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.  He moved there in September 1885.  He became friends with a number of notable Slavic artists there, including the Czechs Karel Vitezslav Masek, Ludek Marold and the Russian Leonid Pasternak, father of the famous novellist Boris Pasternak. He founded a Czech students' club, and contributed political illustrations to nationalist publications in Prague. In 1886 he received a notable commission for a painting of the Czech patron Saints Cyril and Methodius, from a group of Czech emigrants, including some of his relatives, who had founded a Roman Catholic church in the town of Oisek, North Dakota. He was happy with the artistic environment of Munich, but found he could not remain there forever; the Bavarian authorities imposed increasing restrictions upon foreign students and residents. With Count  Belasi's financial support, he decided in 1887 to move to Paris.In Paris, in 1888, he enrolled in the Academie Julian - and the following year, 1889, Academie Colarossi. His first professors at the Academie Julian were  Jules Lefebre, who specialized in female nudes and allegorical paintings, and Jean Paul Laurens, whose specialties were historical and religious paintings in a realistic and dramatic style.  At the end of 1889, as he approached the age of thirty, his patron, Count Belasi, decided that Mucha had received enough education and ended his subsidies.

Museum: Prophetess
In Paris, Mucha found shelter with the help of the large Slavic community. He lived in a boarding house called the Crémerie at 13 rue de la Grand Chaumerie, whose owner, Charlotte Caron, was famous for sheltering struggling artists; when needed she accepted paintings or drawings in place of rent.  Mucha decided to follow the path of another Czech painter he knew from Munich, Ludek Marold, who had made a successful career as an illustrator for magazines. In 1890 and 1891, he began providing illustrations for the weekly magazine La Vie popular, which published novels in weekly segments. His illustration for a novel by Guy de Maupassant, called The Useless Beauty, was on the cover of the 22 May 1890 edition.

His illustrations began to give him a regular income. He was able to buy a harmonium to continue his musical interests and a camera, which used glass-plate negatives. He took pictures of himself and his friends, and also regularly used it to compose his drawings. He became friends with Paul Gauguin, and shared a studio with him for a time when Gauguin returned from Tahiti in the summer of 1893. In late autumn 1894 he also became friends with the playwright August Strindberg, with whom he had a common interest in philosophy and mysticism. Four of his illustrations, including one depicting the death of Frederic Barbarossa, were chosen for display at the 1894 Paris Salon of Artists. He received a medal of honor, his first official recognition.

At the end of 1894 his career took a dramatic and unexpected turn when he began to work for French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt. As Mucha later described it, on 26 December Bernhardt made a telephone call to Maurice de Brunhoff, the manager of the publishing firm Lemercier which printed her theatrical posters, ordering a new poster for the continuation of the play Gismonda. The play, by  Victorien Sardou, had already opened with great success on 31 October 1894 at the Theatre de la Renaissance, on the Boulevard Saint-Martin. Bernardt decided to have a poster made to advertise the prolongation of the theatrical run after the Christmas break and insisting it be ready by 1 January 1897.

When Bernhardt called, Mucha happened to be at the publishing house correcting proofs. He already had experience painting Bernhardt; he had made a series of illustrations of her performing in Cleopatra for Costume au Théâtre in 1890. When Gismonda opened in October 1894, Mucha had been commissioned by the magazine Le Gaulois to make a series of illustrations of Bernhardt in the role for a special Christmas supplement, which was published at Christmas 1894, for the high price of fifty centimes a copy.

Brunhoff asked Mucha to quickly design the new poster for Bernhardt. The poster was more than life-size; a little more than two meters high, with Bernhardt in the costume of a Byzantine noblewoman, dressed in an orchid headdress and floral stole, and holding a palm branch in the Easter procession near the end of the play. One of the innovative features of the posters was the ornate rainbow-shaped arch behind the head, almost like a halo, which focused attention on her face; this feature appeared in all of his future theater posters. Probably because of a shortage of time, some areas of the background were left blank instead of his usual decoration. The only background decoration were the Byzantine mosaic tiles behind her head. The poster featured extremely fine draftsmanship and delicate pastel colors, unlike the typical brightly-colored posters of the time. The top of the poster, with the title, was richly composed and ornamented, and balanced the bottom, where the essential information was given in the shortest possible form; just the name of the theater.

The poster appeared on the streets of Paris on 1 January 1895 and caused an immediate sensation. Bernhardt was pleased by the reaction; she ordered four thousand copies of the poster in 1895 and 1896, and gave Mucha a six-year contract to produce more. With his posters all over the city, Mucha found himself famous quite suddenly.

Following Gismonda, Bernardt switched to a different printer, F. Champenois, who, like Mucha, was put under contract to work for Bernhardt for six years. Champenois had a large printing house on Boulevard Saint Michel which employed three hundred workers, with twenty steam presses. He gave Mucha a generous monthly salary in exchange for the rights to publish all his works. With his increased income, Mucha was able to move to a three-bedroom apartment with a large studio inside a large historic house at 6 rue du Val-de-Grace originally built by Francois Mansart.

Mucha designed posters for each successive Bernhardt play, beginning with a reprise of one of her La Tosca. In addition to posters, he designed theatrical programs, sets, costumes, and jewelry for Bernhardt. The enterprising Bernhardt set aside a certain number of printed posters of each play to sell to collectors.
Early great successes, la Dame aux Camelias (September 1896), followed by Lorenzaccio (1896); Medea (1898);la Tosca (1898) and Hamlet (1899).

The success of the Bernhardt posters brought Mucha commissions for advertising posters. He designed posters for JOB cigarette papers, Ruinart Champagne, Lefèvre-Utile biscuits, Nestlé baby food, Idéal Chocolate, the Beers of the Meuse, Moët-Chandon champagne, Trappestine brandy, and Waverly and Perfect bicycles. With Champenois, he also created a new kind of product, a decorative panel, a poster without text, purely for decoration. They were published in large print runs for a modest price. The first series was The Seasons, published in 1896, depicting four different women in extremely decorative floral settings representing the seasons of the year. In 1897 he produced an individual decorative panel of a young woman in a floral setting, called Reverie, for Champenois.

He also designed a calendar with a woman's head surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. The Seasons series was followed by The Flowers The Arts (1898), The Times of Day (1899), Precious Stones (1900), and The Moon and the Stars (1902). Between 1896 and 1904 Mucha created over one hundred poster designs for Champenois. These were sold in various formats, ranging from expensive versions printed on Japanese paper or vellum, to less expensive versions which combined multiple images, to calendars and postcards. His posters focused almost entirely on beautiful women in lavish settings with their hair usually curling in arabesque forms and filling the frame.

 His poster for the railway line between Paris and Monaco-Monte-Carlo (1897) did not show a train or any identifiable scene of Monaco or Monte-Carlo; it showed a beautiful young woman in a kind of reverie, surrounded by swirling floral images, which suggested the turning wheels of a train.

The magazine La Plume made a special edition devoted to his work, and his exhibition traveled to Vienna, Prague, Munich, Brussels, London, and New York, giving him an international reputation.

The Paris Universal Exposition of 1900, famous as the first grand showcase of the Art Noveau, gave Mucha an opportunity to move in an entirely different direction, toward the large-scale historical paintings which he had admired in Vienna. It also allowed him to express his Czech patriotism. His foreign name had caused much speculation in the French press, which distressed him. Sarah Bernhardt stood up on his behalf, declaring in La France that Mucha was "a Czech from Moravia not only by birth and origin, but also by feeling, by conviction and by patriotism."

He applied to the Austrian government and received a commission to create murals for the Pavilion of  Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Exposition.  The temporary building built for the Exposition had three large halls with two levels, with a ceiling more than twelve meters high, and with natural light from skylights. His experience in theater decoration gave him the ability to paint large-scale paintings in a short period of time.

Mucha's original concept was a group of murals depicting the suffering of the Slavic inhabitants of the region caused by the occupation by foreign powers. The sponsors of the exhibit, the Austrian government, the new occupier of the region, declared that this was a little pessimistic for a World's Fair. He changed his project to depict a future society in the Balkans where Catholic and Orthodox Christians and Muslims lived in harmony together; this was accepted, and he began work. Mucha immediately departed for the Balkans to make sketches of Balkan costumes, ceremonies and architecture which he put into his new work. His decoration included one large allegorical painting, Bosnia Offers Her Products to the Universal Exposition, plus an additional set of murals on three walls, showing the history and cultural development of the region. He did discreetly include some images of the sufferings of the Bosnians under foreign rule which appear in the arched band at the top of the mural.

As he had done with his theater work, he often took photographs of posed models, and painted from them, simplifying the forms. While the work depicted dramatic events, the overall impression given by the work was one of serenity and harmony. In addition to the murals, Mucha also designed a menu for the restaurant of the Bosnia Pavilion. His work appeared in many forms at the Exposition. He designed the posters for the official Austrian participation in the Exposition, the menu for the restaurant at the Bosnian pavilion, and menu for the official opening banquet. He produced displays for the jeweler Georges Fouquet and the perfume maker Houbigant, with statuettes and panels of women depicting the scents of rose, orange blossom, violet and buttercup. His more serious art works, including his drawings for Le Pater, were shown in the Austrian Pavilion and in the Austrian section of the grand palais.

His work at the Exposition earned him the title of Knight of the Order of Franz Joseph I from the Austrian government, the Legion of Honor from the French Government. During the course of the Exposition, Mucha proposed another unusual project. The Government of France planned to take down the Eiffel Tower, built especially for the Exposition, as soon as the Exposition ended. Mucha proposed that, after the Exposition, the top of the tower should be replaced by a sculptural monument to humanity be constructed on the pedestal. The tower proved to be popular with both tourists and Parisians, and the Eiffel Tower remained after the Exhibit end.

Mucha's many interests included jewelry. His 1902 book, Documents Decoratifs, contained plates of elaborate designs for brooches and other pieces, with swirling arabesques and vegetal forms, with incrustations of enamel and colored stones. In 1899 he collaborated with the jeweler Georges Fouquet to make a bracelet for Sarah Bernhardt in the form of a serpent, made of gold and enamel, similar to the costume jewelry Bernhardt wore in Medea. The Cascade pendant designed for Fouquet by Mucha )1900) is in the form of a waterfall, composed of gold, enamel, opals, tiny diamonds, paillons, and a barocco or misshapen pearl.

 After the 1900 Exposition, Fouquet decided to open a new shop at 6 Rue Royale, across the street from the restaurant Maxim's. He asked Mucha to design the interior. The centerpieces of the design were two peacocks, the traditional symbol of luxury, made of bronze and wood with colored glass decoration. To the side was a shell-shaped fountain, with three gargoyles spouting water into basins, surrounding the statue of a nude woman. The salon was further decorated with carved moldings and stained glass, thin columents with vegetal designs, and a ceiling with molded floral and vegetal elements. It marked a summit of Art Nouveau decoration. The Salon opened in 1901, just as tastes were beginning to change, moving away from Art Nouveau to more naturalistic patterns. It was taken apart in 1923, and replaced by a more traditional shop design. Fortunately most of the original decoration was preserved, and was donated in 1914 and 1949 to the carnavalet museum in Paris, where it can be seen today.

Mucha's next project was a series of seventy-two printed plates of watercolors of designs, titled Documents Decoratifs, which were published in 1902 by the Librarie central des beaux-arts. They represented ways that floral, vegetal and natural forms could be used in decoration and decorative objects. In about 1900 he had begun to teach at the Academy Colarossi, where he himself had been a student when he first arrived in Paris.

In March 1904 he sailed for New York and the beginning of his first visit to the United States. His intent was to find funding for his grand project, The Slav Epic, which he had conceived during the 1900 Exposition. He had letters of introduction from Baroness Salomon de Rothschild. When he landed in New York, he was already a celebrity in the United States; his posters had been widely displayed during Sarah Bernhardt's annual American tours since 1896. He rented a studio near Central Park, made portraits, and gave interviews and lectures. . At one Pan-Slavic banquet in New York City, he met  Charles Richard Crane, who commissioned Mucha to make a portrait of his daughter in a traditional Slavic style, and he shared Mucha's enthusiasm for a series of monumental paintings on Slavic history. He became Mucha's most important patron. When Mucha designed the Czechoslovak bills, he used his portrait of Crane's daughter as the model for Slavia for the 100 koruna bill.
He still had commissions to complete in France, and returned to Paris at the end of May 1904. In 1906, he returned to New York with his new wife, (Marie/Maria) Chytilová, whom he had married on 10 June 1906, in Prague. He remained in the U.S. until 1909. Their first child, Jaroslava, was born in New York in 1909. His principal income in the United States came from teaching; he taught illustration and design at the New York School of Applied Design for Women, at the Philadelphia School of Art for five weeks, and became a visiting professor at the Art institute of Chicago.  In 1908 he also undertook one large decoration project, for the interior of the German Theater of New York; he produced three large allegorical murals, in the Art Nouveau style, representing Tragedy, Comedy and Truth. Besides the decoration, he made graphic designs, stage and costume designs.
Artistically, the trip was not a success; portrait painting was not his strong point, and the German Theater closed in 1909, one year after it opened. He made posters for the American actress mrs Leslie Carter (known as 'The American Sarah Bernhardt') and the Broadway star Maude Adams,   but they were largely echoes of his Bernhardt posters. His finest work in America is often considered to be his portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley, the daughter of his patron, in the character of Slavia, in Slavic costume and surrounded by symbols from Slavic folklore and art. His contact with Crane made possible his most ambitious artistic project, the Slav Epic.

Mucha made a considerable income from his theatrical and advertising work, but he wished even more to be recognized as a serious artist and philosopher. He was a devoted Catholic, but also was interested in mysticism. In January 1898 he joined the Paris masonic lodge of the Grand Orient de France. . The Pater Noster (Lord's Prayer): why not give the words a pictorial expression?".  He considered Le Pater to be his printed masterpiece, and referred to it in the New York Sun of 5 January 1900 as a work into which he had "put his soul".

In the second part of his career, at the age of 43, he returned to his homeland of Bohemia-Moravia region in Austria and devoted himself to painting a series of twenty monumental canvases known as The Slav Epic, depicting the history of all the slavic peoples of the world, which he painted between 1912 and 1926. In 1928, on the 10th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia, he presented the series to the Czech nation. He considered it his most important work. It is now on display in Brno.

During his long stay in Paris, Mucha had never given up his dream of being a history painter, and to illustrate accomplishments of the Slavic peoples of Europe. He completed his plans for the Slav Epic in 1908 and 1909, and in February 1910, Charles Crane agreed to fund the project. In 1909, he had been offered a commission to paint murals on the interior of the new City Hall of Prague. He made the decision to return to his old country, still then part of the Austrian Empire.His first project in 1910 was the decoration of the reception room of the Mayor of Prague. This quickly became controversial, because local Prague artists resented the work being given to an artist they considered an outsider. A compromise was reached, whereby he decorated the Lord Mayor's Hall, while the other artists decorated the other rooms. He designed and created a series of large-scale murals for the domed ceiling and walls with athletic figures in heroic poses, depicting the contributions of Slavs to European history over the centuries, and the theme of Slavic unity. These paintings on the ceiling and walls were in sharp contrast to his Parisian work, and were designed to send a patriotic message. 
The Lord Mayor's Hall was finished in 1911, and Mucha was able to devote his attention to what he considered his most important work; "The Slav Epic", a series of large painting illustrating the achievements of the Slavic peoples over history. The series had twenty paintings, half devoted to the history of the Czechs, and ten to other Slavic peoples. The canvases were enormous; the finished works measured six by eight meters. To paint them he rented an apartment and a studio in the Zbiroh Castle in western Bohemia, where he lived and worked until 1928.
While living in Paris Mucha had imagined the series as "light shining into the souls of all people with its clear ideals and burning warnings." To prepare the project he traveled to all the Slavic countries, from Russia and Poland to the Balkans, making sketches and taking photographs. He used costumed models and still and motion picture cameras to set the scenes, often encouraging the models to create their own poses. He used egg tempera paint, which, according to his research, was quicker-drying and more luminous, and would last longer. 

He created the twenty canvases between 1912 and 1926. He worked throughout the First World War, when the Austrian Empire was at war with France, despite wartime restrictions, which made canvas hard to obtain. He continued his work after the war ended, when the new Republic of Czechoslovkia was created. The cycle was completed in 1928 in time for the tenth anniversary of the proclamation of the Czechoslovak Republic. Under the conditions of his contract he donated his work to the city of Prague in 1928. The Epic was shown in Prague twice in his lifetime, in 1919 and 1928. After 1928 it was rolled up and put into storage. From 1963 until 2012 the series was on display in the chateau in Moravsky Krumlov in the South Moravian region in the Czech Republic. Since 2012 the series has been on display at the National Gallery's Veletrzni Palace in Prague.
While he was working on the Slavic Epic, he also did work for the Czech government. In 1918, he Jeu de Paume museum, with 139 works, including three canvases from the Slav Epic.


Hitler and Nazi Germany began to threaten Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. Mucha began work on a new series, a triptych depicting the Age of Reason, the Age of Wisdom and the Age of Love, which he worked on from 1936 to 1938, but never completed. On 15 March 1939, the German army paraded through Prague, and Hitler, at Prague castle, declared lands of the former Czechoslovakia to be part of the Greater German Reich as the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia . Mucha's role as a Slav nationalist and freemason made him a prime target. He was arrested, interrogated for several days, and released. By then his health was broken. He contracted pneumonia and died on 14 July 1939, a few weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War. Though public gatherings were banned, a huge crowd attended his interment in the slavin Monument of Vysehrad cemetery, reserved for notable figures in Czech culture.

Mucha was and remains best known for his Art Noveau  work, which frustrated him. According to his son and biographer, Jiri Mucha , he did not think much of Art Nouveau. "What is it, Art Nouveau?" he asked. "...Art can never be new." He took the greatest pride in his work as a history painter.  Although it enjoys great popularity today, at the time of his death Mucha's style was considered outdated. His son, author Jiri Mucha, devoted much of his life to writing about him and bringing attention to his artwork. In his own country, the new authorities were not interested in Mucha. The Slav Epic was rolled and stored for twenty-five years before being shown in Moravský Krumlov. The National Gallery in Prague  now displays the Slav Epic, and has the major collection of his work. Mucha is also credited with restoring the movement of Czech Freemasonry.

One of the largest collections of Mucha's works is in the possession of former world no.1  professional tennis player Ivan Lendl, who started collecting his works upon meeting Jiří Mucha in 1982. His collection was exhibited publicly for the first time in 2013 in Prague.


Sunday, December 08, 2019

Knud Lavard was murdered at Christmas in 1130

Knud Eriksson Lavard
* March 12. 1096 + January 7. 1131

Sct.Bendts Church, Ringsted, Zealand

Knud was a son of Erik 1. Ejegod and Bodil Thrugotsdatter. After his parents' death on a pilgrimage the seven year old Knud was first brought up by the legendary Zealand chief Skjalm Hvide and later by Herzog Lothar of Saxony, who became German king in 1125. Knud was married to Ingeborg of Russia in 1116; she was a daughter of Grossfürst Mstislav 1. of Kiev and Christina of Sweden, and about the same time , when he was about 20 years old, he became Jarl of the border and Hertug of Schleswig. His mission was to protect the merchants and the trade routes against the Wends, which he did so successfully that the merchants appointed him their patron protector. His byname Lavard was a name of honour; the word originated from Old English hlaford = Lord. It meant Lord(Herre) in Saxon and other Germanic languages - the original meaning was bread giver.

In the beginning of the 1100s Henrik Gottskalkssøn, a son of the Abodrit knés Gottskalk, threatened the Danish south border, since king Niels, his mother's brother, would not pay the inheritance after his mother Sigrid, a daughter of Svend Estridssen. Knud Lavard fought for some years several times against Henrik, until a peace was contracted between Danes and Abodrits. After Henrik Gottskalkssøn's death Knud became - with the assistance from king Lothar - Henrik's successor as knés over the Abodrits under Saxon superiority. Knud Lavard was in this way both the Danish and German king's vassal.

As a son of king Erik 1. Ejegod Knud Lavard was an obvious candidate to the Danish throne, also because he had important and friendly contacts to king Lothar and the Wends, but others were more than interested in the royal power. Among those were his cousin Magnus, a son of king Niels - and another cousin, Henrik Skadelaar, a son of Svend, who like Niels and Erik Ejegod was a son of Svend Estridssen. Svend had been desperate for gaining the Danish crown, but he died on 1104 on his way to Viborg Thing. Henrik had inherited his father's dream; he conspired with Magnus against Knud Lavard for years.

Roskilde Cathedral, ZealandIt all started seemingly peaceful Christmas 1130 in a cosy get-together of the royal family. King Niels, who was about 66 years old, had gathered some of his family in Roskilde. At that point his queen, Margrethe Fredkulla had been gone long ago, it is said she died about 1117. The family members assembled that Christmas might have been Magnus and his wife, Richiza of Poland and their children; Henrik Skadelaar was probably alone, since his wife Ingerid, who was a brother's daughter of Margrethe Fredkulla, had run away with her lover - unless he had brought her back again. The story says he found her in Aalborg. They had three sons.The special Christmas guests were Knud Lavard and his pregnant wife, Ingeborg, and possibly their three daughters, Margrethe, Christina and Cathrine, the eldest was about 13-14 years old. Ingeborg's mother, Christina,was a sister of Margrethe Fredkulla - everyone in these Christmas days were closely related - and yet something sinister went on underneath the surface.

Margrethe was known to be a peacemaker. Her byname Fredkulla meant "The Peace Girl", and while she lived, she had probably enough to do keeping peace among Svend Estridssen's strong willed sons and grandsons. A source says that she had made bad blood between Magnus and Knud Lavard, but it was more plausible Henrik Skadelaar, who intrigued with Magnus against Knud. Henrik was often mentioned as a bitter person, filled with envy and hate against Knud Lavard.Knud was blamed for his royal behaviour and luxurious "foreign" clothes; it was not suitable to outshine the king himself. Maybe it was on this Christmas holiday that Henrik exclaimed that Scarlet clothes would never secure Knud against a sword, to which Knud replied that Henrik was not at all safer in his sheepskins.

After the visit in Roskilde Knud Lavard and his wife and daughters went to visit another kinsman, a daughter of Knud the Holy, Cæcilia and her husband Erik Jarl on their manor house near Haraldsted Church north of Ringsted. Cæcilia and Erik had strong family ties to the powerful Hvide family, since their daughter Inge was married to Skjalm Hvide's son Asser Rig (Ryg). Inge and Asser had two little sons, Absalon was two and Esbern(Snare) three years old. They didn't know yet, but they would soon become the sworn brothers of Knud and Ingeborg's son Valdemar.

While Knud Lavard and Ingeborg were guests by Cæcilia and Erik Jarl, Magnus summoned Knud for a friendly meeting in Haraldsted Forest on January 7th. Ingeborg was suspicious and tried to persuade her husband not to go, but Knud suspected no foul play. He went off with only a few men and straight into an ambush, in which he was murdered by Magnus and his men on the day after Twelfth Night.

Haraldsted Church, Zealand

It is easy to imagine the horror and grief in Knud Lavard's family. Cæcilia asked - probably on behalf of the shocked Ingeborg - that Knud's body should be brought to Haraldsted Church and buried there, but some days later his coffin was carried to Ringsted. On January 14th, seven days after her husband's murder, Ingeborg gave birth to a son, who was named Valdemar after her grandfather, Grand Prince Vladimir Monomachos of Kijev.

Ingeborg spent probably some time by the family in Haraldsted, and she decided that it would be safest for her son to be brought up in the strong and loyal Hvide family like his father before him. Years later she made another important decision for her son. On September 18th in 1137 king Erik 2. Emune was murdered, and the chief Kristiern Svendsen, a cousin of Knud Lavard and one of the mightiest men in the country, wanted the six year old Valdemar pronounced king of Denmark, but Ingeborg opposed strongly and did not give her consent.

Sct. Bendts Church, Ringsted, Zealand

After Knud Lavard's murder the Zealand chiefs held a thing and forced king Niels to send Magnus in exile. Knud's half brother Erik Emune acted as Knud's avenger and was pronounced king in Skaane. Henrik Skadelaar still worked behind scenes and persuaded king Niels to send for his son again, and it was actually Magnus' return, which started several years of bloody civil war between Niels and Magnus on one side and Erik Emune on the other.

Down south the situation was also tense. The German-Roman emperor Lothar (crowned emperor 1133) wanted revenge for the murder of his vassal. In 1134, during the civil wars, the new pope, Innocens, abolished the independence of the Danish Church and placed it under Hamburg-Bremen again. This caused archbishop Asser to join Erik Emune - and so did the migthy Hvide family.

After years of violent civil wars and various victories and defeats it ended on June 4th 1134 in a battle by Fodevig near Lund in Skaane. The battle was a total defeat for Niels and Magnus. Magnus and Henrik Skadelaar were killed, and Niels fled to Schleswig,where he was recognized and killed by the citizens who wanted to revenge Knud Lavard. Erik Emune came on the throne and started at once the efforts to strenghten his legality by having Knud Lavard sainted.

Knud Lavard's chapel, Haraldsted, Zealand

According to tradition a spring welled up where Knud Lavard was murdered - and another spring where the bearers stopped on their way to Ringsted. Soon miracles happened by his grave, and an abbey was founded in 1135 to take care of the grave and help the pious pilgrims, who came to visit. Upon the scene of the murder a chapel was built, which gave good income by pilgrimages.

Finally the Holy See had to acknowledge Knud Lavard as a saint, and in a great ceremony his bones were moved into a glorious shrine upon the high altar of the big - not yet finished abbey church, which later was given the name Sct. Bendts Church. This happened on June 25. 1170, which became Knud Lavard's official Saint's day. At this point Knud's son had gained power long ago. He was crowned sole king in 1157 by the name Valdemar the Great.

photos: grethe bachmann