“There were so many kinds of shields, that you could have believed that troops of all nations were present. … Gold shone on the prows, silver also flashed on the variously shaped ships. … For who could look upon the lions of the foe, terrible with the brightness of gold, who upon the men of metal, menacing with golden face, … who upon the bulls on the ships threatening death, their horns shining with gold, without feeling any fear for the king of such a force? Furthermore, in this great expedition there was present no slave, no man freed from slavery, no low-born man, no man weakened by age; for all were noble, all strong with the might of mature age, all sufficiently fit for any type of fighting, all of such great fleetness, that they scorned the speed of horsemen.”
This runestone is located in Uppland, Sweden. It tells of a man receiving payment for his services as a warrior from Cnut the Great in England.
1000 years ago, in the summer of 1015, a huge army of 10.000 Vikings in 200 longships from all over Scandinavia set sail for England. The goal? Conquer England once and for all. The Vikings were under the leadership of Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), son of Sveinn Tjúguskegg (Sveyn Forkbeard), and they were to engage in often close and brutal warfare with the English for the next fourteen months. England was eventually conquered and Cnut became the King of England. He ruled for 19 years and continued to offer protection to Viking raiders, kinsmen of his, out of which many were under his command. He also retained control over large parts of Scandinavia. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells of a violent campaign of an intensity not seen since the days of Alfred the Great. A passage from Emma’s Encomium provides a picture of Cnut’s fleet: