Harald Blue Tooth

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Harald at the baptism in 960 by monk Poppo

Harald I. "Blauzahn" Gormsson ( old Norse Haraldr blátǫnn , Danish Harald Blåtand ; * around 910 in Denmark ; † November 1, 987 in Jomsburg ) was King of Denmark (approx. 936 / 958–987) and of Norway (970–987 ). He belongs to the Jelling house .


Memorial stone in Wolin

Harald was a son of Gorm the old and his wife Thyra Danebod . After the death of his father, Harald succeeded him as king. The relevant point in time is controversial in research. In part, based on sources, the time is assumed to be around 936, but dendrochronological studies of a wooden chamber in Gorm's presumed grave in Jelling indicate that Gorm died in 958 and that Harald succeeded him that year.

Harald invaded Normandy several times as a Viking leader , where in 945 he supported Richard the Fearless by capturing Ludwig IV and forcing him to recognize Richard's rule. Harald recognized Otto I's sovereignty in 948 and founded the dioceses of Aarhus , Ripen and Schleswig , with which the Christianization of Scandinavia began. In 950 he founded Jomsburg (also known as Julin, Jumne, Wollin ) in later Pomerania . His main residence was probably in Jelling under the current church.

According to a report by Widukind von Corvey , Harald was baptized at Poppostein around 960 after the priest Poppo had miraculously convinced him of Christianity. In 963 and 967 the wealthy Wolin and with it the Jomsburg were attacked by Prince Mieszko I (first mention of the Polans), but not conquered. It is documented that Wichmann II also fought there against the Poles in 963 and 967 and fell in 967, which indicates a cooperation.

In 974 he invaded Holstein after Otto I's death. In a counter-attack by Otto II , he lost Schleswig to the Kaiser.

Harald allied himself with the sons of Erik Blodøks, who had been driven out by Håkon the Good . After the death of Håkon the Good, he occupied southern Norway and became King of Norway. Under his rule, he appointed Erik Blodøks' sons to Jarlen , including Harald Gråfell . These killed Sigurd Ladejarl , the former ally of Håkon the Good. This marked the beginning of the long enmity between the Harald Hårfagres and the Ladejarlen family. When this became too arrogant, Harald Blauzahn changed partners and allied himself with Håkon Sigurdsson , son of the murdered Sigurd Ladejarl, and he became his vassal . In 983 Harald conquered Schleswig, which had been lost in 974.

Grave of Harald Blauzahn in Roskilde Cathedral

Harald had united Denmark under one crown for the first time. However, an inheritance dispute with his son Sven Gabelbart led to his rebellion against him. A guided on the Baltic Sea confrontation between father and son, the legendary Battle of Helgenes to 986, probably in Bornholm , ended in favor of the king's son Sven, he of the Jomswikingern was supported. According to Nordic sources, such as the Jómsvíkinga saga , Knýtlinga saga and Heimskringla , the king was ambushed by an arrow during a night break on land, which wounded him seriously. Harald Blauzahn was able to escape from the battle with loyal followers and save himself to the southern part of the Baltic Sea coast in what would later become Pomerania . All Saints' Day 985 or 986 he died in Jomsburg or Jumne . His son succeeded him as King of Denmark. According to the report, Harald's body was transferred by Adam from Bremen to Roskilde to the church he had built.


The origin of the suffix “blue tooth” or “black tooth” is unclear and therefore the subject of numerous speculations and folk etymologies. The fact that the name referred to the color of the king's teeth is controversial.

The first component of the compound can safely be traced back to the old Norse color name blár , which stands for “dark blue” as well as for “black” or “lead colored”.

There is uncertainty about the component -tönn "tooth". The conception of a so-called Heiti metaphor for a sword appears plausible . Other historians suggest that the word þegnfreed , subject; Dagger ”(cf. English thane and chieftain ).

But you can also take the epithet literally. A dead tooth nerve causes the tooth to turn dark, which can be particularly noticeable in the area of ​​the front teeth. The nickname “blue tooth” or “black tooth” can therefore describe such a noticeable feature.

List of wives and children


  • Gunhild
  • Tove or her mother, Mistivoy's widow.
  • Gyrthe of Sweden (Gyrid)


Runestone in Jelling

The larger of the two rune stones in Jelling was built by Harald Blauzahn in the second half of the 10th century. It bears the runic inscription:

Blue tooth runestone, writing side

Inscriptions large pierre Jelling.png

Runes old modernized
ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ᛬ᚴᚢᚾᚢᚴᚱᛣ᛬ᛒᛅᚦ᛬ᚴᛅᚢᚱᚢᛅ haraltr: kunukṛ: baþ: kaurua "Haraldr konungr bauð gjöra"
ᚴᚢᛒᛚ᛬ᚦᛅᚢᛋᛁ᛬ᛅᚠᛏ᛬ᚴᚢᚱᛘ ᚠᛅᚦᚢᚱ ᛋᛁᚾ kubl: þausi: aft: kurm faþur sin "Kuml þessi eftir Gorm föður sinn"
ᛅᚢᚴ ᛅᚠᛏ᛬ᚦᚨᚢᚱᚢᛁ᛬ᛘᚢᚦᚢᚱ᛬ᛋᛁᚾᛅ᛬ᛋᛅ auk aft: þa; urui: muþur: sina: sa "Ok eftir Þyri móður sína, sá"
ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ ᛁᛅᛋ᛬ᛋ <ᚨ> ᛣ᛫ᚢᛅᚾ᛫ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ haraltr ias: s <a;> ṛ uan tanmaurk "Haraldr sem vann Danmörku"
ᛅᛚᛅ᛫ᛅᚢᚴ᛫ᚾᚢᚱᚢᛁᛅᚴ ala · auk · nuruiak "Alla ok Noreg"
᛫ᛅᚢᚴ᛫ᛏᛅᚾᛁ᛫ <ᚴᛅᚱᚦᛁ᛫> ᚴᚱᛁᛋᛏᚾᚨ Auk tani <karþi> kristna; "Ok Dani gjörði kristna."

English: “King Harald ordered that this monument be made to his father Gorm and his mother Tyra; Harald, who submitted to all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes into Christians . "


The bluetooth logo

The Bluetooth radio standard , which is widely used in modern cell phones , was named after Harald Blauzahn and pays homage to his ability to unite several principalities into one great kingdom. The logo shows the initials HB in the form of a monogram of the runes Hagalaz and Berkano .

In the novel The Men from the Sea by Konrad Hansen from 1994, King Blue Tooth plays a prominent role. The Swedish writer Frans G. Bengtsson processed the tooth motif in a chapter of his novel The Adventures of Röde Orm .

The Schaprode hoard found near Schaprode on Rügen in January 2018 , consisting of 500 to 600 partly hacked coins, can in part be directly attributed to the reign of Harald Blauzahn or associated with him.

See also


  • Adam of Bremen : Hamburg Church History. History of the Archbishops of Hamburg. Series: Historians of the German Antiquity. Published by Alexander Heine. Translated by JCM Laurent and W. Wattenbach. Phaidon Verlag, Essen / Stuttgart 1986.


Esben Albrectsen: Harald Blåtand og Danmark . In: C. Dure-Nielsen et al. (red.): Structure and function. Festskrift til E. Ladewig Petersen. Odense 1994.

  • Erich Hoffmann: Contributions to the history of the relations between the German and the Danish empire for the period from 934 to 1035. In: 850 years St. Petri Cathedral to Schleswig 1134-1984. (= Writings of the Association for Schleswig-Holstein Church History. Series I, Volume 33). Schleswig 1984, ISBN 3-88242-086-3 , pp. 105-132.
  • Arnulf Krause: World of the Vikings . Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-593-37783-4
  • Lutz Mohr : The Jomswikinger - myth or truth. Nordic sagas compiled, commented on and edited . Edition Pommern, Elmenhorst 2009, ISBN 978-3-939680-03-1 .
  • Lutz Mohr: Dragon ships in the Pomeranian Bay. The Jomswikinger, their Jomsburg and the Gau Jom . Series: Edition Rostock maritim, ed. by Robert Rosentreter . Rostock: Ingo Koch Verlag 2013. ISBN 978-3-86436-069-5
  • Birgit Sawyer, Peter Sawyer: The world of the Vikings. The Germans and the European Middle Ages . Translated from English by Thomas Bertram. Siedler, Berlin 2002, ISBN 978-3-88680-641-6
  • Markus Wolff: Harald Blauzahn: The converted king in: The Vikings , Geo Epoch No. 52, 2/2012 ( online article )

Web links

Commons : Harald Blåtand  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Lexicon of the Middle Ages , Volume 4, Col. 1929.
  2. Knut Helle (Ed.): The Cambridge History of Scandinavia . Volume 1. Cambridge 2003, p. 174. For 936 about Lexikon des Mittelalters , Volume 4, Sp. 1561.
  3. Harald Blauzahn's royal court found
  4. Widukind von Corvey , III, 65, in Paul Hirsch , Hans-Eberhard Lohmann (ed.): Widukindi monachi Corbeiensis rerum gestarum Saxonicarum libri tres (= MGH Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separately in editi. Volume 60). Hahn, Hanover 1935. pp. 140f.
  5. ^ Edith Marhold: Haithabu in the old Icelandic literature In: Klaus Düwel, Edith Marold, Christiane Zimmermann (ed.): From Thorsberg to Schleswig. (= Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde. Supplementary volume 25). de Gruyter, 2001, ISBN 3-11-016978-9 . P. 85. A. Krause: Haraldr Blátönn . In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde Vol. 13. de Gruyter 1999 ISBN 3-11-016315-2 p. 639.
  6. ^ Palle Lauring: History of Denmark . Wachholtz, Neumünster 1964, p. 47f.
  7. ^ Palle Lauring: History of Denmark . Wachholtz, Neumünster 1964, p. 48.
  8. ^ Robert Bohn: Danish history. Beck, Munich 2010, p. 10f.
  9. Adam von Bremen II / 25, p. 106f
  10. Bluetooth: Origin of the name  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. www.bluetooth.com, updated July 8, 2018@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.bluetooth.com  
  11. The Men of the Sea - Nordlandsaga. Eichborn, Frankfurt 1992. New edition as The Men from the Sea. Historical novel. Hoffmann & Campe, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-455-40205-6 .
  12. Archaeologists recover valuable silver treasure on Rügen spiegel.de, April 16, 2018
  13. Thirteen-year-old finds valuable silver treasure faz.net, April 16, 2018
predecessor Office successor
Gorm the old man King of Denmark
approx. 936 / 958–987
Sven Gabelbart
Harald II King of Norway
Sven Gabelbart