Dronning Christine og kong Hans. Len, magt og fromhed i dansk senmiddelalder

  • Mikkel Leth Jespersen


Queen Christine and King Hans: Fief, Power and Piety in Late Medieval DenmarkAlthough Danish historians have devoted but little attention to Queen Christine of Denmark, two different assessments are discernable. While Troels Dahlerup has emphasized her economic talent, some other historians, basing their view on her relationship to the Grey Friars, have stressed her conspicuous piety and gentleness, describing her, for instance, as a "family person" and "peace-loving." The present study argues for a third perception of the queen as a late Medieval aristocrat, who in the administration of her estates and her mode of behaviour acted perforce within the typical framework of the alliance politics of the time.In 1478 Princess Christine of Saxony married Prince Hans, who had been designated to succeed his father, King Christian I of Denmark. When Hans became king in 1483 she, as queen, reigned with him over that politically fragile tri-kingdom construct known as the Union of Kalmar. Until 1502 she and Hans lived together and had six children, including the son who became Christian II. But after that year they apparently became alienated. Hans failed to come to her rescue with sufficient haste when she was under siege in the Castle of Stockholm and subsequently was captured by the Swedes. When in 1503 the queen was finally free of her Swedish captors, she moved her residence to the island of Funen, where she had been granted the fiefdoms of Næsbyhoved and Tranekær. The study argues that these possessions were not the queen's jointure, as previously assumed, but security for a loan she had made to her husband in connection with his occupation of Sweden. Besides the two fiefdoms she also acquired revenues from the towns of Ribe, Kolding and Assens.Although Queen Christine withdrew to Funen, she did not retire from Late Medieval politics. Her life and the management of her assets can be followed in great detail, largely on the basis of voluminous accounting records of her administration: Dronning Christines Hofholdningsregnskaber (Queen Christine's Court Accounts), Næsbyhoved lens regnskaber (Næsbyhoved's Accounts) and the Tranekær accounts. The queen had hardly settled down on Funen when her steward was murdered by the banquet master of the Bishop of Odense, Jens Andersen (Beldenak). There are strong indications that this incident resulted in some kind of permanent feud between the queen and the bishop, who was also at odds with the grand nobles of Funen under the leadership of the Rønnow and Gyldenstjerne families. The queen's accounts reveal that it was precisely these families who were prominent in her entourage. When she travelled from Næsbyhoved to Tranekær she stopped on her way at Hvidkilde, which was Markvard Rønnow's manor house. Another indication of her amicable relations with these families was their mutual exchange of gifts.The queen's expressions of piety, celebrated in Claus Berg's altar piece in Odense and in other ways, should not be seen in isolation from her other activities. Piety was also part of her self-projection, which again was part of her exercise of power. The queen lived up to the Late Medieval ideal of piety, which was not opposed, but integral to the exercise of power. This was just as true of Queen Christine as of other Late Medieval aristocrats. The present study thus proposes an interpretation of Queen Christine as a purebred Late Medieval aristocrat, quite contrary to the one-sided "peace-loving" conception based on her pious utterances.Translated by Michael Wolfe


Mikkel Leth Jespersen
Leth Jespersen, M. (2013). Dronning Christine og kong Hans. Len, magt og fromhed i dansk senmiddelalder. Historisk Tidsskrift, 106(1). Hentet fra https://tidsskrift.dk/historisktidsskrift/article/view/56213