Thyra of Denmark (d. 1000)

views updated

Thyra of Denmark (d. 1000)

Queen of Norway. Name variations: Thyre. Flourished around 999; died on September 18, 1000; daughter of Harald Bluetooth (c. 910–985), king of Denmark (r. 940–985), and Gyrid; grandmother of Gytha; sister of Sveyn or Sweyn I Forkbeard, king of Denmark (r. 986–1014), king of England (r. 1014); married Styrbjörn (son of Olaf, king of Sweden); betrothed to and possibly married King Burislaf of Wendland; married Olav I Tryggvason (968–1000), king of Norway, in 998 or 999; children: (first marriage) Thorgils Sprakalegg.

Thyra of Denmark was the daughter of Harald Bluetooth and sister of Sweyn Forkbeard, both kings of Denmark. She was first married to Styrbjörn, the son of Olaf of Sweden. Some sources suggest she was then betrothed to and possibly married King Burislaf of Wendland, an area of northern Germany occupied by a fierce Slavic people in the late 10th century. Burislaf was the father of Geyra , first wife of Olaf I Tryggvason, king of Norway.

Thyra would become Olaf I's fourth wife in 998 or 999. While not all of the sources mention Olaf Tryggvason's four marriages, there seems to be general agreement on the details of his marriage to Thyra. She had fled from Wendland to Norway, appalled at the prospect of married life with an old, pagan king such as Burislaf. Olaf proposed and Thyra considered herself lucky "to marry so celebrated a man."

Soon after the wedding, she began to complain to Olaf of her relative poverty. She had left the dowry her brother Sweyn Forkbeard bestowed on her in Wendland; since Sweyn disapproved of her flight from old Burislaf, he refused to help her retrieve her dowry. Thyra begged Olaf Tryggvason to go to Burislaf to accomplish this task. Always keen for a foreign adventure, Olaf agreed to gather his warships for an expedition to Wendland. In the summer of 1000, he set out with a large number of warships and men. The reunion with his former father-in-law was a peaceful one, and Olaf was able to obtain Thyra's dowry.

About this article

Thyra of Denmark (d. 1000)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article