King Gorm 'the Old' Haraldsson Of Denmark
- Born: Abt 910, Denmark
- Marriage: Thyra 'Danebod' or 'the Jewel' about 930
- Died: 959 about age 49
- Buried: 959, Jelling, Denmark
Gorm the Old, (Danish: Gorm den Gamle), died 959, was the father of
Harald Bluetooth. Gorm, a Jutland chieftain, was born about 940. He
became king of the Danes and as king he resided in Jelling, where he
set up a monument for his wife Thyra.
It is believed that it is his skeleton that has been found at the
church of Jelling. At the time of the reign of Gorm, the Danes
believed in the Norse pantheon and it was not until Harald Bluetooth
became king that the Danes converted to Christianity.
It is believed that Harald moved the skeleton of his father from the
original grave into the church. Why he simply didn't build the church
on top of his father's grave remains a mystery. Some historians have
considered this a result of a dispute between Gorm and Harald.
[IT:From http://www.archaeology.org/0011/newsbriefs/gorm.html: :IT]
Denmark's peripatetic Viking ruler Gorm the Old (d. A.D. 959) is back
at rest in the Jelling Church, where his remains were discovered in
excavations in the late 1970s. Originally interred in one of two
nearby mounds, Gorm was apparently reburied in a wooden church built
at the site by his son Harald Bluetooth (r. 959-987), who had accepted
Christianity. This church later burned down (as did two others) before
the current stone one was built in 1100. On August 30, Gorm's remains,
which had been under study at Copenhagen's University and National
Museum, were reburied, carefully packed in acid-free paper in a zinc
box, with Denmark's Queen Margrethe II and royal family in attendance.
The church, burial mounds, and two rune stones at Jelling are on
UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites. One of the runestones, erected
at the site by Gorm, honors the memory of his wife Thyra: "King Gorm
erected this symbol to the honor of the memory of Thyra his wife,
Denmark's Adornment." The other, erected by Harald, commemorates his
parents, conquest of Norway, and conversion to Christianity: "King
Harald commanded this symbol to the honor of the memory of Gorm, his
father, and Thyra, his mother. Thus Harald, who won for himself all
Denmark and Norway and did make Denmark Christian."
The reburial ends the saga of the search for King Gorm, which began in
1820, when excavators found an empty tomb in mound north of the
church; only one artifact remained in the burial chamber, a silver
cup. (Later dendrochronological study of beams from north mound tomb
shows they were cut in 985/59, corresponding to the date of Gorm's
death.) Excavations of both mounds, initiated in 1861 by King Frederik
VII, showed that there was no burial in the one south of the church.
Gorm married Thyra 'Danebod' or 'the Jewel', daughter of Klakk-Harald Of Jutland and Unknown, about 930. (Thyra 'Danebod' or 'the Jewel' was born about 900.)