Sunday, 16 December 2012
We have by now seen Harald aged three, fifteen and eighteen and know from history that he will die at fifty one in 1066, the single most memorable date in British history, although Harald's last battle at Stamford Bridge (see image) is overshadowed by the more famous "Battle" that same year at the opposite end of England.
Earlier in the Chapter, newly arrived in Russia, Harald had presented the complicated family history to a younger relative. Of one king, he says:
"He planted Christendom firmly in the land, killing whoever would not be baptized." (p. 57)
- not only unfortunate but also unnecessary since Christianity was spreading and displacing Paganism for social and historical reasons in any case. But this single comment reminds us to what extent all the traditions change over the centuries. Killing those who refused conversion would, thankfully, now be unthinkable.