Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Canute the Great free essay sample

What role did religion play in Canute’s leadership? 5 What were Canute’s strengths and weaknesses? 6 Conclusion8 References9 Canute the Great Introduction Canute was a Viking king. He was son of Sweyn Forkbeard, the king of Denmark. Canute ascended the Danish throne upon the death of his father in 1018. But in 1016, as the prince of Denmark Canute successfully conquered England. Thus by the time Canute became the king of Denmark he was the king of a vast empire that included England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, parts of Sweden and Germany from 1018 to 1035. He came into power during a time of turmoil but Canute established an era of peace and prosperity to a once divided kingdom. His rule was known as a peaceful and orderly time throughout his entire kingdom. By the time of his death in 1035, Canute was not only known as a successful king but also a monarch and religious figure. This report will discuss the achievements of Canute, his strengths and weaknesses and how religion played a role in victorious leadership. What achievements did Canute the Great make? One of Canute’s greatest achievements was he was successfully able to use his skill as a leader and military commander and become the ruler of an empire that included England, Denmark, Norway, western Sweden, and northern Germany. Although Canute was a Dane ruling English land one of his other great achievements was bringing peace and prosperity to England. Over the twenty years of his reign Canute ensured that the ties of England and Denmark were strong and good. Canute also developed and maintained a strong legal and fiscal system to ensure his empire was orderly and calm. Even though Canute was a Viking and during the early part of his reign he was very ruthless, and his actions were barbaric he became a wise ruler who made many great decisions that benefited his empire. For example, he secured recognition from three Scottish kings after 1027. He also made English trade more profitable by controlling the Baltic trade root. In addition, Canute was able to obtain a reduction in tolls and charges for people wanting to travel to Rome for pilgrimage. This highlights Canute’s achievements in foreign affairs. Canute was also known as a religious king and he his achievements in promoting Christianity was seen for example when he encouraged the church to undertake missionary work in Scandinavia. Canute also ensured that those who were not Christians we not punished and was able to work with them for the benefit of his country. For example, he led an army that was largely mostly pagans and thus created a rule that was peaceful and orderly. Canute made many great achievements but perhaps one Canute’s greatest achievements was winning the English crown. England was a land in ruin in 1013 and only a strong and powerful king could unite this divided nation. The people of England recognised that only Canute had the will and power to unite their land and in 1016 Canute was declared king of England in Lincolnshire. What role did religion play in Canute’s leadership? Canute was an extremely religious king who was known for his close relationship with the church. He associated himself with key religious figures such as Wulfstan, the Archbishop of York. He was also known for his generosity toward the church, giving impressive gifts and relics to the English Church. One of the highlights of Canute’s leadership and association to the church was his pilgrimage to Rome to visit Pope John XIX, in 1026. During Canute’s reign, the Church was an extremely powerful and influential organisation. Canute recognised that he needed to ally himself with the Church, not only be accepted by the people as their Christian King but also to ensure that he was able to retain his power as a ruler. He knew that in order to avoid a conflict with the church and its followers he had be a friend of this very powerful religious organisation. Canute was a clever and effective ruler and led many successful military campaigns. Although Canute was a religious King, he did not punish those who were not of the Christian faith. For example, Canute’s army were mostly pagans and yet Canute was an effective military leader and was accepted by his men as a Christian monarch. This shows how clever Canute was in using religion to guide his leadership. Many however questioned Caute’s motives on showing himself to be a devoted Christian and a close friend of the Church. They thought that Canute allied himself with the church in order to be able to consolidate and retain the power he held as the ruler of his vast Empire. Despite controversy over Canute’s reasons for being Christian, history books say his treatment of the church was very sincere. For example, Canute repaired churches and monasteries that had been looted by his army and also built new ones. Although it is hard to know whether Canute was sincerely religious or he used the Church to his own benefit, what is clear is that Canute used religion and the power of the church to consolidate his leadership. What were Canute’s strengths and weaknesses? Canute was a ruler who showed both strengths and weaknesses. His weaknesses lead him to commit acts that tarnished his character as a great king. His strengths as a ruler allowed him to rule his empire, which included England, Denmark, Norway, and parts of Sweden, effectively and history has recorded him as one of the greatest kings. One of Canute’s main strengths was his strong management skill. For example, history books all recognize Canute’s ability to skilfully manage the wealth and resources of his empire very cleverly. He also managed his finances very well. For example, the coinage system was carefully controlled by his administration. In addition, Canute although a Danish ruler, understood the English political system very well. This was one of his greatest strengths as it helped him to keep control of his large diverse empire that included not only England, Norway, and Denmark but also parts of Sweden. Canute was also recognized as a strong military leader. Although he had very little knowledge of how to lead, control, and guide an army. In addition, unlike many other young kings, Canute had no second in command that could advice and support him. Despite this, Canute was very skilful at managing men and was able to lead a successful army. Canute was also seen as an opportunist, who took every chance he could get to accumulate power and expand his empire. He always took advantage of political and military opportunities. He was cunning and accumulated power strategically. For example, he married his daughter to the Roman Emperor. This action shows that Canute was also a very clever politician and diplomat. Canute’s greatest weakness was his ruthless character; he didn’t stop at anything. For example, at the very beginning of his rule over England, he gave estates belonging to English nobles’ to reward his Danish followers. This made the English unhappy. He also engineered the death of Edmunds brother Eadwig and had some prominent Englishmen killed and outlawed. Although Canute’s ruthlessness may be seen as a bad character trait it was important to have a leader that has that much drive in order to have a secure empire. Some people viewed Canute as a very short-sighted leader. For example, when he gave three of his earls; Godwin, Leofric, and Siward high power in order to gain their favour and support. This caused a lot of internal fighting between the three families and threatened to weaken Canute’s control of his Empire. In spite of these weaknesses Canute was a great leader who established and maintained prosperity and peace in his kingdom. Conclusion In conclusion, although Canute could have been remembered as a ruthless Viking Danish king who ruled by brutal force, he is remembered instead as a Great King because of the peace and prosperity he brought to his people. Through his many strengths Canute united a divided England and ruled over an Empire that included the people of Denmark, Norway parts of Sweden, Germany and England successfully. This required a ruler that was strong and powerful and wise and Canute was all of these. Canute’s diplomatic skills and military talent allowed him to be one of the greatest kings of his times. He is remembered as a Great ruler who brought peace and prosperity to his people.

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