We know them from the myths, the bloodthirsty and pagan Wenders who plundered the southern Danish coasts until Bishop Absalon and King Valdemar the Great conquered their castle on the island of Rügen, converted them to Christianity and burned the statue of their idol Svantevit.
This is how the well-known but rather stereotypical story of Danes and Wenders in the Viking Age and the early Middle Ages 1000 years ago goes. The story of the Danish-Vendian connections is, however, somewhat more nuanced, and that story is told by archaeologist and deputy director at Museum Lolland-Falster, Anna-Elisabeth Jensen in her new book Dania Slavica, which will be released on November 25. She is one of Denmark's leading experts on Danish-Vendian relations.
In the book, Anna-Elisabeth Jensen examines the archaeological finds from the area together with written sources from the early Middle Ages and tells about close connections between Danish and Wendish princely families. Despite these relations, conflicts and mutual attacks across the Baltic were regularly recurring.
Anna-Elisabeth Jensen proves that Lolland and Falster were the islands in the middle of in the western Baltic Sea. This is evidenced by the Slavic place names, the archaeological material with the many treasure finds and the sailing barriers in bays and inlets. So does the lack of centers of power, international trading places, central royal castles and early monasteries, which reflect the Danish monarchy's less pronounced control over the border islands. Slavic place names and the all-dominant presence of Slavic-inspired Baltic ceramics document the close connections of the Danish islands to the Slavic area south of the Baltic Sea.
The book is relevant for anyone with an interest in local cultural history and the cultural encounter between Danes and Slavs and for specialist archaeologists in the Baltic Sea area who deal with the Viking Age and the early Middle Ages.
Dania Slavica costs DKK 350. The book is published in both a Danish and a German edition.
The book will be published on 25 November, but can already be reserved at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that it can be collected after the publication day in November at Museum Lolland-Falster's branches in Maribo and Nykøbing. If you are unable to collect the book, the museum can send it. The price for shipping is DKK 100 (in Denmark) and DKK 275 (in the EU).