A union that wasn’t meant to survive? a remark on the importance of perspective

I was talking about my book on Kristian II, “Prince of the North”, and how the union in the north trembled and fell during his reign.

One of the questions concerned if the fall of the union could have been avoided, had Kristian done something different. My reply was that history often looks like a necessity, that somethings were bound to happen, but that it is only the case when we look at it in hindsight. For people living in the days of Kristian this was certainly not the case. They had no idea what direction the political situation would develop in, and only for us it looks like the union in the north was “doomed” to fall.

A big thanks to all who came out to make this lecture a night to remember, and especially to “Clio’s friends” who arranged everything splendidly.

17th Century Oppression Tempered with the Welfare State. The case of wounded soldiers, presented at the European University in Florence

This week meant a trip to Florence, one of the most wonderful cities to visit for history-lovers in general and of course especially for Renaissance-fantasts like myself. I was invited for a conference at the European University in the outskirts of the city, located just where the Tuscan countryside met the city. The presentation I held was on my dissertation, where I investigate the curious and rather unexpected effect of the many wars in Europe during the 17th century, that the state – who extracted high taxes and ultimately farmers to the wars – also had to develop a maintenance system for those soldiers that returned with wounds.

And I also managed to get some city touring, like this view from the Palazzo Vecchio over the central parts of city with the magnificent Santa Maria del Fiore, still as impressive as when Brunelleschi managed to finished the cupola in the 1430s.

Copenhagen: Power, politics and the dangers of autocratic rule

Every spring, a special occasion takes place for history lovers in Copenhagen called ”Historiske dage”, the History days. It’s a full weekend of seminars, talks, discussions and history books in the old Meatpacking district (Kødbyn). This year I was invited to talk about Christian II and my book ”Prince of the North” (Furste av Norden). Thank you all who came and listened, I hope you enjoyed the event as much as I did.

Chicago: Honor and violence during the Renaissance

The last few days I have been at this year’s annual conference arranged by the American Renaissance Association (RSA) in Chicago. It has been some great days talking about the Renaissance and listening to the leading experts in the field from all around the globe.

My humble contribution to this conference was a talk about honor and violence in the Renaissance, exemplified by a Swedish nobleman Herman Wrangel who had quite a conflict with the Danish Ambassador in Stockholm since they were both interested in the same woman. The fight between the two gentlemen escalated and ended quite nastily with the Swedish nobleman beating up the Ambassador with his cane. This conflict at a point threatened the diplomatic ties between Denmark and Sweden, but the Swedish nobleman insisted that this had nothing to do with politics, it was his personal honor that had been stained by the Ambassador. With this, both parties seems to have agreed upon forgetting about the whole thing.

For more information about the American Renaissance Association and for program of the conference, see https://www.rsa.org/page/2017Chicago