Monday, April 25, 2011
Absalon was a major figure in the history of Copenhagen (and Denmark in general). He was Bishop of Roskilde and Archbishop of Lund, a proeminent religious leader for the Christianity in the area. He reformed the Danish church using the model of Holy See( the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome), combining the ideals of Gregorian Reform with a strong monarchy. He founded churches and monasteries, built schoools and was a symbol of civilization and enlightment.
Absalon was given the control over Copenhagen by King Waldemar the Great. Copenhagen, at that age, was a small shelter for herring fishing and trading, called "Købmannehavn”(Merchants’ Town). Under Absalon reign, the city developed a lot, due to large income from herring trading, that was very appreciated by the Catholic Europe.
Absalon also built the first town fortress on the small island of Slotsholmen. The ruins of Absalons original castle were discovered in 1907 and can be seen now under the foundations of Christiansborg palace.
He was also a great warrior, proving his skills in the war againts the Wends (historical name of the West Slavs living in Germanic teritories). In 1168 he participated in the conquer of wendish fortress Arkona in Rügen. The defeated wends accepted Catholic religion and the Denmark suzeranity.
Absalon died on March 21, 1201, at the age of 73 years, at Sorø Abbey.