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Chapter Summary

Comparison of Cnut the Greats development of his authority in each of the countries within his hegemony reveals new perspectives on the methods by which such an important early-medieval ruler came to power. In England we can see that there is more to his takeover of power than a violent invasion quickly followed by the development of an harsh and efficient governing structure for the extraction of wealth from the populace. While Cnuts youth in Denmark in the late tenth and early eleventh century gave him a clear grasp of how to manipulate political factions for his own ends, his experiences of power in England appear to have given him an understanding of the relative efficiency and power of late Anglo-Saxon government. In a century in which the Scandinavian countries began to adopt and adapt mainland European forms of rule, Cnuts career stands as a crucial example of this practise.

Keywords: Cnut the Great; eleventh century; England; political factions; Scandinavian countries



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