Seminar – Life and Cult of Cnut the Holy

– The first royal saint of Denmark
Interdisciplinary research seminar, Odense November 6th-7th 2017


In 1986, to mark the 900th anniversary of the murder of King Cnut IV in the Church of Saint Alban in Odense, the Book of Cnut (Knuds-bogen) was published. The volume brought together specialists from several disciplines and shed light on different aspects on the life and cult of Cnut as king and saint. Since then, archaeological excavations in Odense as well as recent national and international research on the cult of Saint Cnut have provided scholars with new information about the life and times of Cnut. Furthermore, recent scholarship within medieval studies has resulted in a range of studies which allow for innovative comparisons with the Cnut material.

This recent academic output – both at home and abroad – has coincided with an increased interest from local public institutions. The Church of Saint Cnut and the Odense City Archive recently initiated a collaboration with the purpose of communicating the story of the crypt beneath the church o a broader audience. In addition, the department of research and communication in Odense City Museums is aiming to shed light on the early history of Odense with the current exhibition “Cnut’s Odense – the Viking city”.

With this interdisciplinary seminar – arranged in cooperation between the research centre CENTRUM at Odense City Museums and Centre for Medieval Studies at University of Southern Denmark – we intend to bring together both national and international experts. The aim is to bring forth new aspects of Cnut’s life and afterlife and to put these in a wider, international context. By doing so we aim to lay the groundwork for future research about Cnut, and to form the basis for further dissemination of the latest discoveries pertaining to Cnut and his time.