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  • Denmark, 1513-1660: The Rise and Decline of a Renaissance Monarchy
  • Richard D. Culbertson
Paul Douglas Lockhart . Denmark, 1513-1660: The Rise and Decline of a Renaissance Monarchy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. ix + 279 pp. index. illus. map. gloss. bibl. $110. ISBN: 978-0-18-927121-4.

This book is well researched and well documented, using primary sources in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. It is divided into two main parts, one about the end of the medieval monarchy (1513-36) and the rebirth of the Oldenburg monarchy (1536-96), and the second, the age of King Christian IV (1597-1660).

It must be remembered that during this period of history the Kings of Denmark ruled over a vast European realm consisting not only of Denmark, but also southeastern Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, with voyages of discovery to Greenland. Thus this book is important for the early history of these countries. There are several maps of these lands and also portraits of Danish kings. Lockhart discusses the Oldenburg kings Christian II, Frederik I, Christian III, Frederik II, Christian IV, and Frederik III, and thoroughly relates special problems and officials in each of these lands under each king. He discusses the Seven Years' War of the North (1565-70) against Sweden, the importance of shipping, and how it caused conflict with the Hanseatic League. The book deals with cultures and learning in the Renaissance and Reformation as they affected Denmark, but nothing about change in religious belief. Martin Luther changed his beliefs back and forth, but what actually did the new Lutheran Church in Denmark teach? Lockhart mentions Erasmus of Rotterdam, but [End Page 1326] nothing about any influential contemporaries in Denmark who desired improvements within the existing Catholic Church in Denmark.

Lockhart writes about Danish fisheries in the Reformation age (86) and his word choice is somewhat confusing. He most likely means a certain date, but the Reformation does not concern the fishing industry. In regard to the Reformation, Lockhart writes that some wanted to keep their old Catholic faith in Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and some bishops and laity were killed for their faith. More should have been written about those Catholics, and even the Calvinists and Anabaptists who wanted freedom of religion. Lockhart writes that there were a number of the sons of wealthy and noble families who made a grand tour of other European countries each year to further their education, and he mentions that many were influenced by Lutherans in German lands and were required to maintain allegiance to Lutheran doctrine. But he does not speak about anyone studying in England, France, Holland, Switzerland, Catholic German principalities, or Italy, and almost nothing about the Counter-Reformation other than the dislike and fear of Jesuits. Lockhart does state that prior to the Reformation, the Church owned over thirty percent of Danish farmland, and it does not seem that anyone questioned the confiscation of the land and the new ownership and control by the Danish king, who then became wealthy in his own right. Didn't any Protestant Danish clergymen object to the Church (or any church) losing the lands that were rightfully theirs? Lockhart mentions that the kings attempted to maintain strict morality throughout the kingdom, but their own personal lives consisted of womanizing and heavy drinking, some kings having a different prostitute every night, the king having illegitimate children, allowing witchcraft, and Christian IV appointing a court astrologer. It appears that the new Lutheran religion and morality did not apply to the king, although the kings appointed their younger sons to higher clerical positions so they would be wealthy. Didn't any Lutheran clergy object to the control by the king or to the king's moral behavior? More information could or should have been considered in the book.

Lockhart provides a glossary of three pages of Danish words and their meanings, such as avlinhshoviet, bede gage, grandsemader, handfastning, kongens kansler regnskabslen, tamperrester, and vornedskah. Such words are used throughout the book. Perhaps the greatest scholarship that can be found is contained in the eight pages of the bibliographic essay, where Lockhart compares the works and thoughts of earlier...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0236
Print ISSN
0034-4338
Pages
pp. 1326-1327
Launched on MUSE
2008-12-24
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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