Godfred Sigfredsson was the youngest son of Sigfred. Godfred had a brother named Halfdan, who was the earl of some of the wealthier towns on the river Ejder. Halfdan refused to pay his brother any tribute, ( taxes ) and allied himself with the Christian King Charlemagne.
The Danish King Godfred, began to fear that the Franks might attack his Danish lands when in 804 the Frankish army marched right up to what was the border of the Danes realm, the river Ejder. It is written that to defend his realm from the Franks King Godfred began to build the great fortification known as the Danevirke.** This long earthen embankment was the base for a wooden stockade which was manned by Danish soldiers. The southern end of the Danevirke was protected by a deep ditch. King Godfred also expanded Hedeby, on the Schlien, and placed soldiers there to protect it.
In 808 A.C.E. King Godfred decided to protect his border by forcing the Obodrites, who were allied to Charlemagne to accept him as their overlord. Reric was then burned to the ground and its citizens, who were mainly merchants, were forced to move to Hedeby behind the Danevirke.
In 809 Charlemagne sent a peace delegation to King Godfred to negotiate a settlement, but they failed miserably. In 810 King Godfred decided it was time to make Charlemagne pay for his incursions. He sailed with 200 ships and plundered the Frisian coast. Not only did he make the merchants pay him 100 pounds of silver, but he also claimed Northern Frisia, and placed it under his Danish rule. It was then that Charlemagne started to pay Viking chieftains to protect his coast.
Unfortunately, as with several kings of his time, he was killed before he was able to fully exploit his position in Northern Frisia, and stop Charlemagne's conquests. It is written that one of his housecarls murdered him. Notker of St. Gall writes that the housecarl who murdered King Godfred was actually one of his sons. Whether this is fact or not may never be known. Either way the Franks, and Charlemagne, had lost one of their greatest foes.
I honor King Godfred of Denmark every 9th of July for the way he honored his people and fought against the Christian aggressor Charlemagne. I honor him for his Viking raid on the coast of Northern Frisia and the fact that he refused to sign a peace treaty with Charlemagne. I would love to have been with him on his raid of the Frankish coast !
** Carbon 14 dating dates the earliest part of the Danevirke to about 737 A. C. E. so it is very possible that Godfred simply expanded on the works that already existed.
I raise my horn in greatest honor to the man whom defied our greatest enemy Charlemagne.
All Hail King Godfred of Denmark !
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !