Stilgherrian Live, my live Internet program, returns tomorrow night, and I need nominations for this week’s “Cnut of the Week”.
If you missed the last two episodes, well, the segment “Cnut of the Week” is dedicated to the memory of King Cnut the Great, also known as Canute, a Viking ruler of England and Denmark, and Norway, and of some of Sweden variously from 1016 to 1035 CE.
Cnut is best known for attempting to hold back the tide. As 12th-century chronicler Henry of Huntingdon tells it, Cnut set his throne on the shore and commanded the tide to halt — but of course it didn’t stop. Cnut leapt back and said:
Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.
He then hung his gold crown on a crucifix, and never wore it again.