The death of Edmund Ironside left Cnut without a rival. Although both Aethelred and Edmund left sons theoretically eligible to rule only Edward, the son of Aethelred and Emma, was of an age to lead a campaign. He showed no disposition to challenge Cnut, nor is it likely that a fifteen-year-old who had so far revealed no ability for military command would have obtained much support. N o one wanted further fighting. T he issues at stake during the recent fighting had become much less clear cut than in the ninth century when King Alfred and his West Saxons had fought the pagan followers of Halfdan and Hastein. The campaigns of Aethelred and Edmund against Swein and Cnut had developed into a struggle for the English Kingdom between rival contendants, all of whom professed to be Christians and whose leading supporters were not necessarily of the same race as their principals. Aethelred’s treachery and incompe­ tence had caused him to forfeit the support of some of his nobles; conversely, as early as 1001 the Danish Pallig, brother-in-law of King Swein, had been in his service. In 1012 Thorkell the T a ll took service under Aethelred, and on Aethelred’s return from Normandy in 1014 O laf Haraldsson accompanied him with a force of Nor­ wegians. Edmund fought the Danes with an army raised in the Danelaw. Eadric Streona supported Dane or Englishman indif­ ferently, as self-interest appeared to indicate; English troops, whether willingly or not, fought in Swein’s army. Differences of racial origin ceased to be important when intermarriage between English and Danes was commonplace. King Aethelred had taken the great grand­ daughter of the Viking Rollo as his second wife, Edmund married the widow of a Danish thegn, while Cnut took as wife, * after the Danish fashion ’, Aelfgifu of Northampton, daughter of that ealdor­ man Aelfhelm who had been killed in 1006 with Aethelred’s con­ nivance; though he subsequently married Emma of Normandy Cnut continued to treat Aelfgifu and her sons with consideration. The Northumbrian house which ruled the land between the Tees and the Scottish border was of mixed Danish and English blood; the elder son of Leofwine, ealdorman of Mercia, was named Northman; Thorkell

the Tail’s wife Edith was perhaps a daughter of King Aethelred; and Earl Godwin of Wessex married Gytha, sister of Earl Ulf, the hus­ band of Cnut’s sister Estrith. In the next generation Earl Siward of Northumbria married a granddaughter of Earl Uhtred and named one of his sons after Uhtred’s father, Waltheof. Such relationships

' were established more easily in the eleventh than in the ninth century because the leaders of the second phase of Scandinavian invasion, O laf Tryggvason, Olaf Haraldsson, Swein, Cnut, and their principal subordinates were nominally Christian. The emphatic prohibition of pagan practices in Cnut’s legislation and their denunciation by contemporary homilists testifies to the superficiality of Christianity among the recently settled Scandinavian population, but it suggests also that Danish ways exercised a spontaneous attraction on the native English. One of the rare private letters of this period written by an Englishman confirms this view :

I will tell thee also, brother Edward, now that thou has asked me, that you do wrong in abandoning the English practices which your fathers followed, and in loving the practices of heathen men who begrudge your life, and In so doing show by such evil habits that you despise your race and your ancestors, since In Insult to them you dress In Danish fashion with bared necks and blinded eyes. I will say no more about that shame­ ful mode of dress except what books tell us, that he will be accursed who follows heathen practices In his life and in so doing dishonours his whole race.