In 983, the Danes reconquered the southern Schleswig area from the Germans. Some sites claim that the Danes conquered Holstein as well during this invasion and even sacked Hamburg in cooperation with the Slavs. Is is this true ? In particular, is there any evidence to support the sack of Holstein and Hamburg?

  • For how long did the Danes hold it?
  • Why weren't the Germans able to counter the Danish advance? apparently Otto 2 had taken Danevirke in 974, so it seems odd that in 10 years time the tide had turned totally against the Germans? was it simply a matter of good leadership?
  • Were the battle/battles that took place during the reconquest of Hedeby 983 a lot of skirmishes or a big battle which crushed the German influence in the Schleswig area?
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    Please cite references "some sites on the net" and use sentences, punctuation and grammar. This is tough to read. Could you clarify what is the question?? – Mark C. Wallace Jul 13 '18 at 17:07
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/983 Standard wiki sources seem to answer the why part: Otto was occupied in Italy and died by the end of the year, while the great Slav rising caused further problems to the Germans – b.Lorenz Jul 13 '18 at 17:36
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    Hamburg was taken by the Obrodites, not the Danes: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…, but apparently not held. – b.Lorenz Jul 13 '18 at 17:38
  • Do we have any material on the battles which took place around hedeby in 983? – 919 Jul 13 '18 at 17:45
  • And why didnt the germans under otto 3 simply push the danes back and reconquer hedeby from them like his father had done? – 919 Jul 13 '18 at 17:46

I dont even know where the Germans come in to this.

Hedeby was the second largest Nordic town during the Viking Age, after Uppåkra in present-day southern Sweden



Hedeby was the second largest Nordic town during the Viking Age, after Uppåkra in present-day southern Sweden,2

And the only thing i can find regarding the Slavs, is that in 1066 they sacked and burned down Hedeby.

West Slavs


In 1066 the town was sacked and burned by West Slavs.[17]

This happened 16 years after the King of Norway had sacked and set the town on fire.

King of Norway

King of Norway 1050ad

The town was sacked in 1050 by King Harald Hardrada of Norway during a conflict with King Sweyn II of Denmark. He set the town on fire by sending several burning ships into the harbour

I can also find no evidence that the Danish reconquered Schleswig from the Germans.

Schleswig is an old norse word, which means "bay of the Schlei".

bay of the Schlei

old norse word

in Old Norse and Danish. Schleswig or Slesvig therefore means "bay of the Schlei".

And even when Germans did begin to live in Schleswig in 1544, they were only vassals of the Danish kings


In 1544, Gottorf Castle became the residence of the local rulers. The dukes of Gottorf were vassals of the Danish kings and ruled over much of present-day Schleswig-Holstein

I can also find no evidence that the Danes reconquered the town.

They founded the town.



.[17] Following the destruction, Hedeby was slowly abandoned. People moved across the Schlei inlet, which separates the two peninsulas of Angeln and Schwansen, and founded the town of Schleswig.

I can also find nothing regarding 983ad

Regarding the sack of Hamburg. Yes. The Danes did sack Hamburg. But this was nothing to do with Germans. It was to do with Charlemagne, who was the Holy Roman emperor. And Charlemagne was the man that ordered the construction of Hamburg.



The name Hamburg comes from the first permanent building on the site, a castle which the Emperor Charlemagne ordered constructed in AD 808.

However in 845ad, 138 years before your 983 approximation, Hamburg was destroyed by the Vikings.

Hamburg destroyed

Medieval Hamburg

Hamburg was destroyed and occupied several times. In 845, 600 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants.[24

This was nothing to do with Germans however. It was to do with the fact that the Holy Roman empire was stepping on Danish territory.

The holy Roman empire was not German.

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