A DANISH PIRATE QUEEN. I posted here about Grace O’Malley, the subject of the musical, The Pirate Queen. My father used to tell us about her at the dinner table. His mother was an O’Malley and he claimed we were descended from Grace O’Malley. My father referred to her as Granya Wales (or so he pronounced it). (This Wikipedia article on Grace O’Malley spells it Gráinne Ní Mháille). She was the chieftain of the Ó Máille clan in the west of Ireland during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Shannon Hoover posted recently on Facebook about Alfhild. This wikipedia article about Alfrida says that: “According to Gesta Danorum, Alfhild, daughter of the Geatish king Siward, was a shield maiden, who had her own fleet of longships, with crews of young female pirates, who raided along the coasts of the Baltic Sea.”

The source for the article on Alfrida, the Gesta Danorum (“Deeds of the Danes”), is, says this wikipedia article, “a patriotic work of Danish history, by the 12th century author Saxo Grammaticus (‘Saxo the Literate’, literally ‘the Grammarian’). It is the most ambitious literary undertaking of medieval Denmark and is an essential source for the nation’s early history.”

My mother never mentioned whether any of her Danish ancestors were female pirates, but it’s nice to learn that there is that possibility.

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