Sunday, September 01, 2013

Terminated with Extreme Prejudice

Hardicanute, Canute the Hardy, succeeded his father, Canute the Great, as  king of Denmark in 1035.  He felt he also had claim to the throne of England but he was squeezed out of it by his half-brother, Harold Harefoot.  Fortuitously, though, Harold died and a deputation of worthies asked Hardicanute to take his place.

David Hume takes up the story:
The first act of Hardicanute's government afforded his subjects a bad prognostic of his future conduct. He was so enraged at Harold for depriving him of his share of the kingdom, and for the cruel treatment of his brother Alfred, that in an impotent desire of revenge against the dead, he ordered his body to be dug up, and to be thrown into the Thames; and when it was found by some fishermen, and buried in London, he ordered it again to be dug up, and to be thrown again into the river; but it was fished up a second time, and then interred with great secrecy. 
David Hume, History of England, vol. 1, ch. 3.

Doesn't say whether they buried the fishermen with him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"terminate with extreme prejudice" was supposedly a CIA expression ordering a "secret" hit on someone. I used to like to use the expression jokingly after congressional elections to describe an upset when an incumbent who was surely going to win (ha ha) lost. haven't seen it in print for a while.