Cambs Uni Publications


The Swastika in Denmark

24th November 2015
Posted by S Taylor

The Danish for Swastika is Hagekors.

It has occurred in many forms and at many times and places in Denmark, often in association with runes.  A fine example of this is found on the Værlose fibula, or brooch from Sjælland, now housed in the National  Museum of Denmark.  One Danish scholar reckons this brooch comes from a woman’s grave.  In addition to the rune ‘alugod’  (reference to Thor?) there is a Swastika that may have been inscribed earlier.     There is also a bracteate  with a Swastika and rune, illustrated below.  On the Snoldelev Stone also from Sjælland we find a runic inscription, a Swastika and a Triskele in the form of three drinking horns.

Danish  Bracteate
An early Bracteate

Curvilinear brooches have been found dating from the Roman era as well as  the more usual rectilinear form.  The Swastika has also been found on bracteates in Scandinavia. These were thin medallions of silver or gold usually worn as pendants, and regarded as good luck charms. They combined the traditional head of the emperor with a blend of indigenous mythological motifs.

With the advent of Christianity to Denmark different forms of the Cross appeared. Some of these were probably derived from the pagan Swastika, and some were more likely to have derived from the Christian Gammadion prevalent in the Roman catacombs; there is an example of this usage on a font in an ancient Danish Church.

The world-famous Carlsberg Breweries have used this device as a commercial logo for many years.   They appear on the flanks of four elephants that support the Elephant Gate in Copenhagen; together with other kindred motifs there is a clear reference to Indian usage.  The juxtaposition of Swastika, Elephant and Lotus clearly indicates such a provenance.   This unique gate was designed by one of the leading Danish industrial architects of the day and was completed in 1901.

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