1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Trolle, Herluf

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TROLLE, HERLUF (1516-1565), Danish naval hero, was born on the 14th of January 1516 at Lillö. At the age of nineteen Trolle went to Vor Frue Skole at Copenhagen, subsequently completing his studies at Wittenberg, where he adopted the views of Melanchthon, with whom he was in intimate correspondence for some years. His marriage with Brigitte, the daughter of Lord Treasurer Mogens Gjöe, brought him a rich inheritance, and in 1557 he took his seat in the senate. Both Christian III. and Frederick II. had a very high opinion of Trolle's trustworthiness and ability and employed him in various diplomatic missions. Trolle was, indeed, richly endowed by nature, and his handsome face and lively manners made him popular everywhere. His one enemy was his wife's nephew Peder Oxe, the subsequently distinguished finance minister, whose narrow grasping ways, especially as the two men were near neighbours, did not contribute towards family harmony. It was Trolle whom Frederick II. appointed to investigate the charges of malversation brought against Oxe. Both Trolle and his wife were far renowned for their piety and good works, and their whole household had to conform to their example or seek service elsewhere. A man of culture, moreover, he translated David's 31st Psalm into Danish verse. He also promoted literature and learning by educating poor students both at home and abroad, endowing Latin schools and encouraging historical research. In 1559 Trolle was appointed admiral and inspector of the fleet, a task which occupied all his time and energy. In 1563 he superseded the aged Peder Skram as admiral in chief. On the 10th of May he put to sea with twenty-one ships of the line and five smaller vessels and, after uniting with a Lübeck squadron of six liners, encountered, off the isle of Öland, a superior Swedish fleet of thirty-eight ships under Jacob Bagge. Supported by two other Danish ships Trolle attacked the Swedish flagship “Makalös” (Matchless), then the largest battleship in northern waters, but was beaten off at nightfall. The fight was renewed at six o'clock the following morning, when the “Makalös” was again attacked and forced to surrender, but blew up immediately afterwards, no fewer than 300 Lübeck and Danish sailors perishing with her. But the Swedish admiral was captured and the remnant of the Swedish fleet took refuge at Stockholm. Despite the damage done to his own fleet and flagship “Fortuna” by this great victory, Trolle, on the 14th of August, fought another but indecisive action with a second Swedish fleet under the famous Swedish admiral Klas Horn, and kept the sea till the 13th of October. Trolle spent the winter partly at his castle of Herlufsholm completing his long cherished plan of establishing a school for all classes, and partly at Copenhagen equipping a new fleet for the ensuing campaign. On the 1st of June 1565 he set sail with twenty-eight liners, which were reinforced off Femern by five Lübeck vessels. Klas Horn had put to sea still earlier with a superior fleet and the two admirals encountered off Fehmarn on the 4th of June. The fight was severe but indecisive, and both commanders finally separated to repair their ships. Trolle had been severely wounded in the thigh and shoulder, but he would not let the ship's surgeon see to his injuries till every one else had been attended to. This characteristic act of unselfishness was his undoing, for he died at Copenhagen on the 25th of June, seventeen days after they had put him ashore.