The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Absalon
ABSALON or Axel, a Danish statesman, soldier, and ecclesiastic, born in 1128, died in 1201. He was educated at the university of Paris. He was related to the royal family, and was the chief minister and general of Waldemar I. (1157-'82) and Canute VI.; was elected bishop of Roeskilde in 1158, and archbishop of Lund and primate of Scandinavia in 1178; and was equally distinguished for piety, statesmanship, and military skill and valor. He put down the Wendish pirates who infested the Baltic, followed them up to their island home of Rügen, destroyed the temple of their god Svantevit at Arkona, and forced them to receive Christianity. The code of Waldemar was partly his work, as also the ecclesiastical code of Seeland. On his encouragement, Saxo Grammaticus composed his history of Denmark, the first continuous Scandinavian history ever written. Later he overcame the Pomeranian prince Bogislas, and made him do homage to the Danish king. He constructed a little fort, named after him Axelhuus, for defence against pirates, around which Copenhagen was gradually reared.