The New International Encyclopædia/Axel

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AX'EL, or Absalon (1128-1201). Archbishop of Lund, after 1178, and minister and general of Waldemar I. and Canute VI. of Denmark. He was descended from a distinguished Danish family, and in his youth studied at Paris. Axel distinguished himself by wisdom, uprightness, and valor. He drove the Wendish pirates from the Danish coast, attacked them in their own settlements on the island of Rügen, and annexed the island to Denmark. He defeated the Pomeranian prince, Bogislav, in 1184, and made him dependent on Denmark. In the wise legislation of Waldemar and of his son, he had a great part. He promoted learning and art, and to his encouragement we owe the first connected history of Denmark by Saxo Granmiaticus. In building a fortified castle for defense against the pirates, he laid the foundation of the future city of Copenhagen, then an insignificant village inhabited only by fishermen. Owing to this origin, Copenhagen has sometimes been called Axelstadt. Axel lies buried in the Church of Sorö, where he founded a monastery.