Tordenskjold Pirates - Captain Karsk

Captain Karsk, is the 8th Tordenskjold Pirate, and a drink based on coffee - a Trondhjem specialty. Therefor the focus is rather set on the piracy in the Baltic Sea than the Caribbean. Besides, the movie ‘Tordenskjold and Kold’ indicates that Danes had Tordenskjold humiliated and executed, and not treated as a naval hero at all, but rather a martyr. The reasons become clearer with this UU theme’s previous blogs and views from ‘down here at Zealand’ (Sjælland). Captain Karsk is here a cultural reflection to some of the legends of Tordenskjold.

Tordenskjold naval ways in the Baltic Sea were similar to the ways of privateers and pirates used in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. As mentioned in UU 2016.jan.29, he advanced from a 15 years old ships boy in the Trade Triangle at that time. Associations to the young Peter can be made to the teenager Jim Hawkins in the novel ‘Treasure Island’ (Extra UU3 2016.Feb.26). Not much is known about his deeds and experiences for the following 7 years. Anyways, in brief. “Tordenskjold is among the most famous national naval heroes in Denmark and Norway. He experienced an unusually rapid rise in rank and died when he was only 30 years old.” “Wessel was already renowned for attacking any Swedish vessels regardless of the odds, and always enabled him to evade capture.” “Peter Wessel rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral for his services in the Great Northern War against Sweden. He was ennobled as Peter Tordenskiold by King Frederick IV of Denmark in 1716. His greatest exploit came later that year, as he destroyed the supply fleet of Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Dynekilen.” However, Danish admiralty opposed his promotions, charge him twice for criminal recklessness and had him transferred from Norwegian seas and to the Baltic Sea.

More detailed summary from Wikipedia: “His successes compelled the Swedes to post a reward for his capture, while his free and easy ways also won him enemies in the Danish navy, who deplored his almost privateer-like conduct.” For example, in 1714, he encountered a frigate under English flag carrying 28 guns, which had been equipped in England for the Swedes. Tordenskjold was flying a Dutch flag, but he raised the Danish flag when in shooting range. Both ships were badly damaged after around 14 hours of fighting. King Frederick IV of Denmark asked for the admiralty to court-martial Wessel for disclosing vital military information about his, but he was promoted to Captain instead. Moreover, Wessel considerable damaged the Swedes by cutting out their frigates and destroying their transports.” “During a battle at Kolberg, Wessel captured the Swedish Rear-Admiral Hans Wachtmeister as well as the frigate Vita Örn (White Eagle). He renamed it Hvide Ørn (Danish) and used it as his own flag ship (1715). When the Swedish king invaded Norway and laid siege to the fortress of Fredrikshald, Tordenskiold forced a retreat by pouncing upon the Swedish transport fleet that was laden with ammunition and other military stores. With two frigates and five smaller ships, he conquered or destroyed around 30 Swedish ships, with little damage to himself during the Battle of Dynekilen on 1716. For this, the Dane king enobled him the name of Tordenskiold and promoted to Post-Captain, commanding the Kattegat squadron. Tordenskiold captured the Swedish fortress of Carlsten at Marstrand in 1719. The last feat of arms during the Great Northern War was Tordenskiold's partial destruction and partial capture of the Gothenburg squadron on 1719.”

There are clearly similarities in the activities for privateers in the Caribbean Golden age of Piracy and Tordenskjold’s naval activities in the Great Nordic War. Tordenskjold got information from ‘secret services’ about the enemies before attacking. Tordenskjold boarded and hijacked ships and later used them against their own. He even ‘kidnapped’ a rear-admiral. Tordenskjold used ‘neutral’ Dutch flags to approach rivals before sneak attacking. One can only speculate if this tactic relates to the myths about the feared ‘Flying Dutchman’. Surely, trusts between Dutch, Danes and Swedes were damaged too. Consequently, the Danes’ and Swedes’ naval authorities seemed to recognize privateers patterns and tried to stop Tordenskjold with legal means. Besides, a speculative myth is that Tordenskjold had fascinations in a seven-headed snake. This was probably to associate him with ultimate evil of biblical myths about the Leviathan. The real association is probably rather to his first ship Ormen (the serpent) - and that the Vikings had dragons heads in front of their ships. Some might even have interpreted Tordenskjold’s name, Peter Wessel, – as Peter (the Great’s) vessel.

There must have been an ulterior third power with a hidden agenda, if Tordenskjold was an enemy of the Swedes, but not fully loyal to Danes nor Norwegians. It becomes clearer when focusing on the Russian motives for the Baltic Sea. Wikipedia says, “Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721 and became recognized as a world power. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War, forcing it to cede West Karelia and Ingria (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles), as well as Estland and Livland, securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade. On the Baltic Sea Peter founded a new capital called Saint Petersburg, later known as Russia's "Window to Europe". Peter the Great's reforms brought considerable Western European cultural influences to Russia.” Seen from Empire’ perspective, Tordenskjold reputations hardly mattered, as long as the deeds promoted the outcome, - to weaken any other powers in the Baltics. Seen from Swedish and Danish perspectives, - Tordenskjold might have appeared as a pro-Russian separatist, - in Dane uniform. Remembering very well the collapse of the Nordic (Kalmar) Union by Christina IV and Ivan the terrible, the Russian Great Nordic War could develop to be a cascade of Novgorod Massacres. (UU 2016.feb.19) It is, however, a common mistake for nationalists to be lured into acting as resourceful and successful pro-imperial separatists.

“The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony-Poland. Frederick IV and Augustus II were forced out of the alliance in 1700 and 1706 respectively, but rejoined it in 1709. George I of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) joined the coalition in 1714 for Hanover and in 1717 for Britain, and Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia joined it in 1715.” “Peter made a temporary peace with the Ottoman Empire (Roma2) that allowed him to keep the captured fort of Azov, and turned his attention to Russian maritime supremacy. He sought to acquire control of the Baltic Sea, which had been taken by the Swedish Empire a half-century earlier. Peter declared war on Sweden, which was at the time led by King Charles XII. Sweden was also opposed by Denmark-Norway, Saxony, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.” (Wikipedia). Russian warfare in Norden and the Baltics is thoroughly talk through in blogs related to UU 2016.feb.19. In fact, it is the very reason to what is called ‘The 400 Years Night’ in Norden. It was initiated with the constitution of Roma3 by Ivan the Terrible a century earlier. With such perspectives, this is a milestone in a series of 4th degree LYAHF related Games of Warfare in the period between the collapse of the Nordic Union and the Napoleon Wars towards Europe. (UU 2016.Feb.26)

Norway never recognized the illegal and humiliating annexation after Russia caused the split of the Nordic (Kalmar) Union. There were resistance in all the 3 present and former capitals, Christiania (originally Oslo), Trondhjem (Tordenskjold) and Bergen (Holberg). A brief summary from UU 2015.mars.20. “Historically, Stockholm has status as a main capital of the Baltic Sea and relates to most Baltic powers. The Baltic Sea is like a Nordic Mediterranean that actually was linked to it via the Black Sea by rivers, and thereby Ukraine, Crimea, Constantinople/Roma2. In brief, there are some historical milestones like, the housing the Nordic union (The Kalmar Union), the strong opposition against Russian Tsar Ivan (the terrible) and of the Moscow mass-annexation and massacres in the Novgorod region. The split between Denmark and Sweden in DAC/UAC Games still goes on. (UU 2014.okt.31). Tsar Peter (the Great) built a second capital in St. Petersburg (Throne/Temple), removed powers from Moscow (State) in 1714, which improved relations to Sweden and other Baltic nations (temporarily). However, all the major battles between Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Germany in Baltic nations, Schleswig/Holstein, region of Kronborg castle and Baltic Sea, indicates that Russia was not absent, but have been playing ulterior roles in most war Games (e.g. LYAHF) for 500 years.“

The saying ‘All's Fair in Love and War’ certainly sets the Gimmick in privateers and pirates Games. Actually, this is a new discovered Game (AFILW). It adds to the new category of Pirate Games, which included privateers as pro-imperial separatists to pillage and plunder imperial rivals. This goes for all the Tordenskjold Pirates in this UU Theme. It also is relevant to the new movie ‘Tordenskjold and Kold’ that presents a very different perspective on the legend, than the public childlike songs and tales. The movie clearly indicates that Danes, as well as Swedes, lured the Norwegian into a Honeypot Game that caused his end. It is still uncertain though - what happened instead of that cover story about a swords duel in Germany. The movie indicates that a rival Swede poisoned him with wine. Anyways, the Dane and Swede authorities could not stop Tordenskjold, - therefor he was lured into a trap, - just like any privateer or pirate would do, - which proved themselves no better after all.

Anyways, being a Norwegian, born in Trondhjem, it is more probable that Tordenskjold was smarter than Kold and the related authorities - that Tordenskjold succeeded in his final disappearance act. If so, his story does not end with the duel cover-up story, but rather a change to a better life in incognito. This re-script bears great potentials for a TV-series like ‘Black Sails’. In fact, the adventures of Captain Flint and Captain Morgan in the Caribbean are trivial compared with all the material presented in the UU Theme about Tordenskjold Pirates.


Karsk stems from the Old Norse word karskr that means ‘sound and spry’. It is also called kaffekarsk, knikt, kaffeknikt and kaffedoktor. The drink is made of liquor (usually moonshine) and coffee (kaffe). A similar drink in Sweden is called kask, kaffekask or kaffegök, - in Finland, it is called kaffeplörö or kaffeblörö, - and in Denmark it is called kaffepunch. The mixture varies dependent to how strong it should be. Moonshine at 96% alcohol volume requires more coffee than liquor, but for legal liquor at 60%, the mixture is half of each. A traditional recipe is to put a coin in the cup, pour coffee until its invisible and the pour liquor until it is visible again. However, that is rather practical joke since the coin will not be visible. The color of the drink will hardly change until the cup is full. However, if still in doubt, the mixture can be varied with silver, copper and gold coins as well as white, brown and black rum. The drink can also be vaporized with a matchstick if the Karsk becomes to strong. However, the alcohol easily ignites in warm places, but hardly does in the cold wilderness of Norway. (Translated from Wikipedia)

In the spirit of Captain Karsk, rum, preferably Stroh Rum, should be in Captain Karsk rather than moonshine or vodka. However, coffee drinks comes in many variations that should be tried for more civilized versions of Captain Karsk. (See the links to recipes to drinks with rum and coffee.) Some might even be tempted to brew dedicated rum to the Captain Karsk. Findings have been contradictory as to whether coffee has any specific health benefits, and results are similarly conflicting regarding the potentially harmful effects of coffee consumption. There is no significant Nutrition in coffee. However, it is slightly acidic and can have a stimulating effect on humans because of its caffeine content.

Some facts about the coffee might also be inspirial. “Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways (e.g., espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, etc.). It is usually served hot, although iced coffee is also served. It is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffee plant. The plant is native to subtropical Africa and some islands in southern Asia. The plant was exported from Africa to countries around the world and coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa.” “Coffee had been introduced to Brazil in 1727, although its cultivation did not gather momentum until independence in 1822. In 1910-20, Brazil exported around 70% of the world's coffee, Colombia, Guatemala, and Venezuela, exported half of the remaining 30%, and Old World production accounted for less than 5% of world exports.”

“Coffee was initially used for spiritual reasons. At least 1,100 years ago, traders brought coffee across the Red Sea into Arabia. Coffee drinking was prohibited by jurists and scholars (ulema) meeting in Mecca in 1511. Use in religious rites among the Sufi branch of Islam led to coffee's being put on trial in Mecca: it was accused of being a heretical substance. It was later prohibited in Ottoman Turkey. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians prohibited coffee, regarded as a Muslim drink. Its early association in Europe with rebellious political activities led to Charles II outlawing coffeehouses from January 1676. Frederick the Great banned it in Prussia in 1777 for nationalistic and economic reasons.”


‘Land Down Under’ is a song recorded by Australian rock band Men at Work. It was originally released in 1980 as the B-side to their first local single titled "Keypunch Operator". The early version of "Down Under" has a slightly different tempo and arrangement than the later Columbia release. The song went to number one in their home country of Australia and New Zealand, Canadian, United States, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other countries. It has become a popular and patriotic song in Australia.”

“The term Down Under is a colloquialism which is variously construed to refer to Australia, New Zealand, and other countries in Australasia. The term comes from the fact that nearly all of these countries are in the Southern Hemisphere, 'below' many other countries on the globe. The famous Russian-born Australian boxing champion Kostya Tszyu was nicknamed "The Thunder from Down Under."

In this relation, Sjælland, the island of the Dane capital Copenhagen, is called Zealand in English. For a Norwegian, like Tordenskjold (Thundershield), ‘down here’, Zealand, is ‘a land down under’. Furthermore, the next Dane queen comes from Australian.

Men at Work - Land Down Under (with Lyrics)

Receipts for Rum and Coffee

Extra UU1 - Documentary - Great Northern War | 3 Minute History

“The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony-Poland. Frederick IV and Augustus II were forced out of the alliance in 1700 and 1706 respectively, but rejoined it in 1709. George I of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) joined the coalition in 1714 for Hanover and in 1717 for Britain, and Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia joined it in 1715.”

Great Northern War | 3 Minute History
Great Northern War documentary, Russian with English subtitles, part 1, 2 & 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY799MWqZ-M

Extra UU2 - Epic Pirate Music

“Songs and sea shanties for pirates, sailors, fishermen and sea adventurers. I deliberately tried to stick to more serious pirate songs (is there such a thing as a serious pirate song??) and avoid most "kids' version" tracks, but I simply could not leave out some of the classics, like the Lazy Town song. Have fun with this list!”


Extra UU3 - Sons of the Desert - Tordenskjold

‘Ørkenens Sønner’ is a Danish comedian quartet that has entertained since 1991, but was recognized in 1997 with their third show. The basic concept is a loge and slightly inspired by the movie Sons of the Desert the literal translation of the movie's title. The comedy group uses the basic theme of a fraternal organization, and their stage costumes are identical to the ones used in the movie's organization. Even their theme song is a translation of the one from the movie. This gag about Tordenskjold is typical for their style.
Ørkenens sønner - Tordenskjold