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PEDER SKRAM (c. 1500-1581)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 195 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PEDER SKRAM (c. 1500-1581), - Danish senator and naval hero, born between 1491 and 1503, at his father's estate at Urup near Horsens in Jutland. He first saw seivice in the Swedish. war of Christian II. at the battle of Brannkyrka, 1518, and at the battle of Upsala two years later he saved the life of the Danish standard-bearer. For his services in this -war he was rewarded with an estate in Norway, where he settled for atime - with his young consort Elsebe Krabbe. During " Grevens Fejde," of " the Count's. War," Skram, whose reputas tion as a sailor- was already established, was sent by the Danish government to assist Gustavus Vasa, then in alliance with Christian Ill. against the partisans of Christian II., to organize the untried Swedish fleet; and Skram seems; for the point is still obscure, to have shared the chief command with the Swedish Admiral Mans Some. Skram greatly hampered the movements of the Hanseatic fleets who fought on the side of Christian IL; captut^ed'a Whole Lubeck squadron off Svendborg, and prevented the revictualling of Copenhagen by Lubeck. But the incurable suspicion of Gustavus I. minimized the successes of - the allied fleets throughout 1535. Skram's services were richly rewarded by Christian III., who knighted him at his coronation, made him a' senator and endowed him with ample estates. The broad-shouldered, yellow-haired admiral was an out-and-out patriot and greatly contributed as a senator to the victory ofthe Danish party over the German in the councils of Christian III. In 1555, feeling too infirm to go to sea, he resigned his post of admiral; but whenl the Scandinavian Seven Years' War broke out seven years later; and the new king, Frederick II., offered Skram theā€¢ chief command, the old hero did not hesitate a moment. With a large fleet he put to sea in August 1562 and compelled the Swedish admiral, after a successful engagement off the coast of Gotland, to take refuge behind the Skerries. This, however, was his sole achievement, and he was superseded at the end of the year by Herluf Trolle. Skram now retired from -active servite, but was twice (1565-1568)- unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedes in his castle of Laholm, which he and his who form a kind of mutual-aid association. Meetings are held late at night in cellars, and last till dawn. At these the men wear long, wide, white shirts of a peculiar cut with a girdle and large white trousers. Women also dress in white. Either all present wear white stockings or are barefoot. They call themselves " White Doves." They have a kind of eucharist, at which pieces of bread consecrated by being placed for a while on the monument erected at Schlusselberg to Selivanov are given the communicants. The society has not always been content with proselytism. Bribes and violence have been often used. Children are bought from poor parents and brought up in the faith: The Skoptsi are millenarians, and look for a Messiah who will establish an empire of the saints, i.e. the pure, , But the Messiah, they believe, will not come till the Skoptsi number 144,000 (Rev. xiv. 1, 4), and all their efforts are directed to reaching this total. The Skopitsi"s favourite trade is that of money-changer, and on, 'Change in St Petersburg there was for long a bench known as the "Slcoptsi's bench." Of late years there is said to have been a tendency on the part of many Skoptsi to consider their creed fulfilled by chaste living merely. See Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, The Empire of the Tsars (Eng. trans., 1896), vol. iii. ; E. Pelikan, Geschichtlich= medizinische Untersuchungen fiber das Skopzentum. in Russland (Giessen, 1876) ; K. K. Grass, Die geheime heilige Schrift der Skopzen (Leipzig, 1904) and Die russischen Sekten (Leipzig, 1907, &c.). wife defended with great intrepidity., His estates in Halland intent, " Dunghunters." On land, however, whither they were also repeatedly ravaged by the enemy. Skram died; at an advanced age, at ilrup on the 11th of July 1581. Skram's audacity won for him the nickname of " Denmark's dare-devil," and he contributed. perhaps more than any other Dane of his day to destroy the Hanseatic dominion of the Baltic. His humanity was equally remarkable; he often ims perilled his life by preventing his crews from plundering. See Axel Larsen, Dansk-Norske Heltehistorier (Copenhagen, 1893). (R. N. B.)
End of Article: PEDER SKRAM (c. 1500-1581)
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