Gunnarr and the Snake Pit in Medieval Art and Legend

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir, 29. janúar 2013

Speculum (87/4) 2012, 1015–1049.

While many readers of medieval literature are likely to be familiar with the narrative motif of the snake pit, and even associate it with the legend of Gunnarr Gjúkason, there are probably not many, apart from Old Norse specialists, who would know the rest of his story. According to the heroic poems of the Edda, and the derived Völsunga saga, Gunnarr is the brother-in-law of Sigurðr Fáfnisbani and plays a large part in his saga, Völsunga saga. But as Völsunga saga is first and foremost the story of the Völs- ungs, including Sigurðr, Gunnarr naturally plays something of a minor role there, being overshadowed by the magnificent and renowned slayer of the dragon Fáfnir. And so, while some people may know who Gunnarr is, they do not necessarily know much about him in his own right. Read more: Speculum. See also: