Posts tagged: Old Norse

Old French lais and Icelandic sagnakvæði

Francia et Germania: Studies in Strengleikar and Þiðreks saga af Bern. Oslo, 2012, 265–288.

Strengleikar is a collection of romantic tales that were translated from one or more collections of French narrative tales, the so-called lais (singular lai), at the behest of Hákon the Old, who ruled over Norway from 1217 to 1263. The Strengleikar consist of twenty one lais and a prologue, and are now preserved in the Norwegian manuscript de la Gardie 4–7 at the University of Uppsala library alongside four leaves of the same manuscript, which are today found at the Arnamagnaean Institute in Copenhagen under the signum AM 666 b 4to. The manuscript is considered to be from about 1270 and as such is one of the oldest and most important compendiums of Old Norse translations of courtly literature. Read more: Fracia et Germania.

Saga Motifs on Gotland Picture Stones: The Case of Hildr Högnadóttir

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir, 4. febrúar 2013

Gotland’s Picture Stones: Bearers of an Enigmatic Legacy. Gotländskt arkiv 2012, vol 84, 59–71.

The Gotland picture stones have long aroused interest and admiration, not only among tourists as objects of beauty and casual curiosity, but also among scholars who have been led to speculate about what they were originally intended to signify. One of the methods used to analyze and interpret the images has been to view them in the context of Old Norse literature. In this respect, three different strands of narrative material, or legends, have been identified as possible sources for preserved texts and comparable images referring to the Völsungs and the Gjúkungar, Wayland the Smith and the story of Hildr and Héðinn. Read more: Saga Motifs.

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: