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A page of Heimskringla

Heimskringla is the Old Norse name of a collection of kings' sagas recorded in Iceland around 1225 by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson (1179–1242). The collection contains tales about the Norwegian kings, beginning with the legendary Swedish dynasty of the House of Ynglings, followed by accounts of more historical Norwegian rulers of the 10th to 12th centuries, up to the death of Eystein Meyla in 1177.

[edit] Scope

The Heimskringla traces Odin and his followers from the East, from Asaland and Asgard, its chief city, to their settlement in Scandinavia. It narrates the contests of the kings, the establishment of the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, the Viking expeditions and the conquests of England. The stories are told with a life and freshness, giving a picture of human life in all its reality. The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson is the main part. His 15 year long reign takes up about one third of the entire work.

The saga of Harold Hardrada narrates his expedition to the East, his brilliant exploits in Constantinople, Syria, and Sicily, his scaldic accomplishments, and his battles in England against Harold Godwinson, the son of Earl Godwin, where he fell at Stamford Bridge in 1066 only a few days before Harold himself fell at the battle of Hastings. This saga is a splendid epic in prose, and is also of particular relevance to the history of England. The first part of the Heimskringla is rooted in Norse mythology; as it advances, fable and fact all curiously intermingle, and it terminates in factual history.

The Heimskringla was translated into English by Samuel Laing in 1844. Several modern editions are available.

[edit] Contents

The Heimskringla contains the following sagas (see also List of Norwegian monarchs):

  1. Ynglinga saga
  2. Saga of Halfdan Svarte (the Black)
  3. Saga of Harald Hårfagre (Hårfagre: "hairpride") (died ca. 931)
  4. Saga of Håkon the Good (died 961)
  5. Saga of King Harald Grafeld (died 969)
  6. Saga of King Olaf Tryggvason (died 1000)
  7. Saga of Olaf Haraldson (died 1030), excerpt from conversion of Dale-Gudbrand
  8. Saga of Magnus the Good (died 1047)
  9. Saga of Harald Hardråde (died 1066)
  10. Saga of Olaf Kyrre (died 1093)
  11. Saga of Magnus Barefoot (died 1103)
  12. Saga of Sigurd the Crusader (died 1130) and his brothers
  13. Saga of Magnus the Blind (dethroned 1135) and of Harald Gille (died 1136)
  14. Saga of Sigurd (died 1155), Eystein (died 1157) and Inge (died 1161), the sons of Harald
  15. Saga of Håkon Herdebreid (died 1162)
  16. Saga of Magnus Erlingson (died 1184)

[edit] External links

Heimskringla is also the name of a weekly newspaper published in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It contains articles written in Icelandic of interest to Icelandic Canadians.

Norse mythology
List of Norse gods | Æsir | Vanir | Giants | Elves | Dwarves | Valkyries | Einherjar | Norns | Odin | Thor | Freyr | Freyja | Loki | Balder | Tyr | Yggdrasil | Ginnungagap | Ragnarök
Sources: Poetic Edda | Prose Edda | The Sagas | Volsung Cycle | Tyrfing Cycle | Rune stones | Old Norse language | Orthography | Later influence
Society: Viking Age | Skald | Kenning | Blót | Seid | Numbers
The nine worlds of Norse mythology | People, places and things

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