Fidjestøl, Bjarne. Skaldic Poetry and the Conversion

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  • Author: Fidjestøl, Bjarne
  • Title: Skaldic poetry and the conversion. With some reflections on literary form as a source of historical information
  • Published in: Selected Papers
  • Editors: Odd Einar Haugen, Else Mundal
  • Series: The Viking Collection 9
  • Place, Publisher: Odense: Odense University Press
  • Year: 1997
  • Pages: 133-50
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Fidjestøl, Bjarne. "Skaldic poetry and the conversion. With some reflections on literary form as a source of historical information." Transl. Peter Foote. Selected Papers. Eds. Odd Einar Haugen, Else Mundal. The Viking Collection 9. Odense: Odense University Press, 1997, pp. 133-50.

  • Key words: history, religion, poetry (sagnfræði, trúarbrögð, kveðskapur)


Contents

Annotation

Fidjestøl looks at the role of Harald fairhair and his descendants in the Norwegian conversion and finds that his/their role is first and foremost defined as non-heathen and only associated with Christianity as a by-product. Fidjestøl points to two written sources that underpin that image, the first one is Harald’s negative attitude towards magic and the second is that his son went in foster to Aðalstein king of England, who was a known Christian. This image of Harald and his descendants is reinforced in skaldic poetry of the 12th century and Fidjestøl marks a clear progression from heathen imagery to Christian imagery in the skaldic verses. Fidjestøl however states that this progression is the composition of the 12th century poets and states that there is nothing in written sources that confirms that Harald and his descendants embraced Christianity over heathenism.

Lýsing

Fidjestøl rannsakar hlutverk Haralds hárfagra og afkomenda hans í kristnitöku Noregs. Það hlutverk virðist fyrst og fremst vera skilgreint sem neikvætt gagnvart heiðinni trú en aðeins túlkað sem kristið í hjáverkum. Hann nefnir tvær heimildir fyrir utan dróttkvæðanna sem renna stoðum undir þá ímynd. Sú fyrri er neikvæð afstaða Hákons til galdra og sú seinni er að hann sendi son sinn í fóstur til Aðalsteins konungs í Englandi, sem var þekktur fyrir að vera kristinn maður. Fidjestøl telur að í dróttkvæðum frá 12. öld sem fjalla um Harald og afkomendur hans megi finna þróun frá heiðnu myndmáli til kristins. Fidjestøl telur hins vegar að sú þróun sé tilbúningur 12. aldar skálda og ekki sé neitt í heimildum sem bendir til að Haraldur eða afkomendur hans hafi verið sérstaklega hlynntir kristni.


See also

References

Chapter 62: um mar: Höfuðlausn is an example of a poem (concerning Eiríkr blóðøx) with “no religious elements except in kennings and figures of speech” (p. 150).

Links

  • Written by: Jane Appleton/Andri M. Kristjánsson
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason/Andri M. Kristjánsson
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