This seminar will be devoted to the memory of the ancient Scandinavian past as it was cultivated in medieval vernacular saga literature and Latin chronicles of Scandinavian origin. The competing visions of the past offered by these texts will be compared in order to explore the differing aims of the various texts and the historical, social and cultural contexts that gave rise to them. Likely continental and insular sources of inspiration will also be discussed.
Recent scholarly works on this topic will be read alongside classical scholarship on the legendary history of Scandinavia and the medieval texts themselves.
The vernacular texts will be read in their original language while the Latin texts will be read in Latin and/or in translation (depending on the preparation of the participants).
Primary readings will include: Hálfs saga, Hervarar saga, Hrólfs saga kraka, Skjǫldunga saga (or what remains of this text), Ragnars saga loðbrókar, Ynglinga saga and on the Latin side Chronicon Lethrense, Historia Norwegie, Sven Aggesen’s Brevis historia regum Dacie and selections from Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum.
Secondary readings in will be in English and in the modern Scandinavian languages.
Prerequisites: At least two semesters of Old Norse language studies (or equivalent).