"Much like Greek and Roman mythology, Norse myths are read, reread, and treasured. Famous storytellers such as JRR Tolkien and Neil Gaiman have drawn their inspiration from the long-haired, mead-drinking, marauding and pillaging Vikings. The author who gave us Nordic mythology is a twelfth-century Icelandic chieftain by the name of Snorri ...
"Much like Greek and Roman mythology, Norse myths are read, reread, and treasured. Famous storytellers such as JRR Tolkien and Neil Gaiman have drawn their inspiration from the long-haired, mead-drinking, marauding and pillaging Vikings. The author who gave us Nordic mythology is a twelfth-century Icelandic chieftain by the name of Snorri Sturluson. Like Homer, Snorri was a bard, writing down and embellishing the folklore and pagan legends of medieval Scandinavia. While his stories make great reading for children, the amazing world of medieval Scandinavia has been omitted from narrative history. In Song of the Vikings, award-winning author Nancy Marie Brown brings to life the intrigue and power struggles at the court of medieval Reykjav'k that Snorri inhabited. Drawing on new and original research, her deep knowledge of Icelandic history, and first-hand reading of the original medieval sources, Brown produces a richly textured narrative of a world that continues to fascinate. "--
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Much of what we know of the Norse Gods and legends apparently were preserved and embellished upon by an Icelander of the 12th and 13th centuries, Snoori Snurluson. Most of the chapters start with a story of one of the Gods or legends and then the author skillfully weaves elements of Icelandic/Norse history and Sturulson's biography therein to make an easily read narrative. The last chapter also starts with a Norse legend, some Sturluson biography and Icelandic/Norse history but the preponderance covers the 'history' of Snurluson's manuscripts and their use in later 'culture.' Some of the manuscripts were damaged or lost but those that survived influenced later writers and composers. J.R.R. Tolkien is perhaps the one best known in recent times. However, many of Wagner's Operas are based on Snurluson's work.
Religion played a part in Icelandic society and, interestingly, different classes favored different Gods, Thor was favored by farmers and sailors while Odin was an aristocrat's God. Christianity came to Iceland in 1000 and that was when Icelandic book culture started. Snoori subtly gives some of the myths a Christian coloring 'bringing out the correspondence between Norse paganism and Christian teaching.' Unfortunately, some of the Sagas have been used to foster groups and societies that have been detrimental to world peace.
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