Snorri Sturluson

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Snorri Sturluson or Sturleson

(snôr`rē stür`lüsôn, –lĕsôn), 1178–1241, Icelandic chieftain, historian, critic, and saga teller, the leading figure in medieval Norse literature. He was the author of the invaluable Prose Edda (see EddaEdda
, title applied to two distinct works in Old Icelandic. The Poetic Edda, or Elder Edda, is a collection (late 13th cent.) of 34 mythological and heroic lays, most of which were composed c.800–c.1200, probably in Iceland or W Norway.
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), a treatise on the art of poetry and a compendium of Norse mythology. His great saga the Heimskringla recounts the history of Norway to 1177; it combines traditional legend with substantial historical information and is of great literary merit. Snorri's sense of drama was outstanding, his mastery of form and method superb. Of an aristocratic family, Snorri acquired great wealth and became one of the most influential men in Iceland. Active in the politics of his day, he agreed to support the plan of Haakon IV for the annexation of Iceland to Norway, and thereafter he became increasingly entangled in intrigues and hostilities. In the struggle for control of Iceland he was killed by henchmen of his son-in-law, for political reasons as well as for reasons of inheritance.


See biography by M. Ciklamini (1978); N. M. Brown, Song of the Vikings (2012).

Sturluson or Sturleson, Snorri:

see Snorri SturlusonSnorri Sturluson or Sturleson
, 1178–1241, Icelandic chieftain, historian, critic, and saga teller, the leading figure in medieval Norse literature.
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Snorri Sturluson


Born 1178 in Hvammur; died Sept. 23, 1241, in Reykholt. Icelandic prose writer and poet.

Snorri Sturluson was descended from the house of the Stur-lungs, which waged a struggle for power in the first half of the 13th century. Three times he was choosen lawspeaker, the highest office of the Icelandic Commonwealth. He was killed by order of the Norwegian king Haakon for disobedience.

Snorri’s Prose Edda, also called the Younger Edda, is the most important source on ancient Icelandic mythology and skaldic poetry. His Heimskringla, also called Orbis terrarum, is a history of Norway from ancient times to 1177. In this work, Snorri discriminatingly selected the most authentic elements from written and oral sources and interpreted them judiciously yet at the same time followed the narrative style of the sagas and used dialogues and monologues to create a lively picture of Norway’s history.


Heimskringla, vols. 1-3. Reykjavik, 1941–51.
In Russian translation:
Mladshaia Edda. [Afterword by M. I. Steblin-Kamenskii.] Leningrad, 1970.


Nordal, S. Snorri Sturluson. Reykjavik, 1920.
Paasche, F. Snorre Sturlason og Sturlungerne. Christiania. 1922.


Snorri Sturluson

1179--1241, Icelandic historian and poet; author of Younger or Prose Edda (?1222), containing a collection of Norse myths and a treatise on poetry, and the Heimskringla sagas of the Norwegian kings from their mythological origins to the 12th century