Saxo Grammaticus

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Saxo Grammaticus

(săk`sō grəmăt`ĭkəs), c.1150–c.1220, the first important Danish historian. He was in the service of AbsalonAbsalon
or Axel
, c.1128–1201, Danish churchman, archbishop of Lund (1178–1201). He had great influence on political affairs under Waldemar I and Canute VI, warred against the pagan Wends, and in 1184 won a naval victory over Bogislav, duke of Pomerania.
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, archbishop of Lund, at whose suggestion Saxo wrote the Gesta Danorum (or Historia Danica). The first nine books, translated (1893, repr. 1967) Danish History, are mostly composed of oral tradition and legends concerning the early Danes, including the story of Hamlet. The remaining seven books, dealing more with contemporary events, are an extremely valuable source for Danish history. The cognomen grammaticus [learned] was probably bestowed on Saxo after his death.


See R. G. Latham, Two Dissertations on the Hamlet of Saxo Grammaticus and Shakespear (1872, repr. 1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Saxo Grammaticus


Born 1140; died circa 1208. Danish historian and chronicler.

Saxo Grammaticus was the author of the Gesta Danorum (History of the Danes). The first nine books of the history contain ancient Scandinavian legends, including the legend of Hamlet used by Shakespeare. The remaining seven books contain information on Denmark’s history to 1185. Saxo Grammaticus wrote in Latin in an ornate and verbose style. The Gesta were first published in Paris in 1514; it was translated into Danish several times and into German and English.


Weibull, C. Saxo, kritiska undersök ningar i Danmarks historia. Lund, 1915.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Saxo Grammaticus

?1150--?1220, Danish chronicler, noted for his Gesta Danorum, a history of Denmark down to 1185, written in Latin, which is partly historical and partly mythological, and contains the Hamlet (Amleth) legend
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Moreover, as mentioned above, Mad Boy's reception is complicated by public discourses that encourage spectators to read it not as an adaptation of Hamlet, but of Hamlet's source, an ancient Norse saga first recorded by a medieval monk named Saxo Grammaticus. This intertextual genealogy is laid out in public discourse and paratexts surrounding the play, including its reviews, marketing material, and O'Brien's foreword, all of which emphasize that Shakespeare's Hamlet is not the original "original." The play's title page graphically challenges Shakespeare's originality and authenticity:
Turning to proper history writing, one author became the single most influential authority on the history of Denmark before 1200 to later royal historiographers: Saxo Grammaticus. His writings became a role model for the first post-Medieval
Erlauterungen zu den ersten neun Buchern der Danischen Geschichte des Saxo Grammaticus, I-II, (1.
Gesta Danorum ("Story of the Danes") History of Denmark by Saxo Grammaticus, written between 1185 and 1222 and considered the greatest work of medieval Danish literature.
Saxo Grammaticus tells a similar story about the Danish Toki who killed Harald, and many other variations of the legend are found in Scandinavian and English folklore.
Of the eight chapters here, two deal with the Scandinavian Hamlet narrative outside of its specific Shakespearean reflex: Ian Felce seeks the 'Icelandic Hamlet' in manuscript evidence for Amlo[eth]a saga and Marcello Rossi Corradini explores the transposition of Saxo Grammaticus's version into eighteenth-century Italian opera.
Very few recent historians could make such telling use on a single page (page 44 has been chosen entirely at random, but is typical) of Robert of Torigny, Saxo Grammaticus, Snorri Sturluson, the Glossary of Cormac, the Peterhorough Chronicle, and the Erfurt Annals.
The Hamlet character corresponds to the figure of Amleth (Amlodi), whose story is narrated in books 3 and 4 of Saxo Grammaticus' late 12th-century history of Denmark.
The earliest source of the play is a story which first appeared in Historia Danica (1514) by the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus (c1150 - c1220), and was later translated in Histoires tragiques (1570) by Pierre de Belleforest.
Similarly focusing upon tropes of ritual within a single chronicle, Kim Esmark analyses the performative function of political ritual, and the role of the actors therein, found in Saxo Grammaticus's Gesta Danorum.
Danish historian and ballad collector who translated the Gesta Danorum of the medieval historian Saxo Grammaticus from Latin into Danish (1575).
In the chronicles of the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, Ollerus is the equivalent of Ull.