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Eddic, Skaldic, and BeyondPoetic Variety in Medieval Iceland and Norway$
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Martin Chase

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257812

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257812.001.0001

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Háttatal Stanza 12 And The Divine Legitimation Of Kings

Háttatal Stanza 12 And The Divine Legitimation Of Kings

(p.75) Háttatal Stanza 12 And The Divine Legitimation Of Kings
Eddic, Skaldic, and Beyond

Kevin J. Wanner

Fordham University Press

Snorri Sturluson’s poetic references to Christian concepts can be as challenging as his use of pagan associations. Kevin J. Wanner sorts out a conundrum that has long frustrated readers of Snorri. Háttatal is the third part of Snorra Edda, a technical tour de force in which Snorri displays the formal variety of skaldic verse. The subjects of this long poem, composed while Snorri was in service at the Norwegian court, are Jarl Skúli Bárðarson and King Hákon Hákonarson, longtime rivals for ruling power in thirteenth-century Norway. The poem purports to be in praise of both men, but as Wanner demonstrates, Snorri makes clear in a variety of ways that he holds with Jarl Skúli—with one perplexing exception, stanza 12, where Snorri states that Hákon has been granted his kingship by the grace of God. Using linguistic and formal analysis as well as the Weberian theory of charisma, Wanner argues that Snorri can reconcile the discrepancy between God’s choice of Hákon as the king with his own preference for Skúli—but not without hoping that God will eventually change his mind and view things as Snorri does.

Keywords:   Snorri Sturluson, Snorra Edda, Háttatal, Jarl Skúli Bárðarson, King Hákon Hákonarson, kingship, Weberian theory of charisma, Kevin J. Wanner

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