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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1329: Kingship in Scandinavian Literature

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Alaric Hall, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki
Paper 1329-aA Promising Young Man: Narrating Youth in Old Norse Royal Biography
(Language: English)
Sabine Heidi Walther, Nordisk Forskningsinstitut, Københavns Universitet
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 1329-bKing Sigurd on a Crusade to Eastern Småland as Presented in 12th- and 13th-Century Scandinavian Literature
(Language: English)
Ralf Palmgren, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture & Art Studies, University of Helsinki
Index terms: Crusades, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Local History

Paper -a:
The youth of a great man is often a blank space for the biographer. For the battles and wars of a king, there might be plenty of eyewitness accounts, but of course nobody takes notes of significant events and deeds of every child of a ruler, even less of a commoner because of course, a great man is only a great man ex post. But at the same time narratives of birth, childhood, and youth are useful both for the ruler (or the member of the dynasty who had the biography commissioned) as a legitimizing element and for the author as narrative opportunity to tell vivid anecdotes. This paper explores the role of classical literature as a source of inspiration for authors of Old Norse royal biographies with a focus on birth, childhood, and youth of kings.

Paper -b:
The Christian King Sigurd I 'the Crusader' Magnusson of Norway ruled from 1103 to 1130. He participated in a Crusade to the Near East from 1107 to 1110. He is also associated with a lesser known crusade to eastern Småland in Sweden in the early 1120s. In this paper I will contextualize King Sigurd's hypothetical swords mission in the light of Scandinavian literature from the 12th and 13th centuries.