Snorri Sturluson's history of the kings of Norway has come to be known as Heimskringla ( The Orb of the World), from the first sentence of Ynglinga saga: "The orb of the world that is inhabited by men has a deeply indented coastline"

The book begins with legendary Swedish kings, after the clan moves to Norway. The story becomes  more historical with Halfdan the Black and his son, the conquering hero Harald Fairhair. Each king has his own saga, in chronological order, while the longest and most detailed of the sagas is that of the canonised King Olaf Haraldsson, who was the primary saint of the North.

What is it that makes Snorri so superior to the other authors of sagas of kings? The magic of good literature will always remain intangible, but several factors are worth mentioning. Snorri has an outstanding talent for drama and is a relist, as may be seen in his unflinching rejection of hagiographical accounts of the lives of Norway's missionary kings, Olaf Tryggvason and St. Olaf Haraldsson.

Heimskringla has been published repeatedly in Norwegian translation, and has become a national Bible to the Norwegian. It payed an important role in the nationalist awakening of the 19th and 20th centuries, in the same way as the Icelandic movement for freedom and independence drew inspiration from the Sagas of Icelanders. 

It was thanks to Snorri, more than any other individual, that Norway became an independant nation. After five centuries of foreign rule, they acquired a new king. When he  ascended the throne he took the name of the very king that had, centuries before, ordered the death of the scholarly magnate at Reykholt.

Norway 200 year

In 1814 Norway got its own constitution, and went from being a part of the Danish-Norwegian, to a union with Sweden. In the new union  Norway's received a status as a separate state, but had a common king with Sweden. Prior to this, Norway has been linked with Denmark since 1380.

The reason why the Danish king had to cede Norway to Sweden, was that Denmark was on the losing side of the Napoleonic Wars. Cession came as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Kiel, a peace treaty between the king of Copenhagen and the Swedish crown prince, Karl Johan, signed in January 1814.

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