Snorri Sturluson

Snorri Sturluson

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Snorri Sturluson

I want to tell you about my " employer" Snorri Sturluson!

Snorri Sturluson was born at Hvammur in Dalir ( Vest Iceland) at 1179.  When Snorri was 3 years old his father Sturla was involved in a conflict with Father Pall Sölvason of Reykholt. To solve the conflict Icelands lawspeaker Jon Loftsson was called in. He was the grandchild of king Magnus barelegs also called barefoot

As a part of a settlement, Jón offers to foster Sturla's son, Snorri and he was taken to Oddi, the home of Jon Loftsson at the age of 3.

Oddi was one of Iceland's primary cultural centres ever since the time of Sæmundur the Wise, Jón's paternal grandfather, so this dispute was highly fortunate for Icelandic literature, and led to Snorri growing up at this educational centre.

When Snorri was nineteen a marriage was arranged for him with Herdís the only daugther of Bersi the Wealthy of Borg in Borgarnes. Snorri took over the estate of Borg in 1202 and he inherited the "goðorð"  chieftainship of Myrar from his father inlaw. In subsequent years he increased his power by acquiring several more cheftainships and becoming one of the most powerful man in Iceland. His nephew and pupil Sturla Þórðarson, wrote in his book  "Islendinga Saga"; And he became a great magnate, and did not lack money."

Snorris life was not without problems and his worldly success proved transient. He himself had a number of faults that he describes so well in some of his characters, and  his own actions contributed in some degree to his own downfall. Ironically, Snorri, who recorded  impassioned defence of Iceland for posterity, was the first Icelander who undertook to represent the interests of a Norwegian king in Iceland. In his early years he took part in armed combat, but never again. He avoided such conflicts, and it is clear that his nephew Sturla Þórðarsson attributes this to cowardice, probably reflecting the judgement of his contemporaries. But it is equally possible that Snorri's behavior was an expression of a civilised man's distaste for violence and bloodshed.

 It is ironically that it was king Hakon of Norway whom instructed Gissur Þorvaldsson ( Snorris former son inlaw) to take Snorri to Norway, willingly or unwillingly, otherwise to kill him. Gissur did not hesitate, and took the easiest way by executing Snorri at his home in Reykholt on a dark autumn night of 23.September 1241.  Ironically enough, before his death Snorri had, in his histories, created the  most durable memorial to the Norwegian kings that any royal house has ever received.

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