Sunday 24 August 2014

Book Review: History of the Danes Books I - IX by Saxo Grammaticus

Title: The History of the Danes Books I - IX
Author: Saxo Grammaticus
Publisher: Boydell and Brewer

Publication Date: (1204) 2008
Pages: 528
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction/Non-Fiction
Source: Bought Copy
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In the early years of the thirteenth century the Danish writer Saxo Grammaticus provided his people with a 'History of the Danes', an account of their glorious past from the legendary kings and heroes of Denmark to the historical present. It is one of the major sources for the heroic and mythological traditions of northern Europe, though the complex Latin style and the wide range of material brought together from different sources have limited its use. Here Hilda Ellis Davidson, a specialist in Scandinavian mythology, together with the translator Peter Fisher, provides a full English edition; each of the first nine books is preceded by an introductory summary, and a detailed commentary follows on the folklore and life and customs of twelfth-century Denmark - including the sources of 'Hamlet', of which Saxo gives the earliest known account.(Goodreads Synopsis)

This is a fascinating read that blends history with mythology. It looks at the reign of various kings and the heroes who fought for and against them, often linking in with aspects of Norse myth.
This is a great edition with extensive and very useful comments, explaining some of the finer points of the tales.
Well worth a read if you are interested in Scandinavian history and/or mythology.

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