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Between History and MythStories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State$
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Bruce Lincoln

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226140926

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226141084.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Conclusions

Conclusions

Chapter:
(p.104) 11 Conclusions
Source:
Between History and Myth
Author(s):

Bruce Lincoln

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226141084.003.0011

This book has explored how stories of Harald Fairhair, who ruled as king of a unified Norway from the mid-870s, have been altered as they were told and retold by narrators of different statuses, nationalities, and interests over time. By considering medieval Scandinavian data, it has demonstrated how early variants of the story took the form of skaldic poems and oral traditions, each introducing novel characters, episodes, subplots, intertextual allusions, and subtextual suggestions for one purpose or another. In both Norway and Iceland, there are prose versions of Harald’s story that began to be written only in the twelfth century. One source, Fagrskinna, explicitly mentions Harald’s oath. It also sought to advance state interests by projecting the state’s ideal image of itself, its origins, essential purpose and nature.

Keywords:   state, Harald Fairhair, king, Norway, skaldic poems, oral traditions, Iceland, Fagrskinna, oath, prose

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