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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: 17 September 2021

Gyða

Gyða

Chapter:
(p.8) 2 Gyða
Source:
Between History and Myth
Author(s):

Bruce Lincoln

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226141084.003.0002

This chapter examines the founding of two states: the unified kingdom of Norway and the anti-monarchic commonwealth of Iceland. To comprehend the way these states described themselves in their moment of emergence, the chapter focuses on the story of Harald Fairhair, the king who ruled Norway for seventy years (ca. 858–930) and who has been credited for its unification. More specifically, it considers Harald’s peculiar oath, its multiple variants and the multiple stories to which it connects, as well as the ideological maneuvering carried out by way of emplotment and diction. To this end, the chapter analyzes a number of surviving sources that narrate the events surrounding Harald’s vow and how he purportedly reinvented kingdom and kingship alike. One such source is the “Tale of Harald Fairhair,” where Harald took or married Gyða, the daughter of King Eirik of Hörðaland. The chapter also looks at the Heimskringla account of Gyða’s dealings with Harald.

Keywords:   states, Norway, Iceland, Harald Fairhair, kingdom, kingship, Tale of Harald Fairhair, Gyða, Heimskringla

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