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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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Shaggy Harald

Shaggy Harald

(p.80) 9 Shaggy Harald
Between History and Myth

Bruce Lincoln

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines various accounts of how Harald Fairhair became the first sole king of Norway following the death of his father, King Hálfdan. It considers sources such as Theodricus Monachus, Historia Norwegiæ, Ágrip, and Fagrskinna. More specifically, it analyzes Fagrskinna’s version, which extols the new king’s virtues and introduces the idea of his hamingja, a term that some scholars associate with divine favor and charisma. It also discusses other accounts, such as the “Tale of Harald Fairhair” and the one offered by Heimskringla. Finally, the chapter looks at accounts that mention King Harald’s hair, his vow, and his moniker “Shaggy Harald”.

Keywords:   king, Harald Fairhair, Norway, King Hálfdan, Fagrskinna, hamingja, Tale of Harald Fairhair, Heimskringla, hair, Shaggy Harald

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