Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/311

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SNORRI STURLASON—SNOWDROP

Sonneter in 1871 increased his reputation. Then, for some years, Snoilsky abandoned poetry, and devoted himself to the work of the Foreign Office and to the study of numismatics. In 1876, however, he published a translation of the ballads of Goethe. Snoilsky had in 1876 been appointed keeper of the records, and had succeeded Bishop Genberg as one of the eighteen of the Swedish Academy. But in 1879 he resigned all his posts, and left Sweden abruptly for Florence with the Baroness Ruuth-Piper, whom he married in 1880. Count Snoilsky sent home in 1881 a volume of Nya Dikter (New Poems). Two other volumes of Dikter appeared in 1883 and 1887, and 1897; Savonarola, a poem, in 1883, and Hvita frun (“The White Lady”) in 1885. In 1886 he collected his poems dealing with national subjects as Svenska bilder (2nd ed., 1895), which ranks as a Swedish classic. In 1891 he returned to Stockholm, and was appointed principal librarian of the Royal Library. He died at Stockholm on the 19th of May 1903. His literary influence in Sweden was very great; he always sang of joy and liberty and beauty, and in his lyrics, more than in most modern verse, the ecstasy of youth finds expression. He is remarkable, also, for the extreme delicacy and melodiousness of his verse-forms.

His Samlade dikter were collected (Stockholm, 5 vols.) in 1963-1904.

SNORRI STURLASON (1179-1241), the celebrated Icelandic historian, the youngest son of a chief in the Vestfirðir (western fiords), was brought up by a powerful chief, Jon Loptsson, in Odda, who seems first to have awakened in him an interest for history and poetry. His career begins with his marriage, which made him a wealthy man; in 1206 he settled at Reykjaholt, where he constructed magnificent buildings and a bath of hewn stones, preserved to the present day, to which water was conducted from a neighbouring hot spring. He early made himself known as a poet, especially by glorifying the exploits of the contemporary Norse kings and earls; at the same time he was a learned lawyer, and from 1215 became the lögsögumaðr, or president of the legislative assembly and supreme court of Iceland. The prominent features of his character seem to have been cunning, ambition and avarice, combined with want of courage and aversion from effort. By royal invitation he went in 1218 to Norway, where he remained a long time with the young king Haakon and his tutor Earl Skuli. When, owing to disputes between Icelandic and Norwegian merchants, Skuli thought of a military expedition to Iceland, Snorri promised to make the inhabitants submit to Haakon of their own free will. Snorri himself became the lendrmaðr, vassal or baron, of the king of Norway, and held his lands as a fief under him. On his return home Snorri sent his son to the king as a hostage, and made peace between Norway and Iceland, but his power and influence were used more for his own enrichment and aggrandizement—he was lögsögumaðr again from 1222 to 1232—than for the advantage of the king. Haakon, therefore, stirred up strife between Snorri's kinsman Sturla and Snorri, who had to fly from Reykjaholt in 1236; and in 1237 he left the country and went back to Norway. Here he joined the party of Skuli, who was meditating a revolt. Learning that his cousin Sturla in Iceland had fallen in battle against Gissur, Snorri's son-in-law, Snorri, although expressly forbidden by his liege lord, returned to Iceland in 1239 and once more took possession of his property. Meanwhile Haakon, who had vanquished Skuli in 1240, sent orders to Gissur to punish Snorri for his disobedience either by capturing him and sending him back to Norway or by putting him to death. Gissur took the latter course, attacked Snorri at his residence, Reykjaholt, and slew him on the 22nd of September 1241.

Snorri is the author of the great prose Edda (see Edda), and of the

Heimskringla or Sagas of the Norwegian Kings, a connected series of biographies of the kings of Norway down to Sverri in 1177. The later work opens with the Ynglinga Saga, a brief history of the pretended immigration into Sweden of the Aesir, of their successors in that country, the kings of Upsala, and of the oldest Norwegian kings, their descendants. Next come the biographies of the succeeding Norwegian kings, the most detailed being those of the two missionary kings Olaf Tryggvason and St Olaf. Snorri's sources were partly succinct histories of the realm, as the chronological sketch of Ari; partly more voluminous early collections of traditions, as the Noregs Konungatal (Fagrskinna) and the Jarlasaga; partly legendary biographies of the two Olafs; and, in addition to these, studies and collections which he himself made during his journeys in Norway. His critical principles are explained in the preface, where he dwells on the necessity of starting as much as possible from trustworthy contemporary sources, or at least from those nearest to antiquity—the touchstone by which verbal traditions can be tested being contemporary poems. He inclines to rationalism, rejecting the marvellous and recasting legends containing it in a more historical spirit; but he makes an exception in the accounts of the introduction of Christianity into Norway and of the national saint St Olaf. Snorri strives everywhere to impart life and vigour to his narrative, and he gives the dialogues in the individual character of each person. Especially in this last he shows a tendency to epigram and often uses humorous and pathetic expressions. Besides his principal work, he elaborated in a separate form its better and larger part, the History of St Olaf (the great Olaf's Saga). In the preface to this he gives a brief extract of the earlier history, and, as an appendix, a short account of St Olaf's miracles after his death; here, too, he employs critical art, as appears from a comparison with his source,

the Latin legend. See further Iceland, Literature, and Edda.

SNOW (in O. Eng. snáw; a common Indo-European word; cf. in Teutonic languages, Ger. Schnee, Du. sneeuw; in Slavonic snieg’, Lith. snëgas; Gr. νίφα, Lat. nix, nivis, whence the Romanic forms, Ital. neve, Fr. neige, &c.; Ir. and Gael. sneachd; the original sense of the root may be to moisten, cf. Skt. sneha, moisture), that form of precipitation of water-vapour condensed from the atmosphere which reaches the ground in a frozen and crystalline condition. Snow thus occurs when the processes of condensation and fall take place at a temperature below 32° F. The crystals, which vary greatly in form, belong to the hexagonal system. They are formed upon a nucleus, in the same way as a raindrop, and sometimes reach the ground singly, but more commonly in small coherent masses or flakes. If in its passage from the upper atmosphere snow passes through a temperature above 32° F. it reaches the ground as sleet or rain (according to the degree of heat encountered), and thus after a fall of rain over lowlands, the higher parts of mountains in the vicinity may be seen to have received the fall as snow.

See further Climate and Meteorology; and for the transformation of snow into ice under pressure, see Glacier.

SNOWDON (Wyddfa, view-place, Eryri, eagle-place), the highest elevation in N. Wales. It is formed chiefly of slates, grits and porphyries of the Cambrian and Silurian systems. It consists of five “ribs” converging at the summit, 3560 ft. above sea-level. Between these lie such depressions as Cwm Glas (blue or green vale) to the N., and Cwm y llan (clearing, town or church vale) to the S. Snowdon is demarcated from the surrounding hills by passes famous for their scenery, such as that of Llanberis (q.v.) to the N .E. and Aberglaslyn to the S. These two passes are joined by Nant Gwynnant (stream, or valley, of the white or happy valley, or stream), skirting the S.E. flanks of the Snowdon massif. Nant Colwyn runs N .W. to Carnarvon. A rack-and-pinion railway (opened in 1897) ascends from Llanberis to the summit of the mountain (4¾ m.). Snowdonia, as the locality is sometimes called, contains several lakes, e.g. Peris and Padarn at Llanberis; Glaslyn and Llydaw between Cribgoch (red crest) and Lliwedd; Cwellyn and others W. of the hill itself; and Gwynnant and Dinas (Y Ddinas) in Nantgwynnant.

SNOWDROP, Galanthus nivalis, the best known representative of a small genus of the order Amaryllidaceae, all the species of which have bulbs, linear leaves and erect flower-stalks, destitute of leaves but bearing at the top a solitary pendulous bell-shaped flower. The white perianth is six-parted, the outer three segments being larger and more convex than the inner series. The six anthers open by pores or short slits. The ovary is three-celled, ripening into a three-celled capsule. The snowdrop is a doubtful native of Great Britain, but is largely cultivated for market in Lincolnshire. There are numerous varieties, differing in the size of the flower and the period of flowering. Other distinct species of snowdrop are the Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus, with broad leaves folded like a fan, and G. Elwesii, a native of the Levant, with large flowers, the three inner segments of which have a much larger and more conspicuous green blotch than the commoner kinds. All the species thrive in almost