Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/99

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SIGURÐSSON—SIGWART

German and Scandinavian authorities he was the son of a certain Sigmundr (Siegmund), a king in the Netherlands, or the “land of the Franks.” The exploits of this Sigmundr and his elder sons Sinfiötli and Helgi form the subject of the earlier parts of Völsunga Saga, and Siegmund and Fitela (i.e. Sinfiötli) are also mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. According to the Scandinavian story Sigmundr was slain in battle before the birth of Sigurd, but the German story makes him survive his son. Sigurd acquired great fame and riches by slaying the dragon Fáfnir, but the chief interest of the story centres round his Connexion with the court of the Burgundian king Gunnar (Gunther). He married Guðrun (Kriemhild), the sister of that king, and won for him by a stratagem the hand of the Valkyrie Brynhildr, with whom he had himself previously exchanged vows of love. A quarrel arose between Brynhildr and Guðrun, in the course of which the former learnt of the deception which had been practised upon her and this led eventually to the murder of Sigurd. According to the Scandinavian version he was slain by his brother-in-law Guttorm, according to the German version by the knight Hagen. Gunther's brothers were subsequently slain while visiting Atli (Etzel), who married Guðrun after Sigurd's death. According to the German story they were killed at the instigation of Kriemhild in revenge for Siegfried. The Scandinavian version of the story attributes the deed to Atli's lust for gold.

The story of Sigurd has given rise to more discussion than any other subject connected with the Teutonic heroic age. Like Achilles he is represented as the perfect embodiment of the ideals of the race, and, as in the case of the Greek hero, it is customary to regard his personality and exploits as mythical. There is no question, however, that the Burgundian king who is said to have been his brother-in-law was an historical person who was slain by the Huns, at the time when the Burgundian kingdom was overthrown by the latter. Sigurd himself is not mentioned by any contemporary writer; but, apart from the dragon incident, there is nothing in the story which affords sufficient justification for regarding his personality as mythical. Opinions, however, vary widely as to the precise proportions of history and fiction which the story contains. The story of Siegfried in Richard Wagner's famous opera-cycle Der Ring der Nibelungen is mainly taken from the northern version; but many features, especially the characterization of Hagen, are borrowed from the German story, as is also the episode of Siegfried's murder in the forest.

See Nibelungenlied and also R. Heinzel, “Über die Nibelungensage,” in Sitzungsberichte der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften

(Vienna, 1885); H. Lichtenberger, Le Poème et la légende des Nibelungen (Paris, 1891); B. Symons, “Heldensage” in H. Paul's Grundriss der germ. Philologie, vol. iii. (Strassburg, 1900); and R. C. Boer, Untersuchungen über den Ursprung und die Entwicklung der Nibelungensage

(Halle, 1906). Also T. Abeling, Nibelungenlied (1907).

 (F. G. M. B.) 

SIGURÐSSON, JÓN (1811-1879), Icelandic statesman and man of letters, was born in the west of Iceland in 1811. He came of an old family, and received an excellent education. In 1830 he was secretary to the bishop of Iceland, the learned Steingrimr Jónsson. In 1833 he went to the university of Copenhagen and devoted himself to the study of Icelandic history and literature. His name soon became prominent in the learned world, and it may safely be said that most of his historical works and his editions of Icelandic classics have never been surpassed for acute criticism and minute painstaking. Of these we may mention Lögsögumannatal og Lögmanna á Islandi (“Speakers of the Law and Law-men in Iceland”); his edition of Landnáma and other sagas in Islendinga Sögur, i.-ii. (Copenhagen, 1843-1847); the large collection of Icelandic laws edited by him and Oddgeir Stephensen; and last, not least, the Diplomatarium Islandicum, which after his death was continued by others. But although he was one of the greatest scholars Iceland has produced, he was still greater as a politician. The Danish rule had, during the centuries following the Reformation, gradually brought Iceland to the verge of economic ruin; the ancient Parliament of the island, which had degenerated to a mere shadow, had been abolished in 1800; all the revenue of Iceland went into the Danish treasury, and only very small sums were spent for the good of the island; but worst of all was the notorious monopoly which gave away the whole trade of Iceland to a single Danish trading company. This monopoly had been abolished in 1787, and the trade had been declared free to all Danish subjects, but practically the old arrangement was continued under disguised forms. Jón Sigurðsson began a hard struggle against the Danish government to obtain a reform. In 1854 the trade of Iceland was declared free to all nations. In 1840 the Althing was re-established as an advisory, not as a legislative body. But when Denmark got a free constitution in 1848, which had no legal validity in Iceland, the island felt justified in demanding full home rule. To this the Danish government was vehemently opposed; it convoked an Icelandic National Assembly in 1851, and brought before that body a bill granting Iceland small local liberties, but practically incorporating Iceland in Denmark. This bill was indignantly rejected, and, instigated by Jón Sigurðsson, another was demanded of far more liberal tendencies. The Danish governor-general then dissolved the assembly, but Jón Sigurðsson and all the members with him protested to the king against these unlawful proceedings. The struggle continued with great bitterness on both sides, but gradually the Danish government was forced to grant many important reforms. High schools were established at Reykjavik, and efforts made to better the trade and farming of the country. In 1871 the Danish parliament (Riksdag) passed a law defining the political position of Iceland in the Danish monarchy, which, though never recognized as valid by the Icelanders, became de facto the base of the political relations of Iceland and Denmark. At last, in 1874, when King Christian IX. visited Iceland at the festival commemorating the millenary of the colonization of Iceland from Norway, he gave to the country a Constitution, with full home rule in all internal matters. An immense victory was gained, entirely due to Jón Sigurðsson, whose high personal qualities had rallied all the nation round him. He was a man of fine appearance, with an eloquence and diplomatic gifts such as no others of his countrymen possessed, and his unselfish love of his country made itself felt in almost every branch of Icelandic life. Recognizing the value of an intellectual centre, he made Reykjavik not only the political, but the spiritual capital of Iceland by removing all the chief institutions of learning to that city; he was the soul of many literary and political societies, and the chief editor of the Ny Félagsrit, which has done more than any other Icelandic periodical to promote the cause of civilization and progress in Iceland. After Iceland had got home rule in 1874, the grateful people showered on Jón Sigurðsson all the honours it could bestow. He lived the greater part of his life in Copenhagen, and died there in 1879; but his body, together with that of his wife, Ingibjörg Einarsdóttir, whom he had married in 1845, and who survived him only a few days, was taken to Reykjavik and given a public funeral. On his monument was placed the inscription: “The beloved son of Iceland, her honour, sword, and shield.” (S. Bl.)


SIGWART, CHRISTOPH WILHELM VON (1789-1844), German philosopher, was born at Remmingsheim in Württemberg, and died in Stuttgart. He became professor of philosophy at Tübingen, and wrote numerous books on the history of philosophy:—Über den Zusammenhaug des Spinozismus mit der Cartesianischen Philosophie (1816); Handbuch zu Vorlesungen über die Logik (1818, 3rd ed., 1835); Der Spinozismus (1839); and Geschichte der Philosophie (1844).

His son, Christoph von Sigwart (1830-1894), after a course of philosophy and theology, became professor at Blaubeuren (1859), and eventually at Tübingen, in 1865. His principal work, Logik, published in 1873, takes an important place among recent contributions to logical theory. In the preface to the first edition, Sigwart explains that he makes no attempt to appreciate the logical theories of his predecessors; his intention was to construct a theory of logic, complete in itself. It represents the results of a long and careful study not only of German but also of English logicians. In 1895 an English translation by