The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Sturluson, Snorri

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STURLUSON, stoor'lā-sŏn, Snorri, Icelandic author and politician: b. 1178; d. Reykholt, 22 Sept. 1241. He was well educated in Scandinavian history, mythology and poetry. He soon rendered himself popular by his bravery on the field and eloquence in the assemblies of the people and was elected by the unanimous voice of the people supreme judge of the island. In 1213 he composed his first poem which became widely known, a panegyric of Hako IV, king of Norway. In 1218 he paid a visit to Norway, where he was well received by Jarl Skule, who loaded him with rich presents and high dignities on the eve of his return to Iceland in 1220. In 1237, being forced by feuds to leave Iceland, he made a second voyage to Norway, where he was once more warmly welcomed by Skule, now become duke. Snorri composed some poetical pieces warmly laudatory of his patron, and promising him success in the struggle going on between him and Hako V. That prince forbade Snorri to return to his native land, but the order was unheeded, and Sturluson, being informed of the decline of the power of his enemies, returned to Iceland in 1239, and was there murdered. His principal work, which he completed about 1230, is the ‘Heimskringla’ (Circle of the World), in which he records the lives of the legendary and historical kings of Norway down to the death of Magnus Erlingsson in 1177. It was translated into Danish by Peder Clausson, and published in Copenhagen by Olaf Worm in 1633. A recent edition is that by Jónson (1893 onward). The work has also been translated into German, Norwegian, Swedish, Latin and English (by S. Laing, 1844; new ed. by R. B. Anderson, 1889; by W. Morris and E. Magnússon, 1893-94). He composed numerous eulogistic poems on the princes and jarls whose courts he had visited; and wrote, it is believed, the first part (‘Gylfa-Ginning’) of the ‘Snorra-Edda,’ or ‘Younger Edda.’ See Eddas, The.