Gunnlaugr ormstunga (i.e. "serpent-tongue") was an Icelandic poet. His life is described in Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu , where several of his poems are preserved.
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 360,390 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude almost entirely outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
Skald, or skáld, is generally a term used for poets who composed at the courts of Scandinavian leaders during the Viking Age and into the Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry.
Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu or the Saga of Gunnlaugur Serpent-Tongue is one of the Icelanders' sagas. Composed at the end of the 13th century, it is preserved complete in a slightly younger manuscript. It contains 25 verses of skaldic poetry attributed to the main characters.
Gunnlaugr was born ca. 983. From an early age he proved himself impetuous, audacious, brave, and tough. He was also a skilled author of mostly derogatory poems, which earned him the cognomen ormstunga, "serpent's tongue". After a quarrel with his father, Illugi, Gunnlaugr left his home at the age of twelve to stay for some time at Borg with Þorsteinn Egilsson, the son of Egill Skallagrímsson. There, he became acquainted with Þorsteinn's daughter, Helga the fair, reputedly the most beautiful woman in Iceland. Her hair was so ample that she could hide herself in it.
Borg á Mýrum is a farm and church estate due west of Borgarnes township in Iceland. Its recorded history reaches back to the settlement of Iceland. One of the country's original settlers was Skallagrímur Kveldúlfsson, who claimed the area around Borg as his land, built a farm and made his home there. His son Egill Skallagrímsson then continued to live and farm at Borg á Mýrum.
Egill Skallagrímsson was a Viking-Age poet, warrior and farmer. He is known mainly as the protagonist of Egil's Saga. Egil's Saga historically narrates a period from approximately 850 to 1000 CE and is believed to have been written between 1220 and 1240 CE.
When Gunnlaugr was eighteen, he went abroad. At that time, Helga became his fiancée, on the condition that she would wait no more than three years for Gunnlaugr. He visited the courts of Norway, Ireland, Orkney and Sweden and England. In Sweden, he visited the court of King Óláfr Skötkonung where he met his rival, the Icelandic champion and skald, Hrafn Önundarson.
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises of the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Orkney, also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north of the coast of Caithness and has about 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The largest island, Mainland, is often referred to as "the Mainland", and has an area of 523 square kilometres (202 sq mi), making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall.
Gunnlaugr's stay in the service of King Æthelred of England delayed his return to Iceland and Helga. He did not return until four years had passed (ca. 1005). Since Gunnlaugr had been gone longer than his allotted three years, Helga was forced into an unhappy marriage to Gunnlaugr's rival, Hrafn Önundarson. Gunnlaugr and Hrafn met at the Althing and Gunnlaugr challenged Hrafn to a duel of honour, a holmgang (hólmganga). The duel ended in a draw and was the last one allowed in Iceland. From that time hólmganga were forbidden by Icelandic law.
Æthelred II, known as the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death. His epithet does not derive from the modern word "unready", but rather from the Old English unræd meaning "poorly advised"; it is a pun on his name, which means "well advised".
The Alþingi is the national parliament of Iceland. It is the oldest surviving parliament in the world, a claim shared by Tynwald. The Althing was founded in 930 at Þingvellir, situated approximately 45 kilometres (28 mi) east of what later became the country's capital, Reykjavík. Even after Iceland's union with Norway in 1262, the Althing still held its sessions at Þingvellir until 1800, when it was discontinued. It was restored in 1844 and moved to Reykjavík, where it has resided ever since. The present parliament building, the Alþingishús, was built in 1881, made of hewn Icelandic stone. The unicameral parliament has 63 members, and is elected every four years based on party-list proportional representation.
Holmgang is a duel practiced by early medieval Scandinavians. It was a recognized way to settle disputes.
In order to settle their dispute in blood, the two champions met in Norway in the spring of 1008. There, Gunnlaugr defeated Hrafn, but was fatally wounded. After a short time he died. He was 25. Helga later remarried, but never recovered from Gunnlaugr's death. Her greatest pleasure was to rest her eyes on a sumptuous coat that Gunnlaugr had given her. One evening, she rested her head on her husband's shoulder, spread the coat in front of her, and watched it for a while. Thereafter, she fell back into her husband's embrace and was dead.
The Sagas of Icelanders, also known as family sagas, are prose narratives mostly based on historical events that mostly took place in Iceland in the 9th, 10th, and early 11th centuries, during the so-called Saga Age. They are the best-known specimens of Icelandic literature.
Olof Skötkonung was King of Sweden, son of Eric the Victorious and, according to Icelandic sources, Sigrid the Haughty. He succeeded his father in c. 995. He stands at the threshold of recorded history, since he is the first Swedish ruler about whom there is substantial knowledge. He is regarded as the first king known to have ruled both the Swedes and the Geats.
The Lindworm is either a legendary dragon-like creature or serpent monster. In British heraldry, lindworm is a technical term for a wingless serpentine monster with two clawed arms in the upper body. In Norwegian heraldry a lindorm is the same as the wyvern in British heraldry.
In his Edda Snorri Sturluson quotes many stanzas attributed to Bragi Boddason the old, a 9th Century court poet who served several Swedish kings, supposedly including Ragnar Lodbrok, Östen Beli and Björn at Hauge. Bragi was reckoned as the first skaldic poet, and was certainly the earliest skaldic poet then remembered by name whose verse survived in memory.
Eric Håkonsson was Earl of Lade, Governor of Norway and Earl of Northumbria. He was the son of Earl Hákon Sigurðarson and brother of the legendary Aud Haakonsdottir of Lade. He participated in the Battle of Hjörungavágr, the Battle of Svolder and the conquest of England by King Canute the Great.
Ásmundar saga kappabana is the saga of Asmund the Champion-Killer, a legendary saga from Iceland, first attested in the manuscript Stockholm, Royal Library, Holm. 7, 4to, from the first half of the fourteenth century. It is essentially an adaptation of the German Hildebrandslied, but it has assimilated matter from the Tyrfing Cycle.
Haukr or Hauk Erlendsson was lawspeaker (lawman) of Iceland, later lawspeaker and knight of Norway, known for having compiled a number of Icelandic sagas and other materials mostly in his own hand, bound in a book called the Hauksbók after him.
Óláfr Þórðarson was an Icelandic skald and scholar who was born about 1210 and died in 1259. He is usually called Óláfr hvítaskáld in contrast to a contemporary skald called Óláfr svartaskáld. Óláfr was the paternal nephew of Snorri Sturluson and spent his youth in Snorri's home where he had an important part of his scholarly education. Particular important is his Grammatical Treatise.
Gunnlaugr Leifsson was an Icelandic scholar, author and poet. He was a Benedictine monk at the Þingeyraklaustur monastery in the north of Iceland. Many sources refer to him simply as Gunnlaugr munkr or Gunnlaugr the Monk.
Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa is one of the sagas of Icelanders. Björn was a relative of Egill from Egils saga, and grew up at Borg, the homestead that passed ownership from Egill to his son and grandson.
Thorgerd Egilsdottir was an Icelandic woman of the tenth century. She was the daughter of Egill Skallagrímsson and the wife of Olaf the Peacock. Olaf and Thorgerd had a number of children: the sons Kjartan, Steinthór, Halldór, Helgi, and Höskuldur and the daughters Thurídur, Thorbjörg, Thorgerd and Bergthóra. The ill-fated Kjartan would be his father's favorite.
Auðunn illskælda was a Norwegian 9th century skald. Skáldatal lists him as one of Harald Finehair's skalds. Egils saga Skallagrímssonar notes that he was Harald's oldest skald, and had earlier been a skald for Harald's father Hálfdan svarti. He was called illskælda because he had once in a drápa about Harald copied a refrain from another skald called Úlfr Sebbason. The drápa was subsequently called Stolinstefja "the drápa with the stolen refrain". Only a few stanzas of his works are known today.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Peter Godfrey Foote was a scholar of Old Norse literature and Scandinavian studies. He inaugurated the Department of Scandinavian Studies at University College London, and headed it for 20 years.
Helga the Fair is an Icelandic woman whose life and relationships are described in Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu. She is the daughter of Þorsteinn Egilsson and his wife Jofrid and is the granddaughter of Egill Skallagrímsson. Helga is trapped in a love triangle with Gunnlaugr Ormstunga and Hrafn Önundarson, which eventually leads to the men’s deaths.
Björn Magnússon Ólsen was an Icelandic scholar and politician. He was a member of the Alþingi, the first rector of the University of Iceland, and a professor of Icelandic language and culture there.
Mats Ulrik Malm,, is a Swedish literary writer and translator. On 18 October 2018, Malm was elected a member of the Swedish Academy, on 26 April 2019 he was elected the new Permanent Secretary and Speaker of the Swedish Academy.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.