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King Knútr the great in the early Scandinavian Histories

Antonsson, HT; (2018) King Knútr the great in the early Scandinavian Histories. Scandinavica , 2018 (57) pp. 39-66. Green open access

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Abstract

This article explores the portrayal of Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great), king of Denmark and England (1016/19-1035), in the Scandinavian historical narrative from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. More specifically, it offers a broad survey of how Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic writers chose to present this most powerful of medieval Scandinavian kings. The article identifies three principal strands of writings on Knútr. One includes Danish works, including the Roskilde Chronicle and the works of Sven Aggesen and Saxo Grammaticus. The second consists of the early Norse sagas about Óláfr Haraldsson and the so-called ‘Norwegian synoptics’ of the late twelfth century. The third comprises the thirteenth-century kings’ saga compilations Fagrskinna, Heimskringla and Knýtlinga saga. The article both highlights how these strands differ in their take on Knútr’s persona and career, and places their portrayal within the relevant literary and historical contexts.

Type: Article
Title: King Knútr the great in the early Scandinavian Histories
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.scandinavica.net/2018-1.php
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Kings’ sagas, historiography, Knútr inn ríki, Óláfr Haraldsson, chronicles
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047852
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