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68

(1869) [MARC] Author: Rasmus Rask
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(Volkslieder) interspersed. Saxo Grammaticus often quotes
these songs as authorities.

Prose writing rose high in the 12th Century, historical
events were frequently written down, and although the
manner in which they were composed, was unfinished, yet an
artistic form is visible in the narrative of events and in the
treatment of the subjects generally. Real history of which the
father is Ari hinn froði who wrote a Chronicle of Iceland,
and [[** det ser ut til å være et dårlig svertet, nedsenket komma her **]] the Landnâmabok is treated too much in the character
of dry statistics and genealogy and is much in want of general
survey and enlarged handling. It is only when we come to
Snorri and his nephews Olaf and Sturla that descriptive
history becomes more finished and personal dialogues infuses
life into the historical pages. Both Sweden and Norway have
taken part in collecting and writing down their old laws and
privileges, but we are only indebted to the industry and
intelligence of the Icelanders for having preserved to us the
traditions of their common Hero Sagas, to which we look as the
real history of those remote ages. Without these Sagas there
would be a great blank in northern history for several Centuries.



The Sagas.

„The ancient literature of the North“ [[** komma mgl **]] says Wheaton, „was
not confined to the poetical art. The Skald recited the
praises of King and heroes in verse, whilst the Saga-man
recalled the memory of the past in prose narratives. The talent
for story-telling, as well as that of poetical invention, was
cultivated and highly improved by practice. The prince’s hall,
the assembly of the people, the solemn feasts of sacrifice, all
presented occasions for the exercise of this delightful art. The
memory of past transactions was thus handed down from age
to age in an unbroken chain of tradition, and the ancient
songs and Sagas were preserved until the introduction of
book-writing [[** sjk om bindestrek skal beholdes, alle former er funnet på nett (men heter det story-telling, så...) **]] gave them a fixed and durable record.“

The great mass of Prose writing which has come down
to us, from these cold icebound shores, is truly amazing, it
contains not only the Sagas of entire tribes, but of kings, Jarls
or chiefs, skalds and other celebrities. We will mention some
of the most important

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