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The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  150 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews

In the early years of the thirteenth century the Danish writer Saxo Grammaticus provided his people with a History of the Danes, an account of their glorious past from the legendary kings and heroes of Denmark to the historical present. It is one of the major sources for the heroic and mythological traditions of northern Europe, though the complex Latin style and the wide

Hardcover, 560 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1204)
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Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norse
Saxo Grammaticus is far from a pleasant read but is a treasure trove of Germanic legend, although sometimes odd and giving very different versions to the legends contained in Eddic poetry and saga material, it's still essential reading. The added bonus to the Brewer edition is the inclusion of Davidson's book length introduction and commentary. The commentary provides a useful tool for readers wishing to compare Saxo's legends with the Old English, Icelandic and German versions.
Et godt råd til alle, der har tænkt sig at give sig i kast med den her bog: Start op med at læse om danske middelalderkonger! Saxo er så absolut ikke god til årstal eller genealogi, derfor er det en god hjælp, at have læst lidt op på kongerækken først. Ellers bliver du stik-tos-rund-forvirret! Så er det sagt.

Monty Milne
Important as this is as the earliest record of the history of the Danes, it has a much wider interest than that alone. Norse mythology, the Sagas, and the pre-Christian beliefs of the Scandinavians are all given some illumination by Saxo, even if the illumination is akin to the flickering shadow of a candle in a draughty stone cell, rather than the clear glare of modern electric light. Saxo was an intelligent and capable 12th century ecclesiastic whose writing has a certain colourful barbarism, ...more
Billy Roper
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That particular people, the tribe of Dan from the Old Testament, who gave birth to the Jutes and the Angles to their south, and held the peninsula against challenges from land and sea, is a thrilling historical epic. The original was written about the same time Snorri was recording the history of the Icelanders and, by extension, the Norse, so the tone and style are similar, but the content is less mythical, of course, reading more like an earlier Roman study of the borderland barbarians, as Tac ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Che faticaccia leggere la storia cronologica di un popolo priva di un qualsiasi riferimento se non vago a eventi o date che permettano di contestualizzare correttamente gli eventi stessi! Ma il fascino delle gesta di questi uomini grezzoni è tanto.

Interessante il libro dedicato ad Amleth, futuro Hamlet di più grande fama, che praticamente è una versione in prosa della tragedia shakespeariana. Interessante anche notare come si pone un autore cristianizzato come Saxo rispetto al passato pagano del
Jack Wright
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the easiest read, and some chapters/books were easier to follow than others. Chapter/Book 2 consisted of the story of a prince who attempted to avenge the killing of his father by his uncle, which Shakespeare took some significant elements from and turned into Hamlet. Chapter/Book 9 was about Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons which is always fun to read about. There was a lot of singing, drinking, killing. . . goodtimes. I might wait a while before rereading it, but I'm definitely glad that I did.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A long and interesting tale of the Danes past. A nice mixture of facts, folklore and history.
It is clear that it is Absalon him self who ordered this book to be written, but still pretty much the only peace of literature regarding the Danish kings before Gorm Den Gamle, year 1200.
A bit annoying that a lot of the kings and other persons had the same name. It makes it pretty hard to remember who was who etc.
Nicki Markus
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non-fiction
This is a fascinating read that blends history with mythology. It looks at the reign of various kings and the heroes who fought for and against them, often linking in with aspects of Norse myth.
This is a great edition with extensive and very useful comments, explaining some of the finer points of the tales.
Well worth a read if you are interested in Scandinavian history and/or mythology.
May 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: northern-lit
If you need to read Saxo, then this is the edition to get. I'd rate Davidson's commentary at 4 stars. It's just Saxo himself that I dislike. ;-)
The history of the Danes. A must read for Danes and people interested in European myths and folklore.
Jens Hansen
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Only worth reading if you are a specialist or a native. I am the latter.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting too much, but I really really liked this ... loads of interesting material (to me)on mythology and heroic literature
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Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1150-1220) also known as Saxo cognomine Longus was a Danish historian, thought to have been a secular clerk or secretary to Absalon, Archbishop of Lund, foremost advisor to Valdemar I of Denmark. He is the author of the Gesta Danorum, the first full history of Denmark.
More about Saxo Grammaticus...
“He was succeeded on the throne by RAGNAR. At this time Fro (Frey?), the King of Sweden, after slaying Siward, the King of the Norwegians, put the wives of Siward's kinsfolk in bonds in a brothel, and delivered them to public outrage. When Ragnar heard of this, he went to Norway to avenge his grandfather. As he came, many of the matrons, who had either suffered insult to their persons or feared imminent peril to their chastity, hastened eagerly to his camp in male attire, declaring that they would prefer death to outrage. Nor did Ragnar, who was to punish this reproach upon the women, scorn to use against the author of the infamy the help of those whose shame he had come to avenge. Among them was Ladgerda, a skilled amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marvelled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.” 0 likes
“For the valour of a youth will often kindle a maid, and the courage of those whose looks are not so winning is often acceptable.” 0 likes
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