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Who Wrote the Edda? Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda vs Poetic Edda Explained

Have you ever heard of Thor's mighty hammer Mjolnir, or the epic battles of Ragnarök? If Norse mythology sparks your curiosity, you must meet Snorri Sturluson!

This blog post takes you on a journey through the life and works of Snorri, a fascinating Icelandic figure who wore many hats – a nobleman, historian, poet, and law speaker. We will travel back to medieval Iceland (12th-13th century) to uncover the answers to these questions:

From Powerful Family to Political Leader

Snorri wasn't born into an ordinary family. His lineage boasted chieftains and even a bishop's nephew, highlighting their prominent position in Icelandic society. Raised by a foster father with connections to Norwegian royalty, Snorri wasn't one to settle for a quiet life. He actively participated in politics, twice holding the prestigious title of law speaker at the Althing, Iceland's parliament. This role demanded sharp intellect, leadership skills, and perhaps a bit of cunning to navigate the often-turbulent political landscape.

A Life Cut Short, But a Legacy That Endures

Snorri's life tragically ended in 1241 at the age of 62, assassinated by people who claimed to be agents of the Norwegian King. But his legacy as a scholar and storyteller lives on.

Snorri the Storyteller: Preserving Norse Mythology

Snorri's deep appreciation for Norse culture and history shines through his literary works. As a skilled poet, he composed intricate skaldic verses, a complex form requiring mastery of language and mythology. But where Snorri truly left his mark is in preserving Norse mythology.

The Prose Edda: A Guide for Poets, a Treasure Trove for Us

Snorri's most celebrated work is the Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda. Composed in the 13th century, this book serves as a cornerstone of Norse mythology. Prose Edda vs Poetic Edda? The Poetic Edda, or the elder Edda, is a collection of anonymous poems, while the Prose Edda, the younger  Edda, is Snorri's compilation of prose. While some argue that being a Christian himself limited Snorri's objectivity, it's important to remember the times he lived in. The Christian Church held immense power, and openly pagan texts would likely have been forbidden.

Here's where Snorri's genius lies. The Prose Edda, intended as a guide for aspiring poets, cleverly weaves details about Norse myths and creatures into a seemingly harmless manual. By understanding these references, poets could craft their works effectively. Today, the Edda offers a window into the rich tapestry of Norse beliefs and the captivating world of Viking gods and giants.

Beyond Mythology: Snorri's Legacy in History

Snorri wasn't just a myth keeper. He not only wrote the Prose Edda, or the Younger Edda but also wrote some historical work, Heimskringla, which chronicles the lives of Norse kings. Additionally, experts believe he might be the author of Egil's Saga, a famous Icelandic saga. These works provide invaluable insights into Scandinavian history and culture.

Snorri Sturluson: A Man of Many Hats and a Timeless Source of Inspiration

Snorri Sturluson's life and work offer a captivating glimpse into a bygone era. He was a man of many talents – a political leader, a legal mind, a gifted poet, and a custodian of Norse myths. His influence extends far beyond Iceland, inspiring artists, poets, and history buffs to this day. So next time you hear a tale of Norse gods, remember Snorri Sturluson, the remarkable Icelandic figure who helped bring these myths to life.

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