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The Cult of St. Ólafr in the Eleventh Century and Kievan Rus’

The Cult of St. Ólafr in the Eleventh Century and Kievan Rus’

By Haki Antonsson

Middelalderforum, Vol.1:2 (2003)

Introduction: The sources relating to the emergence of the cult of King Olafr Haraldsson (d.1030) of Norway are in decidedly short supply. Essentially we rely on two types of sources in reconstructing the historical background to Olafr’s translatio, or local canonisation, in 1031 and the development of his cult in the eleventh century: contemporary skaldic poetry on one hand and Norwegian and Icelandic writings of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries on the other hand. There are eleventh-century sources for Olafr’s cult from outside Scandinavia but those are, with one notable exception, of greater assistance in assessing the cult’s popularity abroad than its early development in Norway.

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